All I really want to do with my life is to make beautiful things.
Es ist immer schön, eine Band live zu sehen, auf die man sich lange gefreut hat. Bei Morzsa Records, einer vierköpfigen, internationalen Kollaboration, die ihren Ursprung in Budapest hat, war genau das Gegenteil der Fall. Am 9. Oktober erreicht mich eine SMS einer Freundin: „Sorry Planänderung! Heute spielt die Indie Pop Gruppe Morzsa Records aus Ungarn/USA in der Zep.“ Indie aus Ungarn und USA? Wer kann bei der Beschreibung nicht mehr wissen wollen? Eben, deshalb geht es ins selbstorganisierte Studentencafé der PH, Zep genannt.
Mit Unterstützung des Heidelberger Duos Monsters on Ships spielen Freddie Schulze (Gitarre, Gesang), Justin Spike (Gitarre, Gesang, Glockenspiel, Akkordeon), Noémi Bulecza (Cello) und Endre Barz (Percussion) ein ebenso intimes wie mitreißendes Konzert. Nicht nur die Musik, die sich zwischen Singer/Songwriter, Folk Punk und folkigem Indie bewegt, sondern vor allem die Offenheit und der Humor der beiden Sänger tragen viel dazu bei, dass sich das Zep an diesem Abend in ein Wohnzimmer voll Tanz und guter Laune verwandelt.
Nach dem Konzert sind Freddie und Justin so begeistert von der Idee eines Interviews, dass sie durch das ganze Gebäude rennen und einen leeren Raum suchen. Der einzig unverschlossene, stellt sich heraus, ist der staubige Dachboden voller alter Schulpapiere, und so treffe ich mich dort mit der gesamten Band zu einem ausführlichen Interview über Morzsa Records, apokalyptischen Pop, ungewöhnliche Konzerte und den Einfluss von Fugazi.
First of all, tell me about the band members and the band itself.
Freddie: The band has four people in it: our percussionist Endre is a savage from Budapest; Noémi is from Oujhorod in Ukraine, which is a city that really knows how to appreciate an Indie band; Justin is from Grapevine, Texas – another city that knows how to appreciate an Indie band…
Justin: … and make one!
Freddie: Yes, many excellent bands came from there. I’m from Denton, Texas, which is an hour and a half from Grapevine, and where we also know how to treat a bunch of losers with guitars.
You are all from different parts of the world. How does the songwriting process work?
Justin: There are two of us who do the songwriting, that’s me and Freddie. Each of us will come up with an idea for a song and compose most of it, all its structure and its melodies and also sometimes all of the backing parts, like the harmonies. Then we’ll bring the song to the band and we will fill it out. Noémi works on her cello parts, Endre works on his drum parts, and so we fill out the songs as a band. But the song ideas themselves, it’s usually either me or Freddie.
Given that Freddie and Justin are the main songwriters and live only an hour apart from each other: How did this international project come into existence in the first place? Do you consider Morzsa Records a real band?
Freddie: Endre has to answer that, he was there from the beginning.
Endre: I don’t know, we just met while I was waiting to be a musician for about two years already. But I saw them playing at lake Balaton and when we met for the first time, I thought „OK, these guys are not like my old band members, they can play music.“ I got a cajon as a present from my friends from where I lived before, so I was thinking „Why not try this new instrument with these guys, as they play acoustically?“ And that’s where it started.
Justin: It was a larger band, but when we lost Jérôme, the violinist from La Réunion, and Zoltan, who was the banjoist, and our prior cellist [Emma], it became the four of us. I think this construction here is, to me, the „real“-est version of the band, and easily the best. Our last record was the four of us, as will be the next record, and almost all of our touring is the four of us. So this is the band.
Freddie: For me, „Cosmonaut“ is our first record, really. „Polish Graffiti“ is a really good record with a lot of good songs, but it is still like a collection of songs from us and our friends.
Endre: It is a songwriter record.
Freddie: Exactly, and „Cosmonaut“ is a real album. It’s a pop record.
Justin: It’s definitely a collective effort. We all have to work, we all have lives of our own, travel a lot and live in different cities. Freddie lives in Belgrade now, which is an eight-hour train ride from Budapest. It’s not exactly close, but the point is: we all make sacrifices for the band, we all work hard on arranging and writing music. I don’t think it would be fair to say that only Freddie and I write the music, because everybody else contributes a lot with their ideas and their energy.
You are all studying or working in different countries. How do you keep the band together?
Noémi: I’m always crying. They are death. [laughs.]
Freddie: We are death? That’s the nicest thing a girl has ever said to me. Sounds like my mother. [Everybody laughs.]
Justin: I think all four of us have a feeling that what we have made in the past was worth making. We made what I think is a really nice record together and we continue to make some nice music. To me, that is all I really want to do with my life, to make beautiful things. It’s a great opportunity to do that with these people.
Freddie: If the question is technical though: Justin and I had some idea for the next record. We were listening to Bauhaus and the Cure a lot, so we discussed what we wanted the next record to feel like. We’ve been exchanging song ideas over the internet. And when we had something more concrete, we sent it to Endre and Noémi, so we’re all kind of on the same page. We make mixtapes for each other, demos and stuff like this. This is the first time we’ve worked like this, though, so it’s all still new.
Justin: It became more difficult after Freddie moved to Belgrade, but I think it has just required us to approach our songwriting method in a different way.
Let’s talk about your projects before this band. What experience did you have?
Endre: I had really shitty bands since I was 14 years old. Now I’m 24, so for nine years I was enthusiastic, I thought I would become a rock star…
Freddie: … and now you have!
Endre: Yeah, I feel like a rock star, here in this dusty attic with somebody’s 1930s math papers… No, just to explain, I want to tell you a story: we had rehearsals in a World War II bunker in Budapest. It was a shit-hole, punk musicians pissed inside – it was an end-of-the-world feeling. One guy, a drummer, lived there for a year because he had nowhere else to go to, some friends paid him that room. We became friends and then [me and my old band] practiced there. He was always there and he heard us play. One day we were playing Metallica’s „Enter Sandman“. It’s a simple song, really, and we practiced it for a long time. He’s a good musician, so obviously, he hated it when we played it. One day, we entered that bunker and there was a huge graffiti : „Please, break up!“ And it was obvious that it was written by him.
Noémi: I didn’t play in so much bands. I played in a classical orchestra, which is a different world. When I first saw Freddie, he was running in his socks to an elevator and he was like „Hi, we’re going there!“ And when I went into the room he showed me, there was Justin making coffee. I asked him „Should I take my shoes off?“ And he was like, „I don’t care, it’s not my flat.“ That was the beginning of our friendship.
Justin: Prior to this band, I played in many other bands from the time I was fifteen years old. I joined this band when I was 26. I came from a punk music tradition, and I played all the other stuff that came from there, like Indie Rock and Emo. But the scene that I came from was a DIY atmosphere. We had a lot of bands who made records and we supported only each other and knew we couldn’t expect some record label or television station to make us famous. Rather, we had to rely and depend on each other to make the best music we could and play the best concerts we could play. We took a lot of pride in making everything ourselves from an attitude which reflected our dedication to good music, no matter what the cost. We were always poor and never made much money at our shows. It’s still the same, but that way the focus is always the artwork, not some image or bullshit. For me, that’s how we continue to do this band as well. I’m proud of this band, because we do the same kind of stuff that I was doing 15 years ago in my first band, which was called Jerks of Society.
Freddie: I would check it out if I were you, the reader. Justin and I, we came from a scene that was quite large, maybe three cities. He was in two of my favourite bands at that time and this is how we started to communicate. Then he started to play in one of my bands called Heartstring Stranglers, which was some sort of heavily orchestrated Baroque Pop, with violas and cellos…
Noémi: [sighs] Why always this obsession with cellos?
Freddie: I don’t know, man. Cellos are fucking cute, deal with it! So yeah, I had this band and we played one really great show in Dallas, and that’s how I know Justin. But besides that, I played in some anarchist, propaganda solo project, then Heartstring Stranglers and then a project with the girl I was playing music with at the time. And then when I moved to Budapest, Morzsa Records started from this.
Den zweiten Teil des Interviews lest ihr am Samstag hier auf The Postie. Darin erfahrt ihr, was „apocapop“ bedeutet und warum Heidelberg besser ist als Berlin. Montag erwartet euch mit dem letzten Teil außerdem eine kleine Überraschung, also seid gespannt!