Interview with The HellFreaks
SPR (VIMH): Hi guys, congrats on your new album God on the Run! What is the significance of naming an album after God on the Run name?
The Hellfreaks: God on the Run explores the different faces of hope. Hope that is manifested in God for some, that is hidden in the eyes of others or that is just an illusion for freaks who were forced to go through hell. We are all so different but one thing binds us together, which is the need for hope. This is our fuel. This is what keeps the flame burning when it’s surrounded by grey rain clouds. This is the seed of change. Even though hope can be a beast and likes to play catch with us: sometimes so close that we almost run against it and sometimes so far, that it feels like a hallucination.
10 years ago we said that hell was full and that The Hellfreaks came back to earth. Now we say that we actually like it hot, so we’re back and we’re ready to grab hope, wherever it’s hiding. With this record we would like to invite you all to catch your God on the Run with us!
SPR (VIMH): What do the lyrics talk about? Which are your major lyrics’ influences?
The Hellfreaks: Our new album is lyrically inspired by imperfection. It’s about our own imperfections and those of our surroundings. It’s about the feeling of drowning and standing our ground to win the fight at the same time. It’s a mix of honest thoughts vocally and instrumentally. We merge metal, punk, rock music and maybe even a bit of hardcore. Something which seems impossible to categorize even though we know that most people just NEED categories to know what to think of it … But we’ll never fit in and this is one of our best qualities and that’s what we want to share with the audience: don’t force yourself to fit in. Doesn’t matter what the topic is.
SPR (VIMH): Which are those elements that separate your new album from your previous albums?
The Hellfreaks: We changed everything compared to the past. Every step of it.
First of all we took out the time pressure part of it. We always had deadlines to follow. But this time, we started to work on it more than 2 years ago and we only released it when we felt that it was ready.
The songs were not written in the rehearsal room. They were written in a small room in front of a computer. Of course after a certain point, our guitarist and drummer also added their ideas, but the root of all the songs came from our bass player. That means that the actual recording of the songs happened only after many-many demos.
The vocals were not recorded in a studio. We recorded them at home. I live in a very old flat which had a tiny storeroom for food. My fridge is empty anyway all the time :D so there was no use for it, so I realized a big dream of mine and built a sound proofed room to practise and record vocals. That was an incredibly big life improvement for me. I also have a normal job and when it comes to time management … to keep it short, it is a huge help, that I’m also able to practice in the middle of the night and don’t need to rent a rehearsal room somewhere else out of the city. There is also no more pressure when it comes to recording the vocals. If I have had a bad day, we could continue it the next day without losing money, without stressing myself by checking the time, which would be the case at a normal studio.
But if all that wasn’t enough change compared to the last records: it’s also the first time that we have involved producers in the creative process. We had Paul Miner (New Found Glory, Atreyu, Death By Stereo) for pre-production, Evan Rodaniche (Escape The Faith, Powerman 5000, Lacey Sturm) for the production / mixing phase, and Tom Waltz for the mastering to mold our songs and ideas into the most perfect shape.
SPR (VIMH): How would you characterize “God On The Run” and what are your expectations from the new album?
The Hellfreaks: We’ve received such an overwhelming amount of awesome reviews that all I can say is that this is the material I’m most proud of. As I already said, it’s a mix of genres, nothing you could describe in one word, nothing that I want to characterize. It’s better if you go and take a listen to it on Spotify and check it out for yourself. https://open.spotify.com/album/2JQUnkD3Q23TjZl7pdB9JR?si=SSZUtqJuT_iaovi8N0x2Cw
We did not have any expectations when we wrote these songs. We hoped to reach new fans, which the record successfully did. We hope that old fans will recognise the improvement of the band instead of looking back to our past, which also worked out better than we could hope for. Basically the only real plan was to put out a record that we are 99% satisfied with and God On The Run is very close to that! It’s the first album where I really don’t care if someone likes it or not, because I’m sure about it and I’m also proud of being a part of this album, even if the rest of the world doesn’t like it. I’ve haven’t felt like that in the last 10 years.
SPR (VIMH): How did the cooperation with Sunny Bastard Records occur? How’s working with Sunny Bastard Records and how much has he helped you on the whole?
The Hellfreaks: We found each other thanks to our German booking agency. Even though we are a Hungarian band, we’ve been under contracts with German labels from the beginning, so this decision is not at all far-fetched. Nevertheless - after a long run - the original plan was to publish “God On The Run” as a self released record. Our paths with Sunny Bastards Records only crossed at the end of the whole recording process. However, our opinion changed quickly after the first emails and we are happy that we’ve found a wonderful partner for the release.
SPR (VIMH): How’s the fans’ reactions been to the new songs on your live shows so far?
The Hellfreaks: Personally, I was very afraid to play these songs live as they are very hard to sing for me. They require a much better technique than I’ve previously had to use for the old songs. But to be honest, my struggle only lasted till the first live show. After that, the ‘click’ in my brain happened so that I could handle the difficult parts without fighting against the panic. Now the new songs are the ones that I enjoy the most on stage and our audience seem to enjoy them on the same level as we do! We also got the feedback that they are even better live than on the record but I have to admit, that this is hard for me to believe, even though it’s very flattering to hear.
SPR (VIMH): Do you prefer to be on the road or on the studio writing and recording?
The Hellfreaks: Both. Especially as one doesn’t work without the other. At least for me. I’ve heard many artists saying, that writing music is a healing process for them. I never understood that. Writing lyrics and melodies for me is always an inner fight - a fight of how much I should open myself up? Am I too honest? Am I not honest enough? How can I convert my thoughts into words? How could this song become better than the last song? Am I still true to myself? Who the hell is ‘myself’? And so on .... And I often go through breakdowns in the writing process, because I just think that I’m not good enough. But when it’s recorded and I like and believe in what I hear, that’s really the best thing ever.
It’s the same struggle with live shows. I LOVE to be on the road and I LOVE to be on stage and I LOVE to sing but if I didn’t get any feedback, I’d be lost. I’d believe that I’m not good at all, but when I see the fans singing the lines that I wrote while I was feeling totally insecure about it, or when people are telling me how much our music affects their life - it makes me so happy, like nothing else.
SPR (VIMH): How did you come up with the name The Hellfreaks initially?
The Hellfreaks: The band name isn’t young. I was more or less a kid when I formed the band. The only thing I can clearly remember is that I came up with the idea for the name when I was working at one of my very first jobs - a rockabilly bar where I didn’t even earn $2 an hour, so far from home that it was almost impossible to get back late at night. So the birthplace of the band was quite a hopeless place. So compared to then, we’re very happy with how far it’s come!
SPR (VIMH): How would you describe your music style to someone that hasn’t heard of you before?
The Hellfreaks: If you like rock music, you are definitely walking the right path with us. If you’re sick of those poppy sweet notes, feel free to come closer! We play loud, fast, modern rock music with a unique female voice on the mic. We’re the sound for kids who grew up with rock’n roll, punk, metal and hardcore - because that’s what we’re into! We love to mix these elements and spice them up with a modern touch.
SPR (VIMH): Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in metal history?
The Hellfreaks: There is no best, but my favorites are Tatiana Shmaylyuk from Jinjer and Serj Tankian from System Of A Down.
SPR (VIMH): Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
The Hellfreaks: There are too many to mention. I get asked this question quite often so I’ll try to answer this time. I’ll choose something very popular: Billie Eilish - Where Do We Go When We Fall Asleep. I think it’s genius in every aspect.
SPR (VIMH): Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
The Hellfreaks: Queen - A Night At The Opera
SPR (VIMH): If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
The Hellfreaks: I would definitely choose the future, but for sure much further than the date when my life will end as I don’t want to know about that. But I’m curious, if humanity will be able to learn from the mistakes we’ve made to our planet in the past.