Adam, the singer for Hungarian experimental alt post hardcore band LIBIDO WINS shares an inspiring story of a record that was really close to never happening. “Anhedonia”, the band’s recent effort deal with the singer’s depression and anxiety, and serves one of the most interesting mixtures of moods and heartfelt emotions that you could possible discover in hardcore related music this year. Being a symbol of personal sorrow and loss, but also hope and inspiration, “Anhedonia” turned out to be a perfect anchor point for an interview with another noteworthy independent group of artists. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you LIBIDO WINS, out of Budapest, Hungary.
Photo by David Bodnar Photography.
Hey there guys! Thanks so much for sitting down with us and introducing the band. How are you?
Hello! Ohh, thanks for asking, I’m a bit tired, but it’s okay. I’m always kinda tired, so it doesn’t matter. Anyway, what matters is, that I am grateful for this opportunity, thank you for having us. The other exhausted guys in the bands are Laci (guitar and piano), Peter (bass) and Tibi (drums). Ohh, and my name is Adam, I am the one responsible for the lyrics. We’ve been close friends for more than 13 years now, that is the alpha and omega of this little screamo band.
Your new record shows a departure from the raw and more direct hardcore sound of your older releases. Was there a specific event that pushed you in the direction you took with “Anhedonia”? Please tell us about this switch and your evolution as musicians in general.
Well, I wouldn’t say that we are a raw and direct hardcore band. However, we do sound bad on the split with Hanoi. Our first record was indeed raw, direct stuff, but we always wanted to do something else. When Q.E.D. was out, almost 9 years ago – not sure, I am getting old – there was piano on the record, strange elements and all that. So it was inevitable that we are going in that direction. We were always listening to bands such as ENVY, HEAVEN IN HER ARMS, LA DISPUTE, YAPHET KOTTO, TOUCHE AMORE, FUNERAL DINER, DANGERS, etc. and we were always into a heartfelt, depressive music, at least I hate happy stuff. But I am sure the others feel the same way. So that means our first record was depressive as well, but after that we changed drastically music-wise. We wanted it to have more of this, more of that, let’s give it a little bit of that also and we did The Outcasts Of Outcasts LP, which was perceived really well, people were crazy about it, we were the Eastern-European LA DISPUTE as people called us. There was a lot of indie/emo influences on that record, more spoken word-ish vocals and was way more melodic than our first LP. I actually still love The Outcasts Of Outcasts, and sometimes I listen to it while I am riding my bike in the city. We even went to Germany to tour with that record and it was the best days of my life. We played in big venues, small ones, rehearsal rooms, skate parks, you name it. People liked us a lot, everyone was super nice to us, we had so much fun, I gave away a lot of merch for free to girls, haha! I actually turned vegan at that time from vegetarian and since then I became a vegan chef and I have my own bistro as well now. So i am super proud to have the ’outcasts’ record because it made an avalanche of changes in my life. I was battling depression and anxiety throughout my life and that time when we made this aforementioned record I was at a really low point, so it was easy to write my heart out and it didn’t take me much time to have the poems for the record. After this LP something snapped in us and we stopped playing, our last show was with LA DISPUTE and TOUCHE AMORE. We didn’t announce it, we just stopped everything related to music after we recorded some songs. We haven’t played a single show for 5 years, we never practiced. We stayed close friends still, but some of us left to Budapest – the capital city in Hungary , some of us stayed in the countryside. But after all these years we just couldn’t cope with not making something together. So last summer, I believe in august we had our first practice after 5 years. The first 1 hour or so was a complete disaster, I have to tell you that. We shrugged our shoulders and said: well, we have to do better than this. And after that it all worked out like a miracle. So after we finished practicing for 6 hours we said we should continue. So we started rerecording some stuff for that record we never finished. This record was Anhedonia. A collection of songs that kept me going through all these years, but at the same time these songs were like ghosts haunting me through the day and night, because when I am writing I am brutally honest and it is always hard to deal with my situation. So we had a lot of ideas after 5 years like….how we wanted it to sound like, what kind of new elements we want to use and so on. The recording process was however another thing, because I had to go back to my former room in the countryside every time when we wanted to get something done. For this period of time I was not writing much. I escaped into working so I wouldn’t have to face myself every day. But that didn’t work, every now and then I was writing little poems and kept them to myself. After the first practice I showed these writings to Tibi and he said we must use them, because they are so beautiful that even the stuff I wrote for ’the outcasts’ is a garbage compared to these. Since he is my best friend I continued writing and in 6-8 months we rerecorded and remastered everything we wanted for Anhedonia which I think is our grand masterpiece, I doubt that we will ever make anything better than this.
How was the recording process? Not that it sound bad or something, but weren’t you tempted to hit a proper studio to track these tunes professionally?
The recording process was long. Because we started over and over countless times. But when everything got real I gotta say it was pretty fast. The problem was we always had tons of ideas, so we always recorded something for it and suddenly we had problems like Laci playing 4 kinds of guitar themes at the same time on the record. That needed to change. So we sat down and talked about that it has to be a bit ’less’, so we decided to pull out some parts.
We never really wanted to hit a proper studio, because we are poor kids and we had so much fun making our own record at home. Full weekends went away with recording, staying with my close friends together, so it was the best idea we could ever have even with the fact that we had many bumps.
How about this collection of poems you’ve released along with the album? Does it expand concepts presented through original lyrics?
Well, probably the lyrics and some other scripts I wrote for the past 8-9 years will be published as a small artzine / book thingy. It is not done yet. For every record I always had some concepts, e.g. on Anhedonia track number 2,3,4 make a whole and then number 7,8,9, all of them tells a story. There are multiple things that affect my mind when it comes to writing: unrequited love, death of a loved one, suicide of a parent, having no future in any city/village, hating your life and so on and on and on. I mainly write about what my life is about, but there are movies, bands, writers that make me think and write also. I have a lot of stuff going on in my life, but I am working on this as well, would love to have my writings out as a little book.
How did you make the choice of which issues to get into in your lyrical sphere and which topics to stay out of?
Well, I never wanted to have politics in the lyrics although I myself am very political. I always wanted to focus on the aspects of everyday life, on things people can relate to if they have problems like me. My most important mission was to write out all the sadness I kept inside, so I can hopefully somehow go on with my life. I did not desire to have a direct effect on me other than having myself relieved from my mistakes, but see I am still here, writing and screaming. The first record we did was mainly about battling depression, having an on and off relationship and abortion. The second LP was more about the fear of staying alone all the time, losing someone you finally hold so dear and about that anxious moment that keeps you awake at nights because overthinking never ends. So basically it is not a moment, it is not fleeting, it is there with you constantly and it kills your relationship with everyone. Anhedonia however is a mixture of all of these songs lyrically speaking, but – if possible – way more depressive and heartbreaking than ever. Actually, the songs Nocturnal Diary Sessions tells the story of a young man who’s not able to come to terms with anything happening in his life and as insomnia hits bigger and bigger, the thought of taking his life gets more of an alternative than continuing the constant war within himself and with the world.
Were there any discoveries you made about yourselves while composing?
Yes, of course. I discovered that throughout these years although I escaped into working, not much has changed. I mean I am still that depressed little fucked up kid that I’ve always been. I have to deal with more and more problems, way bigger ones than when I was younger, but since I am used to rough times I usually get pass it. I have to. I am actually shocked every now and then that my lifeline is like this, but I am trying to cope with everything that is thrown at me and I am thriving to become a better person. I was hiding away facts about myself from others, from myself also, there was this foul energy that was bigger and bigger inside me and couldn’t leave me alone. So I decided to face myself more and more again like I used to and I aim to make this process into an advantage in the future.
What do you find most rewarding about this band?
It is easy: having the opportunity to spend time with the people I care about the most. I always cherish every moment we can have together since it is hard to have practices or anything, because Laci still lives in the countryside and he has to travel 2,5-3 hours to get to Budapest. But we try to make the best out of it. Throughout this hiatus as a band we always felt this enormous void we have to fill with making something creative, something meaningful, something that makes us feel alive and connected, broadcasting every emotions and thoughts we have. And since we are on the same boat, it makes me feel blessed to have my bandmates and other friends in my life that like what we do as a band as well.
Ok Adam, thanks a lot for your worthy thoughts. Let’s move on to more mundane issues like touring. How did your recent show with AVIATOR and BIRDS IN ROW go? What’s the response been like to your new tracks?
Well, out of pure honesty I think we sounded like crap. The problems were the sound engineers, at the AVIATOR show the guy tuned down every settings we had and before our set he just vanished. We didn’t even know it just after the show, so we were pretty angry about it. For days I had difficulties to deal with this because we wanted everything to turn out really good, but I guess it was not an option. But nevertheless aviator were pretty good and BIRDS IN ROW is one of our favorite bands from now, I was talking to Bart for hours, it was fun. People told us that we were pretty violent, harsh, heartwrenching and really moving, but I felt like it could have been better. The show with BIRDS IN ROW was better I think.
The record itself is getting insanely positive reviews and we are happy about it, we put our faith in it, we are almost depleted now emotionally. Okay, that is not true, but you get the idea.
How is the screamo and hardcore punk scene in your area? Are there a lot of shows these days?
Okay, let me get this straight: there is no screamo or whatsoever scene here. At least I don’t know about it. When we set up a show for CROWS-AN-WRA some time ago 30 people came out and I was pretty bummed at first. But they fucking let hell loose and it was so beautiful and disgusting at the same time I still have some chills running on my back as I type this. About the hardcore scene…. well, one of the reasons we stopped playing was, that we didn’t really like where the scene was going, so we just took one giant leap back. It didn’t change much, so I barely go to shows and/or check out new bands. I really couldn’t care less, but you should check out Pepi Rössler. New, young, screamo band and they are pretty good.
Touring wise, what are your next steps?
It is hard to say. I would love to just tour every single day, but on the other hand I have my job that requires me to work 70 hours a week. So I cannot be sure about anything. We would definitely love to go on tours again, possibly not in our country, our last one in Germany was a blast. We plan to have a Bratislava/Vienna weekend shows soon and some other stuff as well are planned, but nothing is set in stone.
Ok Adam, I guess that’s it. Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to add you final words and take care!
Karol, thanks for caring about us, it is really nice to write someone about my silly little feelings, thoughts and my band. I wanted to answer earlier, but I have a lot of work to do, so I barely have free time, but it was my pleasure and hopefully we will see each other soon.