EKTOMORF - Zoli Farkas on REBORN, line up, the big 4, touring with Kreator and more | INTERVIEW
Hello, all you Metal Pilgrims and welcome to the new interview episode with our today's guest Zoli Farkas, the frontman of the Hungarian thrash metal band Ektomorf. Zoli and I will be speaking about the band's upcoming studio release Reborn, going back to the thrash roots, the big four, his biggest influences and much much more. But as always before we start I'd like to take a moment and invite you to join the conversation and subscribe to Metal Pilgrim channel on YouTube join our communities on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon or any other social media you actually hang out at, to submit your questions for all future interview guests, stay tuned with updates and be the very first ones to find out what is inside the upcoming rock and metal releases. Here you go! [Music] MP: Hey, how's it going man? ZF: Everything is cool,how is it with you? MP: Oh it's good, it finally looks like winter over herem finally got some snow, so kids can enjoy it, you know I have a three-year-old daughter so she finally got to slay.
How are things in Hungary with all the lockdowns and everything? ZF: It's the same I think like everywhere, it's you know strict rules, curfew at eight o'clock, which I don't keep. I go out, man. I don't give a [ __ ] MP: Really? ZF: I go out, you know if I need to go out, I go and if they stop me, then they do. I don't care, I go out. And you know, mask on the street
and at seven o'clock everything is closed, so it's the same like everywhere. MP: Yeah man, all right. But about the music, man. There's some good news - Ektomorf's new studio album, Reborn, is about to drop on January 22nd, just couple of days from today man.
Congrats on finishing it up, regardless of the curfews. Could you speak a bit about it's writing process, when did it all start, and how did it evolve into this piece that we know today? ZF: Writing process started not much longer after the previous album Fury came out. I just felt like I right away need to write some riffs and stuff. And you know actually I had 14 songs and we ended up with eight. You know this is how it came out and and then in 2019 on the 29th of august we entered the studio and you know that's when recording started, butbut actually you know the recording I mean the writing process was like really long, longer than usual and I paid more attention to everything. Not because I wanted to do something really different, it just I felt like this time I should pay more more attention to the structure of the song, make it more complex, not too complex but more complex than what we had before. So yeah
it's been the longest writing process of an album in the Ektomorf history. MP: Yeah so you wanted to really polish it right? And speaking about the musical composition of the album itself/ I was able to listen to it a bit earlier than most others and I gotta say, man, I enjoyed it a lot. Actually it's been on repeat on my playlist for a couple of days now. ZF: Awesome! MP: Great job on this one, man. And while on your later records some would characterize your musical style as a mix of thrash metal, groove metal and some new metal at some point even, I feel like on this one thrash metal prevailed. And maybe that's
why I personally enjoyed it a little bit more. And in some places you even lean towards this Big Four kind of classical sound. Do you agree with something like this? And if so, has it been done on purpose? ZF: Hundred percent I agree! It's on purpose, yeah! You know I am an old school guy, I mean I'm 45 years old, so you know I grew up on the Big Four of trash metal and also other trash metal bands, not only the Big Four. But especially Metallica, that's my favorite ever, and always will be! And you know I just went back there and that's how this came, and you hear it! I'm actually glad that you said what you said, because you know, I never wrote an album like this. And it is what I want - to make people feel like what you just said.
And this is how it came out in the end, and actually this is pretty good, what you said so. It is what I would say, it's a modern thrash metal album, but based on the old-school elements, you know, like clean guitar parts, guitar solos in every song, like even you know harmonies, which we never had before, but keeps the heaviness, what Ektomorf always had, because you know we always been a heavy band and always going to be. It's just now in a different way, and actually I do the other interviews since, I don't know, two weeks now, you know, and and it's so cool that all the feedbacks are positive. And that's awesome actually, this album got the most positive reactions in 26 years I'm doing this, you know. So it's cool. MP: That means you're doing something right man so congrats on this one.
ZF: Yes, that's true man! MP: I'm a huge 'tallica fan myself, right? I travel around the world for Metallica. That's where Pilgrim actually comes in the channel name. And you are the main composer, right? I mean you've always been, it's been kind of your band. But how much input do
you personally take from other band members in terms of the writing process? ZF: It goes like this: I sit down with the guitar and jam. And, you know, with the modern computer stuff you can really put together a basic demo, which already sounds pretty much close to the album quality, so when I'm done with this ,I just send it to the other guys and they listen to it, they learn it, then we go to the band room, and then everyone is playing it, and then we find out if what they really play like is as it is on the demo, or what they just heard. We just make everything fine, and if there's something comes up for many of them which sounds cool, and it's just great, then we will put it in. And it comes out in the band room, but also at the recording, in the studio. Because you know there is still that last chance to change anything. Even after the mix, today, these days, you can change a lot of things. But it doesn't matterm I
mean if someone's got a good idea after the songs are done - it's cool! It's welcomed! But I write the songs and the basic structure of the song. They're always without vocals, it's really rare that I give a song for the guys which has vocals already. The vocals, the lyrics are always put in the studio. MP: Okay, makes sense. And speaking about the lyrics, actually, what are some
lyrical themes that are running throughout the album? ZF: Well it's obviously about what I go through in my life, you know. And the last two years been pretty dark, you know. It wasn't too pleasant, you know. It was pretty heavy and these feelings, some of them, not all of them, but some of them, I just put on this album, in the lyrics, in the music. And
I think this album is more emotional in some way, in the good way, you know, but it still have a lot of anger and and a lot of darkness. But still also brings that, let's say, like a brand, that Ektomorf brings for many years, that is just heavy, and makes you feel better when you have a bad time in your life. I already got some feedbacks like this from fans, some of them who got the album. MP: Oh, that's good. And how much do you think this madness around the world, with all the pandemics and all the stuff that's going on in the US and everywhere actually affect the overall sound and the atmosphere of the album? Did it at all? ZF: No, because when I was writing the album this [ __ ] wasn't there! And when we recorded the album also on 2019 august 29th there was no [ __ ]. MP: No one knew anything about it yet. ZF: Yeah, so for the next one definitely! MP: Are you actually planning the next one already? ZF: No, no. And it's kind of strange for me,
because, you know, I always write pretty early. Like I wrote this album when the the new album, Fury, was just out of the preview. But not right now, it's been a long time. And when I signed with with Napalm Records, they were always suggesting to to switch the planned release date. We were planning this with my ex record company, that it was for May, and they said "No, it should be 2021 January". And so it kind of made me plan everything longer.
And then I was not really caring about writing new stuff. I sat down playing guitars mostly. I'm learning these songs, because these songs, they have to be played very well, man! If you listen to this album - the palm muting on the guitar, the songs are not like those songs before. I love Outcast, I love them and all this stuff, you know. And always will! And they always are going to played, but for example Reborn or Smashing The Past, and all these other songs are more complex. That means more practicing on the guitar, which is cool! I got time now to practice and I love it! Also when I wrote this album I found out how awesome it is to play guitar! More than I did actually all these years before. And you know it's never too late!
And you can hear it on the solos. All the harmonies. It was awesome to work on harmonies, for example. We never had before this sounds and I love them! But this has to be played very well, especially in life! MP: That's true, you've got to practice a lot man! If it isn't played well, that's going to sound horrible! It's one of those "hit or miss". It's either fans are going to love it live, or they're going to hate it, because it doesn't sound anything like it did in the studio. And
actually, do you have a favorite track from the record? ZF: It's hard man! Because it's only eight songs! And actually these songs are really linked to each other. When you listen to the album you hear that! When you listen to the album you hear that these songs I worked a lot on in my head! How to put them on the track list! So I love really all of them, and you know my favorites are changing week to week, but I think right now I would say it's Reborn. MP: Okay... ZF: Because it just has everything what shows the character of this new album, you know. And so Reborn is my favorite right no, but it could change to The Worst Is Yet To Come tomorrow, you know, or Forsaken! MP: This is mine! I gotta tell you, man, first time I heard it I was like "Oh please don't insert any vocals here!". Not because I don't like your voice, but because I felt like it would be a perfect instrumental piece, from the intro and to the very end. I
actually enjoyed it a lot. This is the one standing out track for me for some reason. ZF: You know, it's actually started... I wanted to write a ballad and I also was more than halfway down, and it sounded pretty good. We never had
a ballad before. But then I just thought "No, no, it's not a time for this song!". And then the next day when I started to work again in the studio I was like "But this subject, which this song is about, it's still cool, and then let's do everything with the instruments, just with the guitar, with the harmonies!" And then it worked out and it became [ __ ] seven minutes long man! It's amazing, as I said, this is my favorite track on the record, because it has everything you want, I mean it has slower parts, it has classic thrash metal there, speedy stuff, heavy stuff. I can say that it has a lot of emotion put in to it while writing it. ZF: This is just that song.
This classical guitar part in the middle you hear, I wrote that stuff I guess when I was 15 or 16 years old. And I always played it, but I never put it on any Ektomorf song, it's just been a genuine acoustic guitar and a classical guitar. And I had this song done and this clean part was not in the song. The same with Reborn, there was no clean
part before when the song was done. And then I just cut it in the middle in the in the Logic session. And then I just wanted to play with the idea to put the clean part in. And I did. And it's there and it sounds good.
And I'm happy you like it because most of the interviewers, they picked it out. MP: Yeah that's pretty cool, man! And you know while we talk we were talking about other guys in the band, you know, at Ektomorf. Throughout your career you guys went through several lineup changes, I mean, since the last album you've also invited a new drummer Attila, you know a new bass player, and the rest of the guys aren't in the band for that long as well. But how do you feel
about the current Ektomorf lineup? Do you think this is the strongest team you've ever had? ZF: Yeah, it's pretty cool man! You know and we're having a good time. It feels good and unfortunately we can't play too much, because of what's going on, but you know, lineup changes is the subject that came up to every band, even to Metallica, you know! And if we take for example Machine Head, that the last one was pretty big you know! And this can happen, man! You know this! You can have things, like you don't agree with the other guy on this or on that or whatever musically, personally, and it's going on. And if it's happening, then it's happening! Then of course I hope that what we have now is gonna go on for a long time, and I'm open for that. And go on with this and especially because of this new album. But well, lineup changes is the thing that
happens to... I can't really pick out one band that it didn't happen to! MP: It's like a working at a company, right? I mean if it's a corporation... ZF: Like a relationship! MP: Yeah, or a relationship, absolutely! I mean things change, and this is okay, as long as the overall body is still going. ZF: Mainly the fans, which I don't blame anyone on this, they think that you know when they get into a band and they saw, those four or three or five or six or nine other guys and when they think "Oh this is what I love!", and then something happens and someone leaves or more people leave and then they take it like "Why? And how?". And the one who stayed get blamed, or the one who leaves to get blamed! It's just I don't blame them for this, but they're not in the band, they don't know what's going on in the band, but if you're doing a simple comparison, there's a relationship! If it's not going well, it's better to quit. MP: Exactly, why would you make someone suffer just for the sake of staying in it? ZF: Exactly! MP: But I'm happy to hear the atmosphere is good now.
That means they know the the creative process is there and hopefully you guys will be able to go on the road soon. You and all the other bands actually, because you know I believe that rock and roll and metal lives in clubs and festivals, not in the digital world. Actually, any plans on supporting the album uwith with live shows next year? ZF: Yeah, when we signed with Napalm Records, we also signed to Napalm Events, and we already had plans. And actually we were supposed to be on
the road in April, but that's not going to happen, we all know why! So we switched the whole thing to October, that's the European headliner round, the first one! And we'll see what's gonna happen. If it's going to happen or if it's not. I don't know, man, we will see. Of course we hope for it, if not then we are already planning for 2022.
MP: Yeah absolutely! Hope you guys will be able to make it to Kyiv, if not I'll catch you somewhere in Europe or somewhere else out there. By the way, since I asked already about this, would you ever consider a live show online to kick off the album or not really? ZF: We got some plans about that now. I'm already asked and working on it. We looked for a new platform, because we did one. And it became really good, but that was just with a very simple thing, like a GoPRO connected to some online thing. And they worked pretty good. A lot of people watched. The
second one - it's not! Because we had a lot of technical problems, we started five times, again and again, and it didn't work, and so if you're doing like a full album play-through, when you play the album live, in a live stream, which would be actually cool. If we already can go on tour that's gonna be on some really cool new stuff that we never did before. Like some cool online stuff, I don't know what. My manager already sent me something and checked it out, and they just had to sign in there, and then everything works. With the cameras and stuff like that, also the sound which is very important. MP: Absolutely, yeah.
ZF: We will see, maybe we will do it, re-planning it. MP: Pkay and the next question... I'm conscious of your time so I don't want tokeep you too long here, man. But the next question you kind of already answered, so I can assume it would be Metallica, but maybe you would actually change it, but is there one band you would absolutely die for to play on stage with? I mean someone you would really-really want to to perform live with? ZF: That's a Metallica, man! I mean I could say other bands as well, but if there is one then it's Metallica! I think that's for me you know... I don't know even if I could even speak if James Hetfield would stand from in front of me! I don't know, but I already had tours down with my with my heroes, for example Kreator. We did it in
2005 with Kreator and it was insane, man! Because I also grew up on Kreator! And touring with that band, and you know having like cool conversations and parties and stuff like that together, and we still friends! I mean we just talked yesterday, and he's waiting for the new album and that's for me like a [ __ ] big thing, man! And we already played on festivals on the same stage with Slayer, Slipknot, even Iron Maiden! And you know, Judas Priest! See these guys and be close to them and even talk to some of them, it's so awesome man! But going on tour with Metallica, I would die for that, man! MP: And now switching to the other side, what is your guilty pleasure in terms of music if it's not metal? What do you blast when you're wasted? Like Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls? Justin Bieber? ZF: Well, this stuff you say... I'm serious to say that i'm just not into it! You know, I never been! But I listen to classical music, I I really like Bach, it says something! I don't know, man, it's just kind of like metal, but it's not, because it's not! But pop music, I don't know man, I've never really been into it! MP: I mean you're a true metalhead then! ZF: I guess I am! MP: Alright man, and then and the last one for today! This is something we usually do to close the episode, and I'm really curious to hear your story. Is there one crazy ass messed up story from your touring life which you can share with us? Or just one show that got stuck in your head which you cannot forget, that is very memorable for you, man? ZF: I mean there are so many! I'm doing this for 26 years! But pick up one, I mean if I just pick one from the Kreator tour...
We played in... it's not so crazy, but it was a learning process there at the tour, because we played in Greece with Kreator and it was five bands on the bill for the whole tour, but for the two shows in Thessaloniki can Obtain, it was only Kreator and Ektomorf. And so we're going on the stage, and there were like two thousand maniac Kreator fans! And we're going on and we had to play 60 minutes, on the other shows, when we came back to germany and stuff like that, then it was only 35 minutes, with the other five bands. But those two shows, it was 60 minutes. And so we hit the stage, we started to play and after three songs in a row, like we always do, and then we close the song and we hear this big noise! "Wow!" from the crowd and I said "[ __ ] man we're doing [ __ ] good", but then it was just clean, the whole thing, and my eardrum, and I heard that it was not "Ektomorf", it was and "Kreator". One guy just gave me the finger from the first row,
and I gave it back to him like this "[ __ ] you, [ __ ] it too man!", you know, whatever, and I didn't care. And then when we finished the show, which was not too pleasant with the crowd who wanted to see the headliner, being die hard fans. And so we were coming down the stage and the tour manager came to me and he said "Hey, if I was you I was gonna go on that door, I would go on the back because they're waiting for you, they want to kill you!" [ __ ] seriously, that guy and his friends and I was like "[ __ ] man"! Well that's one of the stories, but there was more about this kind of stuff, and I learned from it, how to handle things like this.
MP: Yeah, I guess it's really hard to open for a band like Kreator or someone like that, who has very very die-hard fans around the world. And those guys, usually, if they go to see Kreator, they go to see Kreator. And this is true, I saw Iron Maiden in in Costa Rica once, in Latin America ,and you know I felt really sorry for the guys who were opening for them, because like 60 to 70 000 people or something like that at the stadium were just waiting for the headliner, while the guys were actually amazing. Like I actually enjoyed their music a lot man. ZF: [ __ ] off job man but it's
worth it! MP: But it's worth it! It's the experience that you get, and it will make you stronger, and you will still gain new fans, no matter what, and this is absolutely amazing man. All right, Zoli, thanks a lot for your time, bro. Any last message for the fans? For your old ones and the new ones who are going to be watching you? ZF: Well, first of all, the new album is coming out 22 January which is pretty close, so I hope you guys are going to check it out everybody, and you're going to enjoy it, and I just really hope that very soon we're going to see you guys on the road. MP: Yeah absolutely man, a reminder again Ektomorf's Reborn out on January 22nd, make sure you check it out, it's a great thrash metal album. And Zolim thanks a lot for your time bro I hope to see you live either in Kyiv or anywhere else very soon! Thanks! ZF: Thank you!