Interview: The Hellfreaks

We chat to Shakey Sue from Hungarian punk-metal band The Hellfreaks about their latest album, new music and the dichotomy of the phrase “female-fronted bands.”

Interview by Jane Howkins

How was your 2019?
2019 was all about hard work for us! We recorded our 4th album God On The Run. We’ve never worked on any material so intensively, but we’ve fulfilled an old dream to work with foreign producers from the other side of the world. Pre-production work has been with Paul Miner (New Found Glory, Atreyu, Death By Stereo) production/mixing with Evan Rodaniche (Escape The Faith, Powerman 5000, Lacey Sturm) and the mastering was provided by Tom Waltz (USA) .

Of course, music is always a question of taste, but we’re convinced that after 10 years of band history, we’re going to release our strongest album ever. We also recorded and released 3 new music videos.

Men In Grey was the very first single from our upcoming album, the first song we released with the current line up and it immediately became the song with the highest listener rate on our Spotify.

Red Sky was the second single and it came out with the biggest music video we’ve ever done: from alien-tribe body paint to fire spitting circus freaks, you can find everything the heart desires.

Our third single Witches Heal came out just a few weeks ago, which will entice you into to a magical world!

Last but not least, we signed to our new German label Sunny Bastard Records. 2019 was mainly about the input from our side, we’ve prepared everything ready for the album release on the 7th of February! Now it’s on 2020’s shoulders to prove if the hard work really pays off.

Have you released any music so far this year? If so, what can you tell us about that?
Not yet, but the year has only just started! We have another single and of course the release of our new album just around the corner. On 24 January we’re going to reveal another song called Adrenalized. Those who have known us a bit longer might know that happy songs were never our strong suit. Not that we’re negative people, it’s just not the kind of vibe that we could deliver in a natural way. But with Adrenalized we try to change that and show you our positive side! We didn’t really plan to drop this type of a song, but after rewriting this song again and again, it ended up really unusual for us but ‘unusual’ in a good way! That’s why we decided to release this song along with a music video before we release the full album.

Are you working on any new music at the moment? What are you working on, and when will it be released?
Actually it’s the first time ever, that we’re already working on new songs. This might not be known by non musicians, but when a band is finishing the recordings for an album, it generally takes around 5-7 months till the record is released and shared with the world. So every time a song is new for the fans – it’s already old for the band.

We finished the recordings in summer 2019 but even then, we usually always take a longer break until we need to start writing again. After all of our previous albums, it’s taken at least one year or even more until we started to write again. Not because we were too busy and not because of a band decision, it just didn’t come naturally. Also we never wanted to repeat ourselves, so we needed some time to collect some new ideas to be able to create something new.

But this time, the new album isn’t even out and we’ve already started working on new songs because we’re full of ideas now, we’re full of new input and we clearly know what we want to do now. God On The Run opened a musical path for us to walk on and it’s the best feeling that the songwriting phase for the new record is not a phase, it’s what we are right now.

Have you got any upcoming tours planned? If so, where are you playing and where are you looking forward to going most?
These are our shows so far:
22-02-2020 Germany, Essen – Don’t Panic
23-02-2020 Germany, Düsseldorf – Pitcher
05-03-2020 Germany, München – Backstage
08-07-2020 Hungary, Dunaújváros – Rockmaraton Fesztivál

It’s hard to pick one. In Essen, we’re going to play at our new label’s band night, so it’s going to be great to get to know the clan personally. We always wanted to play at the Pitcher in Düsseldorf, so we’re really happy to rock that club for the first time in our career. In München we’re going to support Bad Cop/Bad Cop, which sounds like a promising night. Last but not least Rockmaraton, which is the coolest metal-rock festival in our country!

Who/what has influenced you the most as musicians?
I hate to use the term “female fronted bands”, but that’s how I’ll deliver the point: I love loud rock bands with tough women at the front. They are pure inspiration to me. But we’re all kids of rock’n roll. All of us have other heroes: I come from an underground rock scene, Gabi, who is an extremely educated musician who grabbed his bass first as a child because he wanted to be like Flea and our drummer Béla and guitarist Jozzy are real metalheads. So the musical influence came from our roots and combined all of that.

What have you been listening to recently that you can recommend to our readers?
Nowadays I’m listening some modern metal metal bands like Infected Rain and Jinjer, but not just because of their music. I respect them a great deal as they’ve made it very far even though both bands come from the deepest corner of Eastern-Europe. They had to work way harder for their goals and really moved mountains for their dreams. It’s very motivational to me.

Why do you think people should pick up one of your records or come and see you live, and what can people expect from one of your shows?
The mix of genres that we use is very unique. I think this is the power of The Hellfreaks but I know that this is what can turn the fans that aren’t able or don’t want to think out of the box, crazy because they can’t clearly categorise us. But I hate categories. Categories are made to make life easier but to stunt the creation of one’s own opinions. They are a measure of “what you have to think of it”. When it comes to the question “to which bands do you sound similar to” it takes me ages to give an answer. I even asked our street team this question and no one could really answer it..

I believe that this has to be a sign that we’re doing a good job because it’s hard to compare us to any other band, which means that we’re really doing something unique and that is one of the main goals when you’re writing music.

You can expect loud rock music, sweat, headbanging, honesty and a show without any pauses. But to use the words of someone who has actually seen our show from outside – “At the beginning of your show I thought I would go out to the bar to catch a beer when it goes down a little, but now your show is over and I’m thirsty as hell!”

Any last words for the fans?
Thank you for having us! Stay tuned, follow us, like us, subscribe to our YouTube channel as there is so much coming right now and hope to see you all someday personally at a Hellfreaks show!