Driven by István Gazdag the Hungarian Electro project First Aid 4 Souls remains a prolific and top notch formation. For the new album “I Am The Night” –released by Alfa Matrix, István renewed the experience working with his compatriot ‘Mortum’ as vocalist. The main difference with previous productions, which were often driven by sophisticated EBM influences, is the evolution in sound. First Aid 4 Souls injected, heavy, epic/orchestral, arrangements to the sound resulting in a heavy, bombastic work. The music creates a perfect match with the conceptual theme of the album around paintings from different international artists. “I Am The Night” is a Soundtrack for these painting.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: First Aid 4 Souls is now active for 15 years. You released multiple productions so can you draw up the balance sheet of the past 15 years? What have been the highlights and biggest deceptions?
István: We’ve started at the apex, thanks to the legendary publisher Some Bizarre, publishing us with a double CD back in 2008. I’ve had the opportunity to mix bands like Coil, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, Swans, Test Dept, Einstürzende Neubauten or Depeche Mode on the second CD.
Our album “Deathstep” was also a big hit, and our latest joint work with Mortum (Human Vault) entitled “I Am The Night” is considered a great success within the industry.
In the name of being unpredictable we’ve published a Psy-Rock album, full of real guitar riffs and old-school sci-fi tones. This however, caught no one’s attention.
Q: Your newest album “I Am The Night” is a particular conceptual work which seems to be a Soundtrack for paintings from different artists, right? How did you get the idea of this concept and how did you manage the different stages from the choice of the paintings till the music?
István: Back in the days I was aiming to become an art historian; I’ve had forty conscious years of picking the right pictures. Amongst the main themes are manly attitude, and a darker viewpoint of our world.
Tracks are recomposing the original paintings to the smallest details. Light, bound to canvas, can morph back into vibration this way.
Q: You already experienced working with concepts and artistic themes (like “Keep This World Empty”). What makes a conceptual release that exciting and what means ‘arts’ to you -and especially during the lockdowns where people were no longer allowed to cultural events?
István: These days, culture is not a trendy call-sign. One can only rebel against apathy and ignorance through action. A higher level of this is ‘total art’, where high culture is a starting point in composing.
People are generally devoid of all presence, being in lockdown or not. COVID did not change much about this.
Q: “I Am The Night” also brings a different approach in sound which is clearly driven by Epic/Orchestral arrangements. What have been the main sources of inspiration and references to produce this work? And did you notice important changes/evolutions in the global writing process?
István: Will, Coil, Laibach or the In The Nursery are all fantastic when it comes to harmony and Kevin Key is still an in exhaustive source of inspiration to me.
Nowadays symphony can fit on a pendrive. This helps a tremendous amount when it comes to creating the euphony by producers.
Q: A few years ago now you signed to Alfa Matrix. Do you notice and experience major differences being signed to a leading label? And what do you expect from labels today?
István: Alfa Matrix represents a status for us. Being an important company, financial accounting is much more manageable.
Underground publishers are fighting for their survival these days. Promotion may be better with them, but soon enough these stars will fade…
Q: You also started to re-release ‘older’ productions revealing ‘reworked’ songs. Does it mean you weren’t satisfied with the original recordings and do you see yourself as a perfectionist? What did you try to improve?
István: In the past ten years my knowledge of mastering and audio techniques have massively improved. Yes, I’m a perfectionist, and I have a strong inner drive to be able to roar louder and more effectively.
No one can tell that we haven’t said it enough times; there is trouble ahead…
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