Saturday 3 September 2016

RAISING HELLISH - An Interview with Apey & the Pea

Usually this Hungarian power trio is labelled with tags like stoner, doom or sludge. Well they have a pieces of each element in their songs. Seven years passed since Apey & the Pea transformed from a Pantera tribute band into this independent outfit. They are still in the underground, but that’s OK for their electrified and heavy sound that is clad in dirt and some rust.

Their second album – 'Hellish' was released two years ago and I wonder which direction the band is going to take?

I may conjecture as long as i want, but i’m not a fortune-teller. Probably Aron Andras, Appey & the Pea singing guitarist, knows such things better than me.

Hi man! How are you? What's going on in Apey & the Pea?

Hey man, not much, feeling great, we just announced a gig with WEEDEATER this October in London at The Underworld, super excited about this.

Why so far? Couldn’t get Weedeater in Budapest?

Just for the weed I guess. Weedeater actually played here last year, couldn't make it to the show, can't wait to get eaten.

Aron, how did you figure out this name for the band?

It all goes down to a very basic and dumb story, not sure if this will get you going but back in the day when you registered a profile on myspace you had absolutely no time to think of a username, you had to give that right away or else you couldn't continue.. so that was my pick (laughs). Probably the worst fucking band name in the history of heavy metal, sorry about that.

The band was formed in late 2009 after the break up of Remembering the Steel, a Pantera tribute band. And three of you just started to play that masculine and groovy stoner doom stuff. What did drive you to change the direction?

Not sure if we even knew what we wanted to play at the beginning.. we were really into grunge that time and a lot of classic Crowbar, Pantera groovy stuff. I guess it just evolved through the years as we wanted to play and sound heavier and that is our goal ever since, to make it the heaviest as possible. The game changer for me guitar wise was an Electric Wizard show in London, after that I wrote "Judas" and "Devil's Nectar" and got into doom, sludge in general.

Apey & the Pea - Judas

So you want to say that you aren’t that sort of Black Sabbath fan since mindless childhood? Which doom bands did influence on your sound besides Crowbar and Wizards?

Yeah well it kinda got me backwards, I was listening to these bands way earlier than I got into Black Sabbath. People like to call all sorts of stuff "stoner", "stoner rock", "sludge" "doom", what I always admired in heavy metal was the crushing evil "doomy" type of fat riff oriented slow stuff like Eyehategod. Sleep, High on Fire, Matt Pike had a huge impact on my guitar style, he's my Buddha.

Do I get it right that you three work together since then without any lineup changes?

Oh yeah, we just smell different that's all. We're best friends and brothers ever since.

The previous album “Hellish” was released just one year after debut “Devil's Nectar”. How do you see your progress on that record?

Well, I do think that is our best album yet. Until the next one comes out (laughs). That was a more mature and conscious record, we absolutely knew what we wanted to hear, and almost got it right, we'll get it on the III. album don't worry (laughs). You know we always record our albums as we play live or rehearse, no tempo, just separate rooms for the instruments, 3 headphones look each other in the eye and go. That's the only true way we can keep it real and living, if we start polishing it like everyone does we just lose all the good stuff. No pig in a poke, I want it to be as real as it can get live.

Apey & the Pea - Abraham

What are your requirements to the sound you extract from your guitar? And one more thing – you and mister Zoltan are vocalists, how do you share your parties on the “Hellish” album?

Well just a fucking wall of loud orange cabs (laughs) . We play very, very loud, it's also a huge challenge to hear ourselves singing live cause it's just a big mess up there always.

Most of your lyrics sound like drug-influenced stuff, what's the real role of substances in the process of Apey & the Pea songwriting?

Yeah well I'm not sure if I want to go into details cause we live in a very weird dictatorship in Hungary but we do get a lot of influence. We used to get very very high at the beginning when we were writing songs, but now days we're only working clean as a motherfucker (laughs). That's the only way we can get 130% out of each other, the music got very complex then it was so if we're on something we just play on 66,6% or I don't know, and that's not enough anymore, like I said before we want to be tight and as heavy as we can possibly be.

Hellish” was released two years ago, how did the band spend this period?

We've been touring and going and going as much as we could, mostly in Hungary and in-between we've been working on our III. album since April I think.

Can you already tell something about new material? Did you go further from the point where you started with Apey & the Pea?

As we're working on the songs, whenever a new one is done we're always like shocked when it comes to comparing where we started off from. It's like a joke. In fact I'm aware that it's a very boring thing to say but I have to admit this is the most brutal, mountain carrying heavy shit we ever done. A lot of thrash and hardcore stuff, but still the same meat.

How much of doom and stoner did you leave in new material? Wouldn’t it suddenly turn that Apey & the Pea become a Pantera tribute band again?!

I don't know, we don't really think of it that much, it's just a lot more evil and fast and cut to the chase face ripping sweet stuff, it might also be the shortest album we've done so far.

Apey & the Pea – Pothead

I know of not many doom bands from Hungary - Wall if Sleep, Magma Rise and Stereochrist. How is the local scene big indeed? How often do you play in your country?

Used to be a lot bigger.. work, wife, kids, family or got older and dropped out you know how it goes, but yeah a lot of old classic bands like them are still going and that's great. We know and love everyone here who's in the same boat, it's like a big family but although it's sad in a way that we're the only metal band in Hungary who plays heavy music and gets the attention, a lot of very cool young bands here.

Budapest is beautiful city with rich history, your music is straightforward, heavy and dirty. How does the city influence on you? What are negative and positive aspects of living there?

Well beer is very cheap here, that's a good thing. Huge and very cool underground metal scene, bands, musicians, all huge impacts on me and on us. Budapest isn't really a metal city, if I see a guy in Napalm Death shirt I'm like "hey dude" and I kinda like it that way.

How would you sum up the general message of the band? What's Apey & the Pea about?

Love each other, live the music you love and speak what you are. It's still about our friendship, and our love to each other, and the noise we make, can't get enough of it (laughs).

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Aron Andras