piatok 31. januára 2020

Interview with Bence / Archaic Inventions blog

Zhruba raz za dva roky spravím rozhovor s niektorým z blogerov, ktorí sa už dlhodobejšie venujú archivovaniu muziky. Tento krát je tu rozhovor s Bencem z blogu Archaic Inventions. Ako napovedá názov - "Archaické Invencie", čo sa môže javiť ako oxymoron, jedná sa prevažne o hudbu a nahrávky z čias minulých (prevažne z 80-tych/90-tych rokov), ale mnohé z tých kapiel znejú zaujímavo, prekvapivo a nápadito aj v dnešnej dobe.

Rozhovor je ilustrovaný obalmi niekoľkých nahrávok z Benceho blogu, ktoré tam nájdeš voľne na stiahnutie, alebo sa prípadne pozri aj na jeho You Tube kanál.



Rozhovor je v pôvodnom znení v angličtine, neprekladal som ho.

Interview with Bence, Archaic Inventions blog.

1: Hello Bence, to begin with, introduce a bit of yourself please.What are you doing...your interests, hobbies?

Thank you so much for letting me do this interview Mišo. I’m a long-time follower and fan of your blog!
I’m Bence, I’m an Amsterdam based home-taper and editor of the Archaic Inventions music blog. I search for obscure music material and share it with the world.
I would say: music. In all forms. I’m often busy with music-oriented activities, from enjoying a record at home to writing about music, visiting and organizing concerts, writing my blog, digging up material, digitizing it, DJing, recording music at home, corresponding with other people in the music field, visiting them, going to record stores, going through music archives, investigating instruments etc. Aside from that I like reading books, I like art and exploring spirituality and the occult. Even if I put a lot of time into music, I still try to integrate it as a natural part of everyday life. There are countless other things you can do besides music you know. You can enjoy cooking for example, learn languages, travel, help people in difficult circumstances, go and do a study, do exercises, squat free spaces etc. I see music more as an evidence of the existence of likeminded souls.

I consider writing as another important creative and informative output. I sometimes find some totally obscure books and weird off the radar writers. Through friends in Prague I discovered the work of Portuguese author Mário de Sá-Carneiro which became one of my favorite writers.  He committed suicide at age 25. He was fascinated with mystery, suicide and madness and wrote in a dark romantic surrealist style a bit like Lautréamont’s Les Chants Du Maldoror. When I was younger, I always thought to do a blog with weird PDF’s scans as well. Even to translate some Dutch cult books to English in samizdat style, but I (still) don’t have the time for it. I have some close friends who are more knowledgeable in books and printed matter. I learn a lot from them, but I find my own way in it too. 

2: You are Hungarian as origin. Can you tell us little bit about alternative scene in Hungary? Some important bands from 70´s/80´s/90´s/00´s? 

I am half Hungarian and half Dutch, but I can still speak Hungarian quite okay. I was born in Holland, but my father is a political dissident from Budapest. He came to The Netherlands in 1980. He survived for many years illegally in squats that were simultaneously very important for the cultivation of underground music scenes in Holland back in those days. Before he left his country, he had already lived a strong underground teenagerhood resisting to the communist state. Always being immersed in music he would find from “The West” like Zappa or Kraftwerk, while also being influenced by (jazz) rock bands that were allowed to exist in communist Hungary. Him and his friends were forging prescriptions for the pharmacy to get hold of drugs and they lived a sort of beatnik culture during the late 70’s in Budapest under totalitarian communist repression. They knew more of the hippie and progressive rock groups from the west, because the contemporary information on music didn’t come through properly from beyond the communist borders. While they were listening to progressive rock bands and hippie music in late 70’s Budapest going to some rock concerts organized for the youth, punk and new-wave had already started in the West for example. They lived music development in slow-motion, but what they could find and hear they really experienced in a religious manner. At age 17 my father saw an illegal concert of The Plastic People Of The Universe at a farm in the Czech countryside that would change his life forever. Not much later he fled the country.
As for the specific Hungarian music underground: some of the closest friends of my father I grew up with have been and still are important protagonists of that scene. My Godfather, Barcs Miki, is the lead singer of a rock and roll punk group called “Flash” that also has a very important poetic junkie dimension which is rooted in literary counterculture and resistance against the communist state. Another important person is my father’s friend Papp Gyuri who was the lead-singer of multiple punk-bands of the first hour in Hungary like Tizedes Meg A Többiek and Marina Revue. They are absolute legendary outings of political discontent and resistance and show the first signs of punk evidence in Hungary behind the iron curtain together with punk bands like Trottel and CPG. I also have a beautiful aunt named Szini that used to be the bass player of the art-rock group Kampec Dolores, which might be one of Hungary’s greatest groups (they are still active today). My father was the first to bring the Hungarian weird cult-band A.E. Bizottság (Albert Einstein Committee) to Holland in the early 80’s. That band consisted of poets and artists from the village of Szentendre. You can look up these different bands to have a nice overview of Hungarian underground music.

Based on what I sketched above and to return to your question about my Hungarian origins, I strongly feel connected to Hungary and the old east and west division of Europe. Many Hungarians that were living as dissidents in Amsterdam during the 80’s and 90’s also had an influence on me. I visited Hungary a lot during the 90’s. When I was there, I continuously felt the communist past in the daily life of my grandparents. They never adapted to the new neoliberal times. They didn’t understand my father of course (never did), but I was fascinated by their place in time and space. I came from a different future; they came from a soon to be forgotten past. Already since my childhood, this digging around in the past was part of the contemporary natural order of things. For me it was not really rooted in nostalgia, because it existed in the multiplicity of realities around me.

3: When did you discover the existence of weird music?

I think that the last answer already answers this question, nevertheless I have always said an important thing, you can descent from parents who like weird music, that doesn’t mean that you like the same stuff. Actually, you probably even hate what your parents like and you try to revolt to their taste in music. I also had to initiate myself with the underground music culture that basically was always a given for me. An important reason is that my mother passed away suddenly when I was 13 years old. From that moment on I started to live with my father and I got surrounded by his record collection that was a goldmine of Krautrock, Jazz, Industrial, Post-Punk, Eastern European underground etc. Slowly music became the only way out of our mourning process and the only aspect transcending daily futility, and because life suddenly became real, I started to use my brain and got to understand difficult forms of creative expression. I started to map everything and reconstructed music history. Suddenly this process merged with the birth of online music blogosphere that was sharing all this endless great material (I would find some records of the blogs back on the shelves at home even). It all went perfectly hand in hand with each other. I also went to see concerts at least twice a week. I started to collect vinyl and to DJ in squats around Amsterdam at age 14. I visited Cologne often in those days where I bought many records at the amazing A-Musik record shop. I remember thinking, what if you would know all the music in this shop? It just went on and on from there. The rest is history I suppose, even if it was already history, or maybe it was the future!?

4: How do you discover new (I mean also old) music? Through which channels?

I find music in the same way everyone does. Through online research, peer blogs, record stores, digging at flea-markets, you name it. Of course I developed some own sensibilities that I can’t explain, but everyone has those for themselves. What helps me sometimes is that I can read and understand different languages, so for me it’s not a problem to dig in a record store in Budapest or to read info on a vinyl cover in Spanish or German. Through Archaic Inventions I also met new people that have incredible music collections because they were protagonists of the home-taping culture or have collected music for decades. You need to travel as an explorer in music. Through your search you will connect and find the like-minded.
Moreover, one should never underappreciate the knowledge of others and be open to what others can transmit to you. Getting valuable vinyl means nothing if there has been no meaning or personal connection to the music you’re collecting and hearing. DJing with stuff you found with the YouTube algorithm means nothing if you haven’t had a personal relation to what you’re hearing. I can still discard many expensive records because they just don’t speak to me. Sometimes music is a lot less hard to engage in than people try to make out of it, you simply have to listen! It’s all about mutual exchange and experience and exploration of yourself really. People, life, culture as living organism. People in certain deep realms of music will have a mutual understanding, and there are always deeper levels into the musical abyss but only some are willing to go deeper than others. It depends where the limits lie in terms of accepting abstraction or the tolerance for sonic discomfort.

5: When did you decide to start a blog? What were your inspirations?  

The primary reason was that some important and for me very influential blogs stopped their activities: Mutant Sounds and No Longer Forgotten Music (later also FM Shades and many others). That left such a sudden empty space that I felt I had to do something even if I had just a few weird tapes lying around. I did have the confidence that my musical upbringing was strong enough to tell something about music’s history, but also thought it wasn’t my main vocation at all (like who am I in the end?). Specially to speak about music from a time before I was born. On the other hand, I wanted to do it not only because those blogs had stopped, but because those blogs provided certain dreams, evidences of an alternative society, they introduced me to so much stuff and I learned a lot from the material. Their ethics and content inspired me onto this path of creating an own blog. I could always consult my surroundings about the reality of the musical output from the past that I didn’t lived myself.
At first, I started the blog really slow. Only last year, after 7 years doing this I realized that I may actually have created something that stands. I could feel that some energy was starting to return to me instead of me always putting energy into it. I can only be very humbly grateful for that.

6: Do you have some feedbacks to your work? From fans or from the bands?

Basically, when artists find back their lost or forgotten material, I get a positive reaction from them. I like that they can be finally heard by people, maybe there are even labels that want to republish the material. In any case it’s about them first and not about me. And that type of feedback that returns to you is the reason why you do a blog! If the other way around artists are happy to be part of a blog full of musical madness, we virtually shake hands and appreciate each other. Of course I am also extremely grateful for the fans and followers of the blog. It’s an honor that they consider sitting through my writing and deviant music universe.  

7: Can you recommended some good blogs which you follow?

My favorite blogs are to be found as links on the sidebar of Archaic Inventions. I think Tape Attack can’t be ignored for what it did and does for German tape culture (what a work) is there a machine behind that blog? Bleak Bliss represents the absolute rejection of fashion and keeps it all the way noise in this hipster era, Muzika Komunika is very important for Eastern Europe and the alternative and punk outings from that part of the world. I like those three a lot! No Longer Forgotten music seems to let hear from itself from time to time, which is very nice and important!

8: What was the last record/cassette you bought ?

The last record I bought is actually one that I found interesting in the re-shaping and return to understanding electronic music and dance culture of the 90’s. It’s a triple vinyl album by the German band Workshop that integrated Krautrock-like jams with strange electronic sounds and techno bleeps. It is a bit like early Mouse On Mars or something meeting CAN, but it was published on the German Ladomat2000 label that did proper (now mostly outdated) house and downtempo stuff, so this one deviates extremely. It doesn’t fit much in the dance music industry, it’s more like a mysterious musical commune of friends doing electronic music and jamming like a band. Pretty much another blueprint of what some people try to get going on nowadays. I bought it straight from one of the members. 

9: Do you play in some band?

I have a home-taping project called Formatory Apparatus since my teenager years. I’ve always recorded music onto cassettes. Since a few years I also do an industrial type of project with poetry with my close friend Andrea under the name AB. I try to sporadically record with Jan of Unit Moebius too. There are some Formatory Apparatus tracks online and currently I work on new material. I have a cassette with previously unreleased recent material that should come out soon.
I would still like to be in a band though, so invitations are welcome!

10: To the end, write some message, idea, that you think is important or post some of you favourite lyric from anfuny band...

It’s important that we bring music closer to meaningful expression and that people stop feeding the music industry directly in their minds when they are creating. Also, we must give some care to inclusive and sustainable music venues and communities, regain some autonomy in gentrified culture, we need to reclaim our city’s and music’s freedom. We need to think of the infrastructures we are using to put forward our music. It’s time to reconsider the formula’s we use of big corporate companies that need our content, attention and energy. Specially in the online domain of social media. We should bring back the spirit to music more, instead of the ego. Daring to reject and the call for change are just symptoms of the expression of love you carry in you, because the world is a corrupted place and we want to change it into the better! What else can I say!
Throughout the last years I established an important and precious friendship with the Dutch home-taper and experimental musician Hessel Veldman. The mantra you can hear in his track “Boezem Ballet” gives a strong message I stand by as well.

Thank you Mišo for the interview, I hope I didn’t waste your and your readers time too much! Keep up your great blog! 


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