In conversation with psych-rock band Middlemist Red

Image credit: Wanda Martin

Sharing their first album in the last four years, Hungarian band Middlemist Red has returned with new music inspired by Hollywood movies, specifically the classics that capture the Wild Wild West. Their new album The Other Side Of Nowhere released via Randy Hardcore Event Management captures this atmosphere. Expect the slick guitar slides of blues appeal paired with brooding vocals from frontman Nóvé Soma. This release will have one thinking that they are listening to a western soundtrack with Joy Division-Esque influence. 

We chatted with this dynamic band about their latest release below.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I started learning Hungarian Folk instruments at the age of 5, but it wasn’t until later, that I started to develop a greater interest in music. I was living in London when I was 12. I moved there from Hungary, not being able to speak English, so initially I wasn’t able to connect with my peers. I turned to music, and I spent all my pocket money on CDs and rented out most of the albums at the local library. That’s how I came across artists like Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, and The Beatles. This music inspires me to this day.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

This time around was different to our previous albums. I wasn’t interested in creating a more conceptual album, revolving around cinematic ideas. I tried to recreate the spaghetti western aesthetic, reimaging the genre with different instrumentation and sounds. The conceptual method made me able to create boundaries within the music, which helped me to write something more coherent. A lot of times I tried to work as if I was writing a film score, imagining what type of scene I would want to write music two, before starting a song.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I like creating concepts around albums. Whether it is an idea of what type of instrumentation I’d like to experiment with, or something that’s rooted more in the theme of the piece. Like many other musicians, a lot of times a certain song starts an idea, but I always try to fuse genres. I feel that would make an interesting combination.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

In Hungary, it’s very hard to establish your music on a mainstream level, if you’re not singing in the native language. I think that makes it hard for the Hungarian music scene to flourish. There are many artists, that makes incredible music but aren’t able to reach a larger audience for that reason. In short, I wish Hungary had a more diverse platform when it comes to music distribution.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Both require a different state of mind. They’re obviously connected, but I feel as though they’re separate parts of my work. I think none of them works well for me without the other, but I couldn’t tell, which I enjoy more.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

Since I have a lot of projects, I’m able to cover a large spectrum of musical genres and ideas. It’s always very flattering, when someone discovers the correlation between them, but seeing also, that they are all experimenting with different themes and styles.

What’s on your current playlist?

My band MORDÁI plays Hungarian Folk, where we reinterpret traditional Hungarian folk songs. For us, the process requires a lot of research. We’re in the midst of writing our second album. Therefore lately I listen to a lot of these types of music, scaling from archive recordings of Kodály Zoltán to newer Hungarian folk bands, like Muzsikás and Téka Ensemble.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

At the moment it’s hard to make plans. Ideally, we would like to take our 3rd album on the road from Spring onwards. This album has a lot of new instrumentation, which means we will have to incorporate extra musicians, like saxophonosts and string players on stage, which is going to be a very exciting and new thing for us.

Famous last words?

The more challenging route is always the right one.

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