With a plethora of bands out there, it is always hard to keep track of everything that is released, especially if the band is from a small European country. Gonzo, from Hungary, is one of those bands that you must give a listen to. Apart from being intelligent and contemplative, they are amazing song writers. If you are interested in a band that produces solid post-punk influenced music, that does more than just imitates influences, but rather brings something new to the table, you need to look no further.
This is a band you should get to know, and they have agreed to answer five questions.
1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
As for the musical influences we mainly listen to guitar based genres and some electronic stuff. Right now I have Vampire Weekend, Late of the Pier, Primal Scream and Cut Copy on my portable mp3 player, but I refresh it every week.
In Gonzo’s music you can hear a mixture of the tunes of beat bands, the synthpop of the 80s, the melodic Britpop of the nineties and the dynamic post-punk of the millennium too. So it’s pretty eclectic, but of course we have some big favorites, which may make their influence felt, like the Beatles, David Bowie, dEUS, Radiohead, Interpol, Supergrass, The Bravery, Editors, Nick Cave, Woven Hand, Joy Division, Cure, Duran Duran, Clash and many more...
Though we're not a typical alternative, college band we do read a lot; books are our friends. We like the works of Orwell, Viktor Pelevin, Bernard Shaw, Graham Greene, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac and Walt Whitman. And most of the band members are movie fans too; we prefer films of independent artists like Jim Jarmush, David Lynch, Francois Truffaut, Tar Béla, Lars von Trier, Beat Takeshi etc. Basically we walk with ‘open eyes,' and try to reflect on the world surrounding us with a bit of criticism.
2. How did the name of your band come about?
Gonzo is a bird-like puppet character from The Muppet Show, kinda weird, but lovable. He’s the one who plays the final trumpet note of the opening and he represents the type of the misunderstood artist in the show. Gonzo is a style of journalism too, but we have nothing to do with it; we picked this name because it was short, simple and can be easily remembered.
3. With your win of Best Hungarian Act at the EMTV Awards, has there been a greater reception of Gonzo in Western Europe?
Not really. It’s definitely a great thing in Hungary, our name has been mentioned in the press many times, but for the international media it wasn’t a big deal. You know, nowadays everything happens so fast, bands appear and disappear very quickly, and if you don’t have a strong backing support, who could do a little hype around you, you won’t get anywhere. We hope that MTV Europe will broadcast our latest video, because they said something like this in Liverpool [at the EMTV Awards], but I’m not sure. MTV has dramatically changed in the past few years, they hardly play music videos, they air reality shows and stupid lifestyle magazines instead. It’s not really a medium of music anymore, so we have to search for other ways too.
4. You mention in a EMTV Award interview that you have less possibilities than a band from England or France, but do you think that the Internet is helping you reach a larger audience?
Yeah, that’s the only possibility we have right now. Bands are supposed to tour a lot and spread their music, but the truth is that usually you can’t afford it. Most clubs don’t pay enough to lesser known bands to cover the travel expenses, and since the standard of living in Hungary is lower than in western European countries, you can’t pay it from your “pocket.” Of course we’re luckier than the bands 20 years ago, because back then they could only dream about international success and now there is some hope.
The Internet is a free and fast way of finding your target audience. People live part of their lives in this virtual world and like to spend a lot of time by browsing aimlessly for hours, listening to music, watching videos and looking at pictures. If you know how to reach them, you have a great chance to get new fans. But it also takes time, since the Internet is like a huge metropolis, where you can easily get lost without a map. The other thing is that you have to be creative and original, because everybody is fighting for the attention of the audience, you have to be agile and convincing to have them watch your videos or listen to your songs.
5. Any words for your fans in countries like the United States, who have difficulty following your music?
Gonzo for President! :)
For more on Gonzo, visit them on MySpace, YouTube, or Gonzo Website.