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Interview with Ludas Matyi of Szeki Kurva - conducted via e-mail - 7/26/98

Jester: What is your process in combining so many different elements, sounds, styles in your music?

Matyi: This might sound a bit cliche, but we're just trying to make the music we don't hear other people doing. DJ Assassin, Pinky, and I aren't making music for the Szeki Massive even, but just for ourselves, to impress each other. We take scraps of each others' songs and just mess about with them and run them all together. Also, a lot of the ideas come from the Sound System mixtapes we make, where we do Jungle mixing and play it on our radio transmitter. Then we listen to the bits that work and try to make songs out of them, in the same way that a real band would do jamming.

Sometimes we look at each other and go "Do we dare to run Turkish belly dancing music over Eddie Cochran, or Carl Stalling over the top of Chaka Demus and Pliers?" then we laugh and do it anyway. I don't suppose Elvis berated himself much for fusing rockabilly, gospel, country etc. all together and coming up with rock and roll. And before you ask "are you comparing yourself to Elvis Presley ?" Yes, we are.

Jester: How do you come up with such twisted genre smashing crossover music? Do you have an artificial intelligence writing your music?

Matyi: On the topic of artificial intelligence! Nah, there's not much intelligence involved, just three people from Essex! The artificial bit is the Akai sampler, the turntables, and the Amiga running Octamed. We're the spanner in the works that makes the computerised stuff still sound fucked up. Like our slogan goes, "Composed by computers, played by peasants". Also, all three of us come from a Hip-Hop background, and true hip-hop is sampling different genres, damn the consequences.

Jester: Why do you hate the corporate music industry so much? I know this probably sounds like a stupid question - but if you've had a bad experience with them, maybe you could elaborate on that or give some examples of why they are so evil.

Matyi: We hate the corporate music industry so much because It's something to do! And we are nasty spiteful little bastards looking for a fight. Elton, Tina, Rod, Sting, Phil, Celine, Diana Ross, Princess Diana Memorial Concerts, and Chris De Burgh. This is Pop music at it's worst. When we've finished with all that lot we're gonna move on to fighting something else, like traffic wardens.

Actually, we've never had a bad experience with the music industry because we're not really in it- we own our own stuff, we're on Iris Light which is fully independent and uses independent distributors. We're well out of it. We've never even met a music journalist, or an A&R man. Good, innit?

Jester: How exactly are you fighting back against the music industry if you have to exist inside it to sell, promote, and distribute your music?

Matyi: In fact, check out our web page. That's how we're fighting back, by completely owning our own material, licensing rather than signing, and so on. We're just trying to encourage every other band to be like us. If they were, the music industry would implode and we'd all be our own masters.

Jester: Could you go into detail why you were kicked out of Hungary? Was the government that upset with the way you were using traditional Hungarian music?

Matyi: We weren't kicked out, we just left sharpish. The Hungarian government doesn't care about what's done with music, it was other stuff going on. Anyway, we just have to be careful when we go back. The only people who complain about us "prostituting the music" are some people in the Dance House movement, but I'm in the movement too, so they can stick it.

Jester: Which torture method would you use on an A&R person?

Matyi: Dunno about torture- we'd recommend a bit of Maoist re-education, like locking them in a cupboard for a month. Until they see the error of their bourgeois ways!

Jester: How did your pirate radio station KRR get started? How frequently do you broadcast?

Matyi: Contrary to what it says in our Official History, it was started over here in the UK with very small transmitters, to broadcast Jungle in Essex. At the moment we broadcast when we have nothing better to do, but in the future we might make it more regular, like at weekends.

Jester: Why did you join the Musicians Against the Copyrighting of Samples (MACOS) organization? What does MACOS mean to you?

Matyi: We joined it cause, being tarts, we'll join anything, and we liked their logo. Also of course, they stand for something cool- if every Hip-Hop band, for instance, was in MACOS, we could all sample each other to our heart's content. What we're saying by displaying the MACOS logo on our releases is- take what you want, it's all free to use because we probably sampled it from somewhere else in the first place.

Jester: Why do the titles of every single song appear to be remixes?

Matyi: Because they are! What we do when we're writing is program up a few different versions of tunes, sort of approaching them from different angles, with different beats. We might do a Ragga version and a Hip-Hop version of a tune, and then pick just one. However, we do save the other mixes, in case you were wondering! One day we might bring a whole load of remix albums out.

Jester: Where do you come up with the bizarre titles of your songs and the names for the remixes?

Matyi: I'm gonna have to think about this one, cause it never occurs to us that they're bizarre.

'Did You Spill My Goulash?' is just a Hungarian pisstake on the classic saying we have round here, "Did You Spill My Pint?" Which is what you say in England in a bar if you're looking for a fight. It's called the Mice From Bagpuss mix cause the high-pitched voices sound like the chorus of mice in the TV program Bagpuss.

'A Running Duck' is called that cause the keyboard loop in the breakbeat sounds like a quacking duck. It's called the Ice Station Zebra mix cause of the sample at the start, of the hunters moving through the snow with the tracker.

We're getting worse as we go on, I think- there's a track on the new album called 'Come On Then You Cunts'. But that was Pinky's idea.

Jester: Where does the fox/wolf mascot come from that appears in your logo and on several of your releases?

Matyi: Our logo, which you see on our homepage, is the grinning fox. It's our mascot, called Kati, and it comes from an old Czech cartoon strip called "Prihody Liski Bistrousky" or The Adventures of Vixen Sharpears; I adapted it into our mascot. It's funny cause recently a pub chain in this country completely nicked the fox character for its restaurant chain called The Feasting Fox, so now there's Katis all over England holding pints of beer.

The wolf character that you see on the front of "The Fearless Vampire Killers" is a cartoon character called Bela Sebestyen, sort of a violin-playing Big Bad Wolf character that I used to draw in a cartoon strip called- Rags and Bela The Fearless Vampire Killers!. Rags was his sidekick and is the schoolgirl with the slingshot on the front of Music For Joyriders. Finally, the character on the front of "The Sound Of Dead Goats" is just a manga girl with big tits.

Jester: Why do you switch back and forth between English and Hungarian in your music? Is there a method behind the madness?

Matyi: Mostly because Hungarian is a good language to rap in- also we take a lot of the old Dance House lyrics cause they're hilarious, all about sex and poking peoples' eyes out. I learned a lot of the old songs when I used to tour with Hungarian Dance House bands, and now it just keeps coming out.

Jester: What is it like both running a record label (FGZ Records) and trying to promote your own music?

Matyi: Since FGZ is our tape and internet label and only puts out Szeki Kurva releases, it's not that hard. We only represent ourselves and no-one else.

Jester: Does Szeki Kurva perform live? If so, what does a live show look like?

Matyi: We play live once a month on full moons, and a live show looks like the Prodigy meets Margarita Pracatan, or so I'm told. There's a lot of gun talk and smoking of cigars, and plate smashing. No wonder we're running out of live venues.

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