Sue the lead singer of The Hellfreaks took the time out to talk to twinmusix, and here is what they had to say!
What is your favourite music video and why?
A couple of days ago we published a facebook post on our page (https://www.facebook.com/thehellfreaks/) where we asked our fans about their favorite music video of our last album ASTORIA. One of them answered: I'm Away - because we all felt connected in the making of it”
That is pretty much the reason why I vote for “I’m Away “ as well. An interesting fact about the video is that the financial background for it was partly based on fans' support through an indiegogo campaign, in exchange for which we provided them with such merch and relics as, for example, my corset which I was wearing in the video for "Boogieman", a clip that reached more than five million viewers.
The support of our fans were very heart warming, we really felt like getting hugged by our big freak family from all over the world.
It’s also very special, because as Hungarians it’s already very rare that we are able to tour over the country border with our band on a regular basis. So it makes it even more unique that we were able to build up a fan base so strong, that we are supported from the other side of the world. We appreciate that incredibly much!
How do you handle mistakes during your performance?
Mainly with a huge portion humor! I think nothing tragic can happen on the stage as long you’re not taking it too seriously. Mistakes can happen - and if something can happen, then it will. So it’s better not to stress about it. But first of all we are a kind of a family on the stage, so if anything happens, we can count 100% on each other for help.
Also the world is such a cold place. It doesn’t matter how you live your life, as long you are not living alone in a cave in the middle of a jungle, it is normal that you are surrounded by strangers, by people who don’t care about you, by people who don’t know you, by ignorance etc. But as a singer, the place where I really feel safe is the stage, because in this case you play in front of people, who are there because of you, because they like your art and like what you do! There is such a positive vibe that there is just no reason to be afraid.
Have you always wanted a career in music or was it unexpected?
I came to music literally by accident. I was a professional gymnast, sport was pretty much my everything – but unfortunately I just landed once wrong on my feet, which ended up in a spine operation when I was 14 years old. So I had to recalculate my life and fill the gap that my sports career had left behind. I was really shocked by the happenings at that time and it was extremely hard to accept that even if I was going to do my best, some dreams just can’t come true anymore.
The physical pain was nothing compared to the emptiness I felt. So I started to look for something, that could fill this gap in my life. That’s how I found music and a couple of years later it ended up with forming The Hellfreaks in 2009.
Where do you see your band sound in the future, are you looking for a similar sound or are you going to go in a different direction?
I really don’t like staying the same. What motivates me the most in each corner of my life is getting better and better every day. I’m just not the kind of person who feels good about staying in one spot. So it’s not just that I hope, I’m totally sure, that we will change.
Fans who are following us for a longer time now know, that each of our albums has changed a bit. We started as a psychobilly influenced band, but are now way more punk rock than I ever expected. Right now we are working on our 4th album, and I can already hear that again we’re making a great step further on our road. I’m the kind of person who is never satisfied with herself, but that keeps my engine running. I’m into development, I’m into trying new things out, I’m into going till our limits - so I would be more than disappointed, if we still sounded the same after all.
What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
My advice is pretty simple and I hope not to ruin some illusions with it. But the music business is hard - and the weak ones fall quick. Here are 3 of the most important pieces of advice I have in my mind:
1. Have a plan B. Don’t start making music with the expectation of making quick money of it, because it’s a very long road, and if you have a financial pressure on your shoulder, it just can’t turn out well.
2. Be your own CEO first. Try to do everything on your own as long as it’s necessary; you can get an overview of all challenges and you’ll be so much better at picking out the right people to work with.
3. By your first success you will face a lot of arrogance and hate on your road. That’s okay. That’s not your fault, and that’s not because you do something wrong. That’s because people can react really bad when they see that the hard work of others pay off, while they were even too afraid to dream and don’t even dare to make a move to realize their own goals.
What challenges have you overcome as a band?
I’m sure every band has its own challenges. For us the biggest challenge was, and still is, time management. We are a band which is much more than a hobby, but still not big enough to make a living of it. This special case makes it really hard to find the right people for it, as you need people, who are very good at their own life management, so that they are able to have enough time for the band, but also enough time not to starve. Especially, as we are all Hungarians, and Hungary is - by far! - not living its best economical days, so even without the band, you have to be very conscious not to sink over here. I could write a full book on how we learned what to prioritize - but basically it’s an endless way of compromises and sleepless nights. :D
Tell us a random fact about yourself that fans don’t know?
I suffer of misophonia - I can’t stand the sound of someone eating … as long as we’re talking about humans. I’m totally fine when my 4 cats at home eat like pigs.
What do you love about what you do?
Mostly the fact, that I have something that is totally 100% mine and adds that little plus to my life.
I see so many people, even who are way older than me, who are still looking for something in their life for what they are able to burn, something they can do with passion. So many people just do everything that is expected of them, get a great job and wonder why they still feel empty. I’m very happy that I’ve already found the missing piece that makes me complete.
Do you have any rules on the tour bus?
It’s not really a rule, but as I mentioned before, I had a spine operation in the past and I still have troubles with it. Because of that I need to have a possibility to lie down if we travel for longer distances - which is pretty common - otherwise I’m just not able to get out of the bus. Of course I don’t need a bed, more seats are enough, but that’s why we try to travel on bigger buses, otherwise the boys would have to sit on each other’s lap. :-D
Do you have any CDs/merchandise for sale and where can your fans buy it?
Of course! And we ship worldwide, pack each of the orders by our own hand and that’s why each of our fans get some plus love in their package. Here you can find our webshop: www. thehellfreaks.com/merch
How do you build your fan base with a language barrier?
I dare to say, that as Hungarians, the language barrier is way more on our side. :-)
Hungarian is a very unique and specific language, with Finno-Ugrian roots (whats means that the language is pretty much only related to Finnish) and it is very different from all the other languages. That’s why it is very hard for us to learn any other language - but absolutely necessary in so many cases! I’m a very lucky person as I grew up in Austria and speak German perfectly and we all also speak English, but we exactly know that it is not easy to learn it. That’s why we have a huge respect for those who don’t speak any of our languages, but still try to speak with us at our shows, because we know that you have to be kind of brave to do that. But after so many gigs and tours abroad we are specialists in understanding people from all over the world by hand signs.