"Wall of Sleep is a one of strongest doom bands from Eastern Europe, it's creator Sándor Füleki (guitars) started in distant 1993 with another Hungarian doom band Mood. And he has decided to build Wall of Sleep right after Mood's closing - somewhere in 2003. Last full-length album of Wall of Sleep "When Mountains Roar" was released in 2010 via famous PsycheDOOMelic records and it still shows great example of how genuine doom / stoner rock must sound. Besides amazing stuff of Wall of Sleep you could know such project as Magma Rise which consists of Wall of Sleep and Stereochrist members, anyway it's worth to check. So let us look that's going on behind the Wall of Sleep, Sándor Füleki will guide us in this realm".
Wall of Sleep interview with Sándor Füleki
Hello, Sandor! How are you? I’d like to start with latest news of Wall of Sleep but forgive my ignorance – first question is about your appearance in the band. As I understand you have joined ranks of Wall of Sleep in 2001 leaving your previous band Mood behind. What kind of band was Mood?
It may sounds strange from me, but I think Mood was the first band which laid the foundations of Hungarian doom/stoner metal. About ten years we achieved everything that is possible in the Hungarian underground scene. We opened for bands like Crowbar, Spirit Caravan, but after a while the whole thing just got tired. Then in 2001 we broke up the band and everybody chose different ways.
Mood is pretty old band, how long ago did you step onto doom scene for a first time?
I play doom music since 1993, when Mood started out. Before that time I used to play hardcore music in different bands.
What is current state of Wall of Sleep? You released full-length “When Mountains Roar” in 2010 and as I found only one band’s page (onto doomed MySpace) I didn’t see any news from the band.
In the past two years we had a dozen shows in Hungary and Austria. We don’t tour very much, that’s why Wall of Sleep shows are always kind of special events. Right now we are working on new songs – at theses days Csaba’s recording vocal parts for the previous demos. So we have many things to get done in the next few months.
Your last release “When Mountains Roar” starts with ass-kicking song “Hungry Spirit”, it has amazing vibe and very strong mood. Is it natural for you to write songs in this clue denying doom-standards of slow and lazy pace, you know that sort of stereotype – all doomsters are slow and pessimistic guys :-)
Well, I play whatever I feel it’s good and comfortable for me. So the band does it. Of course we have many influences, but we never followed any standards. We have our own style and the good old ways we work. Yeah, I can say that it is natural for me to write this kind of song. For the other part of the question my answer is: I don’t think so doomsters are naturally pessimistic people. We have families, kids, and lots of fun in life. We are not fucked up mama’s boys who always crying because there are problems in the world. Perhaps most of us got sharper sensors to notice certain things in life.
What is this song about? I see that you have tendency to compose life-asserting songs about struggle and power of will, and true to say it works!
Csaba always reads some heavy-duty stuff like philosophical articles, classic and antique literature and the Bible. I think sometimes he wears himself off pretty well. So “Hungry Spirits” is about adherence to life. We search for things for decades, but we have to leave them behind at the end. We got free will, also got responsibility with it. We have to cross the border with shining spirit and empty hands, because death is a different state of affairs. So what is after Death? Jesus says redemption and eternal life, some other religions say there is liberation and another life. We’ll see. The whole idea is based on Tibetan Book of Death and some articles of Bela Hamvas. (He was the greatest philosopher in Hungary.)
Come on man! You don’t want to make me glorify the band. You know what fans would say, and you can figure it out the opposite side.:)
Changing a vocalist is always a crisis. It’s a crisis for the band for the fans and it’s a huge challenge for the new guy. First of all Csaba had to learn the old songs, then he already jumped into the process of the new album. It was a pretty hard time for him, but he made it.
When Mountains Roar has had surprised everybody. We got a new voice, so the sound needed more rust, more naturalness. Most of our fans loves it, some of them definitely hates it. You can’t accord to everyone’s desire. This is the way it works.
I did an interview with guitarist from one good traditional doom band and he told me that it’s pretty easy to play doom metal speaking about technical side of a process. Do you agree with that? Do you feel that you have to approve your skills with each album?
If you wanna play good and sharp music - it doesn’t matter doom metal or something else – you have to work on it. You have to pay attention to your musicians. You got to breathe together, because the consonance depends on each of you. It is not that easy. I mean not talking about only technical preparedness, but attention, punctuality and humility. This is the difficult part of it. Of course years after you feel every movement of your mates, but you still have to pay attention.
One of most exciting songs of the album is “Raven Avenue”, I didn’t expect to get such song with that retro and bluesy vibe. Do you see your way of playing music a bit out of standards or is it orthodox and really traditional?
As I told you before we have never followed any standards. Wall of Sleep is not an orthodox doom metal band. And the accent lies on the word orthodox. Wall of Sleep is a twin guitar classic rock band with heavy doom metal influences. “Raven Avenue” is a heavy song with a bluesy vibe seasoned with pretty emotional lyrics. It’s about catching the mood, put those feelings in it and that’s all. It just came out from our souls.
I think our each album is a little bit different from the previous ones – even in the Gabor-era. In some measure this is a tendency, because I don’t want to step twice into the same river. Of course I can’t retract my own style. Some familiar sound, note or mood always shows up on each album. Also I think non of our albums are pure doom metal. Just listen the first full-length – you can hear some hard rock and acoustical attempts. The second release became a classic doom album, probably because the sound of it. “And Hell Followed With Him” got more heavy metal impressions. With the “When Mountains Roar” we were looking for new adventures. This tendency – because of our new vocalist – is more conspicuous. Got more classic rock elements and we bravely reached back for the dusty ‘70s. As a matter of course we still have the usual impetuous rattling songs like “Hungry Spirits”, or merciless slow doom epics like “Army of the Dead”. There is no WoS album without these kinda compositions.
You worked with Psychedoomelic records but then you’ve changed the label and come to Nail Records. Do you feel any difference?
Basically there is no difference. We still work with both of them. Nail Records takes care about the Hungarian market, Psychedoomelic distributes us in foreign countries.
You and a couple of your doom-comrades from Stereochrist and Mood also play in another doom-act Magma Rise. What would you say about this project? It looks like “all star” of Hungarian doom scene project so I guess that it must be bloody qualitative stuff.
I agree with that. This is a super group. Songs from this workshop – just like Stereochrist or Wall of Sleep songs – are qualitative products. But the way of songwriting and the style are different. Magma Rise is an orthodox doom metal band with a clean voice while Wall of Sleep – today – got more classic rock in it’s music with a rusty throat.
Which bands form Hungarian doom scene besides Wall of Sleep, Stereochrist and Magma Rise?
Well, I don’t really follow what happens on the scene, but I like Sunday Fury even it’s not a pure doom metal band.
I’ve read that Hungary has a new constitution since January and some of it’s statements are very fresh for this age and seem effective and healthy. It’s about traditional valuables, it’s about independence from EU, it’s about opposition to cult of consuming and it’s conception has many opponents. How has a whole situation turned in the end? What do you think about it?
The new constitution caused an intense debate in Hungary and in the European Union. I think there is a never-ending fight between liberal and traditional parties in our country. As I see the constitution has had deepened this fight.
Right now looks like we are getting over the first shockwave and the people does not care about it anymore. But you know politicians are different kind of creatures. I’m sure they’ll keep going to fight.
You know we were arguing over this case with Csaba. He said he is O.K. with the new constitution and I told him that I don’t agree with some statements. Then we said fine, we have different opinions, but that is all. We won’t fight because of politics.
Interview By Aleks
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