On 27th June at VOLT Festival, the first slot on Telekom Main Stage said: winner of Nagy-Szín-Pad 2018: Apey and the Pea. For many the question comes up: what is Nagy-Szín-Pad? Nagy-Szín-Pad (Main Stage) is a Hungarian competition based on invitations. Producers, journalists, concerts organizers around the country suggest hundreds of acts who have achieved amazing results all by themselves: sold out club shows, high number of views on Youtube or being played on radio. Out of all these recommendations, a circle of professionals choose 8 acts to take part in the competition. The winner of Nagy-Szín-Pad 2018 is playing on the main stage of Sziget, VOLT, Strand and Campus festivals in Hungary. This year the winner is Hungarian stoner-doom metal Apey and the Pea, and after their concert at VOLT Festival we sat down with guitarist-vocalist András Áron “Apey”, and bass guitarist Zoltán Prepelicza for an interview about Nagy-Szín-Pad, their current summer tour, festivals and future plans.
What was your first reaction when you received your invitation to Nagy-Szín-Pad 2018?
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Apey: We were extremely glad for the invitation, because it is a huge professional acknowledgement from people working in the Hungarian music industry. From the professional jury we received the highest score, and it felt amazing that they thought we deserve the best position. However, we faced an obstacle: we’ve been doing all this for more than 10 years now, and we never really wanted to take part in any kind of competitions, we didn’t feel it necessary to do so. But we’ve been thinking about the benefits of this opportunity, and at the end of the day we decided we take part. It took some time to figure out whether we should do this or not. At first we convinced each other that we should say no, but in the end we are here.
Zoli: You know, we represent being true, we play live music with live instruments, we bring the Pantera-feeling. We would never go to DAL (annual Hungarian competition for Eurovision representative), but here the conditions were really good, we did not have to compromise.
Apey: The Pantera-attitude from the inside shouted that we should not do this, but it was really worth it, because we also made good friends with other musicians and artists taking part.
How did you feel when you won Nagy-Szín-Pad? What do you think were the factors that contributed to your win?
Apey: I would change the perspective of the question a bit. Here we did not win audiences, what actually happened is that we showed our audience to this competition and to the TV. I find it funny when they ask this question, because in my opinion it happened differently. We have a good fan basis here in Hungary. We are in the music industry longer than three-quarters of the professional jury, we did not start with any disadvantages. Our audience, the metal community is extremely tenacious and they stick together, and they united for five minutes to help us win, just like for AWS at DAL. This is what really happened here, I don’t think we convinced TV viewers that “Wow, this band Apey and the Pea is really good, I vote for them!”
Zoli: For me the most surprising part was that most of the people who organized this competition were supporting us, and I know that they are not into metal, but there is something in our music, especially in Apey’s voice that makes our show convincing. Also, the albums and the songs are not one-sided in style, let’s say there is a song which is a bit jolly, like ‘Reverend Green’, and then there is ‘Death’ with guitars tuned down to hell. I think this convinces many people who don’t know our music, and they might end up liking it as well.
Apey: Yeah, as Zoli said, something good happened in there at the competition. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but many participants were a bit strained at the beginning. In the end though, everyone opened up and they’ve been happy that we won; I think we affected everyone a bit. For us the whole thing had this cultural-mission feeling.
What is your opinion on the Hungarian music scene?
Apey: In short, I would say that the Hungarian music scene is brilliant both in underground and in mainstream. It has changed drastically over the last 20 years, and it’s really good now. There are a lot of groups with international-quality performances, and a lot of things are coming up from the underground scene, which is always good, because it affects mainstream as well.
Zoli: Also, mainstream is like there are plenty of artists, who are extremely popular in radio or on the internet, but they are not doing gigs, they are not playing in A38 or in Akvárium, because no more than a 100 people would attend the show. It’s a big bubble up there, and they only play gigs which are convenient for them. Then there is underground, which is really on top now, Dürer is filled with metal gigs all the time. And the current metal culture is different as well; it’s not about patches on battle vests and military boots, just everyday folks in casual clothes.
Your first Nagy-Szín-Pad gig was here at VOLT Festival. What is your impression, how was it to play on Telekom Main Stage?
Apey: It was really challenging, I’ve never had this much rain on my pedalboard. Even though the stage itself was covered, we got a lot from the rain because of the wind, even the drums got some of it. I’ve never had such a fight with weather on stage before, but it was wonderful to play there. This main stage is extremely huge, and if it was not that slippery we could have walked around even more, but it was nice regardless. I think we need a couple more years to get to this higher level, because this is a different dimension from the club concerts we have done in the last 10 years. Personally, many times I feel like I’m bit of a beginner and I have no idea what I am doing, but with time I’m improving.
What is the major difference you would highlight between playing your own headliner shows and doing festival gigs?
Zoli: The particularity of club concerts is that you are closer to your audience in a smaller space, they stand in front of the stage. Of course it is amazing to play at festivals, on bigger stages, but club concerts have their own special vibe, it is not really possible to compare the two. Also, plenty of bands do headlining club shows in autumn, winter and spring.
Apey: For me personally I prefer club concerts, because I am not really into festivals in general. Don’t take me wrong, I love playing on the main stage, but I would not trade away a good club gig for a festival show. In the clubs you meet your audience; I do merch many times, so we just hang out with the people seeing us, which is amazing. What I really like is a club show which is big, but still a club, like Expresszó in Veszprém.
Zoli: I like festivals though.
Apey: It would be epic to play in the evening at a festival, but we are far from that as of now [laughing]
Zoli: Yeah, because the bigger stage you play at, the earlier slot you get on the schedule.
Apey: It would be really nice to scare people in the evening on such a huge stage, because all the lights, videos and effects we use on stage are not as effective during daylight.
You had a couple of international shows as well, like opening for Weedeater in 2016 in London and your EU/UK tour, Desertfest London and opening for Bongripper, all in 2017. You also have some international appearances this summer. Do you have any plans for more international shows? Maybe a European tour?
Apey: Now we are fully focusing on our current summer tour, and on the 15th August we also have a bigger club show in Budapest. Then, we are doing an autumn/spring Hungarian tour. Also, we are working real hard on 2 possible international tours, but as of now I can’t share more information on that. We would really like to return to the UK, we are in touch with an English agency to work together in the future.
What is your message to people going to Sziget festival this year?
Apey: Oh well… You are sentenced to death and we will execute you! [Laughing]
Zoli: And at the same time, we will respect the fact that you bought the expensive day ticket.
Apey: One thing is for sure: it will be brutally loud.
As winners of Nagy-Szín-Pad 2018, Apey and the Pea will play at Campus festival on 19th July, at Sziget Festival on 9th August and at Strand Festival on 23rd August. For more dates of their current summer tour, see the flyer above.