It’s the second stream performance at Roadburn for Dávid Makó, a.k.a. The Devil’s Trade. Unfortunate, because his performances are ones that work best in the intimacy that a live setting only can provide. But for Roadburn Redux, it promises to be a special one too and if ‘The Call of the Iron Peak’ is any indication, one you wouldn’t want to miss.
Call of the Iron Peak
Dávid was kind enough to talk to us about this show, the last year and the new record:
How are you doing?
I don’t want to complain, as I am much luckier than others. Although, I live from day to day.
For those not familiar with you, should there be any, how would you introduce The Devil’s Trade?
It is always a difficult task. I usually say that I stand alone on the stage and perform sad songs. But for someone who is not into undeground music it is almost impossible to describe unusual soundscapes, so I stopped trying. I just read a nice description about my music:
“Perfect music for dramatically walking away from a 1900’s town on fire” – Factory92
Q: What is it you draw from, creating your music? You’re also quite outspoken on social media on environmental and ethical issues, is that something that makes its way into your music?
D: I started to write most of my songs when I was late from somewhere, and yet I was sitting with my instrument humming almost perfectly unconscious. Such an uncomfortable excuse for being late. When the song reaches a certain point, which can be different every time, I stop and hopefully recorded it somehow. I have a huge amount of notes like this and when I feel like or when I am forced by a deadline I look through them to see which are the ones that are worth the struggle. Yes those issues you mentioned are there in the songs but I’m trying so hard not to write protest songs and keep them in a more personal point of view as the main inspiration is always the energies that I can not use in any other way. Writing and performing music and also martial arts and lifting heavy things are my therapy.
Q: I wondered if there’s something of your origin interwoven in your music, something of folk music from your country?
D: Yes, very much. Hungarian folk music is a very ancient and deep tradition for what my knowledge and time is not enough. But as I’m getting older it becomes the main inspiration musically and spiritually. It is more like a shelter for me. Something that helps me disconnect from modern life and find a way back to real values.
Q:You’ve signed with Season of Mist after a long time playing shows with a wide range of artists. How did it happen and has this changed things for you as an artist?
D: It is all about the hard work of my manager and old friend Zoltan Jakab. He has way more faith in me than I would ever have. So we started to work together in 2016 and the first turning point was when I supported Crippled Black Phoenix in Budapest. I will always be grateful to Justin Greaves and Nathan Gray for taking me on the first Europe Tours and Timo Siems of Golden Antenna for releasing my second album. From there more and more doors opened till the point where I had to record three songs for Michael Berberian.
Signing to Season Of Mist is something I would have never dreamed of. So many of my favourite artists have worked with them! I almost feel inappropriate when time to time I realize I became a Season Of Mist artist. It gives great inspiration to evolve, and their trust makes me feel safe. Also gives me opportunities I could have never had.
Q: You have performed with artists from black metal to folk, what makes you pick that sort of tour mates, because I imagine you’ll not always play to a receptive audience if you open, for example, for Der Weg Einer Freiheit. What are your thoughts on this? And what sort of listener do you feel your music speaks to?
D: I’m not the one who picks. I was invited to join these tours and I said yes immediately every time. I guess I’m lucky because whoever invites me must have thought it through before asking me. The Der Weg tour was the greatest experience for me so far. Of course, you can have a few disrespectful people that makes it harder to perform but I can deal with them and the majority of the audience always appreciate making them shut up. Supporting Der Weg was a huge proof for me that the energies I can give can work with any audience that is open and honest and doesn’t want easy satisfaction.
Q: You released your latest record in the middle of the pandemic. How much of an impact has the current situation had on your plans?
D: Nothing surprising. Tours and shows got cancelled. I would have played at Roadburn which is just like being signed by SOM the greatest thing that could happen to me as a musician. What can be said about this that is not already said a thousand times. It is a disaster and the financial loss is the easier part of it. It took away the main reason I’m doing this, the most important part of the therapy as I mentioned before and the financial part of it makes it impossible to go a real therapist that I would really need now or I would rather say I have needed for a long time.
Q: Can you tell us more about ‘The Call of the Iron Peak’? Where or what is this peak, and why is it calling us?
D: The peak is in the Austrian Alps where I first experienced absolute peace in the deafening silence. I don’t know about others but I have been searching for that peace for my whole life and I didn’t even know about it. I’m not sure if it is a calling for others but It would help everyone a lot.
Q: Musically, ‘The Call of the Iron Peak’ is obviously in line with your previous work. As your t-shirts say: happy music is shit. Yet, the sound is more open, more gloomy.
D: I guess it is a natural evolution. My sound and the way I sing changes a little every time I play according to my momentary sate and how the energies can flow.
Q: This performance will be your second ‘live performance’ at Roadburn. What makes Roadburn so special to you, that you have gone to such great lengths for this performance. And as a music fan, what does Roadburn mean to you?
D: If we can say the live stream I had on their Instagram last April was the first one then this will be the second time. But the first one was only an accoustic gig from my living room with my dog panic sleeping in front of me. For me Roadburn is the most important festival and the highest peak of the underground. I never had the chance to attend and never been such a lunatic to think of playing at it. I had four shows at Eurosonic a year ago and after one of the gigs Zoltan messaged me that Walter was there and saw me. That was one of the greatest moment of my life.
Q: What can you tell about the location of the Tárnok Quarry, and why did you pick it for this performance? What can we expect?
D: The Roman Empire started to mine there, and it had been a quarry till the Russian came in. They made it a landfill… Later in the early 90s someone had the chance to buy it for dimes. He reopened it and it became a rentable location. The second Blade Runner and one of the Hellboy movies were shot there for example. I was invited to shoot a pilot there but it never made it to the tv. So when I was asked to perform at Roadburn Redux I wanted a very special location and it is one.
Q: What future plans do you have right now?
D: I have some projects to work on but I can’t talk about them till they are public. Some black metal, dark ambient, traditional folk music and a band version of The Devil’s Trade.
Originally published on NMTH.nl. All pictures by Justina Lukosiute.