It took a lot for LAZERPUNK to get where he's at. From his humble roots as a minor electronic producer to being a spotlight act in both Hungary and around the synthwave scene, his passion for music helped him rise the ranks. That being said, LAZERPUNK had it rough when creating "DEATH & GLORY". But the emotions bottled within him released in a furious wave of harsh beats and darkened synthesizers. With that said, I got a chance to speak with LAZERPUNK on his latest album and let him tell his tale. Check it out below and don't forget to hit that play button as you scroll:
Hello LAZERPUNK, glad to have you on the site! You're a synthwave outfit from over in Budapest, Hungary. What is the electronic scene like over in Hungary? I'm more than sure it's more unique than other scenes around the world.
LAZERPUNK: Hungary is a small country so what's underground in other countires usually doesn't even exist here. But I'm happy to say that this is not the case with synthwave. When I started this project it was only me and Quixotic, but later we started organizing small synthwave gigs with Envo and Gridscape under the name NEONHULLÁM, and soon enough these events kickstarted the entire scene here. Thanks to that, now there are many people who are interested in this genre, therefore big artists such as Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, Gost, Dance With The Dead and Daniel Deluxe also visit us from time to time.
You have a new album out called “DEATH & GLORY”. From what I've read, the recording and release of the album has been fairly tumultuous. Your soundcard died. You had a pretty nasty motorbike crash. And I even read the negative response from a couple other musicians as you released this album without a major label and under a “pay what you want” basis. Was this the most difficult album you have ever released?
LAZERPUNK: Yeah, that crash have changed my mindset quite a bit. Even before that things were already pretty bad and I felt like I need to get out of this cycle somehow, but I just couldn't. I got stuck in a loop. I had absolutely no direction life, neither goals or anything going on for me, so I did stupid stuff like street racing, hanging out with some really bad people and doing all kinds of things I won't mention here. That crash was the exclamation mark at the end of a sentence that was written for me long ago. Since then I went even lower, and I think I hit rock bottom last winter. I was really so low that there was only one level lower than that, and that's not something where you can come back from. I wrote 'EGO DEATH' during this time. But in the end I've decided not to give up, do one final push, and that is "DEATH & GLORY". This is definitely more powerful and more dark than anything I've ever wrote. I am not a good producer, not even close. The powerhouse behind this album was not professionalism, a knowledge on music theory or sound design, but raw human emotions. All the hate, anger, frustration and pain that I felt during that time I put it into this one album. This album doesn't say complicated things, but what it says it says in a very powerful way. And it seems like people really feel that when they listen to it.
On “DEATH & GLORY” you made a track with Quixotic called 'Speedracer'. I remember reading a post by yourself that stated you and Quixotic used to be rivals in a sense. Can you explain your relationship with Quixotic and how you went from rivals to friends?
LAZERPUNK: It's a long story, but the main thing is that we were and still are the two main names in this scene on a local level. It's not like there isn't enough room for two people in this entire scene, but there's only one place at the top, and both of us have huge egos and we just love to compete. Also people always measured us against each other and put some fuel to the fire by doing that. Once I seen him pulling up in his nice red sport scar and I started taunting him that he probably doesn't even have the balls to really kick the gas pedal through the floor. He told me to jump in and see, so I had to. And I have to admit, this guy can drive. He can really race that thing and he is not afraid to burn some rubber in the corners. I respect people who are willing to take risks, and he definitely took some when he started drifting that car in some narrow streets just to show me he is not a bitch. So we found common ground in our love for speed, adrenaline and machines. Since then we kinda became friends, but this rivalry has been going on between us for so long that it'll probably never end. And I don't even want it to end. In fact I enjoy it.
Also featured on the album is Daniel Deluxe on the song 'Digital Demon'. What was it like working with Daniel Deluxe? What did he add to the song?
LAZERPUNK: I've been a fan of Daniel's music for a while now. His dark and sinister bass heavy sound was something I could really get into, but I haven't really talked to him before. When I got stuck with this song I hit him up asking if he'd be up for a collab. Which I never did before, wasn't even sure how it's supposed to go, and Daniel was way above my level at that time, so honestly I expected him to turn me down. But he said yes, and we started to work together. The skeleton of the song pretty much remained the same but it was Daniel who put the meat on it, and gave it a face. I worked and tried to work with many people before, but Daniel really stands out. He is a cool and friendly guy, but he is also a cold professional. And he really has some stories behind his music, which adds a lot to it. But I'll leave it up to him to talk about those. I'll only say that this guy definitely has some stories to tell.
What is "DEATH & GLORY" about? Obviously it is an amazing dance floor banger, but does it have an overall theme, story, or something of that sort?
LAZERPUNK: People usually don't think much about this type of music. We have this preconception that music like this is just calculated noise, something that has no meaning at all, and completely empty under the surface. Obviously it is very difficult to communicate complex things without lyrics or with such a strict and minimalistic structure, but that doesn't mean these songs are empty. Each song has stories and meanings behind them, and they are also filled with lots of symbolism. I think that's one of the reasons the album is doing so well. I'm definitely not the best producer out there, wouldn't even call myself a good one, but I guess people just sense that there is more to these songs than what you hear in the first place. Maybe you don't get the meaning, but you know it's there and somehow it makes the whole thing more valuable and easier to form a connection with. Actually I've started writing a small booklet which explains the meanings behind the songs and it will be sold with the CDs and casettes once I get those done. I think for many people it will be very interesting to see what are the themes and meanings behind these songs.
The cover art for the album is very wicked. A woman with glowing eyes staring into the empty holes of a skeleton's eye sockets. Who made the cover art and what does it represent? Does the cover art represent one song more than the rest on the album?
LAZERPUNK: The album art is the work of Robin Clarijs. I chose him because he really has a unique style and he too has an obsession with skulls, just like me. The original conecpt was my idea, but Robin came up with the whole aesthetics and design, and I have to say he did an amazing job. The album art too has lots of symbolism in it. The cover art has meaning, the butterfly knives have their own meaning and the fact that it was released on January thirtry-first is also very important. Many of these things are very personal so I won't address those, but I can say that the cover represents facing death, and even feeling a connection with it. It is not "Death or Glory", it is "DEATH & GLORY". You don't get to choose. What makes things really valuable is the price. How you know something is important to you is by asking yourself what price am I willing to pay for this? And your ultimate goals will often cost you the ultimate sacrifice. The people who really achieve Glory, who really get what they want are always the ones that accept the dark side of things, who accept that everything has a price, and the more valuable the thing is, the higher the price will be. They don't run away from the breeze of Death, they surround themselves with it and stare it in the eye without flinching and say that they will get what they want, and not even Death can stop them. And even the Grim Reaper has some respect for those who know what they want and are willing to stand their ground, and make the necessary sacrifices. But I can't really explain this fully. I'm not good with words. Maybe that's why I look for other ways to express myself.
I understand that this release is currently digital only. Do you have any plans on releasing the album in a physical edition? I know that there is an army of fans that would eat up your album with ease if it were to have a CD, Cassette, or Vinyl release.
LAZERPUNK: Yeah, I see now that there is a huge demand for CDs, casettes and even vinyl. Robin is working hard on the design right now. There will be CDs and casettes for sure, and I'm planning to press vinyl as well, but I've never done that before and it is crazy expensive. So I really have to know it will sell, otherwise I'll end up in a huge debt. Also I have some awesome new merch in the making like T-shirts and Hoodies by Maleficio Rodriguez who makes designs for motorcycle gangs and bands like Combichrist.
I always like asking this question as artists sometimes have a difficult time answering it. But, what is your favorite track on all of “DEATH & GLORY”? And why?
LAZERPUNK: That's a really though question. My goal with this album was to make it really hard for people to pick a favorite. I deleted everything without mercy that I wasn't sure about. And it's a very diverse album in terms of sound. But if I really had to pick a favorite I think I'd say 'Revenge'. Probably because that is a very personal song for me, and as the closing song that's the only one which doesn't wants to be a banger. And pretty much this is the only song on the album with some beauty in it. It is a bit different from the rest of the tracks. But oddly enough so far it seems like people love 'Black Lambo' the most. Which is shocking because I almost deleted that song on the last week, as I was really unsure about it. The fact that I almost deleted the song which turned out to be the most popular one is just further proof that I don't actually know what I'm doing.
From what I've seen thus far, fan reception has been nothing less than stellar for “Death & Glory”. Were you expecting such an uproar from the scene for this album? Aside from the previously mentioned negativity, has there been any other bad remarks about the album?
LAZERPUNK: No. I did not expect anything honestly. I just wanted to put this out. I'm very bad at finishing things so the fact that I could finally finish it and say that this is done was already a huge thing for me. But I still can't believe how popular it got. The themes and meanings behind this album is very personal, so I did not expect many people to really "get this". But it seems like they did. Maybe DEATH & GLORY is not such an unique concept. Maybe there are many people who went through stuff like me in their own way. And it is a great feeling. It is good to know that I am not alone with these things, and it is great to see that there are people who listen to these tracks and can relate to them as they too had moments in their own lives, in their own stories where they felt the same. I was a very introverted kid and I never talked about my thoughs or experiences. I still don't really do it, but with music I can. And it's great to have someone say that he/she is listening to me and he/she understands. I never got so much attention and support in my entire life. That's why I look at these people more like friends and family. Not fans. Definitely not fans. I hate that word.
Can we expect to see you playing live or going on tour in the near future in support of “DEATH & GLORY”?
LAZERPUNK: Yes. Absolutely. I wrote this album with that in mind. With the previous albums it was kinda difficult to pick which songs would work live, but with "DEATH & GLORY" this is not an issue. Every song is something that I can imagine being played live. Obviously that will require a lot of work as I have to prepare them for shows because I like to change them a bit so it doesn't sound the same as on the album. I like to go crazy with my songs at live gigs, giving something more to the audience, something that'll really make it worth to hear these songs in a live setting, other than the huge bass which will crack your ribcage. Also I pay a lot of attention to the visuals as well, I'm making visuals now, planning to use programmed light systems and all. I'm not going to be just nodding behind a laptop on a stage. I want my live shows to be absolute mayhem. If I won't see stagediving and moshpits and the occasional human sacrifices at my shows I'll be disappointed.
And do you currently have anything else in the works, or are you going to be taking a break from making music now that “DEATH & GLORY” has been released?
LAZERPUNK: I had. I started working with a girl on a very dark and powerful witch house project. Something like CRIM3S, or Crystal Castles around their 3rd album, but even darker than that. But sadly it fell apart. She was an amazing artist with huge passion in her but as it usually is with great artists she also had many problems like mental disorders, drugs, depression and things like that. And despite I really tried to keep it professional and stay distant, eventually we became very good friends, and we just got too close to each other. In the end it all fell apart, and we don't even talk anymore. I really tried and wanted to help but maybe I was a bad influence on her. I don't know, but I hope she is okay, and I hope she won't give up on music. She has a lot of anger in her, and letting it out by screaming into a mic is a good way to deal with it. Definitely better than some of the other things she did. Also she had a huge influence on "DEATH & GLORY". I will never deny that.
Now that all is said and done, I leave the space below for you to say anything else you wish to say. “Death & Glory” is kick ass and I commend you on a job well done. Cheers!
LAZERPUNK: All I can say is thanks for everyone for supporting me and making DEATH & GLORY this big. It really gives me the motivation to try and do even bigger things and I already have lots of plans for the future. I feel like something has just started with this album and I won't let those people down who helped me make it happen. You'll see some awesome stuff in the near future, I promise you that.