I, Symptom Interview

Today, we are speaking with I, Symptom. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Hello to you and all the readers, greetings from Budapest, Hungary. The short introduction of I, Symptom is “electronic rock and roll outlaw”. I’m a rock and roll addict, got my first guitar when I was 14, and I have been playing ever since. I’ve had a variety of projects ranging from art rock to comedy pop, and in this project I’m experimenting with hybrid music.

You are releasing a new album on the 14th of October. What was the writing/creative and recording process for Outlaw Days like?

My intention was to make Outlaw Days a really strong album. I didn’t have any specific concept in the beginning, but then my private life started to fall apart and turn into a living inferno, and I found myself in a story worth writing songs about. In the end, the process turned out to be really chaotic and unexpectedly long, but it provided me with an infinite source of inspiration. And the results are strong due to the intensity of emotions under the hood.

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Miles Above the Baseline is your lead single from Outlaw Days. What else should listeners expect from the rest of the tracks on the album?

Some of the songs on Outlaw Days are as beautiful as Miles Above the Baseline. There’s a quite wide range of vibes and styles though due to the changes related to inspiration and mood during the creation of the album. And most importantly, you can expect real stories here, with uncensored emotions.

How does Outlaw Days differ from your previous music? What sort of things (influences, arrangements, approaches) are a hold-over from earlier recordings?

I’ve rediscovered my rock and roll side, so the songs on Outlaw Days are basically more rock and less electronic. And I have experimented much more with the vocals. The playfulness of the music of I, Symptom, however, is still ubiquitous, it has even evolved to a new level.

I’ve revisited some topics, e.g. on Handmade Love there was an anti-politician song called Prison Bitch, on Outlaw Days there will be one called Legalized Gangsters, furthermore, on the previous album there was an astronomical piece Quasars Sing a Lullaby, and now there’s Miles Above the Baseline.

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How supportive is the Budapest music scene in furthering your career (e.g. radio stations, magazine, venues)?

The biggest advantage of the Budapest music scene is that there is a variety of great venues attracting people who are really interested in quality entertainment. Places like Backstage Pub, Gólya, and A38 (here I had a gig with another project unrelated to I, Symptom), for example, are places that I love as a performer due to their reputation and professional sound. I also have a good experience with local webzines.

You’re on Weatnu Records. How did you two get in touch? How have they assisted with Outlaw Days?

I, Symptom joined the #WEATNU (We Are The New Underground) collective in 2015. The whole thing was induced by an encounter on SoundCloud. The members of the community have helped by sharing their thoughts about the songs coming fresh from the brewery. And there are also artists whose work is going to be available in the Outlaw Days package, available for those who decide to support the work of I, Symptom on Bandcamp.

I also have to tell you that the album is not going to be released by Weatnu Records, actually. There are two main reasons for this: the increasing emphasis on rock music components, and the explicit nature of the lyrics.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

I have a small home studio, which is a combination of computer + software (Reason Essentials, to be more specific) + external sound card + microphone + guitar amp. The biggest advantage of it is that I can record ideas as soon as they pop out of my head, and hear how they actually sound. And the studio software tool gives you a lot of room for experimenting with the sound, with virtual effects and amplifiers.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?

There are influences coming both from the rock and the electro side. From the former, it’s worth mentioning Devin Townsend, Iggy Pop (& the Stooges), and Tool/A Perfect Circle. From the latter, the most important are The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher. Performing together with any of these artist would be incredibly awesome and dreamlike to me.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

The content I’m publishing comes in different forms  (music/photo/video), so I must treat my social media activity as a whole. I believe that an artist page on a single social media website is not enough, pages on different sites with posts linking to one another can be much more effective. So I can say that all sites of an artist are required to have what you call the best success.

There are countless online services, maybe it’s impossible to give all of them a try, and it’s not easy to identify the ones that are really beneficial. I have had both good and bad experience, but going into the details should be part of another story (I should write a blog post about it).

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

I think both are beautiful. About life: I think you really have to be careful because it’s quite easy to mess up for good. Ask yourself every day “is this the way I want to live?”, and if you don’t reply yes without hesitation, you should seriously come up with a plan B.

 

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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