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Interview with Ádám Bérces

Rozmawiał Adam Tomasz Witczak

Do you consider Kraschau as a part of any “scene” or “style”? In your opinion, is there something like martial industrial scene—or maybe there are only single artists who play their own music?

I definitely think that there is an actual martial industrial scene, lest most artists say that they are just making their own music and expressing their feelings or anything with this kind of sound (and so do I). For me spreading the message of Kraschau is the primary aim and this kind of powerful music is a great tool for that. But there is/was a scene, which is good, but, as I see it, in these days it became rather a subculture with all positive and negative sides of being a subculture. But I am only the sympathizer of certain subcultures and I consider myself rather simply as “underground”.

For me one of the most interesting things in martial industrial is that it is an effect of a specific evolution. As we know, early industrial bands (like Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, SPK or Test Dept) were leftist or postmodern and nihilist, so it is a paradox that this genre has evolved into so “reactionary” form as martial industrial. And it’s not only a question of adding “rightist” lyrics to old music (like in rock or patriotic rap)—it was also formal evolution into classical influences. Could you comment on this? Is it a paradox?

I think there is a major gap between early industrial music and music we call martial: ideological—as you said—but also in aesthetics and in music. Bands like Test Dept, SPK, Laibach etc. were pioneers of the martial sounds, but they weren’t martial industrial bands per se. Using classical samples and military rhythms was only a part of their experiments, since their works have a wide range of musical styles. Martial industrial has a certain “mood” and sound which appeared first with Autopsia, Les Joyaux de la Princesse or maybe Der Blutharsch.

Your question about how classical sounds (their usage, especially of marches can be considered as somehow “traditionalist”) and ideology affected a musical genre is interesting, and I think it’s a “chicken or the egg” question—what came first—but I don’t think it’s a paradox: musical styles evolve, for example early Hungarian punk before 1990 was anti-communist and anti-political/nihilist, while after the fall of the communist dictatorship the punk scene became more or less leftist. But I definitely think that the biggest influence on martial industrial was Laibach. They were also apolitical, but heir “fascistoid” appearance made a big impact on the industrial scene.

Your description of punk transformation fits also to Polish punk before and after 1989. But, after all, could you shortly describe to us Hungarian martial/neofolk scene? We all know Kriegsfall-U, and now also Kraschau, and we know that you have strict views, especially when it comes to religion. Do you sometimes experienceforgive me this politically correct word“intolerance” in martial/gothic/neofolk circles?

It’s quite interesting that Hungary has many martial and neofolk bands which are well known on the international scene and have releases in the most famous labels, but this music is almost unknown in Hungary. There are of course small circles of listeners of this music, mostly from the gothic and lately from my generation from the extreme metal scene, but, for example, when it comes to live events it means that only 20-30 people attend a concert, which is not too much. Especially in the last few years there were less and less live events also many projects became inactive. But it’s great that I have close relationship and a friendship with Kriegsfall-U and it’s great that we can work together. They were always a big influence for me musically and also in my personal life so it’s a big honour to work with them. Of course we meet with intolerance, but most of the time it has a form of unspoken and latent disinclination, with the suggestion that being the part of the so-called “dark” subculture, while being a Christian, is a paradox. I think that today any randomly chosen pop icon is more satanic and dangerous than the most “evil” metal band…

What does development, progress, change in art mean to you? In conservative circles we can often meet people who think that every new form is evil and we should listen only to music from XVIII century etc. On the other side we havein some Christian or “far-right” circles, for examplea strange tendency to mix pop-culture schemes (like rock music or hip-hop style) with “proper lyrics” without any deeper thought. But we can see in history of art that there are interesting examples of Catholic and truly spiritual avant-gardein music it can be Messiaen, in architecture—Gaudi. What’s your opinion? Where is the narrow balance between “iconoclastic artists who spawn their work of chaos” (as Changes sings) and being simply a man who stopped somewhere before impressionism and is afraid to go further?

I don’t think that avant-garde is evil in general. I think that what really matters is the ideology behind the artwork. Catholic artists like Gaudi or Messiaen didn’t want to destroy anything, they just wanted to add something new from their new, 20th century point of view while respecting traditional values. But the modernist and post-modernist artists who spread e.g. anti-religious, pro-homosexual or pro-feminist ideologies want to destroy the past and all that was valuable. Maybe the artistic tools are similar, but it’s just because we live in the same age, the aims, however, are actually different. Music like Christian rock or hip-hop is not art, it's just a funny (?) fashion from North American neo-protestants, so I think it isn’t worth any words.

You describe yourself obviously as a monarchist/royalist. Are you formal member or supporter of any political group (or metapolitical society) involved in monarchism?

In Hungary we don’t have any registered monarchist political movements. We have a few “unofficial” groups/movements and a monarchist web portal, just like yours, called Regnum! Portál. I am an editor and writer of that portal. It is the biggest “base” of Hungarian monarchism and it’s strongly associated with the group Magyar Királyságért Liga (League for Hungarian Kingdom). Before I became a monarchist I supported some extreme rightist ideals but I’ve never been a member of any movements.

As we know—and as You once told me—Hungarian tradition of independence (fight for independence) is mostly liberal/Masonic/republican/revolutionary etc. So what’s the relation between monarchists and nationalists? Do they think that you are “traitors” or enemies of independent Hungary or something like that? And are there any monarchists who would support monarchy—but not Habsburg dynasty—but rather any kind of “truly Hungarian”, “national” monarchy?

The ideological situation is really hard for us here in Hungary: the so-called independency wars—in particular the war of 1848-49—are a determinative part of the identity of an average Hungarian person, regardless of his actual political views. Also most of the Hungarian moderate right, extreme right, conservative and nationalist circles have a big respect for the wars, although they were fundamentally a leftist revolt against the kingdom led by freemasonic intellectuals and young, enthusiastic but also reckless literati. But they are considered as our “national thing”—of course leftists also respect this legacy—so the cult of the wars is just full of inconsistencies.

First they were considered as a simple uprisings against the kingdom, but later, during the communism, the historical approach was of course against the monarchy and it has been taught that Habsburgs were tyrants who hated Hungarians. The communist dictatorship has ended but in the minds of the Hungarian people remained the idea of Habsburgs being the bad guys and revolutionaries being the good guys.

And of course, we, monarchists and legitimists are the “enemies” of everyone. Most rightists and nationalists say that we are (to quote them) “ass-kissers of Habsburgs” and of course leftists and liberals are against the whole idea of monarchy since to them it’s “oppressive”. There are some guys who believe in the kingdom but only with a “national” king, although none of them could ever explain who could be the king, while we, legitimists, have definite idea about this. We have a dynasty that was and is not as bad as most Hungarians think…

You said that you became legitimist after being a supporter of some “far-right groups”. Please tell us about this evolution. Were you alone or maybe you had friend who went also this way?

I was “alone” at that time so it was my own struggle. As I remember I was always oriented towards rightist/conservative ideas and I felt somehow that this modern world is not okay. At first, as a teenager, I thought that the solution to this is right extremism/nationalism and also that instead of democracy we need some kind of authoritarian leadership. I was first influenced some years ago by traditionalist writers, then by the Hungarian monarchist blog, which started at those times and also by Kriegsfall-U (!). All these things had a big influence on me and convinced me that the only system that works and is just is monarchy!

Now I have monarchist friends form the circles I have written about above like Regnum! Portál and also the connection of Kraschau with  this “scene” is close.

Music of Kraschau is—just like music of Kriegsfall-U—a kind of martial in harsh, dark manner, maybe like Turbund Sturmwerk. Have you ever thought about playing martial more melodic and light, something like Dernière Volonté or Leger des Heils, for example?

I like those bands and also harsher and darker martial, like Turbund Sturmwerk or Wappenbund—maybe those are my favourites—but I think that definite and strong message demands hard and powerful music. That’s why I’ve chosen to make a blend of harsher noise sounds, powerful rhythms and epic orchestral arrangements.

Please tell us about ambient side of your music, I mean Mørk Skog. Which sub-genre of ambient is your inspiration? Maybe this old-school sacral-gothic style of early Cold Meat?

It’s funny, but neither, my biggest inspiration were modern classical composers of the minimalist school and Tangerine Dream. But since the summer of 2013 Mørk Skog has been officially discontinued, I have made with it everything what I wanted to do. I will release a free compilation called “777” with 3-7 songs of Mørk Skog and that will be the last move of that project.

You once told me that you are also classically trained musician. Could you tell us more about this?

From my mother’s side I’m from a musical family, all her brothers and parents were musicians. I went to musical school when I started primary school. I have learned to play trumpet, horn and trombone. I also played in a brass and later in a symphonic orchestra. I’m not a professional musician and I have never attended music academy or conservatoire, but classical music was always important in my life and that helps me much when I compose my own music. Unfortunately now I don’t have any of those instruments so now I only use synthesizers, drum machines and mixer pads.

Going back to doctrinal issues: which non-Hungarian royalist or Catholic movements are your greatest inspiration? (carlism, chouannerie, cristeros, jacobitism?)

My biggest influence was the movements of the Spanish civil war, which I consider a crusade against the united communists/socialists. I have a great respect for carlism and also falangism (which is not monarchist, but Catholic). I also like the Austrian legitimists from the time after the first world war, but unfortunately it’s hard to find a good material about any of these movements. It’s still kind of underground.

Are there any contacts now between Hungarian monarchists and legitimists from other countries (like neo-Bourbons in Napoli, carlist fractions, neo-jacobites etc.)?

No, we don’t have any connections yet. Our group is still a young one, we are just in the state of formation, but of course later we will be open to any international connections.

How do you—I mean you personally and other Hungarian monarchists—imagine the ideal monarchy? Some people think that monarchy means only that there is a king who can “do everything”, others prefer modern “parliamentary monarchy” but there are also royalists like Spanish carlists, who are both against absolutism and liberalism. What’s your opinion? What was good and what was bad in Austro-Hungarian system?

In general, we, Hungarian monarchists (or at least our group) think that we already have a monarchist tradition, which was good for us and it’s still applicable. We oppose the Western European parliamentary monarchies, where the role of the kings is just symbolic. Of course it’s better than any republics, but for us it would not be enough. The Hungarian king not only reigns but also rules. After 1867 the system of the dual monarchy became constitutional monarchy—some of us say it was the start of the decay, some of us, me included, think it was still good. Especially as my favourite monarchs were Franz Joseph and Blessed Charles. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was a great unity and it developed much during its time, such a unity would be really good for both countries, but of course in these days it’s just a dream and we are strict realists: chasing after great fantasies is always harmful and people who do that often simply cannot see what they can actually achieve.

You said: both countries, Austria and Hungary. What about the other and their fight for independence (I mean Balkan nations or Poland). Was it justified? It's a sad fact that Catholic Austrian monarchy took part in so-called “partitions of Poland”, when Russia, Prussia— and Austria —just divided Polish independent kingdom between themselves.

Of course that was unfair, just like Trianon for Hungarians. Of course we don’t consider the fraternal Polish nation’s lands as our territories. And although monarchy is the most ideal form of state, it can still make smaller or even fatal mistakes.

Tell us about situation of Catholic traditionalism in Hungary. Do you have Hungarian branch of FSSPX, do you have Summorum Pontificium-based masses and are there sedevacantists there?

I don’t know if there are any groups of SSPX/sedevacantists here but there are masses in the Tridentine rite and also some of my monarchist friends attend them. But I attend Novus Ordo masses at my own parish where I belong. There’s a really good community here, the parson is a really nice man and also the church is beautiful. I agree and understand that the old rite was better, but I disagree with sedevacantism (and of course I know that attending a Tridentine rite mass is not the same as being a sedevacantist). I don’t think that popes after Vaticanum II are illegitimate, since we also had great popes since then, especially Pope Benedict XVI. Of course I agree that Vaticanum II has made many bad decisions, but I believe that even if bad things happen, they also have a place in God’s plan for his Church.

For Polish readers it can be interesting that there was or is a strong (probably…?) millieu of perennial/integral traditionalits in Hungary. For example, you had nearly 25 years ago one of the first neofolk/postindustrial music/artistic collectives inspired by ideas of Guénon etc. (I mean ACTUS). What do you think about those currents? Deep spiritualityor maybe quasi-reactionary far-right new age for people who are afraid to “be a simple men” (as Lynyrd Skynyrd sings)?

I used to be a big supporter of those schools, but during the last times I am more less interested in them. For readers it’s good, but we need definite actions and not just great thoughts. I was really disappointed when many contemporary traditionalist writers became supporters of the national radical party Jobbik, and I think for many people it’s nothing more than a kind of superficial fashion. Also their sympathy for nazism is really controversial. I still think that it’s an interesting philosophy, but for me it became too repetitive. But ACTUS was a great band and at the times I listened more to them and it made a great impression on me. But I define myself purely as a Catholic and monarchist now.

As we know, half of your new album (as Kraschau) is strictly about Spanish War (Crusade). What do you think about a concept of an album (yours or made as a various artists compilation) about all major counter-revolutionary movements, from jacobitism, through chouannerie, sanfedism, miguelism, carlism OAS or Lebanon Christians? A kind of… opus magnum?

I find this to be a very good idea, maybe compilation made by various artists would be good enough to “process” this wide spectrum of history. However, in the future I also want to move on from the Austro-Hungarian and Spanish themes, but of course it will require knowledge about the given historic situation and much of reading…

OK, so the last question: what does “Kraschau” mean? As you once wrote—it’s a name of fictional city, yes? But is it a neo-logism, your own word? And how does it sound for Germans and Hungarian, as it is quasi-German word?

Everyone thinks that it’s an actual town, since the German variant for the town Kassa (now located in Slovakia, named Koşice) is Kaschau and also there was a castle called Krassó (Karaş) in Banat, but Kraschau was neither of them, it simply never existed. It just came out of my mind. On the next release after Falanx I will give more information about this fictional town.

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