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From Verdi to Budapest house music: An interview with Imre Kiss

Published July, 2013
by Easterndaze


Imre Kiss is a fledgling Hungarian producer, who is currently based in London as a freelance graphic designer. He is part of the burgeoning Budapest dance/electronic scene, underpinned by the Farbwechsel label. His latest collaboration with Farbwechsel head Martin Mikolai, aka S Olbricht, is out on Shabu Recordings. 

Where are you based and how long have you done music?

I was born in Slovakia to Hungarian parents but for the last four years I’ve been based in London. I was around 13 when my dad bought me some obscure music making software, at about the same time I’d been studying Verdi’s Aida at school. I thought it would be fun to make a remix of it which ended up sounding like some mental rave. I made a tape of it and took it back to school the next day. My music teacher hated it but I never looked back. 

I wasn’t classically trained but I was heavily into electronics and sampling so I started experimenting with softwares and synths. In my late teens/early twenties I was playing in various bands and formations and I was dj-ing a bit too. My first release came under the name Absturz on the Slovakian Ambsine records compilation almost a decade ago.

I have noticed your music on the Hungarian synth compilation, as well as through Farbwechsel, what are your associations with this? 

I was introduced to Farbwechsel through my mate Balázs Semsei (Norwell) whom I also did a remix for earlier this year. I started sending tracks to Martin (S Olbricht) and Balázs (Norwell) and they all seemed to like what I was doing so it was a natural progress from there. I’m just about to finish my EP. It will come out this autumn on limited edition cassette tapes. For the Hungarian synth compilation I was asked by the guys at Raketa festival to contribute with one of my tracks they heard on my Soundcloud page. It had lots of exciting new Hungarian producers participating in it so I was happy to be involved.

Do you feel there is more and more dance/electronic music production coming from Budapest, also via Farbwechsel, etc?

Definitely, there was always a good scene in Budapest and as an outsider I feel like there are some big things happening at the moment. Everyone at Farbwechsel is really cool and open-minded. They are not trying to follow a trend or pigeonhole themselves. Guys like Norwell, S Olbricht and Route 8 are mind blowing producers and there is also the 8ounce crew who are doing some quality stuff too. It’s not just the music scene, other parts of the creative industry are getting the spotlight too. It’s good to see many small independent fashion labels getting success such as Aarion, Nanushka and Siberia to name a few. The city’s face has changed a lot since I moved from there 8 years ago.

You are now based in London, what do you do there, and are you also involved in the music scene there?

I’m working as a freelance graphic designer and I also do some small part time jobs to earn a living. I’m lucky enough to do some design work for music labels as the two always went hand in hand for me. I’m currently planning on starting a design studio called Atelier Kiss in Budapest with my cousin. The scene in London is enormous. I’ve seen and got to know many exciting musicians here but I wouldn’t say that I’m a part of the London scene. For the past two years I’ve been busy building my home studio and spent all my free time (and money) there. I wasn’t really sending demos to British labels or anyone else. My friends encouraged me to put my stuff out there, otherwise I was just sitting in my tiny east London flat playing around with synths.

What are your plans with music?

Well, first of all I’m very excited about my EP on Farbwechsel. I will also have a track coming out on the Canadian Shabu recordings which I’ve co-written with S Olbricht. I’m planning to move to Budapest in the summer so I can concentrate more on my design work and be a bit more involved in the scene there. Other than that I’m working on new music so there might be some more releases coming in the future, time will tell.

thanks to András G. Varga.