Exclusive Interview: Godgiven talk “Not That Godly”!

Putting a genre tag on Budapest, Hungary based Godgiven is like trying to play a game of pin the tale on the Donkey after a bottle of Wild Turkey, replacing the pin with a nail and trying not to hit your thumbs. The easiest way to describe them is to say that they find the roots of their sound are in late 90’s and early 2000’s Alternative Metal and in our review of their album “Not That Godly” we pointed to having moments like My Ruin, Snot and even Sepultura all wrapped up with a bow. So if you can’t get your head around what that might sound like, well there is only one thing for it. Locate the album at source of choice and push the triangle. You will not be disappointed. We spoke to guitarist and vocalist Andras Gyorffy about all that has happened over the near two years of writing and recording that went into “Not That Godly“…

How have you found the reaction to the singles from “Not That Godly” so far? The thing that we love about the album the most is that it sounds fast and loose, like it was done in one take! “Thank you! Seems our efforts have hit the target! Actually it was recorded almost in one take indeed. Well, surprisingly the reactions were 100% positive so far, which I personally didn’t expect considering its uncompromising form and content! However its quite divisive as predicted: one loves the sound while others understand but not into this attitude. The other hard part was the diversity the songs represent. Noone could predict what vibe one upcoming song will have, which I really enjoyed!  Speaking of statistics, “The Business Show” brought the best numbers in the shortest term so far, while “Gerontocrap” got the best professional feedbacks. Probably it’s too early to rate “Doggiven”, but now it seems like being an intersection of the first two songs in respect of feedbacks. So the situation seems quite promising…

The record has been a labour of love having been in the works for something like four years, so does it feel like a weight off of your minds to have it finally released? Have there ever been any dark moments when you thought that it might not happen? “Yeah, it wasn’t a joy ride at all!  The album has just released yesterday, and I still can’t believe it really happened!  So right now I’m confused, relieved, happy, exhausted, uptight etc. at the same time, but the thing I’m pretty sure about is it was a goddamn worth doing it! No matter how it will be judged, I’m really proud of this product! Sure I had dark moments, honestly it was like an odyssey fore and aft. Line-up changes are always hard, not speaking when the bandmates are friends at the same time. Luckily our friendships have just strengthened since then, even though they’ve realized in time, they cannot make this stuff through. Besides these changes, family issues, accidents, many-many disruptions in the studio processes have slowed us down. And yes, there were moments I’ve felt we won’t make it, or even recover after, but fortunately the album itself gave enough motivation to carry on! Honestly, this four years could have been reduced to 2-3 years, ’cause the material was ready by last autumn. But came the second wave of the pandemic, so we decided not shooting the powder in the middle of the lockdown but giving the whole release a larger scale. Which seemed a good decision after all!”

What was it like working with Harmed guitarist Gabor Toth from Ghostship recordings on the album? He’s a man with a growing reputation! “Working with Gábor is always fun! However he’s a really acknowledged professional and a tough critic, he’s an absolutely cooperating and enthusiastic producer and a very nice guy, who doesn’t judge you by what scene you come from and other shit. He was open both in personal and professional ways. We’ve been working with him formerly on two singles, so we were sure we want him! You know, first we thought he won’t dig this style, since he’s been working on much more actual sounds lately. But as turned out he’s also grown up on the same influences like us: nu metal, groove, alternative metal, and he seemed to enjoy this stuff. When we told him we want a raw, live-sounding, instinctive album, he had a simile from ear to ear, then opened a box with mics just from the same make like used on “Around the Fur” by Deftones… He didn’t play safe and made us sound really unique! On top of that, he’s helping us with further professional guidance as yet. We loved all the phases of the process, even the harder ones. So no doubt we’ll collaborate in the future!”

The album has several guest appearances on it including Balazs Medve of Hit by a School Bus and Balint Csongor of Subscribe and Useme. How did those come about? “I always loved different kinds of cooperations, so had the idea of involving as much and way different guests as possible. Bálint was the vocal producer of the album and he’s my singing master also, so his appearance was kinda obvious. Btw we had live featurings formerly, but I wanted to eternalize this stuff, and fortunately he didn’t resist Balázs and Hit By a School Bus has been there by our side from the beginning, just like our Italian friends, Mauro and his band, MuD. So there was no question on including them in this important milestone of Gogdiven’s history. Involving JFT bros from Bulgaria was also an obvious decision, since we had many tours and shows together and it’s 100% we couldn’t get to this point without them! Unfortunately the band have split since then, but the guys have new projects now, so in exchange of one badass bulgarian bands, now we have multiple badass bulgarian bands! The song “The Business Show” has female vocal tracks as well, which was my evil plan I just didn’t even dare to share with my bandmates prior.  I knew it will work but was sure the guys won’t agree until hearing the proof. It was epic seeing their faces turning from shock to full of smiling when hearing it for the first time! I still have many ideas on further featurings, but now I wanted to gather the closest mates, so I’m really happy all of them could make it!”

You’ve twisted the track titles taking words from the lyrics to form them which is great fun, where did the inspiration for that come? “Actually this is my nature, my humor’s like that. I’m always playing with words and joking on absurd stuff, people usually don’t get.  This title “convention” has evolved de facto, we had songs like “Bruce Willisizing”, “Raceist” or “Fitish” before, but it came deliberate on our last EP “Out of Box”. Guess I have seen such stuff in the 2000’s nu metal scene somewhere, but honestly I really suck at remembering song titles and cannot even recall the band yet. This might be a silly thing, but at least not that boring and altogether a good way to remember at least my own song titles… This “easter egg” type of album title is a way older flash, lead back to my former band, FreeFlyZone. I think it’s a quite exciting recognition to the listener, when finding the title somewhere in a lyric’s context!”

Reading your bio drummer Norbert Fejes and bassist Peter Molnar performed on the album but have since been replaced by bassist Attila Keszthelyi (ex-Replugged) and drummer Mate Korb (ex-All Falls Down, ex-Witch Bone Garden, ex-Komodo). What’s it like bringing in new musicians with an album already completed and ready to tour? “Yeah, Norbert is a great drummer and a cool guy as well, but we could not agree on conceptual issues. So the only rational decision was that he quit. Péter is kinda family member of Norbert so he was called to replace our former bassist Gyula Mészáros, who needed to leave due to family issues right before the recording sessions. It was clear from the beginning that Péter wasn’t that committed and rather came for friends & fun. Unfortunately or fortunately, I’ve became a really experienced member-initiator by now. This time it was super simple: the material is ready, the guys are agile, so everyone knows their job, we just need to put all together in the rehearsal. Sure it will sound a bit different, since its a really instinctive stuff, but the main vibe is the same, and the different uptakes give it a very special and actual taste after all! So no worries, it will kick ass! Btw this new line-up has the best chemistry I’ve ever longed for. All the jams immediately turn into new songs! So hopefully the next record won’t take another four years to complete.”

What next for Godgiven? You must be itching to return to the stage? “Yeah, I’m really eager to play again!Stage is my only home, the place where I actually feel alive. This year we’ll do a few inland shows to get rid of rust, but won’t go into more serious touring yet. You know, I’ve spent most of my time and energies on finishing this record stuff in the past few years, neglecting my personal, family life a bit, so there are many things to make up now. While arranging, we’ll work on finding a record label. Although I’ve enjoyed the preparations a lot, we’d really need professional care, so we could focus more on our actual job to evolve. My plan is to go on tour next year, which would cover the countries we’ve played before and also including some new ones. Sure we won’t tour frenzy, that age might have passed by now. We’ll do what makes sense and feels good. What else could we do as a band from the time rock’n’roll died?”

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