Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Etichete: Amber Smith, Imre Poniklo, Introspective, Melody Ep, My Little Servant, Nincs Szükség Ránk, Reprint, The Poster Boy
Amber Smith was formed in 2000 by singer-songwriter Imre Poniklo as a temporary project. The best alternative band from Hungary had a solid line-up from 2004-2013.
The second album, Reprint came out in 2006, with a new sound, new ambitions and great collaborators – just to mention, the album was mixed and partly produced by Cocteau Twins mastermind Robin Guthrie; also, the title track is produced by Yonderboi
The album Introspective is out now!
CZB: YOU ARE THE BEST ALTERNATIVE BAND FROM HUNGARY
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): I hope it’s really true. We’ve been together for nine years now. We have our expectations but we’ve also worked a lot. We have played Germany, France, Spain, Italy. We love doing what we do. People say we are quite good live. We try to give our best anywhere we play.
CZB: RECORD COMPANY
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): We have a contract with a Baltic record company. We work with different record companies in different countries right now.
CZB: MUSICAL TRADEMARK
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): It’s not an easy question because every music can be compared to something of course. We try to be unique. My voice is different, for example. We play an alternative music. Each of us listens to different kinds of music and each member brings his influences into the band’s music. Our drummer loves classical music. The bass player likes Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode. I listen to some French artists, such as Serge Gainsbourg and this makes each of us have a different background.
CZB: Do you consider this part of ROMANIA a former part of Hungary?
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): I will be 100% honest with you. Of course, it was once part of Hungary, now it’s part of Romania. For me personally it is a bit strange. I have a German wife for instance. For her it’s different. We go through Austria and Switzerland, but for her it’s different because they’re different nations. I was in Timishoara yesterday, now I am in Cluj … I hear Hungarian spoken in town but honestly I do not think it makes any difference now because we are all part of the European Union. I don’t really think it matters any more.
CZB: MESSAGE IN LYRICS
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): I think every artist sees the world through his own eyes and I think that each artist has the urge to tell others what he thinks or how he sees the world. For example, I know it’s kind of like a cliché but we have a song which is about the ignorance in all of Europe about the global warming. It is a problem that began about 20 or 30 years ago. I don’t know if you remember … under communism, they didn’t inform us about the climate change. I do not find it normal that nowadays it is unofficially recommended that you stay indoors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It wasn’t like this when I was a child that the sun could be so powerful and burn your skin in a few hours if you weren’t careful. This is crazy. What will happen to my child? Will he be walking around in a deep sea diving suit or what the hell? People don’t seem to care about it as much as they should. This influences me and my lyrics.
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): This is my opinion and I think that I am influenced by English music and culture and you can’t avoid it. I respect them for what they did and do. There are exceptions, such as some Swedes and other foreigners that manage to break into their charts, because they are accepted but I do not think there is much of a chance for Europeans to make it into their charts (unless the artist is sponsored by the E.U.). I think that for a European artist the Continent of Europe is the most important market. You should try and you have to try to make it to London or across the Atlantic but our market is here, in Continental Europe. I lived in England for a short time and I go there frequently. It is so strange that Europe is so close, but they have always managed to stay isolated. For me, Spanish, Swedish and Hungarians are very different but somehow in the continent we have always been somehow closer to each other, as a unit, and the English, across the Channel, have always been something else. They consider themselves very different. They stick to their own thing, like they stick to the Pound and the Queen. Whenever they lose something it’s a national tragedy. Like 8 or 9 years ago they lost the rear entrance red busses. You can’t get in by jumping on to the end of the red busses anymore. You can only hop on if the front door opens. That was a tragedy for them. They are British and they have these very British things, like the Pound and Football and the music. They consider these very British things and they want to keep it British. The English identity is very important for them.
CZB: ENGLISH LANGUAGE LYRICS
Imre Poniklo (Amber Smith): The story behind it is very simple. It started in parallel. The first two albums are written both in Hungarian and in English. I wrote the lyrics. We play indie music. I cannot say we fill stadiums. This music is not very popular in Hungary but we are doing all right. There is a good scene for this. When we started in 2000, I sent the English version songs to record companies in Germany and they were open to our music, they seemed interested. From 2002- 2005, we did some small club tours and they seemed much more open for this music. In 2006, I have a theory for what happened. There came an absolutely new generation that was born at the time that communism was stopped. People born in 1988-1990 are now 18 to 20 years old. They didn’t care about anything related to Communism. They didn’t feel that. Me and you know about the communism though. We are pioneers but for them, we are medieval. They listen more to this kind of music. In 2005-2006, 16-17 year olds were starting to come to our gigs in huge numbers and this helped us very much. At the time we were already singing in English. And this is best for us as well now, as we are traveling a lot and we want to communicate with people of diverse cultures and although all the people in the world can hate and fight against the English, the English language is the most widely spoken in the world.
Interview conceived by: RiCo for CZB.ro
May 15, 2009
- Imre Poniklo – vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Oszkar Acs – bass, vocals
- Zoltan Kovary – guitars
- Bence Bator – drums
- Nincs Szükség Ránk (Independent, 2001)
- My Little Servant (Firestation Tower Records, 2003)
- Reprint (Kalinkaland Records, 2006)
- Introspective (MP3 Records, 2008)
- Amber Smith (Kalinkaland Records, 2012)
The band receives The Best Hungarian Alternative Album of the Year Award in 2009.
In 2012, Imre Poniklo releases his EP-ul debut Melody with his side project The Poster Boy.
In March 2013, Oszkar Acs leaves the band. The reasons for the Bass player's departure are unknown. The band continues as a tree-piece act.
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