Guide to SKOPJE

Last Expedition are set for a new expedition

Interview with Sead Hadzic Setzko – We made a mistake – a long period of inactivity

Some bands achieve greatness because everyone loves them while other bands are attractive  and achieve greatness just because they are not liked by everyone. Most of those bands are called cult bands. Since they were formed until today, Last Expedition was seen primarily as a garage rock band for people with different tastes and affinities. Formed in the mid 80s, they were proud citizens of Gjorče Petrov district and this band left a trace with 5 albums behind with even more than a handful of well known songs. After 6 years of absence, Last Expedition came back to life with their outstanding performance at this year’s Scream Festival, where they gave a breathtaking performance with its original line up as well as a guest guitarist, Ady Ymery. Their concert was something that was a long time coming, and according to founding member Sead Hadžić Setzko, this concert means a new chapter for the band. Setzko, beside being a founding member, is a passionate rare guitar collectioner, and also fronts a multitude of other bands and projects, such as Exic, Mooger Fooger and Avangardistica. Just a few days after the concert, we talked to Setzko about the night that many will remember as the reurn of mighty Last Expedition.

foto: Dimitar Petrovski/Kajgana

How does it feel like to be playing with a band such as Last Expedition after so many years of inactivity?

It is unbealivable and undescribable. When we saw the people in the attendance feeling happy and fulfilled, we realized our mistake that we did with the long period of inactivity. We all make mistakes, but it is good when we have time to correct them.

foto: Dimitar Petrovski/Kajgana

Was the band surprised by the people’s reaction with which that band was awaited?

Oh well, in a way we are used to reactions such as these to our music. Such were people’s reactions in the 80s and the 90s. But, this is a new generation and it is great to see and hear reactions that we have seen in our heyday, where these new generations are singing songs from the 80s and onward. That night I felt myself being proud, proud of myself and my buddies, and while it may sound immodest, it is true. We know that life seldom brings situations such as these, and now I know that everything we went through and all of the sacrifices to come to this point were worth it.  Every sacrifice we have ever done for this band was worth it.

Were those reactions, in a way, an indicator of the songs’ timelessness?

We are absolutely aware of what we have achieved, we know about the love people have about this band, which in turn carries an obligation toward them. Each love deserves to be rewarded, and I hope that we will reward them with another masterpiece. During the rehearsals we were a bit skeptic about certain songs, whether we should play “Song about the Dog,” “You are faraway,” songs that were written sometime in the 80s, but we were brought to our senses when almost everyone in the attendance sang those songs. We are very lucky people that have left some beautiful traces behind and that we have not wasted our precious time. I believe that beautiful things are in front of us and that what we will set out to bring to our audiences. Now I know for sure that things will be that way.

foto: Dimitar Petrovski/Kajgana

At the concert there was a guest appearance of Ady Ymery, one of the country’s most talented guitarists as well as a front man of Jabolko za Daskalot (An apple for the teacher). How did he fit in with the band?

I’m very happy when I see Ady being happy for every note he plays and he is our buddy, in a way as he grew up with as at Gjorche Petrov. It is a well known fact that he is one of the most talented guitarists around, and by that he is made for playing in a band like Last Expedition.

What will happen next after this concert? Will there be more concerts or maybe new studio material?

I would like to know the answer to those questions myself. For now, what matters most is that we have the same enthusiasm as in the 80s, and if we agree to work on new material I know we shall give our best. Maybe this is our last expedition but it will surely last longer.

How do you look back at the work with Exic from this time distance? In a way, that band was a platform for further experimenting with your current band Mooger Fooger?

As a guitarist, the project I always wish I had was Exic, because I could experiment with alternative guitar tunings and to come up with new guitar harmonies. What came out of it was an album with songs such as So Many Loves, Stranger, Taxi driver, songs that encouraged me to continue further in that direction, which resulted in Mooger Fooger.

The positive reviews regarding Mooger Fooger’s last release “4th of July” are still coming in although this record was published a while ago. What is the band’s status now when Last Expedition is active again?

Well, beside me, Mooger Fooger has two additional members, Ognen and Dime, both of them present ever since the early days of Last Expedition. My brother, (and Last Expedition’s singer) Enko has always been around as a support and because of that, in a way, Mooger Fooger, is a continuation of what we did with Last Expedition. The most important thing is that we managed to create 5 wonderful records and we still have a desire for new explorations as well as creating albums that are better than the previous ones. In March, after the concert at MKC (The Youth Cultural Centre), we shall start working on a new Mooger Fooger album, and with that the story of 4th of July will go onward.

foto: Dimitar Petrovski/Kajgana

Shortly after the Last Expedition concert there will be a performance with Avangardistica at a local club inSkopje. What sort of project is that?

True artists always wish to give their audience a gift, and a true gift is something that will surprise you positively. We shall try to do that by playing mandolins, saz, guitars, def, accordion, noise kit..behind the poetry readings of Ronitt Bergman and Dzabir Derala. I believe we shall surprise our audience again and that I shall see more smiling faces.

Nenad Georgievski