In a nutshell…
Szilárd Balanyi was born on the 19th October 1974 in Veszprém, and grew up in Balatonfüred. His talent for music became obvious early: at the age of six he started to play a violin on an instrument given to him by his father. He also participated in the choir of and at the chamber music orchestra. After 8 years, Szilárd put aside the violin, but he discovered the piano. With schoolmates they formed a band called ‘The Ears’, here he played the piano. They had some frenetic performances, but the band lasted for only five shows. Szilárd quit playing with them as the final exams were coming up, but he still had some solo performances. By this time it was clear that he had a place on the music palette - the only question was how. In 1993 he moved to Budapest after finishing high school. He applied for the Hungarian Academy of Music, but after three attempts he gave up his plans for studying there. He was having a piano lesson when Tamás Molnár (saxophonist of Quimby, an underground band at that time) entered the room, with the intention of finding a pianist for the band. Tamás was successful: Szilárd was the most flexible and thus the most appropriate among the candidates.
Quimby recorded their first album, ‘Jerry Can Dance’ in 1995. The same year, Szilárd stood as a substitute in the band Kimnowak. This does not sound like a big deal, but it was a huge challenge for a youngster who just moved from the countryside to the capital. Slowly but surely, he found his place in the Hungarian music scene. Quimby produced records diligently: ‘Majom-tangó’ (1996), ‘Diligramm (1997)’, ‘Ékszerelmére’ (1999), ‘Morzsák és szilánkok’ (2001). Szilárd played keyboards and sang background vocals on Heaven Street Seven’s albums: ‘Budapest Dolls’ (1998) and ‘Cukor’ (2000). Around 1998 he also toured with them as they didn’t have a permanent keyboardist at the time. To play things safe, in 2001 he also acquired a university degree at the university of Szeged in communication.
In 2000 Szilárd decided that it was time to reveal the musical ideas that he had been cherishing for a while. He had lots of help during the process, and the final result proved that the effort was worth it. The material for the record titled ‘Szilárd - Halmazállapot’ was ready. Multinational recording companies were not so enthusiastic, but Péter Dorozsmai thought it was worth taking the time. Szilárd recorded two songs with his help in the January of 2002, the producer was Jamie Winchester. By August the whole material was finished, and the date for the release was also revealed: 16 October, 2002. Szilárd also undertook the musical production of Quimby’s 2002 record, ‘Káosz amigos’. The first video for the solo effort was directed by Károly Deltai - and the record started to live its own life. The video for the song ‘Odafenn’ was among the ten most popular songs of VIVA TV, and it also became the 22nd most frequently played song among radios nationwide. It became a hit! At the end of March, ‘Halmazállapot’ was nominated as one of the best modern rock albums for Arany Zsiráf ( the most important music award in Hungary at the time).
In the summer of 2003 Szilárd composed the material for his second album, helped by Barnabás Pély. The collaboration also gave way to some exciting new remixes. A new video was ready too: directed by Károly Deltai yet again, it first appeared on air in December and soon became a Top 10 song on VIVA.
Szilárd opened the 2004 Bravo Otto gala with the second single from the new album, ‘Végtelen éj’: his band was completed with vocalists this time. In the July of 2004 Szilárd started to work with Barbara Schmidt, Dorina Galambos and Ibolya Oláh from Megasztár, a popular talent scout programme. He played the piano at Barbara’s concerts, and helped Ibolya and Dorina with the production of their albums. In October, the crew of Quimby started to rehearse again after a pause of one and a half years. After a preparation of two months they set out on tour. Simultaneously, the material for the new solo record, ‘Súlytalanság’ got ready, released in the February of 2005 as a private recording. The first video for the new record was shot yet in the October of 2004, directed again by Károly Deltai, and it could be caught on every music TV and programme. The radios were still playing the first single, when Szilárd shot a new video for the song ‘Egy érintés’.
During the summer of 2005, Szilárd took part in the production of the new Quimby record, and the rehearsals of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in Keszthely. The same summer a new video was recorded for ‘A gyermekkor vége’, directed by Szilárd’s university friend, Jenő Farkas. The play could be seen ten times at Keszthely with the music of Quimby, at also at the Vidám Színpad in Budapest from October, for almost five years. In the September of 2005 the video for ‘Egy érintés’ debuted on music channels. In November ‘Kilégzés’, the new album by Quimby was released and won many awards in 2006. Tibor Kiss, the singer of Quimby became the best lyricist. The group won Story Magazine’s Five Stars Award and the Fonogram award in the category ‘Best Hungarian Modern Rock’.
2006 proved to be a year full of movement. In November Dóra Létay starred as the main female character in a new video, prepared for the song ‘Ennyi volt’. Quite an unusual experience: the video is made up of photos only. The photographer was Zoltán Sárosi, and the final version praises 48sec.com. In December, a DVD was released to celebrate the band’s 15th birthday, Szilárd being one of the origins of the idea.
2007 was a year of loud concerts and silent work. As a result, on the 12th October an album of remixes for ‘Egy más világ’ was released, featuring some old songs and a few new ones as well. A video for the title song was shot in May, featuring Judit Angyal, Franciska Németh, Katalin Petró, Kriszta Szabó, Rita Szűts, Kata Vass, directed again by Károly Deltai. The first channel to air it was the Hungarian MTV.
Starting from 2008, Szilárd played in the the band of Hungarian hiphop girl duo Ludditák during their live shows. The new music video, ‘Sziluett’ set out on its journey in cyberspace in the April of 2009. The album, ‘Sorminta’ itself was released in May. A DVD was prepared from the record launch party of the album, entitled 21:00. After this, there was a pause in the production of solo music as Quimby celebrated its 20th birthday with a concert, a double DVD and also a book of sheet music. Then in 2012 two new Szilárd songs, in downloadable format only, were released (Ego, Tűz).
In 2013 Szilárd published a new, downloadable song: ‘Lám, lám!’. He sang with Dorina Galambos, who in the meantime became a member of his band. This song also received a video, with the help of the already mentioned Zoltán Sárosi, the director was Zsófi Kabarcz.
In 2014 Szilárd kept on writing. The new songs became available on the internet: ‘Sosincs ismétlés’, ‘Cseperedő’, ‘Kis fura figurák’, ‘Te meg én’, the latter two were co-written with Dorina Galambos. And something is always in the works.
In 2015 the Kanapé (EP) with six songs (four of them are english) became available on the net. New videos and remixes from this EP are coming soon! Right now, Szilárd is composing new songs...