Viktor Tóth and his fellow musicians prepare something special for us with their concert Right On! in the Müpa. Their improvisational music, operating with different styles and switches between moods, will guard us through a stream from island to island. Our sailors are musicians playing soulful music who offer the audience a lot, from jazz melodies to hip-hop rhythms. We asked Viktor Tóth about the concert; he is considered to be one of the most multi-sided people of the Hungarian jazz scene.
Let’s start with the title! What message does it carry?
“Right On!” is the greeting of freedom fighters active in the civil rights movements of the 1960s. Our music is about acceptance, respect, and liberty. As the title reveals, we start from the maximum level: our music is born in the exact time of the concert, and we bring the deepness of our souls, our energy, our purest attendance into the moment it is created.
From your multi-sided personality, what is the side you want to show at this concert?
I don’t have a scientific analytical approach for music, nor for myself. I try to live in the moment, to act spontaneously, to do in a certain second what I need to do, which means to play a certain tune. Which also means trying to use that segment of my heart, soul, knowledge that I need the most. If it is supporting a young musician or helping out an old one, then that’s it. I want to be a creative musician and a composer who always writes from his soul. I’m searching for the meaning of my presence in this world and how I can celebrate the beauty of music.
What will be the mood of the music you play during the show?
What I just said will be showcased during the concert. A constant switch between styles and moods, resonating on each other’s different energies. I love music, that’s what it’s all about. For me, music needs to be intriguing and performers should enjoy what they are doing. If it’s like that, if we live the moment, then the audience will feel it, too. This is very dangerous music, because you can’t finalise it during a rehearsal. There are only directions, conceptions, energies, but what we rehearse is exactly about what we can create for the audience of the Müpa from moments of our life. That’s what makes everything interesting.
So it will be basically improvisations?
In circa 90%, yes. My music has a basis to depart from, some parts are as firm as islands, but how we cruise from one to another depends on the given moment. This will be a very free and entertaining evening.
You mix all kinds of genres. How can you bring together jazz and hip-hop?
They have a lot in common. Hip-hop and contemporary popular music emerged from jazz, which has always been related to rhythmic groove, African folk music, and many more. This cycle is eternal. Compositions of different styles will be played, and we will go in many directions. It will be like a journey, and everyone will find the emotions they need. Some of the songs will be calm, others very energetic and dancy.
You have several formations. Who will play with you this time?
I can say that this will be a world premiere: this formation has never played together before. My old friend Dávid Hodák will play the percussion, who is a member of the Viktor Tóth Trio and a very high level improvisator. We have been playing together ever since he was eleven. Fortunately he has a younger brother, Áron Hodek, who is ten years old this year. I’m starting my musical connection with him where I did with Dávid. He soon will be better known overseas than in Hungary. He has 8000 followers on Instagram, friends with the greatest bass guitarists on Earth, with whom he gives joint concerts. There will also be leading figures of Hungarian jazz, too. Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, another old friend and possibly the best jazz pianist of the country. Balázs Neumann who plays electric keyboard. From my trio, György Orbán will also join for a few songs with his gordon.
Have you managed to get back to life as it was before the pandemic?
I have had a lot of concerts lately, but I feel that most people are still not over the pandemic. We weren’t allowed to play for eight months, but from the beginning of the summer, our tours have grown to be very intense. I have many messages from different countries in my heart, and I will incorporate that in my music, too. This is a very busy yet fabulous time.
What do you think, will the audience come to a closed concert hall already?
It depends on the country. In Poland, people seem to be over the pandemic already, it was full house. In other places I see that they are still a bit more careful. I hope that in the Müpa, we will have a good number of audience, especially for the sake of Áron Hodák.
Why shall we go to the concert?
For me there aren’t any styles like jazz, ethno, folk, metal, classical music or hip-hop; I only believe in soulful and soulless music. What we play is full of soul, right from our hearts, and that’s why you need to come and listen to it.
Interview: Anna Rácz
Translation: Zsófia Hacsek