Interview - Arlequins
This young Hungarian band surprised us very positively with his first album "Harmadkor" which arrived unexpected one morning to our office. In their music there is all that can attract a fan of symphonic Prog: vintage sounds, keyboards with mighty voices, reminiscences ranging from Genesis and EL&P to fellow After Crying, for an album to taste from the beginning to the end. Our curiosity could only lead to make some questions to the band… and the two founders Krisztián Kun and Márton Segesdy have gladly answered our curiosity
Would you like to introduce Trinity to our readers?
Krisztián Kun: Trinity is a progressive rock band from Hungary. We have a lot of influences from Genesis, ELP, Pink Floyd to recent bands like Opeth, including classical music, jazz and even electronic nuances. Márton Segesdy sings and plays the keyboards, and he also writes our music and lyrics. Rita Deme-Farkas plays the flute which is an important part of our music. She's a vocalist as well. Balázs Tőgyi plays the guitar and sings, Zoltán Balogh holds the bass guitar, and I play the drums.
We started the band at 1999 after Márton and me studied at the same secondary school. We wanted to play progressive rock like ELP, so we found a bass guitarist from my other band. After some time we started to play Genesis songs so we needed a guitar and a flute. We had Ferenc Koppány and Zsófia Róna for that (it's not easy to find musicians for progressive rock in Hungary), so we were able to arrange our first concert. We wrote more and more songs, and made 3 demos from them while the years went by. We had 2 change in the band and finally we had our first album this year.
We play in concerts as well but there are just a few good clubs in Hungary and unfortunately we haven't played abroad yet but we would like to.
We would like to play such a music that makes our listeners think and gives them emotions.
We read that the story of your band began in 1999 but only now you get to have your debut album. Why did you take so long? Do you think that waiting all this time helped you to make your album more mature and unique?
Márton Segesdy: Certainly:) Actually, we released most of the songs previously on demo cd-s, but with different instrumentation, and obviously worse sounding. Every song has changed a lot during live performances and rehearsals. It mainly took so long because we were all students first, and during the exam periods nothing happened, no songwriting, no concerts. The other problem was money, because this is not that type of music which gets immediate funding for studio costs from a big label. So we had to collect money for the studio works. And finally, the recording was very slow, because of much circumstances couldn't be foreseen. Illnesses, accidents, studio migration, computer breakdowns, and of course, after normal work day, you had to go to the far other side of the city to do the sessions. So, it wasn't easy at all.
Have "Harmadkor" been composed during a wide period or was it written in a blow?
Márton Segesdy: The first song of Harmadkor is "Fantázia", written in 2000. It was born way before "Szerelmesdal", but I knew the main motifs should be the same in the two songs. The newest song is "Peregrin kútjai", but because the recording took one and a half year, it is not so new as well... It's more than two years old.Krisztián Kun: The older songs also had some evolution during the years.
Listening to your music two Hungarian bands come to my mind, among the rest: After Crying and Solaris: do they represent important references for you?
Márton Segesdy: I always liked the music of the "old" After Crying, with Vedres Csaba on keyboards. It was my first progressive rock influence, I heard "Megalázottak és Megszomorítottak", and it was a turning point. Before that I played the guitar in a strange doom metal band called Shoggoth, and listened to mainly metal music. I bought this album because of the nice cover:) The graphical design was always very important for me. Later, After Criyng brought me to ELP, and Genesis. I listened to Csaba's latter works, including Townscream, and solo piano pieces. Unfortunately, neither After Crying's present music nor Vedres Csaba's Kairosz band impresses me too much. I listened to Solaris's Marsbéli Krónikák, but I wouldn't call them important reference. I never really liked instrumental rock music.
Which other influences do you recognize for the developing of your music?
Márton Segesdy: My favorite band is Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. I also like ELP and Pink Floyd, some material from king Crimson. I also like traditional Hungarian and etno music, especially the ones with balkan motifs, like the old Kolinda, Makám, the first few albums of Ghymes. I like listening to complete albums more than just tracks, and I started to collect vinyls now...
Most of my favorites came from the seventies, I like a lot of hard rock/heavy metal bands from my teen age in the nineties (G'n'R, Metallica, Alice In Chains amongst others), and from the present music scene my almost only favorite band is Opeth. I listen to jazz music as well, I like the old-scool things from here as well (Armstrong/Fitzgerald songs, Dave Brubeck), and a bit of classical. But I'm mainly a rock fan. Most importantly: I like the music that is played by people, not machines.
Krisztián Kun: Obviously Márton's influences can be felt best, but in the instrumental details everybody adds his/her style. For example with Zoltán we also have a metal band, Balázs has a more King Crimson-style band and Rita plays classical music.
Despite many references that one can catch in your album you managed to give life to a kind of music that we can define "personal": which characteristics make you "personal" differently from other bands?
Krisztián Kun: It's a hard question, maybe you could answer better. :) We would like to make unique music and we are glad if you think we managed it. Maybe it can be because we have a wide range of influences and because we aren't afraid of trying new or strange solutions.
Since we don't speak one word of Hungarian, would you like to explain the meaning of the title of your album and the general content of the lyrics?
Márton Segesdy: Well, it's time to learn Hungarian:)) It would be quite a challenge. "Harmadkor" means The Third Age, which can be a reference to Tolkien or to a geologic time period of the Earth (Neogene), or a reference to Trinity's Age:) Well, as you like it. It sounds good in Hungarian. It is fun that you would pronounce it totally different, because of the Italian silent H at the beginning of the words... well, we use that sighing sound. "Jelenések könyve" means the Book of Revelations. It is a vision of the present estrangement in big cities; emptiness of love, concrete jungle, multi corporations steel and glass temples, and hopeless drug-addicts. "Lehettél volna": You Could Become. Based on a famous Hungarian writer's short story (Karinthy Frigyes: Találkozás egy fiatalemberrel (Encounter with a young man). It's about the writer meets himself, but about twenty years younger. The young man fronts the writer with the things he could have made, but finally never did, or somebody else did instead of him. "Negyed négyes gyors" means the "Express train at 3:15", but it also means "Fast song in 4/4" in a way... :) "Zápor": Rain. It's a gloomy lovesong written for my wife. "Szerelmesdal": The title means "Lovesong" and it certainly is :))) "Fantázia": means "Fantasy", composed around the same motifs as "Szerelmesdal". "Valaha": means "Sometime", it's a farewell song to my ex-girlfriend. "Peregrin kútjai": "Peregrine's wells". It's a spiritual journey from the dreamless city life to the fantasy world of the Night Forest. This song has some references to the Neverending Story of Michael Ende. "Kincs az álom": "Dream Is a Treasure", "Vándor": Wanderer (or Peregrine), "A Színek sivataga": "The Desert of Colors", "Vörös alkony": "Red Twilight", "Én kísértelek": "I Haunt You" (also means I escorted you), "Éjvadon": "The Night Forest".
I have to say that I prefer bands who express themselves in their own languages. However, why did you choose to sing in Hungarian and not in English?
Márton Segesdy: In my previous band I wrote English lyrics. I wanted to try something else, and I know my own language better. I can write lyrics which can mean different things to different people in Hungarian, but it would be very hard in English. I've written down some of the ambiguous words for you in the previous section, but I would never do that if you were Hungarian.
Krisztián Kun: For the Hungarian market it's better to sing in Hungarian. If our music spreads worldwide, maybe we will have to make it in English as well.
Some months later the publishing of your first CD, what kind of feedbacks did you receive? Are you satisfied?
Márton Segesdy: I'm satisfied with the feedbacks. And not with the sales:)
Krisztián Kun: In Hungary progressive rock doesn't have support from the media. So we can't reach as many people as we want. Those who heard liked "Harmadkor" very much, as we heard or read. Which is more surprising for us is that we had some wonderful comments, reviews or mails from strangers, outside Hungary.
An aspect that contributes to the success (at least for my ears) of your album is the powerful sound, rich of nuances; how did you manage to get this sound? How important is the choice of the instruments? Do you manage to obtain the same outcome during the gigs?
Márton Segesdy: We worked a lot with the sound, and also learned a lot from the sound engineer. We're not able to reproduce this sound in live situation, mainly because of the clubs' bad equipment, and the constant lack of monitor systems. We also had problems with our own gear, including the oldest (Hammond p-100) and the newest (Macbook with B4) instruments. However, if all circumstances are good, we can sound very good, but it's not common in the Hungarian underground progrock scene:)
Nowadays Progressive Rock is a genre of niche, not always easy to propose; why did you choose such an unpopular and difficult music?
Márton Segesdy: I like this kind of music very much, and I like to play it too, it's that simple. There wasn't a meeting, where all the participants declared: yes, I want to play unpopular and difficult music! It just happened.
Krisztián Kun: We play what we like to play. I think it is a necessary condition of making good music...
Many thanks for your time: we leave you some space to promote your CD, say everything you wish to convince our readers to listen to your music.
Krisztián Kun: If you like our CD, please, let others know about us. :)