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Virrasztók (HU)

Virrasztók (HU)

Our story started when Scrofa, Conjurer of the Dead felt he needed the assistance of expert fellowmen for the memorial of the departed and for taking care of their souls. 

He sought out Szkrobek, Seer of the Dead who possesses extraordinary abilities, and Tomusin, the legendary Escort of the Dead – so the three of them would form the company of The Vigilants (Virrasztók). 

Their powers, their abilities worked together, so it became possible that they could conjure the wandering souls, make them visible, bring them among us, and then escort them to their final resting place. They lit the candles of vigil and through their flickering lights it became obvious: a great number of wandering souls surround us. 

Our heroes began working – they started their row of joint vigils, for which they sought ancient melodies, archaic texts, and they combined them with contemporary sentences, rhythms and musical motifs. For the advanced, yet distant sounding, they sought the help of skilled mourners.

And slowly it all came together... the image... the sound... the word... the song...

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VIRRASZTÓK signed up to Romania's 2015 GBOB Live Band competition, so CZB.ro decided it was time to meet and learn more about this Hungarian band which will be competing at the GBOB Banat Semifinal on Thursady, October 29th.

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RiCo for CZB.ro: What does VIRRASZTÓK mean to you?

Scrofa: Virrasztók (Eng. The Vigilants) is basically a concept band which composes feelings and thoughts about the topic of death in the dark/gothic/industrial metal genre built on a foundation of Hungarian folk music. 

The concept is based on the folklore of the vigilance. 

In folk tradition, the vigilance is the watch of the dead at night in case of home catafalque; it lasts till the funeral, usually for one or two nights. Its reason is the respect towards the dead, the remembrance, but it is also an occasion of social gathering. It was a common custom throughout the entire country of Hungary. Usually relatives, fellows, friends and neighbors went for vigilance, but anybody else could go without being invited. 

The vigilants spend their time with singing, talking or telling stories. The vigil is led by one or more men or women, specialized for this purpose. The professional vigilants possess their own collection of songs, from which they choose the ones that match the dead or the state of death the most. 

Vigil songs came from a wide range: one could find everything from medieval songs through historic songs and folk songs to songs that cantors created using folk elements.

When we lit the candles of vigil, we created our own collection. It became the material of our first album and the audience can hear it during our public vigils – the concerts.

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RiCo for CZB.ro: How many gigs have you had; what cities have you played in? 

Scrofa (Virrasztók): The band is six years old. During this time we had the opportunity to play in most of the biggest hungarian cities, but we've also been to Romania, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic for festivals or club concerts.

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CZB: Tell me about an interesting situation you had on the road with the band? 

Scrofa (Virrasztók): In Transylvania the theatre-like concert became a reality when the audience asked us to commemorate their dead relatives and friends. On one side of the microphone there was the set-list, while on the other, the list of the people to be mentioned.

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CZB: How do you write your music? 

Scrofa (Virrasztók): We have compositions based on historic songs, folk songs and folk-ish songs, too. But all of them undergo changes in many aspects as we treat a situation, a life-event or a death. The Seer of the Dead looks round and spots the stray souls. The Conjurer of the Dead summons their story, transmits their words as psychic and the Escort of the Dead escorts them into a new station of their spiritual existence. And while we summon a soul, commemorate a departed one or mourn with the remaining ones, the themes give birth to new musical ideas and lyrics – songs, chords find each other, interweave or lay bare. In our sound, the fiddle plays a very important role, 

and sometimes the hurdy-gurdy appears as an interesting feature but the female folk vocals are the most important amongst the folk elements – usually it uses traditional motifs facing the modern, harsher, metal sound of male vocals. It occurs that we use elements from more folk songs in one track. Fortunately Hungarian folk music is extremely rich, emotional, often sad and bitter - so we have an endless source of inspiration. Then, during the work - sometimes the melody, sometimes the verses …and sometimes both are changed. And generally the listener doesn’t even know if he is listening to an archaic or a modern folk song.

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CZB: What is the Hungarian music scene like in 2015?

Scrofa (Virrasztók): In Hungary, the market is small, the audience is poor and badly informed. 

The commercial media doesn't really play the non-mainstream performers.

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CZB: Is there anything that you think should be done better in Hungary to better promote young bands?

Scrofa (Virrasztók): There is a need for a cultural support system, which creates an opportunity and place for creative work, and helps the bands to get generally known.

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CZB: If you could have a superhuman power, what would this be? 

Scrofa (Virrasztók): There is a superhuman power, inside each of us; everyone has to find the power inside themselves, their inner Godly being.

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CZB: What is your favorite book and your favorite movie? 

Scrofa (Virrasztók): BOOK: Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time 

MOVIE: Tarantino: Pulp Fiction

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CZB: What is your aim as a band? 

Scrofa (Virrasztók): Our goal is to put all our energies into songs, and show it to everyone interested in these songs' message.

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CZB: Why did you sign up for GBOB România 2015?

Scrofa (Virrasztók): The younger members of the band didn't play yet at this kind of a show. These are good opportunities for professional meetings, talks and networking. 

Plus, we've never been to Timishoara!

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Interview conceived by: RiCo

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LINE-UP

  • SCROFA (Conjurer of the Dead - vocal, hurdy gurdy)
  • SZKROBEK (Seer of the Dead - bass, programming)
  • TOMUSIN (Escort of the Dead - guitars)


Mourners: 

  • Tiberius (drums)
  • Safia (violin, vocal) 
  • Lianna (vocal)

signed to HammerRecords

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