“The golden age is not a historical era but a condition and, as such, it is present all the time; the only thing it depends on is whether there is someone to realize it.. .” Hamvas Béla
Band Interview Hungary, Ágnes Tóth / Mihály Szabó
Mary Vareli: The Moon and the Nightspirit is a Hungarian folk music duo founded in 2003 by Ágnes Tóth and Mihály Szabó, so the rest of the band is session musicians?
Ágnes Tóth / Mihály Szabó Regarding songwriting and studio recording The Moon and the Nightspirit is a duo. However, on live shows we are joined by two musicians (Gergely Cseh: bass, Gabor Vegh: percussions) expanding to a four-member band.
Was there any other project before The Moon and the Nightspirit, or any parallel projects?
We were both members of a Hungarian avantgarde metal band called Evensong before the formation of The Moon and the Nightspirit. Four albums had been released with this band before it ended. Other than that we were not involved in any bands.
What inspired you to name the band The Moon and the Nightspirit?
We wanted a name full of expressions. In our case Moon symbolises the magical, mystical aspect of nature, the world of dreams, the starry kingdom of beauty and innocence. Nightspirit is the seeker, the dreamer, searching for the stellar-manifested truth of existence.
What inspires your music writing? Natural mysticism is definitely one of the things that characterise the band.
Indeed. Mother Nature inspires us greatly. And also the ancient traditions telling about a golden age of spirituality and transcendental existence. The Moon and the Nightspirit is a musical manifestation of our own spiritual journey towards the Light and unity.
Your lyrics are mostly in English, but you also cherish Hungarian. What defines which language to use?
We only used English on our first album (Of dreams forgotten and fables untold) since then all our albums are in Hungarian only. We can express ourselves more easily and precisely, using our own language. We also think that Hungarian has a very nice and magical tone and fits perfectly well with our music. There are, or there will be English, translations for all of our songs.
Did you enjoy your participation in Wave-Gotik-Treffen? Have you performed in other continents apart from Europe?
Yes, playing at WGT is always a great experience and the audience is always very kind and enthusiastic. We hope we will have the opportunity to play there again in the future.
Apart from Europe, we played several shows in North-America and South-Korea. A plan for a tour in South-America is in process. Let’s hope the best.
Ágnes Tóth’s singing has been compared to Elisabeth Toriser of Dargaard. Do you agree?
We really love the albums of Dargaard and Elisabeth Toriser is an exceptional singer, so it’s a big compliment, thank you.
Your band is a multi-instrumentalist one. The traditional sound prevails. What instruments do you use?
We use the violin, 12 string acoustic guitar, piano, woodwinds (flute, kaval, fujara), morin-khuur, harp, jaw-harp, dulcimer, kalimba and percussions (tapan, djembe, derbuka).
Tell us a few things about your new album. “Metanoia” is a Greek word.
We use the word “Metanoia” in a philosophical/metaphysical manner. It refers to a turning point, a returning to the original and pristine path of existence. A spiritual awakening to an inner golden age of innocence and unity, the realisation that we are all part of the same source, a unity with Nature, the starry Universe and with our own divine self. This transcendental theme is the main concept of the new album.
Do you believe that “a rebirth, an awakening of the higher self, and the rekindling of an inner flame” can be a weapon of humanity against the new dark ages the world experiences?
This is about finding inner peace, a spiritual awareness and is best summarized by this quote from Hungary’s greatest philosopher, Hamvas Béla: „ The golden age is not a historical era but a condition and, as such, it is present all the time; the only thing it depends on is whether there is someone to realize it.. .” Our albums are small contributions to this idea and maybe a little help for those who walk the same path.
Can you write a few words next to each studio album?
Of Dreams Forgotten and Fables Untold (2005)
Our debut album, our journey begins here. A calm and serene album.
Regő Rejtem (2007)
The first album with Hungarian lyrics only. More vivid and shamanistic with a lot of Hungarian folk music inspiration.
We dig deeper into the ancient traditions and shamanism. Instrumentation becomes more diverse and varied.
Our one and only self-released album. A lot of classical music inspiration, such as Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály. A turning point, our musical world expands into new dimensions.
The first album released by Prophecy Productions. A continuation of the musical world of Mohalepte, with more matured songwriting.
Your albums are also characterised by their magical artwork created by Tóth. Tell us more!
The illustrations are Ágnes’s reflections to the music and the lyrics. It is an important part of The Moon and the Nightspirit. They are all exclusively painted for the albums.
How is the situation in Hungary concerning the particular scene you represent?
There aren’t many bands here playing this kind of music but those who do, play it on a very high level.
As far as your art is concerned, do you have a dream that you hope will come true?
We have no big dreams but we would like to reach as many people as possible with this kind of music. We do our best to help those who walk a spiritual path.
Can you name some favourite collaborations? Either on LPs or in live shows?
We shared a stage with a lot of great bands throughout the years. It was a great honour to support Blackmoor’s Night on several European concerts and we had the opportunity to play at a lot of great festivals such as WGT, Castlefest, Trolls and Legends, just to name a few.
As for the LP collaborations, Agnes’s sang on several albums of Thy Catafalque, a very exciting and innovative metal band from Hungary.
What advice would you give to new musicians of the genre?
We are not really the ones to give advice but if we must, here it is: Find your own voice and stay authentic to yourself.
Favourite writers, painters and directors that have inspired you?
Béla Hamvas, Sándor Weöres, Friedrich Nietzsche, classical greek philosophers, Béla Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, Salvador Dali, Rassouli.
Thank you very much!
Thanks for the opportunity. We enjoyed answering your questions a lot!
Agnes and Mihaly
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