Greatness Lies in Simplicity – Interview with Margaret Island

They are very young. This was my first impression when viktória lábas, bálint füstös and kristóf törőcsik, the three core members of margaret island arrived at the place where the interview was set up – on time, smiling. They are enthusiastic, kind and free from all the typical star mannerisms. It is not only their music that spreads happiness but their own beings, too.

How did you choose the band’s name?

Bálint: For me, Margaret Island has always been a green island in the concrete jungle that people visit to relax and recharge their batteries. Our music has a similar effect on the audience. It’s all about tranquillity, caring and smiling.

Although you are the core members of Margaret Island, it is a 14-member band. Is it difficult to work together?

Viki: As the team is getting bigger and bigger, it is hard to introduce everyone at the concerts, but the atmosphere is always homely.

Bálint: For example, our lighting technician, who is doing his senior year in high school, has to skip his class’ year-end serenade to be able to work on our concert on 3 May, held in Budapest Park.

There are some who label your music as folk. Do you agree?

Kristóf: We used to define ourselves as a pop band with folk features, so we quickly became labelled as such. Our third album, which is going to be released this September, is about revival. Everything depends on the impulses we have.

Viki: ‘Greatness lies in simplicity’ and ‘less is more’ are our mottos. Let’s just simply call our music pop, influenced by both Budapest and the popular English bands.

Bálint: Instead of trying to define our music style, we would like to represent a value system.

What is at the top of this value system?

Kristóf: Community. The band has grown together and we’re able to breathe together now, so I don’t think our concerts go badly anymore.

Viki: Simplicity is also important. We step on the stage as we truly are so that the audience can feel our energies. We don’t want to run away from ourselves but show what’s inside of us.

Do you still perform on Margaret Island?

Viki: Of course, we were there a few days ago.

Bálint: The most memorable concert of 2017 was the one we gave on the vehicle-free Liberty Bridge. Playing music on the streets makes us leave behind the things we are used to, the songs we perform on stage sound differently, and the reaction of the audience also changes. We wanted to recreate this unique atmosphere during last fall’s concert tour, so we performed an acoustic version of one of our songs in the middle of the crowd.

You mentioned that budapest influences your music. What do you like the most in the city?

Viki: In Budapest everything is at hand, you always find a solution and it is easier to realize yourself. I love the smell of the city and the inspiring communities as well as discovering book shops and music stores.

Bálint: I’m obsessed with the lively cultural life of Budapest. We can barely go out on a Saturday evening without bumping into a familiar face in the party district. Our manager recommended to have all of our meetings at a different place so that we can get to know the city better.

Kristóf: We had a meeting in Kelet Café which I instantly liked immediately and later shot one of our videos there. I like to wander around the city; my favourite walking paths include Buda quay and Lipótváros.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Bálint: On stage. We take small steps, one after another, we don’t plan in advance. I remember that we had so many concerts in the first year that we weren’t present on our own shows. If you want to have everything at once, you won’t be able to live the experience and form them into memories.

Viki: There were times when I had no idea which town we were in, so I had to write its name on the tracklist. One can’t be as fast as the world around us. Fame is a good thing, but it is unnecessary if you’re not happy with it. We want to be happy with what we do.

Don’t miss out on Margaret Island’s upcoming concert at Budapest Park in May 3rd. For more info click here

Cover photo: Peter Hencz, concert photos: Júlia Lily Hegyi