Lóci Csorba brings a unique flavour to the Hungarian music scene. With his easy-going style, he tells everyday stories to brighten up the gloomy Hungarian atmosphere. His seven-piece band Lóci Játszik is now recording their first album, thanks to the recognition they got at the Tamás Cseh talent scout, and the other group he’s part of, the Veronika & the Wedding Boys, was fully booked all summer. Between concerts and weddings, composing soundtracks, putting out albums, and shooting music videos, Lóci is a busy guy, but as the old adage goes, all work makes for a dull life (and less stories to tell) so he still finds time to play.
You are close to inventing a new genre, Stand-up + Music. Is this something people will remember you for?
When you do a “one-guy-one-guitar” show, I think it’s about telling the audience something they don’t know yet, but can relate to. The most important thing is to come up with such songs that are easy to relate to. Disney soundtracks for example. Everybody has seen them, everybody loves them. If you change them a bit to make them funnier they work great. Storytelling is important. My songs are stories too, they are all real. It’s interesting, because the stories I write are mine, but many times you catch bits and pieces from conversations with friends, listen to people talking on the tram, and you collect interesting things that can form into a song eventually. In my opinion, the stories that happen to me personally are not special at all, they happen to everyone. There was love, disappointment, university drama. That is why it’s easy to relate, because I tell the stories everyone knows in an easy-to-digest way.
Of course it would be great to have a “Lóci Játszik-like” production on stage, but I think I’ll leave that to others who could do it better.
You’ve been playing the piano for 6 years. Where did your interest in guitar come from? Is there any other instrument you’d like to play or are you sticking to the guitar?
The piano is heavy to carry around and I can’t play the piano as well as I play the guitar now. I had a classical music education. When I wanted to start writing my own songs, and told my music teacher that I wanted to play different stuff, she said “Ok, we could do that too, but let’s just play this Bach first.”
First I started to play the bass because my friend Gabor Tausz (the very talented director of photography and winner of two Golden Camera awards) called me one day and said:
“Lóci, I’ve started a rock band and you’re in it too!”
“Cool! Am I the guitarist?” I asked.
“No-no, that’s me!”
“But I’d like to be the guitarist.”
“No, that’s not possible, because chicks always go for the guitarist, and that’s me.”
“Fine, what about me then?”
“You’ll play the bass.”
“But I can’t play the bass guitar.”
“Not a problem, you’ll learn it. Your dad plays it.”
So I went to my dad and asked, ”Dad, do you have a bass guitar?”
“Yup, I have one somewhere.”
We had to go back to our old house in Becej (in Vojvodina). We went up to the attic and there it was: a beautiful ’75 Fender jazz-bass. It was in a pretty bad shape but the Red Hot Chili Peppers used the the same one in of their videos. It was originally white but had turned yellow from all the smoke and shit from the cafes and clubs. So that’s the bass I found at home and that’s when I began to learn how to play it and started to play with Gabor in the band. We started to compose songs, which is impossible on a bass guitar, so I picked up the guitar and taught myself how to play it. I asked my dad about a few things that he was happy to help with, so this is how I started with guitar. On a guitar I can express myself much better, because on a piano I always think of notes, while on guitar you hear a harmony. The hand movements are easier, which makes it also easier to sing along.
The soundtrack of the movie ‘For Some Inexplicable Reason‘ was done by you and Gábor Reisz. How was it working together?
With Gabi? He is a fantastic, outstanding character, and an excellent director. It’s an absolute pleasure working with him. We were together a lot, we’ve been living together for a while now. He told me we are composing a rock opera within a year.
The extra in this music composing process was that he came up with the idea that he will bring a musician (me), who can make his own music acoustically, because he also wants to do it acoustically, which will be heard in the movie. We started to think about directions. So we imagined something similar to Mumford and Sons. While writing songs, Gabi turned out to be more of a punk than you’d think. He prefers 4 chord combinations. Obviously they sound terrible on an acoustic guitar. But this is the path we had to follow. We put things together, added some stuff to figure out what sounds good. Like a violin would’ve been just too much, we tried, but it didn’t work out. Just like with the stringed instruments. Only one piece of cello appears at some point, but of course at the corniest part of the whole movie, so that’s fine. Also the whistle, which apparently only played a role because the lack of lyrics required another sound, and so the whistle is what we found.
In ELTE you studied film theory. Why did you decide on a musical path? Will you ever return to film?
I kinda have already. Gabi told me it was convenient for him to do film music with me, because I’m comfortable in the topic. I took it differently than a normal songwriter. So we didn’t want to do the top hits, but songs that can truly represent the point of a movie. In order to be able to put the instrumental parts into the movie, it wasn’t necessary for me to get the movie theory and history degree, because for that I’ve already seen enough movies, so I can work with them.
Where was your new video clip shot?
At the moment 13 songs will go in the album, but a minimum of 5 at least, those are the terms. I really wanted these songs to be published, there are some that I wrote when I was 14 and they still hold out. They were played a lot over the past 10 years. That’s why we now recorded all the songs, and to be honest I’m so attached to every one of them that I couldn’t decide which one we want to open the radio list. Tibi, our drummer, always wonders about this. Picking out the best of all. After all it doesn’t matter, all of them are fine, no need to think. Initially we wanted to shoot the clip with Gabi, but it turned out he’s going to Paris for a scholarship. Now he will come up with a concept, although I said we could go to Paris, we can shoot there as well, can’t we? We’re uncertain about a lot of things. The focus is on whether or not we can succeed in creating the songs the way I’ve been wishing to the past 10 years.
How long have you known Szeder-Szabó Krisztina? How was the relationship formed?
Kriszti is from Kaszásdűlő, just like me. I got to know her friend closely who told me they have an orchestra, in which a girl plays the guitar. So we tried to put songs together…
So at the age of 16 I got into a band, called “Műszaki hiba” who I played songs with a lot. It ended halfway. Of course we still had our friendship. Later on one of my classmates dated her in Kőbánya, so we started to hang out and play music more together.
What are you hoping to achieve right now? Are you focusing on music or film?
I’d like this album we are working on at the moment to be integrated into the public consciousness and awareness. To make it a reference. I think it’s great what happened to ‘For Some Inexplicable Reason’. In my opinion they gave confidence to a whole new generation of directors.
We were in Miskolc when a guy told us about how this is the first Hungarian movie in the past 10 years in which he got to know his daughter more. It would be amazing if this album we are doing – obviously not on as big of a scale the movie – referred back to, for example, a kid who’s been playing these songs for 10 years with a guitar in his hands and we can gather a team with that positive approach. If we could conserve that honesty on an album as it occurs on the stage. This is the goal. Plus writing the top hit!
Initially you played at parties by yourself, then as a duo, and now as a big orchestra… What is your current formation?
From now on “Lóci Játszik” consists of 7 members.
The duo came about as a request of guests who attended the “Lóci Játszik” evening I held every month. You can’t always play one thing over and over, so I prepared with new songs, always invited someone to bring their friends, and it’s a good thing to play music together. I called Kriszti to join and she just got me. She then came over more times, she loved the songs, and I just loved to sing with her, because our voices go so well together.
In this big band there are other instruments as well. Perhaps Kriszti’s contribution will lessen, because she doesn’t always have the time. The Szeder band is just super.
I’ve been playing with the guys from the Veronika & The Wedding Boys for 5 years. Plus two more people have just joined us. They’re very good!
Do you always practice in Csillebérc? Why did you choose that location? Why not a rehearsal room downtown?
Our first guitarist is from Velence. He had a house there and we used to go there every weekend, lock ourselves in, play music all day long, and come back on Sunday evening. All of our weekends were like this, which I liked a lot and therefore every year we have a reunion in Csillebérc to relive those moments. For the rest of the time, we have a classical rehearsal place here in Rózsa street in an asset management office building, but it is super. And there we go we have this, thirdly it’s ours. Let’s go have a look!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ÁDÁM ERDÉSZ
TRANSLATED BY PATRIK DEÁK