People who listen to regular radio will not say the name Víťa Troníček much, but they will listen to the listeners of Czech Radio Pardubice. The moderator of the Folk Caresses program is also an active musician. He has been playing for thirty years, but only now has he decided to do a solo album “Multiplayer of the Wind”. We talked about all his faces.
You consider yourself a team player, not a soloist. So when did the decision to record a solo record come to you?
It was such an aging dream that “once there is time …” Covid’s lockdown offered that time, but in the midst of existential worries, I didn’t have much of an idea for music. The publisher Ivan Kurtev from SuperGram convinced me sometime in January that the work on my solo album could help not only me, but also a few people around us. Over time, I see that, especially in terms of saving mental health, it has held me back a lot in bad times.
How many songs did you actually choose from and how long did they accumulate in your drawer?
Basically, up to twenty songs were possible. Some of them have been in a drawer since the time of the band Poupata, so certainly for twenty years, some did not fit into Marien’s repertoire, something was created for the theater, I only finished a small part of the album and sawed it with the vision of a soloist. I was afraid it would be a disparate and conceptually fragmented pellet, but now I believe we have finally made it a priority.
It took the producers a lot of work to undress you marienovského jacket, or was it a natural process?
It was actually easier because we didn’t have to take into account Marien’s harmony and the limits of live concerts. We were free to try and experiment, to be inspired by the arrangements of world musicians, which I like. For the sake of more variety, on the other hand, I left part of the album fully directed by the young and extremely talented guitarist Kryštof Tomeček, who built an amazing studio band of professional funk-jazz musicians, he was a dad. The bluegrass part of the album is then a return to the music, which I have admired since I was a child. With such excellent colleagues as Ondra Kozák, Ralph Schut or Honza Kouba, it was easy to create the dream BG group. We had a lot of fun together and it would be nice to try to do some things live.
As a singing guest, you finally invited your wife Zdena to the duet “Tábornická”. Are you already playing the bonus “Light of Man” at Marien concerts, will you add some of the other songs to the concert repertoire of the home band, or will it be just the Trio domain?
“Tábornická” is an older song that we sing with our camp group, the recording was created earlier as a single for the anniversary of the Czech Camping Union, but it was not suitable for last year’s album “2020” Marien. Together with the live recording “Lights of Mankind”, it serves here as examples of perhaps my most natural musical face. If the other members of Marien accept her as their own, she will also appear at concerts.
From the beginning, did you have the desire to make such a varied work? Is there any other style of music you like to listen to and it’s not on the record?
It was the inconsistency and lethality of some songs from different periods from the very beginning that led to that of the genre crotch Albums. Probably only my beloved flamenco or gypsy swing is missing.
In “Defective Content” I hear Jeff Beck’s guitar, in “Graduation” choirs like the band Buty. Were these your musical role models as well?
“Defective content” is, after an intimate songwriting part, more of a blues variation on Garymoor theme, which is slightly related to the content of the play of the same name by Trutnov official Petr Vanžura, for which I wrote it. During the “Graduation” it was beautiful to watch the masters of jazzmen, with a little finger in their nose and an amazing view, they can record like a pop-rock rock. Yes, I think we could look for some inspiration for each song, but that’s what I really enjoy as a contrast to the folk music I’ve been doing all my life.
Víťa Troníček was born in 1976, studied mechanical engineering and LŠU, and completed several extensions and courses related to music and journalism. Folk stages have been running since 1991 – first with the band Poupata and then after their break-up with Marien. To list who all these bands or Víťa himself collaborated with would be published in a separate article. He also works as an actor in the Theater for Schools, the playwright of several folk festivals and as the majority author of songs for his home formation. The hobbies of a very eloquent and funny musician include music and society. He is married for the second time, he has two children with his wife and a colleague from the band Zdena. Now, at the SuperGram publishing house, he has a very varied solo album “Multiples of the Wind”.
Your record is full of great musicians. Was coronavirus time a helper that everyone had the time and desire to come play?
That was one of the main arguments why I accepted the offer to shoot a solo album right after the release of Marien’s “2020” album. And I’m glad how enthusiastically the actors took over, especially those who were actually surprised that I turned to them for cooperation. I think that in the end it was a very interesting, unplanned and very successful event for everyone involved.
© Markéta Listíková
Are the lyrics very autobiographical? The songs “Two Worlds” or “What I Can Do, Love” come true to my bone.
We folks generally consider the song’s statement and credible content to be a more important part than the final sound form or liking of the interpretation. For example, “Two Worlds” is a real description of a chance encounter when, as a beginning radio editor, I ran through the mountains and filmed interviews with the natives. “What can I do, love,” initiated my brother, who wanted a present for his wife. It is understandable that the subject reflects a point of view or a subjective experience. But while the songwriters’ personal confessions usually end up with one guitar or a natural-sounding bunch of modern folk musicians like Marien, on this album we worked with the songs as material for the full-fledged musical side of things. No sound or genre limits.
Kryštof Tomeček, a friend of Zuzka Mimrová, co-produced the new album as a co-producer as you can say goodbye to the departing members of the band Marien. Is it winged that the word gave the word and you had a producer?
Zuzka was originally a one-year singing stallion in Marien, which lasted for six wonderful years – it can’t even be called a farewell, the relationship still lasts. Even when she introduced us to Kryštof years ago, it was clear to me that he was the most remarkable guitarist I had ever seen. His subsequent career and the fact that he teaches students of almost the same age at the Ježek Conservatory confirm this. I had great respect for addressing him, because for his academically precise perception of music, some typical elements of folk music, which never stood alone, are actually incomprehensible. There is such a big genre and generational difference between us that it was a big challenge, but the cooperation in both of us enriched us and I believe that it was not the last. I smear deeply in front of his guitar skills.
All Marien members normally go to work, you have been dedicated to the Theater for Schools, so you rehearse not only the music profession but also the acting profession. Which fills you more?
I like the diversity of life. With our theater we specialize in educational programs for schools, I am not only an actor, but also a co-author, director, musician, but also a driver and a set designer. When he’s not covid, this feeds me to the fullest. In addition to performing with Marien or Trio, I also work for Czech Radio. I don’t think I would enjoy doing just one of them for a long time, but as a collage of many professions, it makes sense to me.
© Ivan Kurtev
At the time of the coronavirus, you were actually out of work and made a living by cleaning the branches and burning the tongs along the railroad tracks. How much does a guitarist of your qualities worry about his fingers when working with a chainsaw?
Rather, those vibrations from the motorcycle are a problem. One moment it was bad, I couldn’t clench my fist in the morning, it took half a year. Even today, I don’t have 100% momentum, but on the other hand, playing the guitar is the best rehabilitation and perhaps the consequences are not permanent. In general, those forest brigades in the covid period were a lesson in life. I’ve met incredibly wonderful guys who find themselves in the same situation and know how to take a job. I now respect every dainty man who wears an orange vest.
Recently, you have also commented several times on the political situation in our country through songs. “Light of Mankind” closes this record, before that it had to be “Abyss”. Do you watch how colleagues from the industry, such as Tomáš Klus, comment on politics? It is still being debated today that the singers should speak publicly, but aren’t they here?
I think it’s silly for someone to try to write a political protest song. This may not turn out well, especially when pop performers, for example, lack the folk credibility and try to somehow stir or express what would as the crowd wanted to hear. However, the famous anti-song tradition of our genre is based on a simple and deep personal need to express one’s opinion freely. Only if it resonates sufficiently with the views of a larger group of people can it become a protest song. However, this usually happens without the author’s intervention. I stick to that. Not even the “Abyss” from which the password came “Hope is golden” and which was the sound of the famous demonstrations of Millions of Moments, nor “Light of Mankind” or “Footprints of VH” composed of quotes by Václav Havel were written as a protest, but as a personal expression of grief from a divided society, loss of ideals or strange behavior. I don’t think kumsters should be afraid to express themselves freely in politics if they have that need, because democracy simply requires that politics be a living dialogue in all spheres of human society. However, it is extremely tricky and the performer can make his way to the middle of the auditorium.
How did you feel about this year’s elections? Do you think that with the end of the Babish-Zeman Pact, better times will come in our country?
Yes, I believe primarily in the return of political culture. I lacked certain moral and moral values in many of our state officials. Now comes a generation of politicians who do not draw ties from the past, and I like the current promise of direction. Apparently, it is not and will never be won at all, but state administration is above all a dialogue, and this can only be conducted constructively in a morally valuable, decent and cultivated environment.
© Ivan Krejsa
Finally, let’s get to music – are you planning to launch your solo album?
It has already taken place, unconventionally and very intimately. The godparents were my children and we christened the album in a canoe on the surface of my beloved Pastvinská dam in the Orlické Mountains. I don’t want to make a big fuss about it or some big concert that will shout that the record is in the world, let everyone buy it. This album should be a reward for those who are looking for something. Thanks to the extremely successful collection on the Starter server, it is already a joint work, with the first load almost dismantled. I have no ambition to break through with him and build a solo career, my heart remains in Marien.
Assuming the covid situation gets back to normal, what are your plans with Marien? Last year you released the successful and great album “2020”, will you release another clip from it?
We’ll see. We did a lot of concerts now, because it was necessary to handle a lot of postponed concerts, there was no time to create. Only at the end of the year do we always add and balance and make schedules for the next year. If the economic side allows it, the video clip would definitely be nice.
What reactions did you hear from your teammates to your solo debut?
They’re nice to me, maybe I don’t even deserve it. They know me best and I seem to have been able to surprise them in something. Without Marien and their initial financial support, work on the album could not even begin. But thanks to this genre trip “Multiple winds”, I now realize more clearly what the secret of Marien’s success lies and what we should focus on in the future.