Get festively funky with Viktor Longo and his new album

Skye Parrott speaks to Viktor Longo about his new Christmas album, The New Old Fashion Way.

Interview Skye Parrott
Photography Kat Slootsky

Can you give a little background on how you started playing music? How many albums you’ve done, a little bio info here?

I have been writing music in my head since I was a small child. I’ve lost count of all the projects and releases I’ve done but, as far as proper full-length albums go, this is the second. Which is crazy.

Why are you releasing a Christmas album?

Cuz it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The album was made with the help of cellist and arranger Dave Eggar (Frank Ocean, Coldplay, Fiona Apple, Tony Bennett) and guitarist Phil Faconti (Norah Jones, Zayn) as well as other talented musicians.

I wanted to make a Christmas album to bring some cheer to a bummer year. Phil hooked me up with Dave who loved the idea and we cranked it out remotely in a few weeks. Let’s all be jolly to each other and spread holiday cheer.

What makes a Christmas album different from an album that is released at Christmas time?

Christmas is a genre unto itself. It has a colour scheme, it has some musical themes. Except Die Hard. What’s the verdict on this? Is it a Christmas movie? I think it is. Christmas music is secular and religious. It’s fast, it’s slow, it’s happy, it’s melancholy. It’s for kids and grown-ups. It covers everything. It’s about Santa and Jesus and presents but, like The Godfather, underneath it all, it’s really about family. And it’s so inclusive that there’s even a role for the haters (i.e The Grinch, Scrooge). Everyone is welcome. Kids from one to ninety-two get to have fun and be good to each other one time a year and there’s a special soundtrack for that.

What are your favourite Christmas albums?

Nat King Cole’s Christmas album is probably the gold standard. There’s a 1957 compilation from Capitol Records that’s amazing. It has songs from Frank and Dino and the usual ones you know, and also some very cool ones that maybe you never heard like Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers that sounds like it’s in slow motion.

What is the best Christmas song?

Who’s your favourite child?

What is the best Christmas movie?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Honorary mention to The Night Before. Michael Shannon is the funniest skeezy pot dealer to ever grace the silver screen.

If you could put together a Christmas album of covers, what songs would be on it and who would perform them? What would the cover art be?

The New Old Fashion Way performed by me with cover art by Kat Slootsky. Songs include It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree and many more.

Next year, I would love to record Christmas songs with A$AP Ferg, Norah Jones, Ariana Grande, Claude VonStroke, Daft Punk, Diplo, Meg White, Mariah Carey, Tyson Fury, Michael Shannon and many more. The cover would be all of us by the fire, having a good time.

You’ve performed with a number of artists. Who has been your favourite artist to perform with and why?

I used to be in a band with Lora-Faye from Arthur Moon and those shows, to this day, have been some of my favourites and I love the direction her music has taken since. She makes a cameo on one of the tracks from The New Old Fashion Way.

Why are you always posting about drinking water?

Because it is so important. Please, have a glass of room-temperature water. And leave a glass out for Santa this year to help wash down the milk (and rum) and cookies.