“The Czech Republic has lacked a representative music prize, which would reflect and reward important creations in Czech music, for a long time”, state the organizers of the newly established music award with the rather peculiar name ‘Vinyla’.
Eschewing the local “music business”, Vinyla aims to praise the few local quality independent creators who inject some originality and ideas into their music. Nevertheless, another similar prize – Apollo – was awarded in January, which might signify an increasing effort to highlight and nurture musicians who are not affiliated with major labels here. Among the nominees for the first Vinyla Awards are alt rapper Bonus, ironic/iconic duo Cokovoko, Floex, newcomers Fiordmoss as well as events like Creepy Teepee.
The winners of each category – Record of the Year, Discovery of the Year, Event of the Year – will be announced this Saturday, 10 March at the Fléda club in Brno with a live show by WWW, Gurun Gurun or Kittchen.
Fiordmoss was founded in 2008 after Roman’s record collection and Petra’s guitar disappeared in a blaze of fire in their shared flat. Both original members of the band – currently there is also a third member Jan Boroš – art students Petra Hermanová and Roman P?ikryl had previous experiences in music. In Fiordmoss, they merged these two seemingly antithetical worlds – the folk of Petra and electronic of Roman. Their debut EP Gliese appeared in 2010 and last year they were the only Czech participants at the RBMA in Madrid. Here they talk about their new record Ink Bitten which is out at the end of the month.
Can you tell us about your new record?
We have just started recording. The album is called Ink Bitten and it’s title draws inspiration from the phenomenon of tattoo ladies of the late 19th century. Most of the songs tell stories that have fascinated us last year, taken either from the past or from our inner selves. We’ve set the release date at the 29th of February.
You have been playing out a lot last year, how has this influenced your new record? And how will it be different from your debut EP Gliese?
We played around thirty concerts with Jan last year, which created quite a bond between us. Also, we’ve been playing new tracks lately, growing close to them, getting their vibes under our skin. Meaning that we know what we want to do with them and what we want to avoid which will be a very different experience from when we were recording Gliese. Also, the fact that we are three now changed completely the way we work. We have more instruments and songs with a new, more lively feeling to them. Recording Gliese felt rather stiff compared to this.
How do you compose your music? How does it come to life?
Usually it comes from writing lyrics and maybe some little tune to it, saying what kind of imagery comes to our mind considering the story. And then we just play around with it at home and layer instrumentals and beats on it, sometimes we search for sounds that might sound like something from the lyrics, like crashing ice, swoosh of a knife or a siren.
How are your roles divided in your band?
Our roles are set on stage but when we work in our rehearsal space or in studio, it’s not really strict. Yes, it’s Roman who creates the beats, synths and bass, and Jan who does guitars and Petra who comes up with vocal melodies, but it’s more like everyone has a say at anything, production-wise. It’s just the lyrics that aren’t created together.
You study at art school. How has this influenced your sound and what you do musically
Very much so. Artists with bands have naturally a different mindset compared to pure, schooled musicians or theatre actors who play music, accentuating different things in their work. And of course we care very much what goes on around us visually of which we want full control. But even though we could do all the visuals on our own, we really love to ask friends to do them for us.
And the visual stimuli is crucial in the process of writing lyrics that usually originate from studying imagery related to them. We have extensive collections of material related to songs on Gliese. The lyrics in Ink Bitten are also backed by a thorough research. Making art often requires research and this might be one of the artsy approaches that we apply to doing music.
What do you generally try to express through your music?
Our vision of what we think is nice?
What are your plans for this year?
Hitting the road with the album in April along with Floex. We’d like to get signed to a label and we’re thinking of moving abroad for a while.
Click Joe is a seasoned DJ (he’s supported the likes of Rick Wade) with an affinity for deephouse, disco, Detroit, an avid fiend of vinyl records and most recently, a co-owner of a newly opened record store MUAH!, as well as a co-organizer of an eponymous festival. Based in the country’s second biggest city Brno, Click Joe is a firm part of the city’s music scene centered around the cosy club Sklenick.
How was 2011 for you and what are your expectations from this year?
It was a great year – we danced and had lots of fun. If 2012 could follow in a similar vein, I would be very glad.
Can you tell us something about your project MUAH?
Me and some other people got a space in the first floor above Café Sklenick and right before Christmas, we managed to open it officially. It’s our base, sometimes storage, but most importantly a location that we hope will gradually gain its own genius loci. I love vinyl records, record shops with their special atmoshpere. Our guests, who come and play at our parties, bring their latest releases with them and thus we have plenty of items from labels such as Workshop, Smallville, Kann, Uncanny Valley Ortloff and others. We also sell the Playbag bags created by Czech designers, label Tshirts and tees by young local graphic designers. Aside from the shop, we also organize a festival and other activities.
What is the idea and motivations behind MUAH!?
To have fun! I don’t want to criticize anybody but I think that our values and concepts regarding parties are a little different to the others. We don’t give in to the cheapskate tricks of the majority of Czech clubs. We want good coffee, decent sound, DJs, vinyl records and people who behave as humans not as animals.
Do you think it is possible to promote the tradition of the vinyl record in our country? It is symptomatic, that you opened the shop in Brno and not in Prague. What is the problem with Prague when it comes to records shops?
Record shops can tell you something about the scene of a particular city. Prague lacks an area such as Kreuzberg, that people wouldn’t have to leave, have their jobs there, cafés, bars, secondhand shops or clubs and meet up every day. I’ve observed this in Brno for a while, to the north from the city centre. Starting with Sklenick, an area is spreading with plenty of cafés, where you can check your emails, meet friends, move to a different place and suddenly it’s the evening and usually someone will be behind the decks at Sklenick, even off the official programme. After a day like this, you go to bed with a good feeling. I only go to the centre to the post office, otherwise it’s simply not worth it.
Last year, you started organizing the MUAH! Festival. How was it? Are you planning to continue?
We started in July with Sevensol&Bender, had another party in the following month with Julius Steinhoff and topped it off with DJ Polo in autumn. Thanks to MUAH! we have realized that there are people outthere who appreciate if you are doing something with passion and we cannot do it any other way. We are already planning this year’s installment.
The Brno scene used to be quite active. How is it nowadays?
Not sure. I practically live in Sklenick and I’ve stopped keeping in touch with what’s happening elsewhere. I’m on Facebook and get invites from people who interest me. We are a small country, it’s enough to follow three or four crews and you won’t miss much.
Could you specify, which are those crews?
In Brno these are the concerts organised by Prokop Holoubek, the events by the 142bpm crew or the nights at the Boro club. I’d actually rather go out of the country to have fun to Bratislava or Vienna which are very close to Brno, or even Leipzig.
What about your DJing?
I party at Sklenick, several times a week 🙂 It’s hard to play this type of music somewhere else. There’re only a few deephouse events in the country and we occasionally invite each other and that’s enough, at least for me.
Which Czech producers do you like?
Popper-C, Elektrabel, Forma, Subject Lost, Mythematica, Floex. What pertains house music, it’s not so great yet, but it might change with Tom Holic from Brno. I also like Quazidelict and the listening scene.
What do you like most about your job?
I can be my own boss. If I had to sit in an office for eight hours a day, I’d be very disappointed with myself.
The debut release by the Brno-based sonic subverter Jacques Kustod is aptly entitled ‘First Year’ EP even though Andrej / Jacques is far from a self-conscious beginner. His production displays confidence and skill that a seasoned musician could easily become envious about. Introspective yet comprehensible, dancey but intelligent, experimental yet accessible, ‘First Year’ features five tracks – sonic journeys whose length oscillates between three and almost eight minutes proving that Jacques is in it for the long run.
The two ‘Diary Loops’ see him at his most adventurous incorporating random piano samples and field recordings from his adopted Moravian city Brno. All this wrapped in a melancholic veil of sonic nostalgia that remains utterly modern. ‘First Year’ EP is out now as a free release. You can download it here.