Beyond ordinary pop, meet the nominees of Czeching 2017
Czeching 2017Foto: Český rozhlas
Radio Wave will give a band or a producer the opportunity to gain support in their quest to reach foreign audiences yet again.
Czech music publicists and program directors chose five promising Czech bands. Czech professionals as well as representatives of foreign radio stations like BBC, Radio France, Rai 2 or FM4 will choose the winner, who will get the opportunity to record and release an EP and perform at Eurosonic Noorderslag, one of the biggest European showcase festivals, and at two clubs, which are a part of the Liveurope network. The concert of all the nominees and the announcement of the winner will take place on September 27, 2017 in the Czech Radio garages. The afternoon program, supported by the Czech Music Office, will include discussions with local and foreign professionals on the topics of music export, music dramaturgy and searching for new talents.
Leoš Hort alias HRTL is a producer, modular synthesizer virtuoso and an expert on its operation and music production. He is the founder of cassette format label Bükko Tapes as well as an active member of the internationally acclaimed Bastl Instruments collective from Brno, which focuses on handcrafted open-source music hardware.
Tomáš Kelar, music director of the Kabinet Múz club, nominated producer HRTL:
“In my opinion HRTL is the best candidate for export for a couple of reasons. The practical one represents the low costs when traveling abroad compared to the costs of a four-member band. That is very important when it comes to starting a career abroad. He is also very talented, he has been working with technologies such as modular for quite some time now, and he knows how to work with them when it comes to music as well as their maintenance. He is able to build them as well as work with them in showrooms. That means that the direction he chose is not only his passion and his hobby, but also profession outside of his music production. When it comes to his performance skills, he is one of the best in the Czech Republic. His show is very entertaining, unpredictable and different each time he performs and that is his great strength.”
Leoš Hort has studied at the University of Pécsi and at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno. His production is not constrained by the functionality of the hardware or by the rules of a particular genre and his sound ranges from eighties house, playful techno to bubbling electro. In his music, you can hear creative dance rhythms as well as rich melodies and changing moods. HRTL released his first EP titled Hydroxid in 2014 on his own label. A year later, HRTL released the Dataloss LP for which he received the Anděl Music Award in the electronic music category. His main forte is improvisation and his shows are full of energy. He states that he is not making the melodies with his hands but with his head. Currently he is probably performing abroad more often than locally and he is working on new projects in collaboration with a couple of foreign labels.
COLD COLD NIGHTS
The name “J” disappeared from the Czech music scene a while ago. The young songwriter, filmmaker and founder of the Black Pear label and organizer of different DIY events, Jakub Jirásek, did not stop making music though. He became a member of the band Cold Cold Nights.
Michal Pařízek, editor in chief of Full Moon Magazine, nominated the band Cold Cold Nights:
“Cold Cold Nights released a great record, which should be the basis when someone tries to recommend the band or to work with them further. Moreover, they are skilled musicians, they are performing a lot and they are able to perform anywhere. I attend many showcases regularly so I think I can tell what is interesting and what has potential. They represent exactly what young people are currently interested in – more complicated indie music with a detached view that is also stepping out of the genre here and there. They definitely have a chance.”
Formerly an indie folk songwriter, J grew up in Switzerland and the topics of home and travelling were always prominent in his music. He can also speak candidly about relationships and emotions. He writes his lyrics in English and in Czech, but that is not the only reason why his music could attract foreign audience. He has already performed abroad multiple times as a solo artist as well as with his band. He travelled through Europe as well as USA where he went on tour with the band Hey!Rabbit. This year Cold Cold Nights released their debut record (The) Last Summer. They consider the record to represent a testimony of their generation, which offers a lot of possibilities but at the same time also a great deal of responsibility and destabilization of values. The experienced Joe Lambert who has worked with groups such as The National or Animal Collective did the mastering of the record. The music production of Cold Cold Nights combines the influences of indie folk as well as post-rock and it is full of experiments and instrumentation. Besides the classics like guitar and drums, you can also hear for example chimes and trombone.
All of a sudden, a talented producer and singer by the name of Zagami Jericho appeared on the Czech music scene last year. Her production and vocal skills as well as a feeling for a hit song caught the attention of the audience and the music publicists alike.
Jiří Špičák, music director of Radio Wave, nominated female producer and singer Zagami Jericho:
“You can clearly see the progress that Zagami has made. We were thinking it may be too early in her career but then I decided to throw her into the water and see how she will deal with it because I believe that it is something that could motivate and stimulate her. She does everything by herself; she’s a solitaire. She wants to be in charge of everything – from visuals to productions and vocals. Despite her young age she tries to oversee everything and to learn everything by herself.”
Zagami Jericho has been releasing her music on Soundcloud since 15 years of age. Soon after releasing her debut, City is My Church, which made a strong impression, Zagami became a wild card of the Starter show on Radio Wave and she was nominated for the Newcomer of the year category at the Vinyla Music Awards. She then received numerous performance offers. Her music can be described as retro futuristic and you can hear influences of new wave, synth pop, chillwave, vapor wave or trap. Zagami Jericho says that she is mostly interested in contrast and she likes to mix harmonious melodies with noise. Lenka Šimůnková alias Zagami Jericho has been able to develop her music production thanks to access to a recording studio at her home. Cyber punk as well as Japanese culture inspire her. Growing up in the era of technology and in sync with social networks, Zagami is creating music and performing on the Czech scene as a solitaire, a hero of the digital era who knows what she wants.
The core of the WLW8 collective, producing especially dance electronic music, consists of two experienced Czech producers. Despite the fact that they like to hide their identity in music videos and on photos, even the foreign audience managed to find them.
Veronika Ruppert, host and DJ at Radio Wave, nominated WLW8:
“Their music might not be of the trendiest kind, but it is perfect for radio rotations and that is what Czeching is about, the radio. I think their music could be heard next to other artists not only in Europe but also in the US where I alternately live.”
WLW8 (read Will Wait) didn’t even have to release a whole album and servers such as Hype Machine and Indie Shuffle discovered their trendy sophisticated dance music resembling deep house and added their track to the list of top 10 dance hits. From there their music found its way onto the HBO TV Series Ballers starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. It was picked up by the music supervisor Scott Vener. The members of WLW8 are also a part of the project Pink Gloves and they have been a part of the electronic music scene for quite a while now. One of them is a music production lecturer and the other one is sought-after mastering engineer even abroad. Together they remixed songs by Portland singer Leo Islo or the American band Body Language. They gained many experiences abroad; their music video for the single Called Off was recorded in California.
Guitarist, singer, songwriter and lone wolf Jakub Kaifosz is a different kind of rock’n’roll giant. He is known for making music with the band Wild Tides and now Jakub is revealing his even more provocative alter ego Lazer Viking.
Michal Brenner, music director of the MeetFactory club, nominated Lazer Viking:
“I chose Lazer Viking because I can see it succeeding in the competition abroad thanks to the showmanship of Kuba Kaifosz, who is a crazy extrovert on stage and he can create a show that comes off as a revelation on the small Czech scene. I think that it could work the same way in front of a foreign audience. There is no barrier, it does not matter what language he sings in because it’s all about the show.”
Talented songwriter and singer as well as avant-garde performer Lazer Viking is supposedly a salute to the sloppiness of rock ‘n’ roll, the glitz of glam and the absolute cheesiness of contemporary punk. He definitely does not take himself seriously and is not afraid to enjoy all the beauty and pleasures of popular culture from Dadaism to wrestling. “The most eccentric and egocentric of all the alternative musicians in Prague” is currently working on a new record titled Drag in collaboration with Charles Rowell of the Crocodiles and Martin Přikryl from The Prostitutes.