The two-day Metronome music festival kicks off on Friday evening at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds in Prague. Among the most awaited acts this year will be Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers. In addition to the main stars, people can see a number of local formations, such as the cult band Sexy Dancers, who are returning to the stage after 20 years. As final preparations were underway, I spoke to Metronome’s organizer David Gaydečka:
Iva Bittová is a phenomenal Czech avant-garde violinist, singer and composer who has developed a music style of her own. She moved to upstate New York over ten years ago where she continues performing and teaching both children and adults. We talked after one of her workshops in Prague about her career, her future projects and her passion for helping underprivileged youth to realize their full musical potential.
Lazer Viking and Sabrehart’s exuberant joint seven-track LP Flesh Cadillac was one of the more intriguing local releases of 2016. Lazer Viking is the stage name of Jakub Kaifosz, who is also in the band Wild Tides, DJs on Radio Wave and is an editor at Vice magazine. Sabrehart, meanwhile, is Prague-based English musician, composer and producer Stephen Abrehart. Polished and poppy but idiosyncratic and characterful, the collaborators’ compelling Flesh Cadillac – which perhaps surprisingly came out on BiggBoss, the Czech Republic’s premiere hip hop
Last year Děti mezi reprákama (Children Among the Speakers) picked up the Best Newcomer prize at the Vinyl music awards. Recently the Prague group – led by former Post-hudba man Dominik Zezula – returned with their sophomore release, the short but captivating Haiku. Highly recommended if poetic lyrics (helpfully posted on Děti mezi reprákama’s Tumblr account), lo-fi piano and guitar squall are your cup of čaj.
For the last decade the independent label Starcastic has been releasing much of the best Czech and Slovak alternative music, including in recent times from the likes of Please the Trees, Bonus and Mayen. The man behind the label is Slovak-born Marek Čulen, a well-known figure on the Prague music scene. Ahead of events celebrating Starcastic’s 10th anniversary, I asked Čulen what had led him to establish the label back in the mid-2000s.
Jana Kománková runs Proti šedi (which translates as “against the grey”), a highly useful one-stop website for anybody interested in arts events in Prague. She has been a well-known name in local alternative music circles since the early 1990s, as a deejay with Radio 1 and a critic with numerous magazines and newspapers. Remarkably the Prague-born Kománková began reviewing concerts for Rock & Pop at only 17. When we met at a café, I asked her how she’d managed to launch her career at such an early age.