Fairy Tales from Needland Two-fisted Re-make
[in Czech “Pohadek ze Zapotrebi znovuudelani fortelne”]
The album is done!
Who ever wants to own MP3 version of the album, it's p[ossible to download it on http://www.indiesmg.cz/alba/388/pohadek-ze-zapotrebi-znovuudelani-fortelne/ for about 10 dollars.
In store the CD will be on Feb. 6th, 2012 and of course on UJD's shows as well. Or in IndiesMG store, too.
The arrival of this extraordinary project to the world should be celebrated in the special day. And because 2012 is a leap year, so the release party will happen in Prague on intercalary day Feb.29 2012
or in Brno in club Fleda day before, Feb. 28th.
Both show will be supported by great slovakian band Tornado Lue Trio.
Since June 2011 Uz jsme doma are working on new versions of songs from the album Fairytales from Needland (issued by Indies MG), which was originally released in 1994.
The need for a new "coat" was already apparent at the time first release of these songs, because during recording there were technical mistakes and no money to repair them. Thanks to two donators succeeded after all these years to get a second chance.
The original concept was to use original arrangements and "only" re-record those songs. To join the project was invited Jindra Dolansky. He eventually apologized, however, that for a long time non-playing and bad vocal condition too, so Miroslav Wanek decided to rework the songs quite well not only in the arrangements, where the saxophone was replaced by the trombone and trumpet, but also in the structures, several places in the melodies and tempos and even some few added new themes and passages will appear..
Since work on this CD coincided with new drummer joinig the band, Jaroslav Noga, this recording became his first work. His unbridled energy and also evident musical scholarship and sensitivity brought into these songs "drive" and the brilliant lightness. You can hear it especially in the solo passages in the songs Ms. Lazybona or Magician.
In addition to recording the current members of the band (Pepa Cervinka - bass guitar, Adam Tomasek - trumpet, Miroslav Wanek - guitar, keyboard and vocals and the aforementioned Jaroslav Noga - drums) also collaborated guests - Johnny Judl on lead guitar and bassoon, Jan Jirucha on trombone, Martin Crysman Gardener on harmonica and Petr Smekal on saxophone. CD was recorded in the Indies studio in Brno, under the supervision of master soundman Dusan Soucek, and under musical direction by Miroslav Wanek. Now its in a proccess of mixing and mastering by Bronislav Šmid, who mixed so well the last album UJD Caves in year 2010.
Martin Velisek is already beginning to sketch designs for a new package that will be in addition to the new title theme include a board game inspired by the twelve fairy tale characters related too the individual songs. Example of one of these characters might be Mr.Later, the figure that when a person enters into, a man begins to postpone everything – both, work and ability to decisions, man is slowly losing his will, and suddenly everything is too late.
The title of the album will change a little bit as well as cover or these songs themselves
"Fairy Tales from Needland Two-fisted Re-make"
(in Czech “Pohadek ze Zapotrebi znovuudelani fortelne”
The arrival of this extraordinary project to the world should be celebrated in the special day. And because 2012 is a leap year, so the release party will happen in Prague on intercalary day Feb.29 2012
Interview for ProgArchive with Miroslav Wanek, January 2011
UZ JSME DOMA are a Czech avant-garde prog band, who formed in 1985, with stylistic similarities to RIO bands such as SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA and STORMY SIX. Formed in Teplice, the band have been through many line-up changes (and problems with Communism) and have never stuck to a particular style, but they have always had a unique sound nevertheless. Their 2010 album Jeskyne (Caves) has got a lot of praise here in ProgArchives and it is about time their story is being told. Mirek answered the call on behalf of the band.
When, where and by whom was Uz jsme doma set up. Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?
The band was found in 1985 in town of Teplice, near German border. Originally it was sort of „joke band“, formed mostly by people, not having too much of musical knowledge and experience. In Teplice was found the band FPB, 5 years sooner, and this band was a huge influence for many very young people sitting day by day in pub and dreaming about their musical lives. There were many these kind of „hotbeds“ around and one of them – about 5-7 people – was meeting frequently in pub called „Split“ on main square in Teplice. As many other groups they were „creating the band in theory“ while drinking beer and shots. One day some other guy was catching these people around the table and so he asked, „what are doing here?“ and when they told him,“we create the band“ he started to laugh and very ironicly he told them „uz jsme doma“, which in Czech language we use in situation, when you want to say „oh, I got it“ – you can say that „oh, now we are at home“ . of course in this case that was the irony. But after several more beers, they started to like that sentence, so they decided to use as a name of band, and beacuse one of them – Jindra Dolansky – was musicly trained and also because they wanted to show that guy, that they are not liers, they started to meet in rehearsal room and create several song to play together, I think they made about 5-6 songs during 6-8 months. After this „prenatal“ period, me and Romek Hanzlik (both from FPB) joined the band, on the beginning as guests, but in about two three months only two of original members left, so me and Romek decided to stay permanently. This quartet became to be first regular „seious“ band line-up.
The major influence, as said, was FPB and through some FPB’s cover songs of - for example - The Residents, Pere Ubu, Art Bears, Magma, Chinas Commidas, Chrome, Killing Joke, Amy Denio, Henry Cow, Ebba Gron, Entron Fou LeLoublan, but also Damned or Clash, there was an “secondary” influence to UJD as well. Especially the swedish band Ebba Gron with using saxophone in melodic punk. And as shown upper – after short “prenatal” period two thirds of FPB joined the UJD band, so the influnce and experience of FPB was even stronger. I wrote all FPB’s original songs and so I sort of continued in that writing in UJD too, my first song for UJD was “Mu je ha” and that showed the way, where UJD would turn after that big line-up change on the beginning. We started to practice a lot, all members started to learn to read notes and stuff started to be more and more “complicated” [as we loved that on Magma or Henry Cow], but with keeping the punk energy, speed and “plebeianness”.
Thanks to FPB former close connection to Jazz Section [Prague organization, organizing amazing festivals of avantgarde music in late 70th and punished by communists in 80th – some of leaders were prisoned for several years] UJD continued in “tracks” of FPB and because there was a little bit warmer after “perestroyka” coming from Soviet Union, UJD got chance to play few shows officialy on some stages in Prague – Opatov, Chmelnice, Gong, Rokoska clubs. In Teplice we were still forbidden, so we took fake papers [left from FPB] and pretended ourself as Prague band. The situation in Prague was havily different than outside of Prague. So we got official papers [permit] to play legaly, but with heavy censorship anyway. The opportunities for playing were rare and almost only in Prague. Of course we did several illegal shows too and the danger of secret police was hanging above our heads constantly.
How was the scene in Czechoslovakia (as your country was called then) when you started up ?
There was basicly censorship and fear all around, for any kind of art and for any kind of life.
In 60th there were several great bands playing very original stuff [besides many carbon copies of Beatles and Rolling Stones]. Primitives Group, Prudy, Collegium Musicum, Framus 5, and especially Flamengo, the best Czech rock group in history. After 1968 many of these bands were forbiden or they were cancelled, many of musicians escape the country and the rasing connection between them and music world was interrupted. Later in 70th Plastic People appeared [they started in very late 60th] and several few bands as Extempore, the very first so called „alternative“ band. I am talking about avantgarde, underground and alternative music scene only, of course besides that there were several official „rock“ groups as Olympic or Katapult, but those were very classical and totally under censorship following socialist rules and helping the system to have an argument, if anyone on West said, that there is no rock scene in Czechoslovakia.
Extempore was the major band for bringing new influnces from avantgarde music in the world. They had close connection to RIO scene and due to close connection to Jazz Section they helped to bring Art Bears in 1978 to Prague. I was 16 in that time and it was like a miracle for me. The Extempore show there of course too. And for sure it was a huge influence for many other young people around. One year later on „9th Prague Jazz Days“ there was a boom of new bands coming on scene playing completely new music, as Zikkurat, Marno Union, Svehlik, Dvouleta Fama, Kilhets or Zabi Hlen. Most of these bands were from Prague. Two years later I created FPB in Teplice and started that way something later called „Teplice punk scene“. There were great new bands in Brno [Moravia] as Dunaj with Iva Bittova, Jeste jsme se nedohodli, Pro pocit jistoty etc., than North Moravian bands Betula Pendula or Masomlejn. For some strange reason that scene was called „New Wave“, probably in very different meaning as on West.
Even if the system tryied to do all possible to stop that stream [for example in 1983 they published an article in communist paper Tribuna, where they criminalized all that movement as „ideological diversion“ and „paid agents from West“], even if many of people were kicked off their jobs or schools, the danger of being prisoned as Plastic People was still very feelable, even if to organize any legal show was sort of pain and rare happening, even if all that, the scene was bigger and bigger and talking about 1985 [year when UJD joined the scene], the situation turned slowly to much more liberal. Some journalists started to refer about that scene slowly and in 1987 the Socialist Union of Youth [the egg of Communist Party] organized officialy the festival of rock music called Rockfest. As with many other things in our country, people around music immediately took that chance to „go around“ and show the real rock scene and especially „new wave“, but of course the way to do it had to be a fake. The Rockfest official part was organized as competition and some bands, not very interesting, were playing on festival as a price, but besides that some people created „experimental scene“, where the dramaturgy was not under control of secret police and censors [they didn’t expect such an impudence] – paradoxly that „official festival“ was the major platform, where the new scene was shown in its wideness. The next Rockfest was cancelled and some people were investigated by police, but time was running and the year 1989 was close.
This is an archive based interview also intended for the fans you get well after both you and I have passed away so let's go straight to your albums. Please give us your long or brief views on your albums, starting with.......
Uprostřed Slov (In The Middle of Words) from 1990
This album was recorded almost right after the revolution. I was one of three leaders of OF in Teplice [revolutionary organization organizing Revolution in 1989] and from Novemeber 89 to March 90 I was responsible for destroying old structure of police and erasing the censorship office, I was also responsible for creating new culture system in Teplice etc etc. In 1990 I was nominated to major of town of Teplice and I got 74 percent of public preferences, but I felt my job is done during those several months and I wanted to escape somehow from that situation. The recording of this first album was a good excuse.
We went to studio for the second time [first experience we got 6 months sooner during recording 3 songs on EP, released by Panton, called RockDebut n. 7], but we were still very very unexperinced. The studio belonged to Mr. Rytir, who was [and still is] very famous Czech pop lyricist. He and his soundman [mostly experienced only with straight pop] tryied to turn our thoughts toward the pop way of thinking, but when they discover no power to change us, they sort of „gave“ us the studio to use our way, which in the end was not such a good point. The studio was like a big toy for us, we used stereo effects without any reason, echos, nonsense volume changes etc etc. But we loved that recording and when we held the real LP in its yellow cover in our hands, it was like a miracle and could not stop to listen to it endlessly.
These songs were not „fresh“ on that album. It was sort of „payback of debt“. This album is collection of songs written in years 1985 to 1988. It contains those „prenatal“ songs [of course now with lyrics and in new arrangements, as I did it in 1986] – Jo nebo nebo, Fikus, Soubor opatreni, and few of „new songs“ I wrote after I joined the band [Uprostred slov, Dite, Telefon, Julecek etc]
The theme – In the middle of words – reflects several questions, where are roots of misunderstandings and following arguing, violence and fights, or – in reality of represive system – roots of arogancy, imposition on power, militarism etc. Are people so mean from their naturality? Or does the political system creates that? Or is it a question of communication? I had feeling that communication is partly the matter. The major sentence on that album is „In the middle of words ‚soldier‘ is the word ‚human‘ alone“
Nemilovaný Svět (Unloved World) from 1992
Same situation as the first album – collection of leftovers, written before revolution. Some of those belong to „prenatal“ time, as Jazz 1960 or Delikatesa, and the rest of songs were written in years 1988-1989. The song Napul (Halfway), where I mentioned revolution in lyrics, was written in September 1989, two months before Velvet Revolution. And we play that song till now and these lyrics did not loose their trueness (unfortunately), sitting only in different circumstences, for sure not so dangerous, as in time of creating them.
For understanding the major theme (and the name of album), you need to know Czech fairy-tale called „Salt more than Gold“ – father has three daughters, one days he asked them, how much they love him. First one answered: „like a diamond“, the second one: „like a gold“ and the third one: „like a salt“. The king gets agnry and the third daughter is kick off the castle. She became to be „Unloved daughter“. The king commands to demage all salt and it is forbidden to use it. Some people critize that, but king gave them gold, so they were silent and happy, that are rich now. For few days they tried to eat sweet meals, than sour meals, or even bitter meals. But after time, the whole country, including the king, was very unhappy, because they just miss the food with salt. And because all salt was demaged, not even gold helped, people would pay tons of gold for just one little fingerful of salt. Now – too late - king discovered, that his third daughter loved him the most.
I was substituing the third dautghter to the whole Earth and king into all people living on it. Unloved World. People don’t understand, that the Earth loves them the most, and they continue to demage it. When they will discover, that they cut the branch, what they sit on, it might be too late. Again communication – with nature, with common difficulties, no matter in which country, which party, nation, religion etc.
This album was recorded just few months later than the first one. We asked experienced musician, composer and musical director Mr. Cerha from famous Czech vocal band CK Vocal, to take care of us during recording. We liked to be under control, because we felt someone has to teach us how to record a help with mixing. But arrangements were still in our hands and we were “drunken” from all studio abilities. We invited tons of guests, including band called Calata, playing medieval music on medieval instruments. We wanted to hear our songs in “big instrumentation” including choir parts etc. And that happened. Once again we were so impressed and because even the sound was much better and more “proffesional” than the first one, we felt as in heaven.
Hollywood from 1993
In these „pioneer“ time of freedom in our country, there was kind of strange situation on musical trade. There were only two bigger recording companies from previous time -Supraphone and Panton. Panton disappeared soon. Few new label appeared as Bonton for example. At the same moment big label from abroad started to serach how to jump into Czech market – their major interest was of course to spread their wolrd pop stuff into each ear in this country, but there was kind of strange situation here in this country after Velvet Revolution – leader of the country was intelectual Vaclav Havel, artist. Many ministers or representatives were former underground artists, the whole atmosphere on art reception side was not so friendly to commercial and pop stuff, so the strategy of these labels started to be „make themself nicer“ and so they started to support former underground, punk or avatgarde artists, to release their albums and promite them, and for a while they ingnored local pop scene. In that wave Uz jsme doma met BMG. The label invested relatively lot of money into recording and promotion, the release party for journalists was opulent, we were dressed into yeloow suits with house masks on heads, we were sitting in carriage and two pairs of horse, riding the old town square, lot of luxury food etc. They paid for the first [and last] video clip on titel song with two dancers, they manufactured around 10 000 copies. I felt something is wrong, but they were talking about contract for more Cds etc etc, so we were thinking, that is way, how it works.
We had finally „the present“ material, song written and played during first three years after revolution. The theme was kind of strange, especially for avantgarde band – the tolerance. Maybe it was the result of that imazing atmosphere during Velvet Revolution, people were so nice to each other, all people kept smilling and even the hate for communists was dampened.
I continued to think about communication, on one side why people don’t want to listen to each other, why some doing is so strange and non-acceptable for many people and the same doing is for other group of people so nice and opposite way. Why they cannot tolerate each other lifestyle, religion etc? And than I found, that even me and my community is not tolerant, especially to commercial lifestyle and culture, the Hollywood production as a symbol of all that. And I continued – how come, that so many milions of people like it, love it, need it, buy it and use it, how come that this stuff satisfied them, when for me it is obviously so empty? Why do I despice them? Are they all so silly? So I wrote the album Hollywood with tolerance to that need, not agreeing, but tolerance. Giving pop a chance not to despice avantgarde need. Statement for communication.
Releasing this album on BMG was even symbolic for those thoughts. But one year later BMG [and other labels like Sony etc] finally discovered their truly goal and they put more than 4000 copies into pulper. For them it was only temporary investment to join the trade and now they stop to support anything else than Jackson or Madonna stuff. It took me several years to get Hollywood out of their hands. Than we re-released it on our own and sold another 2000 copies, later our present label Indies bought it, as well as Skoda Records in US and it is sold till now, Indies are just about to manufacture another pile of CDs again.
Pohádky ze Zapotrebí (Fairytales from Needland) from 1995
We finnaly found label, where we belong to – Indies Records from Brno. They had not so much money as BMG, but they loved our stuff, they release similar bands as we are, they are good friends and nice people.
Recording of this album was stigmatic by low budget but as well with situation in the band by that time – one thing was, that majority in a band thought that we need to bring a live feeling into our recordings, it means energy reputable on our live shows. The other thing was, that the band was not in so good relationship, unfortunately it was like two groups competing each other and was was offer from one side, it was negatived from the other one. In the end we decided to record it in provisory studio, made by our concert soundman. He was very good and experienced live soundman, but he had no experience with studio recording. The presure of one part of group on „live sound“ was so strong, that we almost record all together, so it was difficult to separate sounds later on, when we wanted to mix it. There were no added instruments, too, instead of basoon in one song. When all was recorded and all instruments were already out of studio, we discovered, that the soundman recorded everything with effects directly into tapes, incl. compressors, strong gates on drums etc etc. Money were spent and the recording was almost useless. Under the presure of term we had to agree with release, even thou we were not satisfied with sound. Songs themselves are in opposite – I still feel them as the best stuff I wrote ever. Fortunately very fresh news are, that one donator decided to support new recording of that stuff, so it seems in June this year we will re-record that CD in present line-up.
Theme of this album continues in Hollywood theme – the need of good winning, the need of nice stories is very old. People used to live for example in 13th century on village, their lives ere not so easy at all, they were almost like slaves, no rights, very frequently they had to go to war or the war came to their village, very bad diseases were common etc. People created fairy-tales as a wish of good. They used their own scenery and objects of their own experience, but we can read now these fairy-tales as a source of wisdom, because we have the same need. That need is basic character of people – need of good. Fairy-tales are great messages from those ancient people to our present lives. Communication with history, with previous experience. And my question was: are we able to create present fairytale with present scenery and present fears and hopes, fairytale which could be readable and understandable to people born in approx 600-800 years from now? On this album I created 12 „new“ fairytale creatures and set up the village, where they live – Needland. Martin Velisek, who made the cover for the album, painted circle of houses, where is no entrance. Martin said, that creatures don’t need entrance to village, he said, they can use chimneys to come home. That is his interpretation. J
Usi (Ears) from 1999
After so many „experiments“ with sound we decided to ask some producer to take care of it for us. In that time we toured a lot USA and besides many others we met great band Idiot Flesh from Oakland, CA. We started to play many tours together and that continued even when they turned into Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. We played together sveral hundrets of shows all over USA and that was a big friendship. Dan rathbun, bassplayer of SGM, owned a studio and created sound for all IF or SGM recordings and we loved it. So we asked him to help us with album Usi. There were no money to bring UJD to Dan’s studio in Oakland, so we brought Dan to Prague and thanks to co-operation between Indies Rec here and Skoda Rec in USA, we could afford the best studio in our country.
The arrangements were all in hands of authors, which was me and Jindra Dolansky [this album was his premiera of composing the whole song – he wrote several on this album – before this album he founded simple melody ideas or collaborated on structures and arrangements of my songs, but this time he brought the whole song arrangement, maybe partly without rhytm guitar and its harmony, and of course without lyrics]. We decided to go back to our old “Unloved World” studio arrangement method and so you can find many guests on this album, incl. the choir. From that point of view this is the most elaborated album with the strongest tendency to “orchestral sound”. The difference between Usi and Unloved World is our musical and composing experience and of course the hands and ears of Dan Rathbun, he did an excellent job.
The theme – Ears – is finally the pure step to my “communication research” – listening to each other, listening to your own feelings, to your experience, listening to history, listening to “non-hearable”. Listening [not explaining] as a basic stone of understanding, as a symbol of respect and tolerancy. The knowledge of listening as a postulate of right to talk, to teach.
On the cover you can see a big Ear [adult ear] teaching to listen other ears, those who want to listen. If anyone is just eye, or mouth or even arm or leg or ass, those cannot be tought, you need to open your ears. The major sentence on this album is “the ears teach other ears to listen” – there is a hope in this sentence, it is positive message. Jiri Cerny, one the best Czech critics, said, that what he likes on UJD lyrics is not only sense of humour or deep truly discovering some problems, but also that there is always a little light on the end of this tunnel and he feels very pleasurable with that.
The theme Ears seemed to me like a top of “communication pentalogy”, but immediately some more questions appeared – how that happen, even if people listen to each other, they have no chance to understand, or do they? How people deal with received information? Cod-liver Oil was the next theme to go through these questions a little bit.
Rybí Tuk (Codliver Oil) from 2003
To understand the name of this album, you have to know about situation in our country in 50th. But maybe very similar it used to be in other countries as well. In that time every doctor, every article in magazines or papers said or wrote, that people are missing iodine and phosphorus for their health and due to this common „knowledge“ there was a law, that kids have to eat every day one tea-spoon of Cod-liver oil. I don”t if you ever tried it, but it is disgusting. Seeral generations of kids were tortured by that and than, in 80th, scientists discovered, that the necceserity of Cod.liver oil is not so urgent, and it never was. Well, it didn’t injure, but also didn’t help that way as it was expected. Similar situation was with Spinach and ferrite in it [even the cartoon about sailor getting strong after eating spinach was based on wrong information]. People just get information, they have no chance to verify it, so they can just belive it or not. Magic formula “scientiscs said” and people do even an ugly thigs as eating Cod liver oil and worse- they let their kids to do it. In present time all is even worse, every single day people “discover” something “new”. Informations are coming to people on extremly wide highway, you read or hear some news just few minutes old, you can even see pictures or video, but technology can create a fake photo or video so easy, you get news and they are already old, some new news are clopping on your door, you have no chance to think about that not even to check if it’s true. But we have to act after using information, we have to make decisions, follow some instructions, respect the law paragraphs, which are changed when ever some new party is taking the power. In fact it turns me into not so nice feeling, that this is so similar to “faith and power” [its from lyrics of the song Fear on Ears album], people can basicly to agree or not, to believe or not, as in any religion, as in any dictatorship. I grow up in one of them, so maybe I am sensitive. I want to know answers, I want to know clinch. I dont want my kids to eat Cod liver oil, if there are no true argumnets for it. This album is warning.
Musicaly this was the first album where saxophone is not dominant instrument. Beacuse of good experience with Ears album I deceided to use some guests and choir as well, but with less independent lines, major part of songs situations uses multiple instrumentation as creating the “right” timber, instruments played often unissono, especially in solos. And especially in difficult solos, which underlined the info, that the solo is “full written” and not improvised. The sound was again in hands of Dan Rathbun, this time even the whole mix was made in his studio in Oakland, CA, where I stayed with him more than two weeks. Interesting thing was, that we discovered some already recorded parts for violin and choir not so useful, so I asked members of Sleeptytime Gorilla Museum and Charming Hostess to re-record these parts, so you can find Carla Kihlstedt on violin in some parts or Jewlia and Nils in some singing parts, some parts even in Czech language.
Title song has no lyrics, but in fact it has – silence. Great Czech poet Halas in 50th wrote, that the top of what poet can achieve is silence. Also German poet Morgenstern hundred years ago wrote a poem called “Night Fish Singing” [Fisches Nachtgesang] where are no words. This song is my addition into this thought line.
Jeskyne (Caves) from 2010
In 2005 I started to collaborate with news band members and trumpet was becoming the major solo instrument. This album is first „documentary“ of that situation.
Cave is a dark place, you can easily get lost there, you can hide there from responsibility, you can even hide there just from tireness from life. It can be your choise or you just ended up like that. But it can be as well a place of research, unknown, which was always an engine of progess, realizing of being in cave can start the will to get out of there, to think about „outside“. You can hide from information or informations can be insolated from you, you might like the feeling of having ceiling or you might be hungry for the „endless sky“ above your head. Many people are lonely, Many people search for quiet. The cave is either wanted goal or pressure for change.
Musicaly this album is probably the most compact one. You can listen to each song separately or you can feel the album like one long composition with its parts. We invited few guests as well, but with very sophisticated participation. Just like a spicy.
As I said, this was the very first experience of present line-up in studio, also, because of lack of money, we couldn’t afford Dan Rathbun this time. We were in contact about that and I hoped till last minute to have him, but the budget was how it was. So I took the place of producer myself and we chose studio in Brno belonging to Indies, which made it cheaper. In the end that was a nice choise, the crew of studio was great and the work was very friendly. I am still very satisfied with the sound and mixing.
The live albums Vancouver 1997 from 1999 and 20 letů (20 Flyears) from 2005 and the DVD with the same name.
Vancouver Live Album was recorded during our show in Starfish Ballroom in Vancouver, organized by amazing Canadian writer and organizer Bryan Salmi. The show was live broadcasted by CBC radio and that is that recording, later mastered in Philadephia.
20 Flyears album contains material of second half of the show, played as a celebration of our 20th Aniversary. This second part contains almost present line-up accompanied by 20 pieces choir of both, men a momen. The album was ment like an appertizer for people waiting for DVD, which took some longer time to manufacture.
The DVD contains two discs – one is two-hours show, which might be devided into first 40-minutes medley – mix of 20 songs, something like band musical history shortcut. In this medley we invited former members, especially Jindra Dolansky, of course many of them are not musicians anymore, so their participation is more-less symbolical, but in the end it was great fun and very nice meeting, I am sure for audience too. The second disc is about ! hour long documentary of Uz jsme doma, called Pudding. It doesn’t follow the time line too preciously, as we did it 10 years ago in a pop-up book, more than time line the documentary parts follow important areas of UJD art message – short history and „prenatal“ time, music, lyrics, artwork, travelling and themes. There are tens of interviews with many different musician, critics, audience etc, all over the world, also many samples of show videos or parts of several movies we collaborated on.
The album has both been released as indiependent albums and by Skoda Records. I did not know the car manufacturer also ran a record label, but it seems like they have released some interesting albums. How is the current availability of all your albums and who are the current publisher of your albums ?
Well, Skoda Records is not in any connection to car company [finnancially „unfortunately“ J ]
This record company is one man company, Patrick O’Donnell, lawyer and musician in one person. Great guy. Without his help and love to the band, we would never make it to USA so intensively as we did. He released all our albums up to Cod-lever Oil, and as far I know, there is still availability of all of them on Skoda Rec. Web. For example on http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/label/Skoda/a/Skoda
The very last album [Caves,2010] is released on Indies rec and licenced to Cuneiform Records on West market. It’s available for example on http://www.waysidemusic.com/Music-Products/Uz-Jsme-Doma---Caves__Rune-spc-312.aspx
How would you describe your musical developments from the debut album to last year's album ?
The line-up of each album is different. As I mentioned, first two albums were more-less recording of „old material“, which couldn’t be recorded in communist time.
Than each album had its history, its budget and circumstances of birth, our musical and life experience was growing, also our experience with studio work. So technicaly any newer album might be better than the previous one. Musicaly – talking about style changes etc – I think there are not too many differences, I think our style was created on the beginning and till now we go deeper and deeper into it, but not too much aside it.
How would you describe your music and which album do you regard as your best album ?
There is a story – we played in Vancouver the other day and one of journalists-critics joined the show. He asked me for short interview before the show and one of his questions was, how I would call our style. I told him: well, listen to the show and if you will tell me after the show, I will give you 10 dollars. If not, you will give it to me. After the last song he standed in front of stage, holding his 10dollars bill in his hand.
Time to time we do joke that we play something between Sex Pistols and The Residents. It says something about roots and two separate streams coming to our ears on the very beggining – punk and avantgarde music. But as I described upper, my major interest in in themes, the style has secondary importance to me.
Question about best album is always difficult to answer, each of them has its role in theme history, it is an important brick in covering the major theme, line cranking through the whole band history. But maybe the album strongest to my feelings is „Fairy-tales from Needland“. Unfortunately that was the case of lowest budget we ever had, so the sound is very bad. Thanks to donator we will re-record this album this June, so I hope these songs finally will get the sound which they deserve. But it will different anyway, because the arrangements will be slightly changed too, due to fit it to present line-up.
How is the creative processes in your band from coming up with an idea to commiting it onto an album ?
Since almost the beginning this band worked the way as usually clasical music orchestras work – there is always written in advence material and musicians practice it and play it as it is written in score. The very first thing is major idea of album, as for example Caves. I am thinking of that theme a lot, I try to think about that from all thinkable circumstences, I like, when the theme works on both, individual and collective level. If you can cast the „leading part“ to very personal intimate relationship or just even to very individual deep secret spot inside one person, or you can substitude that part with collective, group of people, town, country or even the whole humanity. That is why I have so many personifications in my lyrics, the water is missing its shore, the leave it‘s tree, the stone is hiding its fear, the fish is clapping it’s hands having dirty hoofs :–) it is always not too clear, if you walking the street or if street is holding you on it’s back.
When the theme is enough explored, I consulte it always first with Martin Velisek, the painter, it takes us months and months of discussions to go through all that. Now it is time to talk to record company and set up the term and budget. Than I start to write musical material, last two albums I work in Sonar [Cakewalk] using all those very simple GM MIDI sounds, so I can hear all harmonies and rhytms, and I check every single tone if it works with the others. Than musicians get the score and practice it individually for several weeks. They all have Sonar too, so we can communicate online and if there is any comment to arrangement, we can fix it in score directly. But that happen rarely, I am spending a lot of time with checking each tone and with searching the ideal combination, that muiscians usually have almost no comments to it, except of some technical details of individual instrument score, to make it playable, time to time they want to change scale or point me about overscale tones etc.
Than we meet for one or two days and practice the dynamics and tempo changes. When all this is done, ideally we try to play these songs on stage, but truly said, it never happened in 100% of material, because there were missing lyrics on most of songs. So in fact, we go to studio with almost all song not having lyrics yet. We usually record it instrument by instrument on pre-prepared metronom [the tempo line is not necessarily straight, there might be very comlicated tempo waves in it, to make it more „live“]. When all music is recorded, the voacl line is finalized. Of course some vocal parts are ready even sooner, but during recording we might discover some need of cutting some repetitions or for example trumpet line is strong enough to hold the attention in particular moment, so the vocal there would be „overabundant“ etc. That is also the reason [besides my lazyness], why I start work on lyrics so late, my lyrics have always some structure and the feeling, that I would have to cut one verse, because of cutting the music, is very stressful for me. So I wait till very last moment [usually night before the day, when vocal parts suppose to be recorded] and than I write all lyrics for all songs in once.
You have released a lot of albums and have done some gigs. What is your experiences with the music industry and the gigs promotors ?
We belong to community called progressive scene or avatgarde scene, and I am happy about that. At the same time there is not too much money in this community. It is worldwide community, but localy small. So recording and touring is sort of servise to audience more than „industry“ or „showbusiness“. From that point of view I don’t feel record companies or show promoters as someone who tries to mulct our money or to make money and not share the profit with us. Because there is almost no profit and also these companies or promoters do it all more for audience fun [and their own too of course] than for making them rich. They are not our enemies, but friends, collaborators, helpers etc. When we time to time hit some spot outside this community, for ex. some multistyle festival, we are often surpriced of arogancy or careless of organizers. Same with our experience with BMG, we were „item“, but not friends, we didn’t feel any little understanding to what we do and why. Polite but cold.
So after all experiences we try to collaborate „inside the community“. Indies, Skoda, Cuneiform, Ralph, or japaneese Poseidon, they are all great people and they do a lot of work for nice music all over the world. Festivals as MIMI in France or Alternativa here are great platforms for us, hundrets clubs all over Europe, USA or Japan have many nice and meritorious people, of course time to time we meet less responsible promoters, some places care about our accommodation, some not, some places feed us, some not etc. But that is all rock group life about. Generally I am very proud to belong to this community and especially when we got chance to meet and felt in friendship to such a nice people as The Ex from Holland, Magma, The Residents, Jello Biafra, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Amy Denio, Degenerate Art Ensamble or Mr. Sterille from New Zealand and many others.
I can’t dream more. Even all this is above everything thoughtable in time, when we were on the beginning, in collective prison, but with free soul.
What is your plans for this year and beyond ?
As I mentioned, in June we would like to re-record the album Fairytales of Needland. Before that – in May – we will celebrate our 2000th show and hopefully we will release DVD called Spring, Hell, Fall, Winter, which will contain [besides other videos] a movie from eraly 90th with the same name [it is an acting surreal documentary of painter Martin Velisek]. In September we will come to our 17th US tour, hopefully on both Coasts this time. In the end of year we will record music for first third of pupet full lenght movie called Lajka, director Aurel Klimt.
And next year hopefully one my very old dreams will happen – we might play on Svalbard, in northest town on the Earth called Longyearbyen [two years ago we played one the southest one, Hobart on Tasmania]. But plans are plans. We’ll see what will happen. We still have a lot of energy to continue our mission.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
I just want to give message to all, who love this kind of music and who want to keep it alive or to have it time to time in his own region: to keep it alive people need to come to shows, they need to buy CD’s and all merchandise. And those happier, who are rich, those might donate this scene. Because without it, bands as we are, would not be able to travel or record good recordings, having nice art on covers and posters etc. We do our best to keep the level as high as possible, but without audience or donators help and support we cannot survive.