When you live in Dresden, you somehow have a special relationship with the Czech Republic. The border is close and each of us has often been to Bohemian Switzerland to hike or to party in Prague. Unfortunately, lesser known are the musicians from the former Czechoslovakia, who made the time of the Cold War a little more pleasant. Philipp has therefore commissioned an absolute expert on the music from both the Czech Republic and Slovakia to create a mix for us and to answer some questions about the respective music scenes. So here’s Jak Sen from Brno’s finest Prima Musica and his take on the music from Czechoslovakia.

Uncanny Valley · UV Funk 071: Czechoslovakia Special with Prima Musica

How would you describe the mix? How did you go in putting it together?

It’s a radio mix with mostly 80’s and end of 70’s music. Though only understandable for native speakers the songs have great lyrics which was very rare in the age of heavy comunism. I had about 60 songs ready and used about half. I always think about the beginning, but later the songs are chosen very randomly. The truth is that I prefer international colorful mixes from many cultures and countries, and for someone who knows these songs, the mix can be a bit mono-themed.

Are the records hard to get? Do you have recommendations for record stores or even online insider tips?

Of course I have some records in my wishlist, for example “Dvanásť Do Tucta – Diskotéka Opusu 6” which is very difficult to find and there is a one of my favorite song on it: ”Vravíš”. A lot of great music and such records you can find in antique shops. You never know what you can discover and what will surprise you for a very very funny price. In Brno I can recommend Stereo Vinyl Culture Shop. I can also reveal that the Czechoslovak major label Supraphon got online and in the middle of a lot of junk, you can find what are you looking for. Unfortunately, the website is only in Czech.

Would you say that Czechoslovakia had a rich musical spectrum? Listening to your mix there’s a lot to discover.

Yes, as in every country, in the time of Czechoslovakia, the work of the artist was very limited and many pop music is a waste associated with the communists for me, as well as fu****g Helena Vondračková and Karel Gott. That’s my opinion and it’s true.

Real underground scene was therefore very strong, but it was more like Big-beat and Rock stuff influenced by Pink Floyd like the ones our fathers listened to. I remember my father told me about illegal concerts he went to.

I suppose most of the songs are from the time before the collapse of
Czechoslovakia? Are there relevant differences in the development of dance (or pop) music between the Czech Republic and Slovakia?

Yes, all the songs are from before the Velvet Revolution. I am not sure about the differences but I want to use the space for artist who, unfortunately, did not sound in the mix, but belong to my goddess, and that is Jana Kratochvílová! Please take the time to explore the work of this amazing woman!

Can you name a few labels or diggers that deal with the rereleasing of
Czechoslovakian music?

Olin and Robert and their label Little Beat Different. You can find amazing stuff such as Alexander Goldscheider and ORM and I remember a great reissue from Endless Illusion, the legendary Mama Bubo – Planeta Háj (JUP002). I believe a release with some of mine Czechoslovakian edits comes soon from Prima Musica and there is something else in my head as well.

You live in Brno. What was night life like there before Corona? And are first signs of resurrection already noticeable?

Shortly…. Brno is not Prague, here are a few groups of people who try to do quality things that make sense. To be honest, we don’t have a single underground club for us to enjoy underground dance music. There was the Herna club a few years ago, but not for long time because of snitches and reluctance of the city. Now after the Corona crisis, the spirit of freedom is everywhere in the air very strongly. I played on a “semi legal” street party three days before the first opening after the restriction. I was at Milady
Caffee with a lot of people on the street. No masks. The police only watched us through the window of the car, because people had been waiting for it for a very long time. The atmosphere was really nice. Everything is returning to normal now, mostly outdoor events, logically because it’s summer. I think we all have a good times ahead of us. Have a good time and keep faith!

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