The Under The MEOKO Microscope series is back with a bang, as we call upon Czech producer DJ Schwa. We caught up with this talent in an interview to speak about his recent work, plans, Czech Republic and UP Festival. Let’s get into this and check his exclusive MEOKO mix.
1.Hey Michal, thanks for your time and having us. How are things with you so far?
Hi, no worries. I am great. Currently touring Australia. It’s great to escape the winter for a few weeks. And the gigs were all great so far.
2. It barely takes a pair of ears to tell that you have a real passion for electronic music. As a musician’s son, How were you first exposed to these sounds and what artists did you grow up on?
Firstly I was exposed to all different genres of music, mainly jazz, through my dad. I would hung out in the studio a lot as a kid and there I would hear whatever he was recording or working on – from classical to pop, rock, jazz and even tv / film scores. Later on, in the 90ties, I got introduced to electronic music through my brother and also through Radio 1. Bands like Underworld, Leftfield, Deep Forrest, Propellerheads, Ltj Bukem, Herbaliser. From there it took a drastic turn into the electronic music world and I started discovering music pretty much 24hrs a day. It became an obsession.
3. As being a Czech, how its scene shaped your music? Please tell us more about Czech underground scene, clubs, records shops, parties, favourite destinations.
I don’t really know how being Czech shaped my music. I left Czech Republic when I was 19 and came back when I was 26. I lived in Australia and I have also spend some time in US. Australia had a huge impact on me. I somehow felt more connected to the world of electronic music as I ever felt in Prague. Even though Sydney is s far away it made me realise that it’s somehow very close and connected to the UK/EU scene. Prague was always a bit disconnected – but that is changing now drastically and I am very very happy for that.
4. What’s one thing that you don’t see enough of in the music industry that you’d like to see in Czech Republic?
Czech scene is very healthy now. But I would like to see more and more clubs equipped with top class soundsystems and well managed Dj equipment.
5. You have your own label ‘Beef Records’, what made you start your own label? and we also love the name, what made you choose ‘Beef Records’?
It was a bit of coincidence. 12 years ago I was co-running label called Tribal Vision and I was working on an electro/techno CD compilation. I had a name for it which I found at local meat shop – Prime Cuts. On the comp I had track by artists like Trentemoller, Martinez, Mos, Peterski etc. When it was all ready we realised it doesn’t fit the labels sound. So I decided to start my own label. I have kept the Prime Cuts name for the VA and started Beef records as it was a perfect match 🙂
6. In regards to your own productions, what projects are you working on at the moment and what do you find the most challenging aspect of producing your own music?
Right now we got back together with Nick West and we are working on the new Shades of Gray album. I am in Australia for about 2 weeks and we wanted to get most out of my stay – so no beach for me. It’s studio time and gigs. One of the tracks I played at SASH this Sunday and it sounded great. Hopefully the album will be ready for release later this year.
7. You clearly spend alot of time in the studio. Would you like to talk us through your studio, and your favourite equipment when making some magic?
We have multiple studios going. One of them is Nick’s studio here in Sydney where we like to use some classic synths (Moog Voyager, SH101, Juno 106, Nord Lead and Korg MS2000). On the last track we triggered the SH101 with Arturia Beatstep sequencer and somehow we got amazing groove out of it. Something you would never come up with by playing the keyboard. I personally love using the DSI Tempest Drum synths but I didn’t bring it here as it was too heavy to carry around while travelling.
8. Please tell us about your projects; Shades of Gray, Komiks Events.
Komiks is a warehouse party concept what we run together with Fatty M and Lumiere for about 4 years now. It became quite successful and it found it’s sweetspot in Pragues underground scene. We are happy that Komiks is doing so well and that many people, even out of Prague, travel to it. So far we hosted artists such as Derrick May, Robert Hood / Floorplan, Fort Romeau, Recondite, Kink, Catz n Dogz, Palms Trax, Baba Stiltz, Makam, San Proper, Dorisburg, Bjarki, Roman Flugel, Cleveland, Trus Me, Artefakt, Monoloc and many others. We also launched a new podcast series;
https://soundcloud.com/komikswarehouse/komiks-podcast-01-fatty-m-schwa-live-the-block-tel-aviv” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer
9. If you had a chance to move to another city; which city would it be and why?
Sydney is my second home. So if I had to move somewhere it would be Sydney for sure.
10. How did first touch with UP Festival Crew take place? How does it feel to be going to play at a major festival alongside many other respected names?
I know Bruno for many years. To be totally honest I wasn’t sure that this will ever happen in Prague and that he will be able to pull it of. But it’s clearly happening and he has my respect and full support. Not just Bruno, the whole crew of course. I am excited to play alongside Ricardo, he has been a great inspiration for so many years. I am not a huge fan of big stages and crowded festivals but UP Festival seems to be shaping just perfect.
11. The venue of the festival looks stunning, have you ever attended an event there yourself? What are your advises to our followers (that includes myself as well) who will visit Prague for UP Festival?
I haven’t been there for ages. Maybe like 15 years so I am quite excited to see how it changed. However, it is fair to say, festival-goers wont be dissappointed by the beauty of Prague and yes the venue is stunning.
12. Thank you for the mix, it sounds amazing. Could you tell us a little about the mix you made for MEOKO? What was your approach and how would you describe it?
The mix was made on a fly. Pressed ‘record’ at one of the gigs I played at Sisyphos few months ago. Then I cut 1,30 from it as it was too long and did some basic levelling and mastering. I rather catch the live djing element even if it’s not perfect then doing a studio mix.
13. Last of all, do you have any exciting more exciting news you would like to share with everyone? Dates, releases, collaborations etc?
You should check out Beef records. We have lots of great new music coming out. LP by BUSZ (Pier Bucci & Oskar Szafraniec), 12” by Rico Casazza another 12” by Dircsen with Florian Kupfer remix and much more. Check: www.beefrecords.net and www.facebook.com/beefrecords/