We Are The Night VII: Marie Pravda
Our series, “We are the night” presents artists, promoters, production managers, label owners and others who are bringing the music world of the Czech Republic forward, from the past to the present and the present to the future. This week we present an interview with Marie Pravda, rising star of the Prague club scene. Photo credit: onlyjudgecangodme.
Prague, 28 Apr (BD) – Last summer, in an old Prague monastery transformed into a club night, Gabriel Loci, I remembered one of the unique rules of the dancefloor: “Dance until you can”.
At 6am, with the sun rising, my friends wanted to leave, and I was just about to join them when the last DJ set began, resonating as a new start, a new experience.
One hour later, still caught on the sounds and vibrations being delivered by that DJ, I checked the event program to find out her name: Marie Pravda. I instantly wanted to know more about her path and musical vision, and so we caught up for an interview…
Where do you come from exactly in the Czech Republic?
Hello, originally, I come from Olomouc, a small city in Moravia.
What is the earliest contact you can remember with music?
Ahah, it depends on what you are asking for. As a kid I remember going by car with one of my older brothers, who was listening some kind of early techno, super loud with the windows open, and I was banging my head on the seat.
I was dancing street dance since I was 5, so I have been mostly influenced by hip hop and rap. At that time I had no idea what the lyrics were about. Looking at it with today’s perspective, I think someone should have been choosing the music more carefully for the competitions! Then in my teenage years I went through a phase of mostly Indie and Psychedelic rock, and when I started to work at an electronic music venue I had my first encounter with THE electronic music. I was just like – okay this is what was missing in my life.
Do you have any musical education, or did you do any music during your childhood?
I was for some short period of time a part of choir for kids. I was, let’s say, more hyperactive than the others and I had my own ways of sorting things out, and unfortunately I kicked my choir-mate from the stage because I didn’t like how she was singing. I guess that’s where my singing career finished and I started with dancing, to release the energy!
How did you start mixing as a DJ? What was your first events, and where?
I started in Olomouc, in that club I was working in. So, I played a few “gigs” there.
At a certain point you decided to come to Prague. Why was that, and what changed from that point in your musical activity?
I moved from Olomouc to Brno, I wanted to grow by myself. I was really influenced by the club, where almost every party was more like an afterparty and we didn’t play faster music than 110 bpm. I wanted to play more in Brno, but at that time the local scene was not really prepared for a girl who plays super slow psychedelic music. Most of the alternative collectives in Brno were into fast techno, so I wanted to try my luck elsewhere.
Do you produce beats/ tracks, or do you do DJ sets with other people’s productions?
I did like three tracks which I didn’t show anyone, and a few edits for myself. But right now, I am not investing any time in doing my own production. I want to change that but I guess there is some kind of inner fight I have to deal with!
Do you mix on vinyl, or computer tracks, or both? And what do you prefer personally?
I like to play my records at home, I mostly don’t buy electronic dance music stuff on vinyl. At parties I play digital only. I’m having a lot of fun with the features that CDJs can provide. My friend (and a great DJ) Claudia calls me the “Loop Queen”, haha.
Also sometimes it’s helpful to see the graphics of the tracks which are being played, particularly when you are not in a very sober state!
What musical scenes and artists are influencing you?
My original interest was mainly indie music, which evolved into everything instrumental within EBM, psytrance and later slow electro. I think I take a bit from everything; I am really open-minded music wise. When I hear something meaningful or something which shows a lot of skill, I like it.
What influences you outside of music?
Actually, lots of factors, starting with the weather and ending up with what is happening in my life at that moment. It sounds a bit cliché, but that’s the job of an artist. DJing is form of art for me.
So I am interpreting whatever is happening into my sets, and it doesn’t really matter if it is a listening set or a party.
I see that you mix regularly in Planeta Za (with Planeta Pravda) in Ankali, Prague. Can you tell me how you started these regular events, and what is the idea behind them?
Well, one day I was asked if I want to do my regular night in Planeta Za and I said yes!
My kind of party is like watching a movie. It escalates from the beginning towards the end and there is so much going on. I choose the artists carefully. It’s purely how they treat the music and the relationship they have with it. And for now I haven’t been wrong about them because all of them turned out to be the sweetest people in the universe. Also, the audiences at my parties have so far been just great, so I can say that the idea behind it is to gather together people who want to really listen and have the experience together.
Can you tell me about the Gravity project? What was the initial target and how it is going?
It is a project between three clubs from different countries – Ankali (Prague), Jasna 1 (Warsaw) and Revier Sudost (Berlin). I like to say that Gravity is an Erasmus program for DJs. Its aim is to give opportunities to less known artists to grow, and it is accompanied with the educational side of a club environment. For example, how to make the club a safe space for everyone, and so on.
There were several events scheduled, but everything was postponed for obvious Covid reasons, so the first official Gravity event will take place in Ankali in spring, and hopefully more will be following finally. I think its a really great project for the electronic dance music scene.
I see you also produce a lot of mixes for online radio stations (Punctum/ Deviant Xmutant Radio). Can you tell me what are, for you, the main differences between mixing live and in the studio (or in a home studio)?
The difference for me is in emotions. When I’m preparing radio shows it tends to be more for listening, and almost every time very melancholic. Like “Hey, just close your eyes and feel me.”
I also have more dance sets which are mostly cuts from actual parties, which is more like “Hey, let’s drown in sounds and let me be your guide.”
I noticed you played a lot with kosmic_skaut [Brno-based DJ, now one of the founders of the ETER parties]. Can you tell me about your musical relationship?
Miki aka Kosmic Skaut is my very very dear friend for a long time. We had some misunderstandings in the past but we were able to resolve everything and, in my opinion, it just strengthened our relationship that we have now. When friendship is like that, and there is a feeling of safe space no matter what, it is very visible when we go b2b. I think that we are both searching for the same thing in tracks, but we both have a slightly different style and that makes it fun and interesting for us and for the audience.
Do you see a stronger electronic music link being created now between Brno and Prague?
Well, there is a slight change. DJs from Brno are a bit more visible on rosters of parties in Prague.
I also think the electro scene in the Czech Republic is more mature and (even if I don’t like to put genders in music) I also noticed an increasing numbers of women DJs and producers, how can you explain it and how do you feel about it?
I don’t think it’s more mature than any other country, especially in this gender stereotype. Honestly, I just want DJs to be DJs. Personalities with a sense of music and empathy for energy on the dance floor. Not just ridiculous figures who play whatever to please the crowd.
At this point, I am very grateful for anyone who perceives it the same way as me. It can be a girl, boy, or alien from outer space.
What messages in general do you like to spread in your music? I noticed the balance between the light and the darkness? Can you tell me more about that? And any other messages?
As I said previously, I would like people to see it as an experience. It is not in my power to tell them what to think, but it is in my power to show them that music can lead people to darkest corners of their minds, as well as complete ecstasy. Life is not always easy and full of happiness, but without the dark side of life we wouldn’t be appreciating it when something nice is happening. That is the balance between the light and the darkness.
You just left for Central America for some time, will you play there? What do you expect from that trip musically and non-musically?
I was leaving without any expectations. I certainly knew that it was going to be something totally different from what I know, but that is also why I decided to go to Central America. Since I am here right now, I can only say what my experience is so far.
I have been raised in human rights and non-racist beliefs and I have never been oppressed by anyone. Coming from this position to the land which was brutally colonized by the “white man” makes me feel very sick.
Also, I realized how important education is, and it’s something that is missing here very badly.
In the Czech Republic, and the whole of Europe, it is your right to have a decent education for FREE, so everybody in life has the same opportunity, and it doesn’t really matter if your parents are rich or not.
I have been told that here (talking specifically about Guatemala right now), if your parents are not rich enough to pay for some better private school (and it is very expensive) you are basically fucked.
I think people in Europe don’t realize that seriously, and even when young people have all the resources to actually make something out of their lives, they are just wasting it.
On the other hand, when there is a party, people certainly know how to enjoy it. At first, I was of course super anxious and asking myself questions about my performance, but that vanished after playing one gig. I felt that I can play the weirdest music and people would vibe with me. Also, I feel really inspired by how people are into the music, and it is something I would like to transfer, when I do my own parties.
Have you been playing abroad, and if so where and how was it? In which country would you like to play in the future?
Up to now I have played in Belgrade and Warsaw, and now in Mexico and Guatemala.
I will never forget my gig in Belgrade. It was my first time playing for a crowd that I don’t know, so I was REALLY nervous, I almost puked and fainted haha. In the end I managed very well, that gave me a lot of confidence and from this point I am not that stressed anymore.
If I am imagining my future, I would love to play more in Eastern Europe, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Central America (my new love). All of them I would also like to visit or come back to. I don’t want to travel to the country, play my gig and fuck off. I would prefer to stay and get to know a bit about the people and the country.
What are your next musical steps, things you want to achieve?
Work on my own production!
Can you give me three tracks you can share with our readers?
I recently cry every time when: Autumn – Kill My World – is playing
I get goosebumps every time: Tornado Wallace – Atoms – is playing
This track makes me feel like I can deal with anything: REIN – REINCARNATED