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A sound screaming out of Czech windows

Interview with Dezinfekce

Thursday 22 March 2001, by Christopher Montel, Paul Kirkness

Tell us a bit about what your music sounds like...It’s hardcore of course but what kind of sound have you developed in particular...?

Karel (guitar, vocals): I’d say from the beginning till now we’ve been playing between two styles - hardcore & punk, and sometimes we pop into ska or reggae, maybe also a bit of grind.

Maxeek (bass, vocals): Okay, maybe I’m not the best person to answer this question. I think that no one from any band will tell you that his/her original music is similar to music of any other band. I think we accept all influences we like and because I’m in it (as a part of the process, a part of the music) I simply can’t decide which is the main influence. All the oldschool vs. newschool and other emo fights are beyond us. If I want to describe the sound, I should say that I would like to stay on the crossroad of SOIA, NoMeansNo, Voivod and many others.

(Fla-ska(drums) said he shared the other members’ answers and that it’s pointless to repeat something twice...and because he’s very lazy he told us that (Maxeek and Karel) will be his official speakers from now.)

What was your aim when you started the band?

Maxeek: Start to play the music I like as loud as possible and play it for tons of people. Shout at all the people I’m pissed off at. There was only one problem- I was 16 (now I’m 26). I had a lot of energy but I had to learn how to play first.

Karel: I don’t remember exactly, probably to have a lot of fun and to show off in front of our friends that we’re able to do something. Maybe all of those reasons. In the course of time we saw it was actually serious work and we started to think about touring with the band.

Do you think you have achieved those goals? What can you see the future to be like?

Karel: We can say we have. We’re quite well-known on the underground scene, we play relatively often. We go abroad as well, we have our records released, it’s kinda OK. Of course it could be better. For the future... I’d like to make a bigger tour, a new CD, and maybe get more familiar with people to be seen more.

Maxeek: Playing for people is maybe the timeless and most important goal for any musician. You can be never fully satisfied because it is like a drug. My screaming will probably stay forever, even after my soul and brain cleanup. The future...I think it is the same in every band- play lots of great shows (of course abroad, too), every new song should be better than the previous one as well as every new release, meet the people who will listen to your lyrics.

Do you have a message to spread... something you feel strongly about and express in your lyrics?

Karel: This a question for my brother...

Maxeek: ...I write the lyrics... I hear phrases pretty much everywhere - listening to politicians, bands, friends - whcih are all the same, whatever the level you choose. If I do have a message it would be: do not believe in phrases. I know it’s the cheapest, simplest and most comfortable way to eliminate your doubts, but the worst way how to solve anything. Doubting is not a crime but a natural part of your thinking, and no one should feel ashamed of it. You can accept the phrases, you can feel more secure, you can find a new identity in a crowd, you can feel harder, stronger and less responsible for what you may have done, you can feel satisfied...but is it worth it?

Does your music go well with this message?

Maxeek: ... I hope so...

Karel: ...So do I...

What is the scene in the Czech Republic like? What do people listen to over there...?

Maxeek: There are some punk bands that go back from the communist era, or from the early 90‘s: Visací zámek, E!E, Plexis, NVÚ, Zemìžluè, Insania, some of them are on the major labels, some believe in DIY and they’re all quite popular.
In the more recent bands I would mention Ravelin 7, Thema 11, Kevorkian, See You in Hell (with former members of Mrtva budoucnost), Gride, Delusion, Better Way, Landmine Spring, Goodfoul, Dread 101, Dussander, Balaclava, Gnu, Lvmen, Suffer, Amity, Sunshine ... it would be a very long list...
If I should speak about our city (Ceske Budejovice) there is: Dezinfekce (us!), Better way, 1982, Diskriminace and TBC. It is different from city to city. In my opinion the best scenes are in Prague, Northern Bohemia, Hradec Kralove, Strakonice but they’re quite isolated from the rest of bands...People in the Czech Republic usually listen mainly to American bands, but they also support Czech bands, especially on a local level. Only a small amount of people on shows are older than 40- which is not that bad in my opinion.

Fla-ska: Loads of good bands, and not enough space to run concerts for all of them.

Karel: I think the Czech scene got much better recently (I mean for punk and HC). There are some people who try to do a lot about it - organizing concerts, producing records for the bands, etc. I’m glad I know some of them and I try to support them as well. There are plenty of good and well-known bands: Plexis, Visaci Zamek, E!E, Insania, Našrot, Zemìžluè, NVÚ, as well as Lvmen, Thema 11, Ravelin 7, Kevorkian, Delusion, Sunshine, Fastfood... I could go on and on.

Do you spend time listening to bands outside the Czech Republic, for example hardcore from the US?

Karel: I didn’t have much time for it lately, but when I do I listen to any band I like and I absolutely don’t care where they’re from or whether it’s metal, punk HC, jazz, ska, industrial or reggae. I don’t know anything about what is the music scene in the USA, but if it is true that American kids listen only to US bands, I think its not normal and that they’re missing out on a lot of top-level music. It’s their loss.
Maxeek: I usually listen to music with my walkman, but when I want to listen to music properly I close the doors of my room and button up my gramophone and it’s not so often. I listen to Czech bands as well as foreign bands.

Fla-ska: I listen to music nearly all day. I definitely don’t confine myself to Czech bands or a unique genre.

Is there a strong feeling of solidarity between bands in your country? (and with Slovak bands?)

Maxeek: ...I don’t know if I can say its strong but if you think how small the Czech Republic is and how many opportunities there is to play for such a marginal genre as punk or hardcore ...I think there is something like a solidarity.
Contacts with Slovak bands are relatively frequent. Lots of distros have Slovak releases, respectively lots of Slovak labels distribute Czech music. We played several times with Illegality- a punk band from Topolcany - and it was always cool.

Fla-ska: I’d say it really wouldn’t work without solidarity among bands.

Karel: It depends. My experience tells me I get on and communicate better with the bands from towns further away or from Slovakia, than with the other bands from our town.

Are you guys then politically engaged in any way, and if yes, what do you think about the current situation from where you come from?

Fla-ska & Karel: We’re not...

Maxeek: ... If I think it’s a good thing I help (benefit concert, petition, demonstration) but I haven’t got my own political activities in this way. I’m keen mainly on ecological topics because it is my profession.
As for the current political situation in the Czech Republic...it is mainly about the groundless but enormous hopes to join the EU... I think the majority of people don’t even care about democracy or such strange things as ideas. They simply want to have the same living standard as in Germany - that’s all.

What about the future in general, outside the future of your band? Does music help?

Maxeek: Politics is something like a fun affair for puppets but I really don’t think it will change until the moment when ordinary people (including myself) will be able to be aware of their own responsibility. Music helps as an independent source of information and a kind of connection between people with similar opinions.

Fla-ska: “Who can’t take advice, can’t be helped.” (an old Czech proverb)

We have an international promo project starting where we get bands from different countries, or continents together and get them to promote each other... What do you think about this?

Fla-ska: That’s really great, all over the world there are good bands I’d love to hear.
Maxeek: First I’m convinced that it is needed...second I think it must be an interesting job - and I’m really curious to hear more about it.

Karel: It’s definitely a very good thing and I hope you’ll do well. This support among bands is very important otherwise none of the not-so-known bands would get anywhere. If they don’t have good contacts or enough money they’ll stay at home forever.

What type of bands, and from where would you promote?

Karel: I listen to many styles but surely it would be bands like punk, HC, ska, crossover and similar. Personally I don’t care where they’re from, I don’t prefer any countries, but the problem is here again- where can we get the money for bands from America?

Maxeek: I think Karel has already said it...I agree.

Fla-ska: I’ll support good music from anywhere.

Check out the Dezinfekce website, these guys may come by your town soon!

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