The Scent Of Monks? - Jan Honza Prucha of PlayPrague
Jan Honza Prucha of Czech blues band "Mnichovo Smradiště" discusses his involvement in organizing the PlayPrague 2010 festival
Jan Honza Prucha's Mnichovo Smradiště on stage with Sir Waldo Weathers
Following "The scent of the Golden City", we met up with Jan Honza Prucha of Czech blues band "Mnichovo Smradiště" to talk about his involvement in organizing the PlayPrague 2010 festival.
Your blues band Mnichovo Smradiště has a very impressive record backing up world class performers like Sir Waldo Weathers (who performed in the past with James Brown’s band and Michael Jackson) during PlayPrague 2010. How long has your band actually been together?
Jan Honza Prucha The band called Mnichovo Smradiště has been around for 2 years, but the only new member is singer Mnich [Czech word for "Monk"]. The other band members played with me for approximately 8 years in another band that doesn’t exist anymore.
Tell us about the state of the music industry, the preferred genres, etc. in the Czech Republic. Is it true that rock music still has a strong audience there? How’s the national and local blues scene?
Jan Honza Prucha Yeah, Prague is definitely a rock and punk city. We also have a bunch of jazz and blues clubs, but they’re in the minority. Right outside of Prague is a "village" focused on hard rock and several folk variations.
Tell me more about your involvement in getting the first PlayPrague conference ever off the ground...
Jan Honza Prucha The person who gave birth to that idea is my cousin Dan Wunsch whose family left Czechoslovakia in 1948. He had been the publisher of the Nashville Music Guide since 1995 and jumped into the music business. This means he could bring real music professionals, like Kimberley Dahme, Rich Adler, Stan Webb, Waldo Weathers, and Evert Wilbrink over to Prague. We had been considering this for years, and last year we agreed on organizing something. Finally, that "something" became PlayPrague. My job was to organize things on the ground here in Prague, working with venues, bands and promotion. Of course, for me as a musician, it was a great honor to learn a bit from people like Waldo Weathers or Kimberley Dahme live on stage!
Do you think that PlayPrague 2010 will be the starting point for more concerted networking when it comes to booking, touring, PR etc. on a Central European or even worldwide level?
Jan Honza Prucha That is my wish! I think that the market of single Central-European countries, with the exception of Germany, isn’t strong enough. I believe there is room for a festival like this. If we could form a network between major Central European cities, that would be just perfect.
What are your upcoming plans with your band Mnichovo Smradiště?
Jan Honza Prucha We have a couple of gigs in October, including playing the art exhibition for the Prague Art Academy, and we’re releasing our first album at the end of October 2010. There are still a couple of new songs where the lyrics are in place, but we’re still focusing on the music to go with them.
What comes to mind when you think of PlayPrague 2015?
Jan Honza Prucha Bold question. Well, I really liked the seminars. Hearing stories about Paul McCartney being in the studio in the 1970s from four-time Grammy award-winning sound engineer Rich Adler is just amazing! The live evening performances are also great. PlayPrague 2015 will be about finding the right way of mixing these two major events and involve even more people from the music business who can really talk about music. I also envision large numbers of fans and musicians learning from the professionals there.
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