INTERVIEWS: Dan Bárta – I’ve actually been doing the same thing since I was a child

Dan Bárta has been working lately. Last year he released a solo album with Illustratosphere, this year he contributed to his discography in collaboration with Gustav Brom’s Big Band. “I Killed This Song At Karaoke Last Night” is a complication of remakes to the eighties of this famous ensemble. In the conversation, of course, the dragonflies came, as usual.


What comes to mind when you say Gustav Brom’s Big Band?
Probably in principle some tradition and also that it was said that Bromovci they always had good breaths.


© Matěj Třasák

How did this cooperation actually come about?
First we had to have a joint concert for the Band’s birthday as part of the Jazzfest Brno festival. Translated several times by covid. Then, already in the covid depot, the conductor Vlado Valovič called me to say that we would like to record those three to five songs within the Czech Radio program in their studio. Then I talk, because it was a very fun to almost touching session: “So let’s do three more songs and we have a record, who knows when we’ll play again.” Translated and modified by covid in the spring of 2020. Well, in the end, under the motivational and musical supervision of Petr Hanzlík, we brought it to Son for mixing and to the Warners to the catalog. Uf. It didn’t look like it for a while, but fortunately the initial breath of desire to play cover didn’t fade.

The album is titled “I Killed This Song At Karaoke Last Night”. How did it come about?
I read it in the comments below the youtube recording of the song “Yas” by Polyphia, enriched by two other guitarists, Mario Camarena and Erick Hansel. Extremely technically demanding instrumental young boy music. Some guy under the video wrote the sentence and I found it extremely funny. In both meanings of the word, both as self-irony in the boundaries of the difficulty of the task, and as such, the cheerful pride in the event that he really succeeds and everyone would killed. So that’s it. Basically, it is supposed to capture the extremely thin ice of the cover, but it is well arranged, played by a good body and sung by a staunch and brave singer.

How was the recording?
In the first phase together, in the second separately. And in a very good cohesive atmosphere, which actually started it in November 2020.

Dan Bárta

Dan Bárta is a Czech singer, songwriter, photographer and dragonfly lover. He is known, among others, from the groups Alice, Die el. Eleffant!?, Sexy Dancers, JAR or from the jazz project Illustratosphere. In the 1990s, he also sang in the musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita”. Last year he released the solo album “Beauty and the Beast Dust”, and this year he shared a joint album “I Killed This Song At Karaoke Last Night” with the Czech Radio Big Band. The work is imaginatively linked to three anniversaries: Gustav Brom’s Czech Radio Big Band celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2020, its founder Gustav Brom would live to be 100 in 2021, and Dan Bárta (then singer of the rock band Alice) released his first record thirty years ago. ..

Dan Bárta
© Dan Bárta

Do you sing better with a big body or just with a band? How do you perceive the difference?
I don’t look at it this way, it doesn’t really make sense. I like the big sound and the duo. Carefully arranged and free things … I can’t say I don’t care, they are different kinds of concentration, but in the end, when I’m singing, I don’t think much. I want to be with the band and in the song. Only when someone asks me that question will I think about it, but I don’t know the answer. JAR is a big band, Illustratosphere quintet, with Robert’s Trio it’s an even smaller form, with Endru and Jen Hovorka a trio, with Jarda Friedl we only play a duo, my own work, foreign work, well, I still have so many options, right?

How did the reworked hits in this performance sing to you?
Okay, thank you for asking, I touched a lot of new things again, learned something … And most of all, I played. When you already know the song and move in it, you consciously take it a little and so, it’s hard to describe, I tell in my own words a story that I didn’t invent, but I know it and I love it. When you tell a gingerbread house, you don’t have to read it. But over time, you tell it in detail or concisely, how you want it, how you have time and how much taste and strength you have, without quarrels and dead spots, with well built sentences, to the point, with dramatic pauses and so on. Because you know her and yourself. Actually, it’s a bit like songs, you don’t sing by heart word for word, always like again.

Do you have an emotional connection to any of these songs?
Well, I have, to everyone. They all fascinated me, I’d say. Some in childhood, others in youth, some relatively recently. It was almost always a first impression in the sense wow, let it go one more time. They touched me deeply without knowing exactly what. In short, they liked them before I could think about them.

Which arrangement surprised you and with what?
Probably “Human”. Míra Hloucal reharmonized it, and when I started singing it for the first time with the band together, the basic melody sticks, so as the song unfolded, how it grew in sound and dynamics, I had to add, change a bit and, most importantly, not delay the run. the band and then in the end I just had to land somewhere, higher, intuitively, and after another arc, but with the lyrics, and then again with the lyrics, I actually actually estimated and sang with myself, it was spontaneous and controlled at the same time, adventurous, almost soul. And then I was so happy with the result that I pulled it back after I went to sing it. clearly. I took advantage of those years of playing with Robert’s Trio, which arrangement actually forced me to adapt and find another way to get to the finish line. Well, I almost think this thing started it.

Dan Bárta
© Dan Bárta

Was he a snag with something, or did everything go smoothly?
Nothing ever goes smoothly as soon as the training ground derails.

You won’t stop – you released a record last year, next year you will probably be shooting a new studio JAR. How important is this genre fragmentation to you?
Smariya, what if we moved on to say that cross-genre integrity is more important to me? Let the readers save the elaboration on the topic that I play and create with living people, personalities, authors and players who cultivate their supra-genre integrity, and the results of our cooperation are simply mirrors of our current states, copyright and production ideas, creative freedoms, mutual player respect and awareness that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Moreover, being the most seen and heard is far from commanding. It just means you’re a singer. Illustratosphere, JAR, Robert Balzar Trio, En: Dru & Jen Hovorka, individual players of Brom’s Big Band quickly re-glue again, otherwise you will classify yourself to death and you will still have the same names there. And again, in the end, one of you – almost all – pop music, just peeled off by that inauthentic, soulless, banal, submissive and clumsy shell, hmmm, and maybe without the hardest core, because none of us is a genius or playing in prime time on the main stage at the festival in Glastonbury, climbs.

Dan Bárta
© Dan Bárta

You also have the short story podcast “Innocence of the World”, in which you bring listeners to interesting places. It’s half an hour of storytelling about travel, about dragonfly photography, about the world and everything you saw and felt in it. Can you tell where the most beautiful and colorful dragonflies are for photography? What is your favorite place to remember?
South American and Central American tropics. But I think it’s mainly because I didn’t have a clear idea of ​​what I was doing at the time, it was new and exciting. I didn’t know where to jump first. Lots of emotion and little reason. Just youth, lad.

Did you really write down your travels, or are they recollections?
He didn’t write. Only in India, but the diary, very incomplete by the way, I still lost somewhere. Rather, it is the formative experiences that persist, that recall, come to mind. You capture them and describe them, sometimes you even remember your feelings, small things, sounds, mood, … are these recollections? Celsius here or there, extra moisture percentage, that’s bullshit, you just want to have a lot of (but logically very similar) numbers there for formal reasons, that’s what it’s all about. The characters are authentic, as are their actions and the contents of their dialogues. Something is accurate because I can see it clearly. You can complete the white spaces according to what is next. Being a participant, an observer and a recorder at the same time – this is the precious moment around which it all winds up. Giving back a dragonfly’s name after you have appointed her at home in six months can sometimes be detrimental, sometimes beneficial. Whether you’ve watched the wedges of returning wild geese with someone or alone, or if there were exactly nine of you in the pub by morning, is just sometimes very important and sometimes completely irrelevant. Depending on what you want to reveal. Or omit.

Slowly but surely you are working on an ecological guide for dragonflies in Europe, you are drawing distribution maps of selected species of swallowtails for the Japanese atlas of all swallowtails. That must be an honor for you …
Its fine. It makes me happy. They took it give me an envelope! Watch, I always remember this when I hold a finished science book I collaborated on, the fact: I’m nine and a half, the sixth part of the “Animals of the World: Parrots” edition by Jiří Felix is ​​published. I’m going to hatch my mother for fifteen kes. There are brief descriptions on each page. Blue-bearded Lori, Blue-breasted Lori, Red-crowned Lori, Red-billed Lori, Unknown Lori and so on. Descriptions, not pictures. I’m desperate with all my despair. And then I decide. I’m going to spend more money on the block and new markers – new work requires new tools. And then from the picture at the beginning of the book, I learn the morphology of the parrot’s body. I will draw the outlines of a universal parrot on each side of the block with a black marker. And I’m eating. It costs a few papers before I realize that the description begins with a sentence completely inappropriate for a beginning illustrator: the overall color is green. You can’t make green red with markers anymore. So again, first read, then schedule. And I’m eating. Beak bright red, pink olive green. Outer squadrons blue, skeleton purple, belly and chest light green, panties gray, iris orange, round eyes white … Well, I made about fourteen of them before I needed to go with friends to bury and play soldiers and finally proper the parrot atlas flew – boom bac – into the corner. I’ve actually been doing the same thing since I was a child. I think a similar story would be told by all those who fell in love with the book “Papilionidae of the World.” Robert Lízler, who retouched all the butterflies and prepared them for printing, Shinya Kawai, who published the book, Makoto Nakae, who wrote the book. In short, we all know very well that natural atlases are never enough.

Dan Bárta
© Dan Bárta

Speaking of insects, I hear you have bees trying to save certain endangered species. How’s it going?
I extensively manage one such relatively heterogeneous landscape grain in the Bohemian Paradise with an area of ​​about four thousand square meters, and while my strength and time are enough and allow me, I create a suitable environment for insects of all kinds. One (perhaps more, but not much) bee colony project integral part. I don’t know exactly how it is going, but there lives, for example, the ground beetle, the beech stag beetle, and this summer my friends and I found a female armed beetle there. And that’s nice, you have to admit.

What else do you plan to do?
Stick to the teeth with the nails of your childhood and contemporary loves: science, songs, singing and playing with friends, mom and sister, your wife, your children, your whole family. And sometimes to drop out of the world for a while.

We want to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this incredible material

INTERVIEWS: Dan Bárta – I’ve actually been doing the same thing since I was a child

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