Scene Report: Brno 2010
A comprehensive guide to the hardcore punk scene in Brno, Czechia for 2010
This is Paaya from Brno, Czech republic. Here’s an annual update of the scene report from my hometown. A big part of the text remains the same as the previous one(s), that appeared in some other zines, but many things changed again of course, so let’s see…
Brno is a university town – full of students during the school year and pretty boring during the bank holidays. 2nd biggest Czech town located in the south-east of the country, not small, not big, about 400 000 citizens. I don’t want to talk about history much, just a few highlights that cannot be ommited… apart from ZEMEZLUC (more about them later on) in the late 80’s there was an obscure raw punk as fuck band VZOR 60. They recorded a great tape and split up after two of their members emmigrated to the West. Some time ago they tried to jump on the recent wave of reunions, got together again to record their old stuff, but have never finished that due to disagreements among the members of the band… (www.vzor60.wz.cz). INSANIA (renamed to SKIMMED after a Secret police intervention) played an „insane“ mixture of hardcore and thrash metal. They still exist, but their style is kinda different nowadays. I must admit, however, that their latest recordings are angrier and more radical then ever before! S.R.K. played a chaotic out-of-tune-and-rhythm hardcore. In the 90’s there was for example a crusty hardcore punk band LOS SOMROS (some members also played in NO PASARAN and DOGS ANTICOPS).
Some members later formed OPERACE ARTABAN, probably the most popular oi! band in Czech these days. Many people from abroad seem to have illusions about them being some kind of an antifa-SHARP band or something like that, but don’t be naive. They’re not… Some time ago two of their members were sentenced for beating up some guy while shouting “Sieg Heil!”. The drummer wearing T-shirts like Patriot, Thor Steinar, Screwdriver… They’re not real nazis, but they’re not that far either – classic violent redneck quasi-rasist mentality. Fuck them. Other bands from that time were PAZI SNAJPER (melodic m/f vocal anarcho punk) and MRTVA BUDOUCNOST. M.B. played 1994-2000 and their style evolved from a raw crustpunk to extreme hardcore/violence with dual vocals and intelligent political lyrics. They made 3 split EPs and 2 split LPs + lots of tapes and compilations, and also toured across Europe many times. MORE BAD NEWS started in 2001 and played dark, screaming, apocalyptical hardcore with some metal stuff. But hey don’t get it wrong – it was no tough-guy metal macho-HC – this really rocked! However, they split up some time ago.
But let’s move to the present now… I will start with the band where I play guitar – FESTA DESPERATO. We started in 2002 playing a raw fast out of tune noisy hardcore, which after some line-up changes turned into a more heavy distorted crust/hardcore. We haven’t been active since summer 2007 as we’ve had no drummer. Now we’re practicing again, slowly starting to play some shows here and then, but it’s not easy due to the distance between the members and due to the shitty jobs some of us have. A 7” EP reissue of our 2005 demo came out last summer on Waking The Dead recs and a full LP is coming on Insane Society recs. At the end of 2010.
For many years we used to share the practice room with some other bands – SEE YOU IN HELL formed in 1999, with Filip from MRTVA BUDOUCNOST on guitar. Their style has been evolving a lot since then. Formerly they used to play pretty dark, ragged, chaotic hardcore. Now they seem to have finally developed the style and sound that fits them best. They went fast, raw and less complicated. The result is ace down-tuned angry anti-christian hardcore/thrash/punk. They tour a lot, two times in Japan (as the first Czech punk band to have ever played there!) and in Brazil two times. US tour is coming next year. Check their website, they’re pretty active when it comes to releases and some cool split just came out, mostly with some great Japanese hc/crust bands – SYSTEMATIC DEATH, CROW or CONTRAST ATTITUDE!
Another band is SCARTO – interesting mix of thrash/grind. They were never very active concert-wise, but they recorded an LP, which, however doesn’t seem to get released any soon. So far there are just some songs on the ‘Play Fast Or Don’t’ comp. LP. Their drummer Beer used to run Beer Is Not Drink label and formerly he used to play drums in SPACE TO BEING. Their vocalist is Mirek (contact through him: [email protected]), former singer of FESTA DESPERATO.
Then there is ZEMEZLUC (www.zemezluc.com), the immortal local veterans of intelligent, original straight-forward punk. They’ve been active since as long time ago as 1986. The older they are, the sharper they play. Excellent. They just put out a new 7”EP on Ultima Ratio and are preparing for their 4th LP. Heaps of other recordings released (some 13 EPs?). Simply a classic of Czech punk – unlike many old bands from the 80’s, ZEMEZLUC remained DIY (and listenable)
MAC GYVER ([email protected]) was formed by ex-PAZI SNAJPER members and they play melodic (but rather dark or tense, than cheerful) intelligent punk, slightly influenced by reggae in some parts… maybe a bit similar to JUGGLING JUGULARS, P.A.I.N. and such… One EP out. Unfortunatelly they aren’t very active (bass player is a surgeon, guitarist travels a lot etc.)
NAGAIKA rose from the ashes of anarcho-folk combo TERRA-RIOT. Dark, atmospheric opuses about freedom and fighting the system. I‘ aware only of a split-CD with MORE BAD NEWS. Not very active these days.
MAD PIGS play cool hardcore punk. They started the band when they were about 16, kept changing their line-up all the time and they’re still making progress. Their influences range from old ‘77/’82 punk through 80’s hardcore to recent crust, chaos punk or japanese hardcore. They’ve been working fucking hard recently, touring Europe and Japan. They just released their first full CD/LP called “W.W.B.L.O.” on their vocalist’s label Voltage recs.
PRIPYAT (yes – the Ukrainian town near Chernobyl…) was a band where I played drums. We were only active for a short time (2006-2007), played about 8 shows and made a studio recording, which was released on a CDr in Ukraine by Something Borrowed Something New recs (we never got a single copy from this guy so please, let me know if you have a chance to get one somehow!) and recently a tape was released in the US by IFB recs.. We played a kind of chaotic angry hardcore punk noise with two female vocals.
COREBASTARDS got a new singer – Mirek from Ultima Ratio again. They changed their name to KORUBO and their style turned from a raging crust/punk to dark fast’n’heavy crusty hardcore. They released a good demo on Ultima Ratio. Soon after that Mirek got kicked out of the band and since then the band doesn’t seem to be active.
INTRUDERSS started about four years ago, playing simple 82 punk as fuck, but in a VERY raw and out-of-tune way. They are still learning to cope with their instruments I’d say, but they‘re getting better all the time.
No recording so far.
RESURGO was originally formed by members of COREBASTARDS, INTRUDERSS and PRIPYAT. Their music is a kind of simple, somewhat melodic crust/HC. Now they changed half of their line-up, so there are two guys from MAD PIGS on bass and drums now and their music has turned more melodic punkrock.
Another quite new band is TUMMO, very dark and heavy slow HC with people from bands such as THEMA 11, GOSPEL OF THE FUTURE, MORE BAD NEWS or EMA CAMELIA. Check it if you’re into such stuff!
6MAS originally played somwehere near Ostrava – in the Northeast of the country, but now they live in Brno and play a bit funny but good old school grind/crust.
MY DEAD CAT have been around for almost 10 years, playing a mixture of indie rock, post hardcore etc. All DIY. The members used to play for instance in MORE BAD NEWS or in MRTVA BUDOUCNOST and in their beginnings, they even used to play covers of DOOM. They just released a split EP with a Czech emo band THE MOOD – I think it’s their first official release ever, though there were some unreleased recordings before!
There are also some new young punkrock bands popping out, one of them is LIHOVOD playing not very interesting punkrock so far, but you never know what turns out of these guys!
That seems to be it as far as Brno itself is concerned. However, it would be fair to tell you also about activities that are taking place in Prisnotice, Vranovice and its surroundings. These are villages about 25 km south from Brno where there have been quite a few punks in the last years.
However it all seems to be fading away there right now. There are not many shows anymore, less people come to shows to Brno etc… that’s a shame. One of the bands from this area is RISPOSTA, playing an excellent original crust. No cliché in their lyrics, pretty original approach to music (not only thanx to a lot of alcohol and weed consumed…). A great band! After releasing their 12” they fired the vocalist (who has also been the drummer of FESTA DESPERATO) and now the guitarists took over the vocal parts. It sounds different, but still great. Another LP came out on Insane Society recs and I must say it is overall one of the best crust records from Czech ever. The newest thing is a split EP with DEFY from Brazil. Damn good and damn active band! They’re sharing their practice room with EVIDENCE SMRTI.
Again people from other local bands play there. This is simply a portion of excellent original metal/crust/punk/thrash hell! Their demo CD-R is soon to be released on a one-sided LP by Insane Society recs. and will be followed soon after by a new full LP.
In the neighbouring village of Vranovice, another band REAKCE NA ZMENU (Reaction For Change [email protected] took rehearsals, playing furious screaming crustcore, covering STATE OF FEAR by the way. Apart from their demo tape, they released a split EP with RISPOSTA. Some time ago the guys in the band had a serious argument which resulted in three members having left the band – the bass player is now trying to continue with some other people under the same name while the others have started a new band that sounds practically the same as the original line-up of RNZ and is called V DOBĚ MORU.
They have a demo CDr “První morová rána” out. This original bass player’s name is Kamil (kind of a crazy guy – sometimes called Kawa-Kamil haha). He was a founding member of AGE OF DEATH, where he played guitar. AGE OF DEATH played furious fast hardcore. In spring 2008 one of the band’s two singers Kodl tragically died on his way from a concert. After a pause a new vocalist joined in, so they had two girls on vocals. They finished a recording, including a DISRUPT cover, but quite recently they kicked out both the vocalists and it seems the band has disbanded, at least under this name.
As far as bands are concerened, this is probably all that is worth mentioning right now. You can find some more oi!/“punk/rock’n’roll bands (in some cases with members with a pretty weird nazi-like past/present – see OPERACE ARTABAN), but I don’t give a fuck about them.
As far as concerts are concerned, there are only few of them in winter-time, but spring/fall is always full, even a few gigs in one week. There ain’t no squat or any similar centre in Brno. Most gigs take place in Yacht-club (don’t worry – it’s just a name), which is partly being run by two really nice and open-minded guys. In other cases, various smaller venues and bars are being used, sometimes it works good, sometimes not. Occasionally there are also small private butchery-gigs in SYIH’s rehearsal room.
Events are being organised here by various “crews” of people. It can be said, that people here are already kind of divided by the “kind of punk/hc” that they prefer, which is not really a happy situation I’d say, unfortunately…
“United Crusties”, that’s people from SEE YOU IN HELL. Shitloads of great and organization-wise perfectly managed concerts of bands from both Czech/Slovakia and the whole world – almost exclusively raw and fast hardcore/punk/crust/grind… (at random: 9 SHOCKS TERROR, CONFUSIONE, MIGRA VIOLENTA, VIIMEINEN KOLONNA, FLYBLOWN, TRAGEDY, SICK TERROR, SEVERED HEAD OF STATE, CATHETER, BORN/DEAD, SOCIAL CHAOS, DISTRESS, FxPxOx, HELLSHOCK, THIS HOME IS PREPARED, FRAMTID, CAPITALIST CASUALTIES, MOB 47, HELLBASTARD…). They also organise the annual “Killed by Brno” festival with only bands from Czech playing. Great event, the 8 th year is gonna take place this December.
“Loser crew” ([email protected]) are partly running more in the musical spheres that I don’t enjoy so much (various melodic punkrocks, indie-emo-HC…), but they also made many concerts I enjoyed a lot (REMAINS OF THE DAY, REQUIEM, RATOS DE PORAO, CHILDREN OF FALL, TOTUUS, ENDSTAND, POISON IDEA…).
We, from Festa Desperato. also sometimes do something. So far we did shows for REIGN OF BOMBS, BLACK STAR RISING and SVARTENBRANDT from Sweden, BOMBENALARM from Germany, DOG SOLDIER and SANCTUM from the USA, KOMATOZ and TED KACZYNSKI from Russia, TOTALICKERS from Spain, JACK, HUMAN ERROR, DOZER.HU and GYALAZAT from Hungary, VASELINE CHILDREN and MLADINA KINA from Croatia/Slovenia, some bands from Finland etc. Recently it’s been just me organising the shows, but they were nice ones – PAVILIONUL 32 from Romania, DISTRESS (Russia), DISKELMÄ (Finland) or AKTIVNA PROPAGANDA (Slovenia).
Also people from the Voltage Shop Friday Night Kids are very active in organising shows over here, putting on mostly punk bands like KRUM BUMS, MONSTER SQUAD, OBTRUSIVE, MOUTH SEWN SHUT, WHISKEY REBELS, ANGRY YOUTH, GEWAPEND BETON, ENGLISH DOGS, SICK ON THE BUS, VARUKERS, ANTIDOTE, UNIT 21, NO NAME, TOTAL CHAOS, DESTRUCT or SS-KALIERT.
Other groups are “Radiobufera” ([email protected]) (mostly melodic punkrock, antifascist oi!, dub…) or Noise Mafia (noise, grind, crust, gore…). For shows you might also contact Mirek from Ultima Ratio or Johan from PRUMYSLOVA SMRT, who just moved here from Jihlava ([email protected]). Oh and a brand new crew are Gatastrofa – an all female crew that started organising DIY shows of various genres – punk, reggae, hip-hop, drum’n’bass, crust, hardcore, electronic music…
As I mentioned before – Brno is no megapolis at all, but that satiety with concerts – syndrome of bigger cities – sometimes occurs here too… great bands, weekend night, huge propagation and still very few people come – but fortunately this is not the rule (you can get a show with 20 people as well as 200, it depends on many factors…). However, thanx to a friendly atmosphere, the fun is usually going on all the time and many bands have already been talking in superlatives after their Brno gigs heh… so there probably is a piece of truth about it. For most people it is taken for granted that they try their best to give the bands enough money for petrol, to treat them well, to give them (vegan) food, warm sleeping place… Some are also trying to keep the concert-places non-smoking. There are also occasional shows in the villages on the south (contact Adam from EVIDENCE SMRTI through [email protected]). Recently there have also been occasional shows in Blansko, a small town 20 km North from Brno – get in touch with Radim through [email protected].
Kodl of AGE OF DEATH was doing a nice photo-webzine called Pivo Misto Zbrani (Beer not bombs) with lots of pictures from the local shows. The old website is here –http://pivomistozbrani.wz.cz/news.htm. Lots of other photos can be found on the website of SEE YOU IN HELL.
Just recently, several crews organising DIY events in Brno (not only punk/HC, but also other genres) have started a weekly show at the Internet radio of the local university. The show’s called “Dojezd”, it broadcasts each Sunday evening, but it’s only in Czech.
As I spoke about some alternative spaces, the situation got slightly better in the last years. JOLANDA was a sort of tiny bar/club ran by a group of students mostly from Slovakia who rented a house for living, which also had a former bar in the ground floor. Except for some acoustic shows there used to take place various thematic evenings, discussions, projections, parties, they planned to open a small info shop there. After a year they had to shut the place down due to a high rent they had to pay and now the place is dead I suppose.
Last spring two older punks/activists from Brno opened a vegan/vegetarian restaurant called VEGALITE where you can get vegan menus and other veggie food during the day. With the evening it turns into a wild bar with projections, discussions, parties, small DIY concerts. Very nice place to go! Recently moving to a new location in the centre of the town.
But still, this town misses a real DIY space that anyone could get involved with and take an active part in its run. Since summer 2008 a collective of people from various ‘corners’ of the local DIY scene has tried to find some suitable place where they could start this centre. They got a possibility to use a part of an old factory, were negotiating with the owner and getting prepared.
But at the moment the project collapsed on complications concerning the space and on lack of interest of most of the participants. And last, but not least, Martino from MAD PIGS has opened a brand new shop in Brno at the beginning of 2010. It’s called Voltage Shop and apart from selling music, fanzines and clothes, it should also become a sort of a punx meeting point and info-centre. That’s quite cool, cause Lumber’s shop, an older shop in Brno where I used to come and meet people and get great tapes and zines some 9 years ago, has turned into a boring emo-gothic-metal-punkrock butique. They also have an e-shop if you want to order something. I am currently working there as well, so feel free to contact me directly if you were interested in anythnig.
Fanzines… there are not many of them here and they are mostly written in Czech, so you won’t probably be lucky to read anything… But still… A fixed star is “Hluboka Orba”, made by Filip of SEE YOU IN HELL – after 16 years (since 1993!) it is rather a book than a fanzine – completely excellent reading. 27th issue just came out. Filip also wrote a book mapping out Czechoslovakian punk/hardcore before 1989. It contents also many photos, an exhaustive list of all known recordings and also an English summary.
Miruus ([email protected], FESTA DESPERATO and RISPOSTA bass player) has his cool fanzine called “Smrt” – third issue came out as a split zine with “ZLO” written by Kuba of MASS GENOCIDE PROCESS. Raw/punk/hardcore/crust… interviews, reviews, reports from gigs… cool cut’n’paste graphics and especially a great style of writing – very clever, but also ironic, funny, sarcastic. I love it! 4th issue is ready to come out as a part of the RISPOSTA / DEFY split EP.
“Spalena ramena” (‘Burnt shoulders’) is a punk/HC zine done by a Hungarian guy who lives in Brno. His name is Erik and he’s also been publishing a rather metal/grind zine called “Shrunken and mumified”. His new zine is written in English and is really interesting. Contact him at [email protected].
My fanzine is called “Drunk nach osten!!!” and it’s 100% concerned about East European diy punk/hc. The zero issue was only in Czech, just a long report from the travels of my friend and me around the south-eastern Europe, about meeting punks, going to shows, squats etc… There are two issues up till now, each published in separate Czech and English version (you can find the English one in pdf at http://dno.maskcontrol.com). I’m more than interested in anyone who gets in touch, shares info about their local scene, helps with distribution (trades are welcome!).
3rd issue should be out in Czech at the end of 2010, containing several travel reports, tons of reviews and lyrics and especially an extremely long group interview with punks from Belgrade, Serbia – NAKOT, DAŽD, Subwar Collective, VOX POPULI etc.
Out of the labels/distros, the biggest one is without any doubt Ultima Ratio which is run by Mirek (SCARTO, KORUBO). He’s released many good and really well-done tapes and vinyls, and has cool records in his distro. The shame is, that he releases most recordings with huge delays… or finally not at all. Lots of (for me usually boring, but sometimes also pretty good) punkrock is being released by Papagajuv Hlasatel Records a full-time “proffesional” distribution, but still with a nice attitude. Then there’s Hluboka Orba recs.– Filip’s small label releasing only in cooperations with other labels. I’m copying and distributing some zines and stuff that I trade, but there’s not much of it, really. However, if you want to trade something for my zine or whatever, get in touch! Miruus from FESTA DESPERATO/RISPOSTA has started his Miruus Levyt label/distro and there is also a pretty active new label covered by the Voltage Shop – Voltage Records (MAD PIGS LP, HAT TRICKERS CD, EVACUATE EP etc.)
In summer 2008 a compilation LP called “Spalte Brno na prach” (Burn Brno to ashes) was released. It contains 27 unreleased songs from 12 bands from our town: EVIDENCE SMRTI, SEE YOU IN HELL, MAC GYVER, AGE OF DEATH, THE LOUDEST SILENCE NEVER HEARD, FESTA DESPERATO, MAD PIGS, RISPOSTA, PRIPYAT, CORE BASTARDS, REAKCE NA ZMENU and ZEMEZLUC. It contains a huge booklet with info about the bands, local gig organizers, fanzines political activities etc. It was co-released in cooperation of the bands and 14 labels, search for it in the net, someone should have it! Plans are slowly being made for a second number of this compilation.
Some anarcho/eco/animal rights/antifa/etc activities seem to be quite low here at the moment or at least not very obvious. But maybe I’m just not paying enough interest. Food Not Bombs grew up to four more or less independent groups who give away free vegan food every weekend, also NESEHNUTI is still working – local grassroots organization, founded by some local anarchists/punks in the late 90’s, nowadays unfortunately less radical, but still somewhat cool. It is concerned in stuff like human/animal rights, refugees, environment, feminism… Every year there’s a kind of an outdoor protest movements meeting/street party called “Protestfest”. The collective around this also organises some other actions during the year. A new small group of animal rights activist appeared, organising occasional protests agains fur shops, Christmas fish-eating tradition, etc., organising discussions and projections, publishing flyers…
Talking about the nazi scum… while the situation in the past few years was pretty peaceful here in Brno, it seems to be changing right now. Influenced by their fellows from Germany the Czech nazis have generally adopted the image of what they call “autonomous nationalism”, widely using the tactics of the autonomous/left/anarchist movement. In autumn 2008 a nazi demonstration that was aimed against the local Gypsy community took place in a small Czech town of Litvinov.
It ended up in big riots, the cops trying not to let the nazis enter the Gypsy neighbourhood, Gypsies in the streets ready to protect their homes and families from a pogrom, many local people demonstrating alongside with the nazis. To draw a parallel, I’d say that this demo was something like the battle of Seattle for the Czech nazis. Now they seem to have got the feeling of having the power to do “something”. With the upcoming crisis some people in Czech began more hardcore in their attitudes towards Gypsies and immigrants. There was even an official NS political party trying to get into the parliament (recently banned by the Highest Court). In Brno there have also been some attacks by Nazis in the last year (one alternative/hippie bar was attacked, some people were beaten on the street, a homemade smoke bomb was thrown to a show in Vegalite that had a Good Night White Pride logo on the poster). On the other hand, the state is starting to panic and cops are making crazy doubtful raids against Czech nazis, jailing them for nonsense delicts and trying to suppress them with power (= I’m not crying for the nazis, but if cops do this to them, it’s just a question of time, when they do that to anyone else…). Let’s see how this all turns out in the following months. At least it can be said that the local Anti Fascist Action does not sleep either and the local nazis are getting hard times from them. ([email protected]) OK, I hope I didin’t forget anything that was worth mentioning… If you were interested in anything more or just wanted to write to me, just do it: paaya.ds(at)seznam.cz.
Paayajainen, October 2010