During the Lviv edition of Art Meetings Festival 2015 we will witness many unusual concerts

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    One of them will be an amazing duet of: Petr Vrba coming from the Czech Republic and Miro Tóth Slovak Republic. Musicians will present their approach to improvised music, based on assumptions close to punk.

    We invite you to read the interview with Petr Vrba.

    Igor Waniurski: In September you will perform with Miro Tóth during Art Meetings Festival in Lviv. Do you have any special expectations towards this event?

    Petr Vrba: Yes, I do! The reason is very simple. The last time we played with Miro as a duo was probably more than three years ago, so I am really curious about where our individual ways brought us to during these years, when we both were very active in very different fields,including opera, dance collaboration, theatre, written music, post rock bands etc.

    What was the reason that you decided to take part in this event?

    You mean in the festival, or the duo? For the festival, I was already invited last year, but couldn‘t come, being too busy in that period. So when I was kindly asked again if I would take part in this year edition, I accepted with pleasure. I am really interested in collaboration or meetings with Polish musicians.

    Could you tell the assumptions of the project with Miro Tóth?

    If you mean what the audience can expect, I would say something raw, energetic, delicate in its details, quick in its changes, fresh in its expression. And very probably very different from our last playing.

    What have you heard of the previous editions of Art Meetings?

    To be honest, I heard only about the edition before last one, which sounded good. I spoke with Magda Mayas and she said it was very nice, nice people. And when I saw the video about last year, it seems like being part of this festival opens inspirational potentialities.

    In April you gave concerts in Wroclaw and Poznan with Xavier Charles. I wonder what are your memories from that shows?

    Amazing, actually! We both were mainly amazed by the audience, very fresh, very enthusiastic and young! And both concerts were organised by very friendly organisers, that’s always nice. On the way back, we went for a gig to Ostrava, and as we had few hours free, we went to Osvětim-Auschwitz and visited Birkenau, which for sure affected our evening concert in Ostrava, also the organiser felt that. It was a very strong experience to feel the „total sadness“, as we described it for ourselves, having no other words…

    Experimental scenes in Czech Republic and Poland. It’s interesting to me what common features and differences between those scenes do you see?

    One of the basic differences we can find easily is based on the different history of jazz in the Czech Republic and Poland. In Czechia you hardly find any continuous experimental jazz /free jazz /free improvisation /contemporary situation bands, with few exceptions, of course. In my opinion, except the very few exceptions (like Durman & Posejpal duo, Free Jazz Trio Olomouc and some others), our “jazz” experimenting scene died in the 80ies, but in Poland you can find strong movement which became known as yass movement. I can quote Tymon saying “Besides, there was the myth – Komeda, Stańko, Seifert, and we felt that we could pick out a fragment, tear off a little Quebec, and found our own republic. I wanted to base jazz on Polish music, on its roots, perhaps on Polish rock and punk music. This was something that the whole yass scene would later base itself on, and it succeeded in stepping away from mainstream jazz.” And in my opinion it succeeded really well. Bands like Loskot or Robotobibok, collaboration between electronic scene and jazz is common in yass, and also in these days, but in Czechia? OK, to be less negative, I would name a trio called Bergljot (, formed by a very talented Czech jazz piano player, Vojtech Procházka, with two Norwegian guys. I think thanks to Vojtech the Czech contemporary jazz scene is getting more and more open and maybe in few years we will see more interesting bands open to contemporary sound and music.

    Also quite visible and important difference we can see in (non)existence of label(s) purely focused on experimental music, free improvisation, noise, weird electronic or contemporary (so called classical) music. In Poland you have Monotype Records and Bolt Records which are internationally renowned and respected, in Czechia you have only one, called Polí 5 and from the catalogue you can see that even though it is very supportive to local experimental scene, it has to release also much more mainstream (in my eyes) music. On the other hand there are small mostly DIY labels in Czechia, like Klangundkrach or a new one Meteorismo which release, I would say, real underground of these days. And I think this scene is quite alive here. Also the boom of analogue synths is quite strong in Czechia. I don’t know much about these scenes in Poland, so here my comparison ends.

    During your career you played and performed with many artists from different countries. With whom you’d like to work with in the future?

    Certainly we would like to continue with Xavier Charles in our duo and with Thomas Lehn and Tiziana Bertoncini with our freshly made trio Noiz as well. With Poisonous Frequencies, quite noisy wild weird trio we made this year with Federsel and Didi Kern, we plan a Mexican and also an Asian tour, which I am really looking forward to! Since many years, we are planning to play with the amazing trumpeter from Lebanon Mazen Kerbaj, who is now staying in Berlin for a year, so I guess and hope that this plan becomes reality soon. If I should name some musicians I never played with but would like to, there are plenty of them, of course, but to name a few, they are for example Le Quan Ninh, Michel Doneda, Tony Buck, Jim Denley…

    You sometimes use unusual instruments on stage – everyday objects, that don’t have musical character. Please tell me about origins of such interesting idea.

    This is a very old and kind of natural thing I guess, you just start checking the sound of things around, you are like a kid discovering things around you, check for example some drummers playing on streets probably all over the world mixing traditional drums and buckets and some objects.

    How would you encourage people of Lviv to take part in your concerts and Art Meetings Festival as a whole thing?

    Using Miles Davis’ quotation: “Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent.”

    Experiencing the live music, even in the very moment of its creation, is something that opens your ears and is worth doing over and over again.

    Duo of Petr Vrba and Miro Tóth will play on Sep 11th in Lviv.