The Czech rock band Uz Jsme Doma cite The Residents, Pere Ubu, The Damned and Art Bears as influences, but another of Mirek Wanek’s songwriting influences is Franz Kafka.
“Kafka has a special sense of humor and feeling for absurdity. It’s some kind of cultural and aesthetic roots coming from a mixture of German, Czech and Jewish culture, and for sure, we have similar blood,” Wanek says. “I think it is felt in both music and lyrics.”
The band is touring the ’States supporting their latest album, Cod-Liver Oil (Skoda Records). Expect unique instrumentation (from violins to various vocalizations) and mass changes in rhythm. Wanek reminisces about trying to play concerts in Communist Czechoslovakia, where rock music was considered a subversive threat.
“It was difficult, but not impossible,” he says. “We all used some special tricks like fake wedding parties, birthdays, bachelors meetings, etc. Sometimes it was successful; sometimes police discovered it in advance, and then we ended up in jail for 48 hours or they just took our equipment. From some point of view, it was even slightly easier than today for beginners to play. People were hungry and were able to travel a hundred kilometers to even hear an unknown band. But of course, I am happy that that time is gone.”
Uz Jsme Doma is 22 years old and eight albums strong, having had numerous lineup changes. Wanek says despite the numerous changes over the years, the band has kept solid musical ground.
“The music sounds almost the same in any lineup. Of course, each person as an interpreter gives his soul in to it, so it was sort of up and down. Right now, I am very satisfied with [the] souls of my mates. They are nice people and good musicians, so I hope [the] audience will feel it too,” Wanek says. “Also, they are fresh blood — 15 to 20 years younger than me, so there is still enough energy, [which is a] very important part of our music.”