The ability to multitask is a true skill, a skill that Czech DJ Ladida (in real life Linda Štěpničková) has taken to a whole new level. Her name is synonymous with precise mixing when playing truly dynamic electronic music both at home in the Czech Republic or abroad. DJ Ladida has had (and is having) a very varied and exciting career, capitalising on her obvious talents in the areas she has chosen to pursue. But how has her life changed since adding motherhood to her personal list of achievements and job roles? I managed to get a few minutes with the non-stop DJ/producer/label owner/model and mother to find out how her personal and professional lives mesh.
Rewind back to 1995 and the opening of the first techno club in Prague to find a young Ladida cutting her creative teeth with the likes of Jeff Mills, Carl Cox, and Laurent Garnier. Ladida is pretty modest about that time in her life. “The beginning of the Czech dance scene was around 1992, and at that time I was just clubber with a real passion for electronic music,” she says candidly. ”By 1995, I started to learn how to mix records. I was based in Switzerland at the time, where I met group of friends running Delirium (a record store in Zurich).”
By 1997, the dance and electronic scene in Prague had reached fever pitch. Clubs were often full with eager revelers ready to party. International DJs were coming on a weekly basis to play for the ever-ready Czech audience, and Ladida was back in Prague to be a part of the growing movement. Accolades and awards began flooding in. 1997 saw Frontpage magazine name her as one of the best international newcomers in the DJ category and Czech magazine Tripmag name her DJ of the year. By the year’s end, Ladida had secured herself a position on the world famous Love Parade (Berlin) and released two EPs with the label Lasergirl.
Ladida’s production is similar to her DJ sets: deep and progressive yet lighthearted enough to keep the party rolling until the early hours. Unlike many producers, Ladida is classically trained. ”I have 3 years of classic guitar, nothing more, but I have had the chance to work with some producers and I learned from them.”
”I don’t like to judge my style,” she says when asked to describe her sound. ”I love to play tracks that have some kind of interesting idea and are groovy. Bassline is very important, too.” I couldn’t agree more!
By 2005, we are introduced to a different side of the talented Ladida as she embarks on her modeling career – a bold career change that hasn’t always had positive results for those making the difficult decision. “It was easy to make that transition,” Ladida recently recalled. ”I always loved music more than modeling. For a few years of my DJ career, I was able to do both jobs, but then I had so much travelling for DJ gigs that my modeling career wasn’t compatible with DJing. These days, I’m still doing some TV commercials for foreign countries from time to time.”
Throughout Ladida’s career, there have been a number of smart decisions, knowing when to diversify and evolve. Take her label as an example. In 2007, she founded Article, and in March of the same year debuted with the single Being Free. Ladida seems proud of her achievements with the label; “Article records had 4 releases with producers from the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Argentina. [But] it was taking too much time from me, and when I gave birth to my baby I closed the label.”
So how has motherhood affected Ladida? ”Right now, family life takes 70% of my time; my boyfriend is professional snowboarder and his winter season isn’t finished yet, which means I’m taking care of our baby. The situation will be different from April, though. I will have more time to focus on music again. At the moment I have the weekends to play music and a few hours a week in the evening when the baby’s sleeping.” It sounds like she’s managing her time well!
Ladida lists ‘hanging out’ with her one and a half year old daughter as one of her favourite pastimes. She also enjoys surfing and (of course) listening to music! With all this activity (sometimes nocturnal), how does she keep her appearance fresh? No one wants a sleepy-eyed model turning up on set for a shoot! Ladida gives a knowing laugh when I pose this question. “I don’t look in the mirror after the heavy party. I drink fresh juices, Jana water, and I use Sante Neo fx eye drops and Tebonin intense.”
With Tokyo, Berlin, Honduras, and Brazil listed as locations for Ladida’s sets, I asked where the most interesting destination was. She was quick to answer. ”The main stage on Loveparade Berlin, round square, was the best for me,” she said without a shadow of a doubt. What about differences between the Czech audiences and others in Europe or the world? “Sure, every party is unique and the further south you go, the more people go more out to dance. So I love South Italy, Spain and Brazil.” So what’s next for Ladida? ”I have an upcoming release in May on the label Recode Musik and I’ll also re-release Mundo EP and its remixes.”
It seems motherhood hasn’t affected Ladida’s creative output at all. Her weekly radio show on Czech station Europa 2 has a steady listenership that enjoys the combination of new and old gems from around the world. Ladida has an effervescent attitude towards both work and family life. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll be a positive and permanent name in the Czech dance scene for many years to come!