Interview: Tata Bojs Frontman Milan Cais

Czech alt-rockers celebrate 25 noisy years in the music biz with an upcoming show at Roxy

Tata Bojs are a Czech rock band, formed in 1988 by bass-player Mardoša and drummer/singer Milan Cais. Their upcoming gig Hity/City/Live at Roxy celebrates 25 years in the business. We spoke with one half of the Tata Bojs duo, Milan Cais, who opened up about his musical inspiration, favorite Prague hangouts, and gave Expats.cz an exclusive preview of what to expect at the Roxy show on December 11th.

The Roxy concert is celebrating 25 years of the Tata Bojs. Could you have imagined this 25 years ago?

We had our first gig in the summer of ’88 in the gym of our elementary school which we were just finishing. We didn’t have any dreams the only aim was to make some big and real noise on electric instruments like The Clash or Sex Pistols. If someone had told us that our childhood band would last today we wouldn’t believe him.

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What was your occupation after school? Do you have some interesting parts on your CV?
After I finished arts high school I studied sculpture for six more years and graduated in 1999. It has been music and art alternatively paying my bills ever since. Mardoša is sometimes DJing and writing short essays for the Metro newspaper.

Do you have a complete playlist for Hity/City/Live at Roxy? Was the selection easy and what songs can we expect?
Yes, we already have the playlist, we’re rehearsing now but it’s difficult to say, we’ll play all the old songs and maybe some we won’t rehearse all the way.

During the shows do you sometimes improvise? Does technology make improvisation difficult?
The technology doesn’t stop us from improvising. For example, for this gig one of the instruments we are going to use is our unique instrument made of plastic pipes for plumbing.

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Is there going to be a guest at the 11/12/13 concert?
There will be three guests, two of them virtual, one even real.

Who were your music heroes 25 years ago and what are you listening to today?
25 years ago me and Mardoša had a strong trio: Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed. Then we added Talking Heads, Police, Rolling Stones, Devo, and Patti Smith. The ones we like today if we were supposed to name all wouldn’t fit here. Of the Czech bands I could name Zrní, but there are way more.

What are you listening to while you are recording and mixing?

That varies according to the character of the song we are working on. For a big sound it might be Nine Inch Nails, if something dryer it would be Beck, Charlotte Gainsbourg, or Air. To stay in reality it’s good to play different CDs from different times. Actually Bowie’s Reality is among the ones we listen to as well.

Do you have experience recording abroad or with a foreign producer as is the trend with Czech bands lately?
No, we haven’t had such an experience, we were discussing such an option in terms of our new record but who knows.

Who would you like to join you on stage and who have you already met there?
From our icons we have performed with both Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Despite the fact that the role of support band is pretty thankless it was something totally different. We also opened for the Smashing Pumpkins.

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Have you ever played abroad? Or in some obscure place?
We sometimes would play a small venue abroad mostly via Czech foreign centers. Let’s mention our gig at the Czech embassy in Egypt.

Have you thought about providing your fans separate audio tracks of your recordings to remix?
Yes, we had done that with our video for the song “Skovka” when we provided some visuals and live footage from our concert and we let our fans edit that the way they wanted to. We received numerous great videos.

You are originally from Hanspaulka? Are you neighbors with Mardoša still today?
Unfortunately, we have moved a few times since then, spent a few years in Vokovice, these days I’m living with my family in Veleslavin so I’m still loyal to Prague 6 and can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Some tips where we can meet you in Prague or somewhere else?
Pretty often I go to Dejvice to Cafe Calma. That’s where I have my meetings and give plenty of my interviews as well. I like the ambience of that place which is in the French style.

Was the contract with Warner Music from 2000 the beginning of your professional career?
No way. We don’t consider Tata Bojs fully professional even these days. We would find that too constricting. Freedom is so important to us. So when there is an event we don’t want to play at we don’t play there.

You have experience composing music for theater. What about film soundtracks?

I was asked to do the music for a feature film which is a puppet movie for kids and hopefully even adults. I am writing the music for that (actually, sorry, I should be so don’t tell them I haven’t started yet).

What are your plans for 2014?
Originally, we were hoping for a new record but looking into the calendar and considering the activities of our families we doubt it. Since we are both going to be 40 we were hoping that would be our present to ourselves. But we doubt we’ll make it. At least we’ll try a 7-inch vinyl with a single and a few more interesting gigs.

Tata Bojs
Hity/City/Live Roxy
December 11, 2013
19:00

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Who’s your favorite Czech rock group?


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