The Bohemian Revolution
To talk the hind leg off a donkey; if we were nasty, we could well accuse Mr Radim Chrobok of doing just that. If you have ever read an interview with Love History or Forgotten Silence, you may know what I mean. He is talkative. Very talkative. But that is not all; he has also been a member in both of these excellent bands, taking part in creating some truly unique and mind-boggling music. And he has an exceptionally nice style of handwriting. Mere coincidence, all these, you say? Cannot be… When all is said and done, the following article should cover most of the relevant details and opinions, hopefully in an optimal proportion, of Love History, the Czech oddball seven-piece.
Love History drilled to the core of many an underground denizen with their phenomenally popular 1993 demo release, the interestingly titled The Astral Silence of Blooming Virgin Beauty. Relatively soon after that, in February 1994, they entered the studio once again, now to rock onto the reels an MCD that went by the name Desires. Then a bunch of troubles occurred, yada yada, and through various difficulties two Love History albums have been released in the last two years: Gallileo, Figaro - Magnificó… (recorded in December 1996, released by Shindy Productions as a cassette version and The End Records and Northern Darkness Records as a CD in 1999) and Anasazi (The End Records 2000); just to cut a very long story short. What is most important, the band have survived through all the abysmal pits, which enables us to concentrate on more vital matters hereon. Astral matters, if you will (I jest).
First of all, the sui generis characteristics of the Slavic people are mentioned as a partial source of Love History’s well-groomed feel of independence. Some of these characteristics outsiders are taught to recognise as impulsiveness, spontaneity and benevolence. How would Radim Chrobok, the Love History drummer, say that such attributes can appear in one’s music?
“Hard to say,” Radim utters at the beginning of our conversation. “I don’t think any of the above mentioned qualities, if we can call them qualities, represent the Slavs in general. I’m one of them, so maybe it is impossible for me to make judgements. In the Czech Republic there is not any deeply rooted pride of being Slavic; I don’t think people even care! Recently, a few black metal bands have discovered that they are ‘proud Slavs’ as they have realised it would be stupid to shout around that they are proud of being Vikings. So, they have grabbed what’s the nearest and easiest factor to learn a few historical aspects about. It’s okay to me as long as they don’t bother me with their ‘we are the greatest and blackest and the most pagan’ shit. Prior to the mania of northern heathendom and bands relating in their national roots, no bands here cared about the Slavic roots.”
Obviously Radim, after making this fiery welcome calling into the subject, is interested in having his word on this topic between musical and ethnic matters. Thus, further pathos is in order.
“I read in an interview of a certain Polish director that in Poland calling somebody ‘a Slav’ means an offence sometimes. Sad, isn’t it? I think we should be proud of our roots, yet the pride should be hidden somewhere in our hearts, not shown off bare with all the swords and helmets. This concerns all nations and roots, be it Slavic, Nordic or whatever. The contemporary age that we live in doesn’t care about aspects like these, it doesn’t care about some paganism that ruled here a thousand years ago. People should be aware of where they come from and where their forefathers have sown the soil for the first time, and they should be proud of that, yet showing off that particular pride tends to look ridiculous sometimes.”
Does the music of Love History exhibit the somewhat humanitarian Slavic qualities from a wide spectrum?
“Speaking of music only,” reckons Radim, “I can’t say if Love History represent any characteristics of the Slavic people, but as our music features some folk elements and since our roots are related to the Slavic roots, it’s rather clear that it does.”
Just to mention bits and pieces of the history of the band, in the years of 1995 and 1996 Love History faced a beast that came in the shape of contradictions concerning the line-up. Did this period of time bring the band close to the river of Styx, death, would you think?
Radim fiercely says ‘never’, yet admits that the word ‘never’ has strong associations, and continues: “As far as I know my cousin Richard, he would never give up with Love History, not even if he was the only member left in the band. I don’t want to call him the ‘soul’ or mastermind of the band, but on the other hand, there’s none more accurate way to express how important his personality is to the band. He’s not the best musician, nor the best song arranger, yet I’m sure that Love History would never exist without him. And I’m saying this in spite of the fact that I at times have hard ‘differences of opinions’ with him.”
When I imply that something that does not kill you will only inevitably strengthen you, Radim immediately takes up on the note.
“Exactly! Years ago when I left the band I was dead sick of Richard, and perhaps he was dead sick of me too. I don’t know. My leaving was the best solution that I could do back then. We suffered from sort of a cabin fever and everybody who knows us and our characteristics must agree that we are very different persons in many aspects. Naturally these differences appeared somehow - we could get along neither in musical nor human basis anymore. We needed the break. I was out of the band for about a year and a half, and since that didn’t kill the band, you can see I’m not that important a part of Love History. Still, as I felt that I belonged to the band, I returned later on. Of course things between Richard and me cleared up in the meantime. We weren’t in contact with each other each and every day, we didn’t have to deal the common things about music, I played in other bands… It was all a relaxed kind of thing, I would say. He, in the meantime, was continuing with Love History, though without having a complete line-up. He only had the keyboardist Radek to create all the music with, and you could hear the result of their work on Gallileo, Figaro - Magnificó…, which was solely written and composed by Richard and Radek.”
Those who have read for instance the interview in Cerberus #6 have been able to see you making some obviously heartfelt statements about the status of the underground movement at the moment. As a person who does massive amounts of unprofitable and unconditional promotion, you seem to view everybody else’s lax and not so efficient doings as something quite depressing. I am aware that you did only enter the circles long after the ‘velvet revolution’ of your country, but it is fair to suppose that within the last ten or so years you have nonetheless formed a stable opinion of the underground movement and how it has altered in the times you have been a part of it. So, would you like to try and define that scene, the indefinable?
Radim declines the offer: “I’m not going to define the indefinable; I don’t even like to call this ‘scene’ the underground anymore. What’s underground about webzines? What’s underground about zines getting paid for adds and them thus being hardly interested in new bands but more likely in the big names on the big labels who can pay for the expensive adds? Fortunately, there still are people who do it for pure passion, who do not care about any profit. I wouldn’t like to sound like I’m some messiah saving everything with my unprofitable approach, but nevertheless I’m a bit sad that things aren’t as they were years ago. I mean ‘years’ something like six or seven years ago when I actually entered ‘the circles’, as you put it.
“Today, it’s hard to hear from anybody, to even get an answer with the obligatory ‘thank you for your CD’ - speaking of the mags that simply don’t care about us, the smaller ones, the ones without any big labels’ background. I almost have to beseech to get a bad review at the very least. This is the only means to get to the potential listeners and buyers.”
Love History are a band that have received a relatively large share of troubles when it comes to dealing with record labels…
Radek intervenes, “Just one label, namely Northern Darkness Records. There have been no other pigs of the same value that we have had to deal with in our lovely history, fortunately.”
All right; then, has the collaboration with The End Records proved successful to you thus far, post releasing the Anasazi album?
“It’s proved very good, in my opinion. I can’t remember there having been any tough troubles with The End so far. We got all the recording and graphic expenses paid by the label and that was pretty much the biggest support, since we would have never been able to pay the same amount of money by ourselves. And you know many labels work like that: they let you pay all the studio costs, sometimes even the graphics, and they only press the CD’s. That is the way how things ‘worked’ with Northern Darkness. The only thing The End could hardly do for us is a proper tour. On the other hand, it would be extremely difficult for us, the seven members in the band, to leave everything and spend three weeks in a tour bus, especially because of our jobs and studies. So, it’s not such a disadvantage in the end.”
Anasazi is product number 17 in the back catalogue of the label; could that not been seen as a pretty good start? At least it has become rather clear that The End will not be one of these two-release wonders that fly by night as some sort of celestial phenomena, only managing to release those horrible adolescent bands of the neighbourhood that no one wants to hear.
“Definitely,” Radim agrees. “As far as I know, Andreas, the label boss, hasn’t signed any other bands since 1998. We were the last one to join their camp. He once admitted that he’s becoming more and more picky when it comes to signing new bands, and it’s true that there is nothing worse than a small label having about thirty bands in the list but being hardly able to do anything more than pressing the CD’s and booklets for them.”
To many record companies are surely nothing but frustration, to some they may be an appreciated aid that will help you take care of the commercial side of things, but to most they are undoubtedly a mere inevitability. Having grown up in a country that at one time certainly was not capable of providing its citizens with everything they would have hoped for, one might think that you in particular would have some deeper grudge against the hyperbolic capitalism of the labels…
“If you like to think so… Well, maybe you refer to Richard’s statements in the thank you and fuck off lists telling something like ‘fuck off the capitalism systems’ or so, right?”
That may have been an incentive, yes.
“All right, you should know that Richard is extremely against everything… I don’t know if he has any clear idea of what an optimal society should be about. Maybe there’s none such existing. From my point of view, capitalism is something far ‘better’ than what we had here twelve years ago, but on the other hand, it does bring in many troubles that are much different from those one had to deal with in the socialistic system. I think people are not willing to accept new rules, or maybe they just can’t… At any rate, frustration reigns here, that you should be aware of. People had too high expectations and then they got disappointed.”
After having veered off the track so much, Radim returns to the original theme.
“Of course record companies are a part of this, with all aspects belonging to it. A record company is, in fact, an incarnation of capitalism in all points, but don’t get me wrong… I don’t mean just the negative points! There were no record companies in the socialistic system, just one kind of a monopoly, which was under the control of communists. So, releasing anything but just cheesy mainstream pop music was totally out of question. This is the biggest difference between the record companies of the socialistic and capitalistic times.
“When you talk about the inevitability of record companies… As I said before, for us it is essential to be signed on a label that can pay for the record expenses, for we could not pay for them ourselves. If it’s not companies like Northern Darkness, a label helps us to bring our music to a wider amount of listeners than we would ever be able to do on our own. But of course, I can understand that when a band is getting bigger the demands grow, and what our label serves Love History with would hardly suit for e.g. Anathema.”
After all the bagging, do you think you have anything else to say of your love affair with Northern Darkness Records?
“Not much, heh! Only that our ‘love’ ended in a dungeon of hatred. ‘The best’ I’m now able to do for them is to spread the word about how irresponsible the people behind Northern Darkness are. Maybe it’s changed during the years, I don’t know, but the years 1997-2000 with them were a serious pain in the ass. How else could it be if a label delays your album’s release for about three years and then as you don’t even expect it to ever be out, they release it in complete silence with no promotion, and don’t even think it is important to inform the band about it, not even considering any ‘good manners’ like sending us CD’s as a payment or so. Yeah, they sent the CD’s finally (one hundred pieces) but only under the threat of us passing the whole thing onto a court of justice. That was the whole love affair! A good ending, though, like one in the romantic love stories.”
You have said that you are more likely to concern yourself with criticism if it comes from open-minded people than household-variety gore maniacs, so what are your thoughts of reviews and journalism in general, Radim?
“Journalists have great power and sometimes they don’t even know that! They make the trends, not the listeners, not even the artists themselves. Who would be aware that there is a new trend coming if the journalists boycotted that trend?
“Yes, I can accept a negative critic from a person who is open-minded and who knows much more than just one style of music. I can’t respect an opinion coming from a guy who shouts in his flyers stuff like ‘only true black/death/thrash metal here’ and ‘fuck off cheesy keyboards and wimpy females’. He can make a good review of a band playing exactly the style he has skills to listen to, but surely he cannot make a good review of a band that doesn’t fit his close-minded views. I’m sure a good journalist should be open to as many musical styles as possible, otherwise he can never be objective enough. Absolute objectivity doesn’t exist, but one can try to approach that illusion.
“Some time ago I myself wrote to several mags and zines around here. I haven’t written anything for quite some time already, though, because I felt like I was starting to repeat myself, especially when it came to reviews and interviews. I couldn’t come up with anything interesting anymore. So I stopped. However, I think I was quite objective in reviewing stuff because I could listen to anything from pop to grind and I never dissed an album only because it didn’t happen to suit my tastes. Music that I can value highly must first of all be original, and it must dispose of some atmosphere.”
…In the meaning of ‘dealing with something successfully’, not getting rid of something, I interrupt.
“This,” Radim continues, “is what I search in music first and foremost, no matter what kind of atmosphere it is, whether positive like with Yes music or dark like with Emperor.”
It was comical to read the Kogaionon #7 feature of Love History, as it was so close to the one in Cerberus magazine. Seeing as you are a loquacious man, I wonder if frustration ever strikes upon you when you are asked the same questions over and over again. I did not bother to check out if any of the answers in the two interviews that I mentioned were similar word for word, but I suppose they are pretty damn close…
“Sometimes I even copy answers from previous inties and paste them into the new one, without any need to correct it and make it fit the question!” Radim shocks.
Personally, it would insult me a great deal to catch someone I have interviewed for the same reason. Something akin to this has happened once, though, in which instance I had to ask the person if he thought it was really too wise to copy an answer from a well known magazine circulated in one thousand copies and expect that no one would notice. He defended his case with the excuse of having so many interviews to answer, and as so few people send him copies of the magazines in which his band is interviewed, he thought, ‘why bother’. But that was just one answer. I know that saying this will seem completely out of place in the holistic conception of this interview, but now there are two of us ranting.
Radim enthuses: “The questions are mostly completely the same! Disgusting, isn’t it? But who the fuck should be answering the ‘why Love History as the moniker of your band?’ question all the time? The interviews you mentioned above, both Kogaionon and Cerberus, were amongst the best and most interesting ones I have ever done! Perhaps you’ve never read the kind of interviews usually coming from e.g. Turkey, Indonesia and countries like these? As a side-note, sorry to zine editors out there in Turkey and Indonesia who might feel offended by my words… I can’t help myself but my experiences with the level of journalism in countries like these aren’t very good… with honourable mentions to a few exceptions! At any rate, it’s frustrating sometimes, but I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to. I’m also sure it has never happened so that I would not answer to someone’s interview only because the questions are boring. If they are tedious and too usual, I can go through them with just the one-liner kind of answers.
“When it comes to the interview I’m doing just now, it’s quite a different one because I have to force myself to start the work of the lazy grey mass inside my cranium a bit. I’m afraid the interview with Mr Kuronen couldn’t end up with those aforementioned one-liner kind of answers, ha!”
I was recently talking to Mr Toby Chappell of the Atlanta based doom orchestra Eyes of Ligeia about his fancy for more progressive and experimental forms of music. As you have brought forth your admiration for this sort of music as well, could you give some depictions of why and how exactly did you originally fell in love with all the more leftist bands? Some of these bands’ outcome can be perceived in the amalgam of styles that is Love History’s music, yes?
“Yes! Yes rule, haha! Well, it was quite the usual way. A friend of mine played some Yes songs to me six years ago. At first, I didn’t like the music, it was far too complicated and chaotic to my ears. But I gave it a few more chances and suddenly I had fallen in love with this style of music. The first album I heard from Yes was 90125, and the second was the mighty Close to the Edge. Of course I tried to read as much as I could about this ‘new’ favourite band of mine, and got to know more and more names of bands related to this art rock music. I’ve known e.g. Jethro Tull for about six years now, but only two years ago we - that’s me and my girlfriend - visited their show here, and since then we have been big fans of the band. King Crimson is the favourite band of my girlfriend. I think she heard it about four years ago for the first time, perhaps Thrak. Albums like Red, Beat and In the Court of the Crimson King came a bit later.
“I’m glad you mentioned the influence of these bands in our music. However, I don’t think it’s really that much evident, as it’s not me who writes the music. Personally I’m greatly influenced by the 70’s art rock bands - and not only by their old albums because the majority of them, for instance Jethro Tull, Yes, King Crimson, Saga, Rush etc., are still doing great albums - and I think Hanka is as well. In Love History, Paul listens to some art rock stuff from time to time too.
“I almost feel like the music of musical monsters like these has been forgotten, or at least ignored by young musicians. Too many people tend to express themselves through very simple three-chord songs nowadays. It’s all right to me as long as the songs can make an impression on me - Amorphis is a good example of this ‘simple’ but still very nice music. I hate it when people damn the old ‘big’ bands and call them ‘dinosaurs’. If only five percent of today’s music scene would reach the level of musicianship of the 70’s bands!
…And what are the odds for that happening? Not high, sadly. Radim goes on for a few more lines, asking me to give his best regards to Toby of Eyes of Ligeia and inquiring if he could have Toby’s electronic mail address. Hell, this is no dating service. Yet, as he so heart-warmingly thanks me in advance for these undone deeds, I have no choice but to obey. But when Radim leaves his girlfriend for Toby and is about to start a family with him, please remember that it was I functioning as the godly incinerator of this unworldly love. That is all.
On a somewhat unrelated note: I have noticed that you are marketed by your record label, in a handful of flyers at least, as ‘progressive death metal’. Do you not think that this genre-bound labelling only harms your band eventually? I mean, personally, the term ‘progressive death metal’ does not measure up at all to the vastness of the Love History compositions.
Radim: “I know what you are talking about. Well, it is still far better than labelling us as ‘doom metal’, which is something I can’t stand at all. Yes, we recorded one sort of a doom metal demo in 1993, so perhaps we are still paying for doing that. We take bits from everything - that ‘everything’ not having to be ‘metal’, even. I don’t think that labelling us progressive death metal harms our music, but at the same time I’m sure it doesn’t tell much about what we have to offer either. When speaking about progressive death metal, names like Pestilence, Cynic, Atheist or Sadist should be mentioned… The real kings!”
You have said that, in your opinion, there is not enough romanticism in the metal world of today, so do you not find this world desperately romanticised already as such…?
“Well, maybe. I can agree that it wasn’t the best thing one could say about the metal scene of today. However, I can’t remember in which relation I said this, and what was the question actually. Doesn’t matter, anyhow.”
I am puzzled, since for instance ninety-five per cent of the current black metal bands certainly do abuse an utterly romanticised imagery of the concept of ‘evil’. And then you have the Anathema and Tiamat carbon copies and whoever else that also massively romanticise every subject matter and theme their minds can get hold of… Should we not rather say that everyone needs a bit of a ‘reality check’, or a brush up, in their art?
“Again; maybe. It’s just a matter of opinion. I’m not the one who tells what others should do. If somebody likes a romantic image, it’s all right to me as long as it is not ridiculous or pathetic. When speaking about black metal… yes, there are a lot of those clone bands that you speak of - the ones who romanticised the style - but on the other hand there are also the leaders of the style whom I can appreciate for what they have done musically, bands like Emperor, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Mayhem. I don’t care if somebody romanticises his image as long as he can offer good music. In Love History we used to do that seven or eight years ago and I don’t feel ashamed about that. We were just 18-year-old ‘little’ boys thinking such a ‘romantic’ image was somehow cool, unlike tons of other metal bands who wished to look evil to be cool. We don’t care about any image nowadays, it’s lost all of its importance to us, as well as the lyrics related to the romantic matters.”
Desires and Gallileo, Figaro - Magnificó… were an inch closer to your average listener’s idea of a commercial doom synthesis than the marvellously diverse Anasazi is. Do you feel that some people may be frightened by the upright and impeccable style presented in Anasazi? After all, it is somewhat of a quirky record, and does not reveal its innards rapidly like some other album might do.
“It’s like a nice compliment to me,” Radim beams, “so thanks. I love records that I have to listen to several times before they will grow on me. I hope I will always be able to achieve the same with my own bands. Many people have told me that they hated Anasazi at first, but as they decided to give it more chances, the majority of them really started to like the album. Many people even tell us that it is by far the best album we have done, despite its differences to our early material. Some people have even asked why we bother to make our music for the metal audience. But who says that we make our music for metal listeners exclusively? The only problem is that it’s far more difficult to get the actual product through to other than metal listeners, with distribution and stuff like that.
“Of course I’ve also heard opinions about how our album is too crazy or immature or so. Yes, that is what it is. I’m glad that it is crazy and I’m glad it is immature since then there is a lot where we can continue from in the future. We have much to improve in, of course. We haven’t done a perfect record. If we had, and if I knew that for a fact, I think there would be no strength for me to push any further.
“I’m sure we have lost a few fans who liked that more ambient, or let’s say synth, based atmospheric and melodic stuff, but then, we have got a lot of new friends for our music. Since we weren’t very well known before, I’m sure the gain given by the new fans is way bigger than the loss.”
The title and lyrics of the album are a grandeur symbolisation of mankind’s decline, or so I have understood from your statements… Yet they - the lyrics - come only sort of ‘halfway’, as you have confessed yourself… To which direction do you think you are going with your lyrics now that you have destroyed mankind - onto the apocalyptic raids, perhaps? Obviously there can be no sunshine or flowers left anymore, and the music surely has to become one of the ‘no hope’ sort as well…
“Honestly, I’m close to a burn-out when I have to speak about the future lyrics. I don’t have even the slightest idea of what I should write about. I desperately hope someone in the band starts to write lyrics so that I don’t have to. You are right, there is not much to go onto with the lyrics after I have destroyed everything, hehe. No, it wasn’t meant to be that rough. On Anasazi we tried to describe a fight between man and nature, and of course we couldn’t end it in a positive way, or does anyone really think mankind is headed towards some better tomorrows? I don’t think so, I’m quite sceptic about it. But I wouldn’t like to describe that in the lyrics anymore, no way.
“When listening to some fragments of the new songs, I could imagine some folklore being used in the lyrics, simply because the music sounds so folky. Another trend, maybe? Hard to say. Maybe some ideas come my way within a week, a month or a year, and I will write the lyrics - or the majority of them - again.
“And now it penetrates my mind… Yeah, when everything’s destroyed and all nature’s gone, we can still write about industrial matters. There are beautiful factories around, lots of spaceships in the air, wonderfully smelling cars, prismatic oil spots on the sea surface… there’s really so much to write about!
“By the way, I have to remind one thing that I remarked in your review of Anasazi. You complained about the ‘easy’ English we use in the lyrics. Well, you should know - if you haven’t noticed it so far, that is - that English is not the mother language of anybody in the band, and thus the capabilities of expression for us are quite limited. Singing in Czech would work out, but believe me, not many people would understand it. We were quite careful to have no grammatical mistakes in the lyrics and things like that, but of course one can never evade some unusual or ridiculous, even, phrases. I’m sorry for that, Mr Kuronen! For me it’s still better to write in easy English than in bad and not understandable English.”
A-ha, so you are attacking my language skills! I knew it… Anyway, Voices is a pretty comical piece of narration. The lyrics are nice, but otherwise, nahh… I cannot possibly see it having anything the album could not do without. What are your defences? Why did you include the track on the album?
“You are aware what the lyrics to that song are about, at least the idea, right? We needed that track just for the lyrics of it, but on the other hand, we didn’t make that just because we had to. Voices disposes of an atmosphere that we really wanted it to have, it was meant as kind of an ‘introduction’ to the final song Phantomous. Maybe it’s a bit too long, but there was much to be said. Of course, I would never like to do an album full of songs like this one but I can’t find anything wrong with using it once in the whole concept of the album, either. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. Fortunately it seems like we can satisfy your needs better with other songs, heh.”
If I did have a critical word or two about the linguistic level of the lyrics of Anasazi, unfortunately the same has to be partially said of the visual side. The cover painting is a little bland, and as always, I have a hard time with bands with band pictures in the booklet. So tell me, Radim, why does one want to add pictorial presentation into one’s musical recording? Is this not a rather insipid form of idolisation?
“Yes, it is,” Radim admits. “I have thought about this several times already, and found no use for including the band pictures. But many people need those. There are so many mags that simply need your picture, otherwise they can’t print an interview or an article with your band. Reminds me of mainstream pop culture which is deeply related to the faces of the artists. If you don’t look nice you can just fuck off. Right? The same starts to apply in the metal scene too, it seems. Too many bands take way too much care of their image. Well, the fact that taking care of the image is more important than the music is, is perhaps okay sometimes.
“Some time ago when I played in another band, I refused to be photographed for any band purposes. I felt it was stupid. I thought that people weren’t interested in my face but were interested in the music. Maybe I was wrong. People and listeners are interested in the pictures. If I look through a CD booklet, of course I look at the pictures too. Sometimes they make me hunger for the music, sometimes they do the opposite. You are right on that it shouldn’t be connected to music as much as it is today, but no one can really do anything about the matter.”
What is your personal relationship to pictures taken of you?
“What is my personal relationship to pictures taken of me? Relationship? What relationship do you think I should have to my pictures? Narcissism is not my cup of tea, and the same goes for the rest of the band as well. I think my relationship to pictures taken of me is quite normal: “Oh fuck how stupid I look there!””
But you and Hanka do make for such a nice couple… Ah hell, to be honest, at some point it escaped me that I had even asked about such a tiring matter.
The usage of keyboards in Love History’s music can get a bit overwhelming at places. After all these years of pro- and anti-argumentation over the use of keyboards in metal, what is your personal take on the matter? Are you capable of being as objective as to dissolve the keyboard use in Love History and the keyboard use in metal in general? How would the perspectives between these two differ from each other?
“Without keyboards the music of Love History wouldn’t be as dramatic as it is with them,” Radim says. “You would wonder how ‘easy’ our music sounds without the keys.
“Well, Opeth, for example, are capable of portraying a wide variety of moods with the use of guitars only, and they have my respect for that, but I simply can’t imagine us doing the same. I don’t think the usage of keys is overwhelming in our music. Maybe it was in the period of the Gallileo, Figaro - Magnificó… album - where the keys were also played by another musician - but surely not on Anasazi. I’m sure the keyboards on the new album are well balanced and well thought out, as we took good care of that in the production. I’m sure our use of synths is way different from the tons of others drowning their music in five tracks of voices and strings sounds. Our synth sounds are much clearer and sharper, and they work more in the manner of making the melodies or just spicing them up a little, both in harmonies as well as in rhythm, for the guitar riffs. Only a few times do we tend to ‘drown’ the riffs in the typical synth chords. Still, I’m sure keyboards are not any extra instrument, just an ingredient. It’s an instrument of the same importance as any other instrument in our sound… Spank me if I’m lying here!
“As for the matter in general, I hate discussions on whether keyboards are or are not a metal instrument, and whether keys are cheesy and shit like that. Might be a useless instrument for Dark Throne or Cannibal Corpse, but that is not the kind of music that I would like to create. We need keyboards; that’s why we use them. I don’t really understand why this instrument is still considered ‘non-metal’ after so many years of so many bands using it. Does anybody ever ask if bass guitar for example is a metal instrument? Who set the rules? Who said ‘this is a metal instrument and this is not’?
“And the last note, related to this: Hanka, who plays keyboards in Love History, is my long-time lovely girlfriend, so you can just guess how objective I am on the topic, ha!”
Let us be serious for the last actual question. “Communism was a nice idea in the beginning…” Now what the hell do you mean by that?
“Exactly the way how tabloid journalists work, heh! You’ve taken a fragment from a long answer and you present it like ‘look at this silly idiot who thinks that communism is nice’, right? But my answer - which you so nicely didn’t present in its entirety - continued in the sense that maybe it was a nice idea with all those rules such as everybody possessing everything and nobody having to pay for anything, but mankind hasn’t reached a level, and will never reach the level, of applying it. The core point of the thought will always be unrealistic and will not ever come true, as it simply rejects the true nature of people. But still, it is a nice idea. Just an idea.
“Maybe I was wrong calling that ‘communism’ as I was actually talking about ‘socialism’ instead. Yes, a silly mistake of me. In fact, I see both these aspects being lumped together, it’s almost like the same to me, although historically it is not, of course.”
As a nice ending to a fine day to decide whether to live for another one, I ask Radim if we should wish for another dawn to rise. He sees that we are definitely to greet the marvel of the sun rising once again. Once more. For the reasons to this, he mentions the hope of Qvadrivivm magazine painting smiles on people’s faces. Yes, perhaps, but I am not sure if there is any meaning in entertaining people via this magazine. Another man’s hell is another man’s heaven, after all.
Radim is exhausted. He drops hazardous lines of learning and inventing new words in English, being still bitter about his vocabulary, saying nice things about the magazine, and finally, telling the only thing people expect him to say:
“Let me sleep, please.”
Radim Chrobok, the former drummer of Love History, giving reasons for his and Hanka the keyboardist’s departure from Love History. 4 May, 2001.
“It was the other band mates who asked Hanka to leave the band, and I joined her on my own decision. No way she followed me but the other way round. There were certain problems during the last weeks, especially in communication, because as you may know we are living quite far from each other. Hanka was heavily involved with her studies during the last months and she expressed her excuses for that fact a long time ago, but nobody in the band seemed to comprehend her time limitations. Then, they decided to kick her out but didn’t ask me about it (and you should know that especially Richard always shouted around that we are such a fucking democratic band and discuss everything together and make final solutions with regard to all members’ opinions… shit happened and they didn’t ask me in advance because they were afraid I would leave… so I did, just a few hours later, after I realized how things were in reality). Besides, we’ve just got to know how Richard was spreading ugly things about us (about being too little involved in the band and shit like that… Apart from him, none of us (including me or Hanka) has ever been drunk on stage, which is something that Richard enjoyed a lot and ruined a lot about the band’s image… His involvement in the promotion and things like that is strictly limited to the amount of money he has after all the drinking parties at the end of month… it was me (how modest I am) who did all the promo shit around the band, answered tons of inties and promoted as hell, and the only result was that the other guys tended to kick my ass if they didn’t agree with some of the views I wrote about in the inties… shit!). I’m truly afraid that this band is going to die… or better said, not really die but turn into playing for a few local fans around Ostrava city, in the pubs, in the drinking parties and stuff like that. I’m not interested anymore. Believe me, I was really sorry for that situation, but I was too involved in the band’s birth to go on the way the other guys went, if you know what I mean. I didn’t want to play with a bunch of alco idiots, sorry to say that.”