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POSITIVE MIND interview and photo gallery

On March 12, 2012 we conducted an interview with J.J.Simon (guitarist) and Kopee-t (bass guitarist) from Czech melodic hardcore / post hardcore / punk rock band POSITIVE MIND.

Check out their 2010 video for the song “Justice Core Inside” and take an awesome read below.

Hey, what’s up , guys? Please introduce yourself.

Kopee-t:

We are a Czech band, which loves working on music, being on stage, with reputation of the strongest backline in the Czech club scene and which has, I hope, still something to say….

J.J.:

Now we are in a formidable situation. We lost 3 members. After 13 years of existence.

How did you lose 3 members? What happened?

J.J.:

Alright, I´ve heard a lot of rumours around, but the truth is simpler than it looks. Each of those three guys – drummer, guitarist and singer – has his own reason to leave. Singer Henry started to do his own business, finally found a girl who is his perfect match and decided to do something new than he has done until now. He actually stopped listening to the kind of music we do. And that is an understandable reason. However, it made us sad. Guitarist Bart decided to focus on his family and to build a house for them – he battled with this idea for a long time. Now he has just decided. And drummer Patrick got fed up with playing drums. He bought a guitar and established his own softly acoustic band. He doesn’t probably want to play noisy music anymore.

Kopee-t:

But this fact about Patrick we knew a long time before. When he announced he was leaving we had a plan-B for a new drummer. And the new one accepted our offer in the same week when Patrick left. We just didn’t expect that there were going to be more people leaving.

Wouldn’t be easier to simply change the name?

Kopee-t:

Oh man, you are not the first who asked us…

J.J.:

Yes, and be sure we have been considering that for the last 3 months

Kopee-t:

And maybe a lot of bands in the same situation as we are would choose the definitive end.

J.J.:

….well, we´ve lost three of five members….

Kopee-t:

…but as we found a new drummer very expeditiously we became three again. It gave us the will to continue. And the new drummer convinced us to start to write a new chapter of POSITIVE MIND.

J.J.:

Trust me, it was a really hard decision. Those three guys who left were the original members who established this band. But when we got to know that they didn’t have a problem with that, we just said: let´s continue…

How are the new members? We see a lot of metal influences in them. How this will affect POSITIVE MIND as we know it?

J.J.:

At this moment we could introduce just one. Searching for a new guitarist is still ongoing and for a singer we’re searching by official public channels.

Kopee-t:

The new drummer is Jan Stepi Stepanek, a very skilled musician from another well-known Czech band DIVE.

J.J.:

They are very good friends of us, we musically grew together…

Kopee-t:

And they split up in same months as we did, in the finalizing process of their swan-song release called PREAPO – you could check it out on www.preapo.cz. It´s very a peculiar kind of music. I think he could influence POSITIVE MIND a lot.

How’s the looking for a new throat going so far?

Kopee-t:

Nowadays we´ve trumpeted out a public announcement. Our priority is to find a screamer. We don’t require a classic clean voice, but if the one had that skill, it would be great. But it´s not necessary, not required. Anyone can apply without any previous experience. Just write a letter to mail flying@centrum.cz , Subject: „Scream for PM“.

Tell us about your roots in alternative Czech scenes. Are you members of a local crew?

J.J.:

POSITIVE MIND and DIVE grew at the same Plzen scene. Plzen is a town in the west part of the Czech Republic, well-known thanks to Pilsner Urquell beer. But there is a various bunch of bands here. Also, there are a lot of clubs here too, every week you can choose from several important gigs to go to.

Kopee-t:

Our town is good for day-off shows, when bands are travelling for example from Germany to Austria. If you guys, from any band, need it, don’t hesitate to call us as we are able to help you…

J.J.:

Of course we are. You are welcomed here.

Kopee-t:

But between us and the rest of west Europe we still feel something like a wall.

J.J.:

The same wall as 20 years ago, just only barbed wires are gone.

Kopee-t:

For a band from Czech, Poland, Hungary etc. it is still very difficult to break into the rest of Europe.

J.J.:

You need to know that a lot of our fans in the west constantly think we still live here in poverty and only surrounded by bushes.

Kopee-T:

I hope we are the ones who will change that prejudice.

J.J.:

Well… maybe… it is not some kind of prejudice or preoccupation, I think. It is just a sign of lack of information. But I agree. We would like to change their minds.

How about your past projects?

J.J.:

I’ve been doing music for almost twenty years, from my puberty. In 90’s I made the first symphonic doom metal band worldwide, called AGNUS DEI. Live violas, flutes, harp and cellos composed together by a melancholic metal band. I was very young and we were pretty well-known. All those bands like HAGGARD etc. came after us. And I also wrote some music for a theater play. Composing rich music of melodies was my passion when I was a teenager. But the more I grew the more I was looking for music which carried a deeper message. I can say POSITIVE MIND was the ideal opportunity…

Kopee-t:

I met J.J. in 1998. Agnus Dei was on top and we decided to make a side project called SPACE JAM GROUP. Just trio playing rock music: me, him and Patrick. It was more likely a jam session band than a serious project, occasionally playing, when Agnus Dei had free time. Both of them don’t exist anymore. Later I started to play with Patrick in Positive Mind (Patrick was also a drummer of AGNUS DEI from 1996 to 2000, when they split up). At that time J.J. passed for a very experienced expert on studio works, so he produced both of POSITIVE MINDS’s first EPs. When our original guitarist Agent left the band, we invited J.J. to band and asked him to write new songs for us. It was early 2007 and we were bored with playing the same NYHC songs for nine years.

J.J.:

Yeah. I remember it. That’s how it happened. Now I’ve just realized we are writing the third new chapter of the band. That situation in 2007 was a big break for Positive Mind also. You thought you were going to split up, didn’t you?

Kopee-t:

…and as we didn’t split up before we are not going to split up now. We command ourselves not to give up.

Your first full length album entitled “Silence Gives Consent” was released back in 2010. How do you see it now? How would you change it if you were to do it again?

Kopee-t:

Probably nothing. We are satisfied with that debut.

J.J.:

Me too. It shows how initially classic „NYHC“ band evolved into more incommutable band.

Is there new music in works?

J.J.:

Yes, have to say I have material, probably for two albums now….

Kopee-t:

…And I have to say, that it sounds like the next step from what we have done so far. Now we are having a rehearsal with the new drummer, which plays much more innovatively than Patrick. You may be surprised, man.

What do you think about labelling music? What’s the “justice core”?

Kopee-t:

It came from our closest fans. They think we fairly mixed a lot of subgenres of core music. Not focusing on being just only a strictly hard core band, not only metal, not only post-hard core, whatever. Maybe they named it correctly, I don’t know. We started to use it, but the brand of genre we play is not that much important for us.

J.J.:

Maybe it originates from the name of our video Justice core inside. And it is more of a crank, just a phrase we made because it sounded better than Equitable core inside – which better corresponds with meaning of lyrics….

Kopee-t:

No regrets, dude! Because if they had named our music equitable core, I wouldn’t have probably stopped laughing till this day! Equitable core – what a joke!

What does hardcore and DIY mean for you?

Kopee-t:

The type of music or art through which we can change something we disagree with.

J.J.:

We honestly think that mankind, the majority, is going to fatal error, to the definite end of our civilization. The Idea of hard core enables us to say it to others, or just to the next generation.

Kopee-t:

Other way D.I.Y principle enables us to have all production under control and no one interferes into how we compose and what we would like to express.

J.J.:

And I hope that we don’t need to sound like a classical hard core band to show it…

Kopee-t:

Thanks to all bands from the new school of HC and post-HC which showed us that the mind of music is more important than the formal body of music. I mean the sound, of course.

Tell us about the artwork for the album, pictures provided by one of the legendary Czech painters, Vaclav Malina and a younger one, Pavel Prikrasky. Are you into art?

Kopee-t:

Yes, we like it more than everything on this planet. We check out all galleries and often visit them. We are interested in the new way of visual art. I think visual art could be a good gun to change someone’s mind as well as music.

J.J.:

On our debut we started to introduce typical abstract art to hard core fans. To understand abstract art you need more time for interpretation. But if you understand it, it opens a huge world for expression.

Kopee-t:

Now we are slowly considering how to make the booklet of 2nd album. This we usually prepare as long as music, cause we prefer listening to music with cover art in hands. In that way we are old-schooler.

J.J.:

It was big happiness when we found out that Malina was a fan of our music. Surprisingly, cause he is more than 60 years old. We met at one vernissage and it was a big opportunity when he said: hey guys, come to my atelier and chose some of the pictures I have done.

Kopee-t:

To take out from 3x3metters pictures was marvellous experience.

You played a lot of show so far. Where have you been traveling so far? Will you be hitting the road this year?

J.J.:

I´m sorry, but this year we will not be touring a lot. Until we have found the best musicians for us, we don’t want to play with some professional supplements.

Kopee-t:

Yeah. After those members left, a couple of professional musicians offered to substitute for shows we had booked.

J.J.:

Yeah, we had offers for touring in Switzerland, Germany and France this year.

Kopee-t:

But we rather decided to find stable members…

J.J.:

It was hard to cancel it, cause in the past we mostly played here, in the Czech Rep. and the farthest venues was Germany.

Do you plan to go to Euro 2012?

Kopee-t:

We may disappoint you but we are not interested in football or any sport. We don’t watch it.

J.J.:

Passion for sport avoided us… I don’t know if we are missing something, hopefully not.

Kopee-T:

….what are we talking about, dude? Euro 2012 isn´t metal! Right?¨

[laughs] … true true. Ok, please **tell us what your daily life in Czech Republic looks like? Work, hobbies, books, etc.?

J.J.:

Same like in other countries in Europe. Just only me and Kopee-t, and as a lot of people here, are interested in art, human culture and things which happen around us.

Kopee-t:

And the same as in other parts of Europe, we have to go to ordinary jobs in order not to be dependant on earnings from playing in band. It gives us freedom to do what we want.

Thanks so much for your time! Anything you’d like to add?

Kopee-t:

I always fear that question, what about you, dude?

J.J.:

No, we could say some important message…

Kopee-t:

Which one do you mean?

J.J.:

For exemple: leave the television and computer alone, go out and do something, what help us live better here. Wasting youth is what I am fed up with very much.

Kopee-t:

Or stand up for the minorities against majorities?

J.J.:

Yes, that´s it. This is what is important for POSITIVE MIND the most.

Kopee-t:

Thanks you all who support that kind of art, which aims to change something here!

POSITIVE MIND exclusive gallery:

 

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