Interview with DJ Jirka Neumann:

Interview with DJ Jirka Neumann:

1/ Can you tell us something about how Jirka Neumann got into the 80's music and actually music in general?

Ever since the beginning of 80's I have been spending hours listening to German and Austrian radio stations. I have been collecting records, trading them, recorded tapes. The 80's music totally soaked me in. It was a major experience to get once in a while to one of the imperialistic TV stations and to find out that most of the hits have very good videos to go with it. At that time music videos have been booming around and were rather creative. After the "Velvet revolution" I have intentionally started to gather music videos. At the same time I have co-established Prague's Radio 1 which I also have been managing on the field of music programming-scheduling. I had to work with music genres which were not exactly my cup of tea. My orientation was more pop-music which the listeners of Radio 1 and its countdown at the time may remember. During 90's I have collected a large archive of couple of thousands of 80's music videos. I have started to look for the way to present these to public as believed the videos were worth it.

2/ When have you started to collaborate with Lucerna Music Bar?

In 1996 there was a popular group Shannen Grey playing at Lucerna Music Bar. The group leader Richard Ulrych asked me to prepare 80's music blocks to be played before the start and end of their show. I played both CD as well as the music videos which were unexpectedly successful. After a while we agreed with the owner of Lucerna Music Bar Michal Filip to have my regular shows focused on 80's. When in 1999 the Futurum Music Bar was re-opened we expanded with our "80's party" there as well. During the times the shows became the phenomenon which today fills 4 evenings a week.

3/ Could you introduce your show in Lucerna Music Bar and Futurum Music Bar?

It is a night of 80's music videos and nowadays also 90's where you can listen, dance, watch sometimes even very rare videos, drink, flirt with boys and girls, just to have fun. It has a reason why these parties are so called "biggest meet up event in Prague". You can be 19 or 45 and it's still ok.

4/ Why did you in 2002 change the programming of 80's party in Lucerna Music Bar?
First of all we have started to play in both named clubs on Fridays and Saturdays as well and also re-named the show to 80's & 90's Party. The reason for the change was that I felt too tied up just with 80's period especially when at the time I already had tons of 90's videos at home. I needed to refresh the show and having it moving forward. I'm happy to see that 90's are very popular, too. It might also be that during the 6 years existence of the "party" another generation of visitors has grown.

5/ How do you manage the 4 evenings a week?

I can't do it on my own of course which is why I have been looking for colleagues. We are settled at 5 person team (including me) and everybody using videos from my collection under my scheduling supervision. This is why my name is on all Parties including the ones I don't personally do. To find colleagues wasn't easy. Not everyone is tuned on the same music and it may change the atmosphere completely. And I keep close eye on my style.

6/ What can you tell about your DJs?

First of them is Jirka Březina, group leader of well known group Decline, another one is Tomáš Uher who is working for record company and than Vladimír Srb also member of Decline and working for Radio 1 and last but not least we have Zuzka Domalípová who brings a bit of feminine influence into our male environment. Although five may not be the final number of DJs.

7/ What are your favorite bands and what do you like to play the most?
I like almost all the groups of the first half of the 80's especially new romantics. Of course in Lucerna Music Bar and Futurum Music Bar I can't play all my favorites as some of them are not "made" for dance floor. If a was to make my 80's hit list it would be something like this: Real Life, Hubert Kah, Icehouse, Propaganda, Thinkman, Talk Talk, Kraftwerk, China Crisis, Fra Lippo Lippi, Men Without Hats, Visage, Human League, OMD, Pet Shop Boys, Ultravox, KajaGooGoo, The Cure, Gary Numan, New Order, Duran Duran, A-ha, Depeche Mode, Men At Work, E.L.O., Nena, Nik Kershaw, Simple Minds, Thompson Twins, Tears For Fears. From those I have all the records they have ever released. Although I have to say I don't listen anymore to their biggest hits played for hundred times on the radios. There are other good songs, today almost forgotten. I am also a big fan of Beatles, Queen, Genesis, Jethro Tull, I love David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and The Police. What I like to play the most is the so called „deadly series" which is sort of a line of top hits (Midnight Oil, Europe, Opus, Village People) when the whole Lucerna Music Bar is singing.

8/ Are you planning any innovations?

Some of them have already happened. The owner of Lucerna Music Bar and Futurum Music Bar had spent a lot of money on technical equipment such as sound system and new video projectors with high lightening. The biggest change is that we completely switched to DVD format. I am also planning cooperation with record companies to release CD and DVD from 80's and 90's. An ideal would be cooperation with radio station of course. Perhaps I may establish a radio myself using my previous experiences.

9/ Do you do shows outside Prague as well?

No, I don't. Although I had received many offers, nobody could fulfil requested technical requirements. The investment into technical equipment is usually very high starting on half a mil. Besides I don't like to throw the show for "half of a crowd" not even if the money is high. Also most of the organizers cannot make the good promo. It is not always about money. I have to feel the chemistry with the audience. If things don't work out (which may happen) it ruins my week during which I keep on thinking what went wrong.