JESETER
Promena
(Jeseter Music)

 

Intriguing 21st century progressive rock from the Czech Republic, Jeseter may sing in a foreign language, yet there’s plenty of well crafted musicianship to appreciate along the way. Jeseter's latest album, entitled Promena (called Transformation in English) combines progressive rock with a unique kind of jazzy prog-fusion sound in the spirit of Camel and YES. Guitarist Jan Gajdica gets a very clean guitar sound while vocalist David Tobiasz adds a solid presence to the recordings. Adding to the group sound are other talented musicians, including Martin Simícek (bass), Robert Hejduk (keyboards) and Luká Krejcí (drums) No doubt, one of the reasons these guys sound so good is that in a tribute to YES, Jeseter performed a cover of “Close To The Edge”. Clearly, Jeseter have the musical chops to revive that magnum opus! Guitarist Jan Gajdica gets an excellent guitar sound and plays electric, acoustic and pedal steel guitars. Speaking about some of the inspiration for the musical approach of Jeseter in his mwe3.com interview, Jan Gajdica explains, 'For me personally, it’s the composition that’s more important than a sound. We started the band because of “Close To The Edge”... this symphonic approach to the music is my goal.' Even with the vocals sung in Czech, international fans of prog-rock and rock fusion will be in for a rewarding sonic experience with this excellent sounding and hard rocking Jeseter album. www.jeseter.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
Jan Gajdica of JESETER



mwe3
: Can you tell us where you are from originally and where you live now and what you like best about it?

Jan Gajdica: I’m from medium-sized city Ostrava. It’s the third biggest city in Czech Republic. The city with the industrial history.

mwe3: What were your early music studies like? What instruments did you learn first and how long have you been playing guitar and pedal steel guitars and do you play other other instruments too?

Jan Gajdica: I started with the classical guitar when I was 11. At the age of 15 was first time I played an electric guitar and it was magical.

Later I had began studying composition because I wanted to understand how the music works. My second goal was jazz improvisation. Another instrument which I love is a pedal steel guitar. I like its sound, but I don’t consider myself a good pedal steel guitarist. However I’m still trying! Once I saw Steve Howe at a YES sound check, he was playing the pedal steel guitar... it was amazing.

mwe3: What guitars are you playing on the Jeseter Promena CD and what other guitars and gear, including amps, strings and effects do you play when you’re recording and when you perform live concerts?

Jan Gajdica: Almost whole the Promena (Transformation) album was recorded with my Godin xTSA guitar, which is very versatile. We don’t record every year with Jeseter, so when I add some new instrument to my collection, I use it for recording. For the next album I will probably use the American Stratocaster. As regards the effects my favorite is the volume pedal, which is, in my opinion, the basis of the progressive rock sound. No volume pedal, no prog-rock! (lol)

mwe3: What is the music scene like in the Czech Republic? How does your band Jeseter fit in with the music world of 2014 in the Czech Republic? Can you tell someone who’s never been there, something about what it’s like living in the Czech Republic? I imagine it must be pretty sophisticated by now!

Jan Gajdica: The Czech Republic is a totally unique place in the middle of Europe. Our revolution was twenty-five years ago and since that time we have been trying to catch up to the other countries. Our political scene now is in a democratic line. We overcame the communist period and now we have normal problems. It is also related with the music. Prog-rock is not very popular, although there is tradition of classical music, there are many well-known composers Janacek, Dvorák, Martinu... Pop leads here, but it is about the same everywhere.

Unlike the US, The Czech Republic is small country and Jeseter hasn’t had too much exposure. So the we appreciate these kind of interviews.

mwe3: How long did it take to write and record the Jeseter CD Promena and what does the title mean in English? Also how did you come up with the name Jeseter? The lyrics are in the Czech language so, for those of us who don’t speak it, what are some of the subjects covered in your music? For instance in the title track, which is 20 minutes long, how do the lyrics help define the music?

Jan Gajdica: We were recording during the summer of 2012. It was the best season for concentrate to work. I wrote the music “note by note” and it took a long time.

And what the Promena (Transformation) mean in English? I don’t know, how well do you know the writer Franz Kafka, but he wrote a story called Promena about the process of changing one state to another. My piece isn’t directly inspired by Kafka, but describes the psychological transformation as a process of self-awareness.

And the band’s name? Jeseter is Sturgeon, but it isn’t related with fish. It’s a pun. The base is in the name “YES” and it is a tribute to the giants of British prog-rock band.

mwe3: Can you tell us who plays in Jester, how did the band come together and what is the musical chemistry like between the musicians? Who else was involved in the making of the Promena album including the producing, engineering, mixing, mastering and artwork of the CD?

Jan Gajdica: We have played together almost ten years. David Tobiasz (vocal), Robert Hejduk (keyboards), Martin Simícek (bass) and Luká Krejcí (drums), who started five years ago. The recording was in Ostrava studio Mros, which has a great atmosphere. Well, and if you are interested in the “Eye” on the album’s cover, that is the artwork of Ondrej Zajíc, who is Prague artist. None of us have met him yet, our communication is only virtual. Even the world is going through a “Transformation”. (lol)

mwe3: Would you say Jeseter fits into the progressive rock genre? How did you become interested in the progressive rock sound? I read that early on you were playing tributes to YES. What YES songs and albums influenced you the most and what other rock bands and albums had a big influence on you like the Beatles, Moody Blues and others? Were those prog-rock bands popular in the Czech Republic and were their albums and CDs available for people to buy?

Jan Gajdica: I love British prog-rock of the 1970’s. Our band has been influenced by the Polish scene and its conception of jazz and jazz-rock, for example the band SBB. For me personally it’s the composition that’s more important than a sound. We started the band because of “Close To The Edge”... this symphonic approach to the music is my goal. It’s absurd but this album was released in a closed totalitarian Czechoslovakia. The fact that anything came out, makes a big impression. It follows “Close To The Edge” in that it’s a discography of an entire generation.

I'm mad about music, The Beatles and the whole 1960’s culture. The Soft Machine, Caravan and Moody Blues too with their beautiful mellotron.

mwe3: What other current bands and guitarists do you like and might recommend? Are there other Czech guitarists and bands you feel are breaking new ground so to speak? Is prog-rock and/or jazz fusion growing in the region?

Jan Gajdica: I prefer the color to a technique. I’d rather listen guitarists with feelings. On the other hand, without the technique, it isn’t working.

In The Czech Republic there are two “Aces”
both have over sixty albums. Radim Hladik of the band Modry Effect and Michal Pavlícek’s Stromboli... a phenomenon with his original melodic structure. I recommend older recordings!

In answer to last question: Like I said, in the region, we are rather the exception.

mwe3: Do you prefer progressive rock or instrumental jazz-rock fusion as the basis for the Jeseter sound or do you favor combining the two? In what ways do you balance the two (vocal and instrumental) styles?

Jan Gajdica: It’s a pity that you don’t understand Jeseter's lyrics. I try to make the music comprehensively and the lyrics are the important element of a work. This is the reason why we have never been singing in English. It isn’t our native language and the way of expressing couldn’t be natural. I consider the lyrics are as important as a melody.

mwe3: In what ways do you try to become a better musician and guitarist and what is your practice schedule and the band’s practice routines like?

Jan Gajdica: I teach playing the guitar, so I practice with my pupils daily. Recently I’m trying to improve in reading the notes. Also I practice comping and improvisation too.

mwe3: What plans do you and Jeseter have for 2014 and beyond as far as writing, recording and performing your current music and new music as we move into the future?

Jan Gajdica: Now we work on the rock opera which is based on the Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”. At the turn of June and July we want to go to the studio.

This is an important point. I’ve been writing it 3 years. I’m glad you have found our “Transformation”... Greetings to all readers and prog-rock fans.

Thanks to Jan Gajdica @ www.jeseter.com

 

 
   
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