October 13, 2020

Czech Vibes Sound Takes Its Maiden Voyage with Keys & Smoothies

By Andres Octavio (Mowgli)

Czech Vibes Sound is used to uncharted territory. That’s what art freedom means:

Finding the space that has never been occupied and excelling toward it, existing within it. Since 2015, CVS has taken the path less traveled with gusto. What started as a coterie of both introverts and extroverts alike, of EDM partiers and seasoned electro heads, CVS has became an online oasis that yearns for something new and revels in the sounds that connect us all. Behind the seemingly massive operation and the opulent video shoots that make corners of the world look like different planets entirely are two women, Marketa and Magdalena (also Meggie and Mag), two free souls who push back against the structures that control the narrative of modern music. As Czech Vibes Sound embarks on its new compilation album, the ever silky Keys & Smoothies, Magdalena put a bit of that CVS lightning into a bottle for all to see:

When did you decide on working together as Czech Vibes and what was the moment you knew this could be a career rather than just a hobby?

At the end of 2016, there was a moment of realization that all this could actually become our lives. When that happened, we were filming a music video with an established Czech band and we knew that working closely with musicians could be a career path, and that we’d enjoy it. At that time, we were still full-time students at university, studying completely different fields like sociology and geography. 

What has been your favorite memory of Czech Vibes so far?

It’s hard to pick just one. Ever since we started to work on Czech Vibes, it’s like watching the sunset one day, and then realizing how many sunsets you have missed in your life. Like actually looking at them and not seeing them properly. Once we started to appreciate them, we were able to find inspiration in everything we did ever since. So every sunset became an extremely powerful memory. And we’ve seen hella sunsets since then!

To be able to put a roof on a unique music style which would influence more people

A couple of years, 255,000 YouTube subscribers, and 65 million-plus views later, CVS is now a force to be reckoned with, still vying for art freedom, still reaching for new heights, but with an entire community of fans and artists behind it. 
CVS team in 2018
How has your vision of Czech Vibes changed from the beginning to now?

It was a learning process because the vision itself changed with our own self development and how we saw the world during our formative 20s. Starting with a simple idea, we thought about what else we could do with our photos and videos and how we could connect it with our passion for music to create a music channel that would give a certain aesthetic and how to encapsulate and saturate the spirit of adventure we wanted to explore in ourselves. At the time (2015), we were already active listeners of YouTube communities like Majestic Casual or MrSuicideSheep and we just knew that we wanted to become something more than just active listeners. So at the beginning it was just acting on a passion for pairing a fitting photo to an undiscovered song which later evolved into a possibility that we could help artists with their visions, to actually put a roof on a unique music style which would influence more people, not just us. We were able to create a channel to transfer what we felt and to actually show it to a bigger community of people, and that is the biggest reward for us. Reading comments or emails from people telling us how we inspired them or changed their perspective on life is something we always wanted to achieve by this.

What do you admire most about your partner at Czech Vibes?

It’s so interesting to realize how our brains work so differently and still we’ve got a joint project that is such a huge part of our lives now. We just mentioned the other day how the perception of music in our case is a totally different story. I was classically trained in music from a very early age because of my musical family background and Marketa never actually learned how to play or read music, yet she found her own way towards being such a musical maniac that it got beyond anyone’s expectations of what a music fan actually means. What I admire most about her is that she is the one who works very systematically to create a certain order, a total opposite to me and my random activities during the day. She can start her day by listening to her own newest playlist selection, then she goes through 100 submissions of various genres and after lunch, she opens Spotify or Soundcloud to see what’s new on the wall for another two or three hours just for the love of music. And in the evening, she listens to her own playlists from her own huge private database which are not even public on our Spotify. It’s like she is almost in a process of making music herself, trying to burn it in her brain yet she never actually sees melodies as notes or scales.

In the morning while drinking a smoothie and messing around on the keys...

What does Keys & Smoothies mean to you personally?

Keys & Smoothies refers to a very specific group of musical artists within Czech Vibes Sound who have various influences yet very similar, unique sounds. We felt it was time to showcase these artists together in the form of compilation. It is a highlight of what we received over the last year-and-a-half on our music platform as submissions and had the chance to connect with those people. We noticed that there has been a certain trend in the style of songs we received and we feel like this is something unique that totally fits our vision. The name’s origin is connected to a process of making most of these songs, in the morning while drinking a smoothie and messing around on the keys. A big thanks to Sion, who came up with the idea. It also refers to the fact that those producers mostly work from home. During the pandemic, producers’ workflow actually hasn’t changed that much. The music producer's lifestyle is perfectly suited for something like this actually, as most of the guys told me when I asked how their life changed during the pandemic. The female imagery in the artwork is connected to us, as we’re not aware of any other females who run a music channel on YouTube.

Keys & Smoothies Artwork.
As a project, what was your goal with Keys & Smoothies? Is this a one-time deal or will there be more projects like this?

The Keys & Smoothies album is a collective step forward to showcase the electronic music artists that appeal to our audience. In the form of single releases every Thursday since April 30, we featured a new single accompanied with the official visualiser and story. The visuals were based on photography and places connected to our own experiences and adventures and we had a chance to work on visualizing those places into 3D landscapes animations that give the project a certain digital aesthetic. Kudos to Lukas Bernath (@berry.bsoul) who is a very talented 3D artist as well as a dancer featured in Laxcity’s second official music video and was able to bring this animation into the world. After all songs were released, we put them into a 38 min visual escape mix.

What we love to do is to connect not just singers and producers, but also dancers and visual artists.

 What made you want to go in the direction of a music label, and what do you think separates Czech Vibes Sound from other startup/up and coming music labels?

For us, music is the power that can transport you to another place, like a faraway scene deep within your imagination or a certain state of mind or place that evokes a very specific nostalgic atmosphere. Maybe it can add a different perspective to your life or even change your life when you let your heart open up to it. It's a type of healing within your own process of growth and allows you to revisit older parts of yourself. It is so strong that we always desired to share it with more people and allow them to also use it for their own inspiration. With unique melodies and creative, innovative sounds, we truly believe that we can offer an original catalogue that hasn’t been truly explored yet. So yes, in a sense it can be seen as a movement too. I think what we love to do is to connect not just singers and producers, but also dancers and visual artists. The connection between visuals and music has always been our thing, especially as the creators. That’s why we call ourselves the Home of Art Freedom and Visionaries.

Rebranded 2020 logo.

Our goal is to represent our artists in a unique and recognizable way in order to attract bigger players.

Unfortunately, the business side of music is a white-male dominated industry, what do you see as the biggest obstacles for women in the music industry and what kind of space do you want to create with Czech Vibes in that regard?

We think it is pretty difficult to find female role models in the music industry. A person must dig in really deep to find the right people. Honestly, it’s a visible issue even in our circles. I would say 99.9% of producers featured on our music channel are men. I believe that women have the same talent and possibilities to become producers too, but maybe they just don’t know they are capable of it due to lack of the publicly visible female producers. It’s the same with female managers, singers, marketers, media etc. Honestly, we have yet to meet another music channel or independent music label that is run by women and we’ve been in that space for almost five years. Is anyone there? We would be really curious about that.

What are your goals for Czech Vibes over the next year? What should people look forward to?

Our goal is to represent our artists in a unique and recognizable way in order to attract bigger customers such as film production companies, bigger record labels, and more established music artists. And to establish a well-defined, unique music genre. Of course, we’re still improving our visual game and it’s something we will always try to improve. We’re also planning to release a couple of narrative projects in collaboration with some big names to explore the possibilities of how we can bring new visual concepts to our official releases.

Where do you see Czech Vibes in five years?

We see us working with musical artists even more closely, maybe with a well-established roster of artists who would work on their own personal projects as well as involving themselves in the label work.

A moment captured while filming with Laxcity, June 2019.


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