Over a wonderful four days in July, I attended a fantastic festival in the beautiful Czech town of Vizovice which is three hours from both Prague and Vienna. The festival itself is held in the grounds of a large distillery that makes a very tasty slivovitz (a sort of schnapps) made from plums grown in the distillery’s orchard. They also make an apricot brandy and do something wonderful with pears plus they distil their very own whiskey called ‘Gold Cock’ – no sniggering at the back.
The festival itself has two stages – the main stage dedicated in the memory to Ronnie James Dio and the second stage which is located at the back of the festival grounds and is used mainly for local bands. I attended this stage quite frequently and was pleasantly surprised at the music on offer. One band that played this stage was Kapriola an all-female hard rockin’ quintet. I managed to get a very brief chat after their storming set, and we arranged an interview when I returned to the UK. They describe themselves as five tough girls with a weakness for great music, pear brandy and good Palava wine. The interview was conducted with singer Michelle and guitarist/violinist Dona Michelle.
What does Kapriola mean?
It means the same as “capriccio” in Italian. Let’s say “a whim”.
What’s the band’s history? Who are the members current and past?
It goes more than 20 years back and the beginning was not easy at all, kind of punk to be honest. We just wanted to make loud music on the stage, and we knew nothing about it, we even had no idea of the real cost of making music. Anyway, everything moved on in its own natural way, but nobody had the will to stay during the years except me. The current band comprises Michelle – vocals, Dona Michelle (me) – guitar/violin, Lucy – guitar, Mercy – bass, Monika – drums and we have been together for over 3 years now.
What are the band’s influences?
Each of us was influenced by their own family music background which was quite variable. However, we surely can find some common influences in a classic rock such as Ozzy, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses and many others. Personally, I was influenced mostly by female rock bands or female singers like Linda Perry, 4 Non Blondes, Crucified Barbara.
Michelle: Generally, I agree with Dona, every one of us has their own story which creates individual pieces and together we are complete puzzle. Otherwise, I have many different bands which I loved and influenced me personally in the course of different periods of my life such as Disturbed, Nirvana, Slipknot, Hatebreed, The Offspring, Moonspell, Queen, The Beatles and Bonnie Tyler. I could go on like this for a long time with a number of other greats.
Mercy was the drummer but is now the bass player – How did that happen?
The only constant is change, isn’t it? She was simply tired of playing the drums one day and the bass was the most appropriate choice. I hope she will stick to it. She handled this challenge perfectly.
Do you get radio airplay?
Yes, from time to time.
Michelle: Yes, but rock stations only.
Are you able to play plenty of live dates?
We surely are but the current number of concerts suit us best.
Michele: Haha, definitely yes. It’s a never-ending story about how to set the best balance between our work and music, which is basically our hobby and also have some “me time”. Maybe there will come a time when we can quit our jobs and pursue music full time, but that’s a fairy tale realm for now.
How many albums have you made?
So far 8, but the last two are worth the price, I guess. We have finally found our style. Currently, we are working on several new singles, they should be ready to go out by the end of this year.
Do you think you’re limiting the band by singing in your native language?
Not really, the absolute majority of our fans are Czechs, and they expect understandable stories in the lyrics. But we consider singing also in English more often, we have already released some English songs and new ones are coming. We hope our fan base will grow thanks to that.
Would you consider singing in English?
Yes, as I said before – we have some English lyrics already done.
Michelle: Yes, as mentioned above. Basically, for me as a singer it’s actually more natural to sing in English as the Czech language is not that onomatopoeic. On the other hand, like Dona said, our Czech fans love Czech lyrics much more (we can read sometimes under our videos on the Youtube channel 🙂 ). BUT, we know that there is also some fan population who is interested about us in the foreign countries, therefore we’re planning to continue to produce some English songs in the future as well.
Who writes the songs in the band?
I write all the songs. First comes the guitar riff, then the most important phase follows – the melody of the main vocal, it comes second in the order, but it is surely the most important part. When it is sketched in this way, the whole form of the song can be established, and individual instrument lines are formed accordingly. The lyrics come last in the line.
What is success to you?
Success is very hard to define. But for me it is when people know our songs and sing with us. The atmosphere at the concert is stunning then. It is really rewarding.
Michelle: I agree with that because it feels really great. It was also an important milestone to be included in the radio rotation.
Are you professional musicians? If not, what jobs do you have?
We all have at least partial musical education. I deal with music even in a professional way because I teach guitar and violin at a music school. I even play the electric violin in a solo way. The jobs of the other band members are not connected to music at all. Kapriola is our hobby when it comes to our free time.
Michelle: Yes, Dona doesn’t want to directly say that we’re “desk jockeys”. I work as financial auditor which is so far cry from music however sometimes, especially in the period of January until June my work strongly resembles the one big HARDCORE festival .
Is there a healthy rock/metal scene in the Czech Republic?
Michelle: It’s hard to say what does healthy mean, cause for every individual could feel it different. However, for me its definitely not. Czech fans in general accepting a couple of bands who play the very similar three chord riffs with not so deep texts or for sure also the world biggest rock/metal names as Metallica, Guns N’Roses or Iron Maiden when touring Czechia. Nothing in between . Of course there are few open-minded fans who are able to absorb or directly searching for the new styles or bands, but it’s a minority compared to fans group decribed above. In defence, I have to say that we’re raised that way from childhood – it’s very unusual for the mainstream to listen for example jazz, blues or metal. Mostly you never hear this styles in Czech mainstream radio. That’s why our Czech ears are not used to new arrangements or more complex music (as well as mine but I am still learning to be better and more open-minded ).
What’s next for Kapriola?
New singles are coming soon, even some new music videos should follow. We want to keep on and play, that is the most important vision.
Michelle: Agreed. Furthermore, we will more focusing on individual singles issuing and accompanied videoclips, not to the whole album as previously. Our feeling is that people currently more using music platforms as Spotify, Apple music etc. than to buy and listen whole album except fans of LP’s .
Where can we buy Kapriola product/merchandise?
Just check out our website www.kapriola.cz, you can order it there.
Michelle: Yes, like Dona said above. Otherwise, you can also text us on the messenger or Instragram as our eshop not yet available in English. However, we are working on fixing this situatio