Music from the Heart

Justin Lavash: Inspiration is all around us

He comes from UK but has been based in Prague, Czech republic for about a decade. Here he collaborates with many musicians and now he comes with his new album Changing of Tides.

Tell us how it all started.

I guess it all started when my mother bought me a guitar, I was about 9 or 10 and then I had some lessons.And I remember just playing the guitar a lot. We had lot of music in the house, we also had a piano in the house before that too.

You come from London. Could you tell us more about your musical backround there?

Well, at school I played in a big band and I was in the choir, I played saxophone at school,sang in the choir, played in rock bands with friends,etc. When I was in Liverpool I started an indie band, we went to London. Then someone came with the idea we play jazz
And then I got sick of being broken,I got no money so I started doing gigs for money, like contract gigs, holidays camps, cruise ships, weddings and that sort of thing. I did that for about 5 years and then I quit that and I wasn't really doing anything for about 3 years till I came here.

What's the inspiration for your songs? Where does it come from?

Inspiration comes from whatever is going on around me. Could be friendship, love,anger,hatred or something that's going on socially,politically, whatever inspires me and whatever I think is worth sharing.

Do you instantly like a song when you write it or does it need time till it settles?

I write really slowly so it's one idea here and one idea there and afterwards it gets together. Nothing comes quickly.

Tell us about your new album.How do you feel about it?

I'm really pleased with it, really happy with it. It was an ambitious project but I think we did it and I'm really grateful to the people involved, especially Ian Kelosky who produced it, David Landštof who played on it but also Petr Štěpánek and Miloš Krejčí, Beata Hlavenková, Guy Bennett, Dan Reed. It was an ambitious idea, we spoke about it even before we started we knew what we wanted to do. I had some ideas but it was constantly changing, different styles,approaches. Ian was interested in using some new ideas of production so it's great. Some of the arrangements are quite big pieces so it was quite an adventure for us that way but a lot of fun.And we did it!

You released an album after three years. What has changed?

Lot of things changed I suppose. I got older. I'm 3 years older now and I feel it. And also, this album is not that guitar-based, it's more about telling stories and guitar features.

You asked the public to contribute for the new album. Were you surprised by the final result,how much money did you get?

I was really happy about it, very touched.

Did you expect that?

I hoped for it and I was very touched it came true, it's really great. You know, you can ask for it but sometimes people don't have a lot of money and if they make an effort to support you, it touches you as a writer.

Full Moon is the media partner of your new CD. How did you became involved?

We did it through Tranzistor which is the company that released the CD, it's David Landštof's company actually so he was in contact with them. Tranzistor did the promotion for the cd and they promote the launch as well so I had very little to do with it.

Some people may know you from collaborating with Lenka Dusilová. How did you got together?

I met her in Jazz dock, she was involved with a project where I was doing the first show that day and she was doing the late show. She said she loves my stuff and she asked me if I'm interested in doing some stuff together and I said yes, of course.

Is there someone from the Czech scene or the international scene you would like to play with?

There are lots of people. I think it's mostly question of talent. Dan Bárta's got a great voice or Eva Brabcová. I don't want to say I'd like to work with them because I don't know how it would work.

The first song on the new album, If you weren't my friends sounds like being written about somebody in particular.

A friend of mine was a bit of inspiration for that.I don't have a lot of close friends, I have quite a few I suppose. Last year I had quite hard time with my health and if you have hard time in your life, you rely much more on your friends. I guess the whole cd is about friendship. I asked a lot of famous people but not friends to help making the cd. And then I asked a lot of people who are socially friends to contribute to the cd. Somebody could say i'm abusing their friendship horribly.

Is there any message you would like to share with people with your new album?

Yes- buy it! Listen to it, it's a fun ride.

Photo: Jiří Štarha

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