Thanks to Albert Černý, the world didn’t forget about Czech Republic after last year's success of Mikolas Josef. Although his group Lake Malawi did not overtake the 6th place, ending up eleventh, they’ve done a great service to Czech singers in the weird mixture of singers in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. This charming guy from Třinec has been active in the music business since 2006, but only got into awareness of the nation recently thanks to the competition. LP Life decided to interview him a few weeks after his great success and it turned out that the young man’s profile totally doesn’t fit into the category of singers. Not only does he not use his favor with fans, because he’s in love with one of the most successful contemporary Czech models, but he’s also an abstinent.
Albert, that's a very nice name. Who were you named after?
I don't know, my name was supposed to be either Adam or Albert. Sometimes I have a bit of a problem with that, when I introduce myself, I can't do get my mouth around it.
How do people call you?
At home, they mostly call me Bertík, which, according to some people, sounds like a name for a dog.
What about show business, isn't it an advantage there?
It's an international name, which is fine.
How has your life changed since the Eurovision?
The door to the world opened for our band. We’re going to Poland for the Sopot festival, to Denmark, to Sweden in September. Of course, it is a little early to evaluate how my life has changed. I'll see in a year or so, when everything has settled.
Does that mean you won't be singing in the Czech Republic?
Of course I’ll be singing in the Czech Republic - after all, doors are opening here too. We will have a couple of big concerts, September 8 in Prague at Burgerfest, September 11 in Brno at Metro club and so on. This summer, the main season is already over for us. We are preparing a big concert in Prague, but we don't know when yet.
What do you mean, when you say big?
Two, three thousands of people.
So no O2 Arena yet.
No, not yet.
I must admit that I didn’t like most of the Eurovision performances. Your band seemed to me as one of the few normal and enjoyable ones that won't offend, even if it may not enthrall. How did you feel there among the other contestants?
Thanks for the compliment. I think we were one of the more normal ones there.
How is it possible that some countries send such obscure artists to this prestigious competition?
They want to attract attention at all costs, so they come up with all kinds of crazy stuff on stage. A lot of singers also try to sing as high as possible. We made friends with the Belarusian singer Zena there, and I think she’s one of the people who would just benefit from singing her song a bit lower.
And did you tell her?
No, but I myself did it with the song Friend of a Friend. The first accord is D-minor, in the Eurovision, I think I sang it in C-minor.
I believe I have read you were taking lessons in singing.
With Hana Pecková, I have yet to bring her flowers. I owe her a lot.
How’s the situation among singers, are they very competitive?
Not at all. It genuinely surprised us, everyone was totally cool. Of course, when somebody didn't make it to the finals, you noticed that the others felt very sorry for them. But that’s how it goes - it's a contest.
We became really good pals with some, such as the Spaniard Miki Núñez, some we didn’t get to know very well. I had no chance to have a longer conversation with the Dutch guy who won the contest. But there is no competition in the negative sense of the word in Eurovision. Maybe it's because it's very LGBT friendly. Overall, the atmosphere is welcoming, warm.
How do you mean LGBT friendly?
Everyone is welcome there, no matter if you’re a homosexual or a sadist. Each person is unique and everyone has the right to be there.
Your band became more famous both in the Czech Republic and abroad. You ended on the eleventh place, Mikolas Josef was sixth. How do you feel about having gained the second best success for the Czech Republic?
I’m happy about it, but of course we wanted to beat Mikolas. (laughs) We're glad more people know about us now.
Did it show on your Instagramu and Facebook accounts?
The numbers of our followers went up, reaching over forty thousand on Instagram, which made us happy. A lot of them are from abroad, many people from Scandinavia or Spain listen to us on Spotify.
And how about Czech people?
Czechs people as well. Recently, we performed at a festival near Blansko, and lots of people came - I was taking photos after the concert for about an hour and a half. During that, I was running a poll for myself, asking why people came to see us. Some responded that they saw us in Eurovision, so they decided to go. We’ve definitely gained new fans thanks to Eurovision.
In Fast Confession, I asked you what your favorite drink was. I’ve read somewhere that you don't drink alcohol at all. That doesn’t seem to fit with the wild life of a musician - it’s more like from a different world.
I might be partly from a different world, that’s why I don’t drink. I’m not active on the political scene either. I think my job here is to do music, so I keep these things for myself.
So you’ve never drunk alcohol?
I’ve got a little drunk once. I mean, sometimes I take a sip of someone else’s beer, so I might have about a half of a small beer, but I don't really drink at all. In Cuba, I used to drink Cuba Libre , the cola and rum made sense over there. But it wasn't like I passed out drunk on the floor either.
You seem like a decent guy - different world, really…
I don't know if you’ve just paid me a compliment or called me boring… (laughs)
It is a compliment!
I guess I’ve come to this point thanks to my parents and their upbringing. They don't drink either.
Do you believe in God?
Yeah, but we're not a Christian family. My mother is a pragmatic dentist in Třinec and my dad sells computers. He is leaning slightly towards Buddhism, reading alternative books.
Do you have any siblings?
I have a sister, her name is Caroline, and she made me the yellow sweatshirt I wore in Eurovision. It is from bio-sustainable fair trade cotton, which also expresses my relationship to ecology. To what we wear and how we behave. I really like the brand Patagonia, not only for their image, but also for their ecological and sustainable philosophy.
I’ve read a book about them, they had a campaign once, in which they asked people not to buy new Patagonia clothes, but to bring their old ones. And they would fix it nicely with colorful patches and the like. When you’ve had a piece of clothing for over twenty years, or when you’re wearing a sweater from your mom, there's a story, a life in it, I like that.
We’ve been discussing what I would wear in Eurovision for a long time, and in the end, we finally came to the conclusion with the Czech Television guys that I should wear the yellow sweatshirt, because it describes me best.
And that’s a cue for me to ask about your girlfriend, who is in the fashion world. Does she tell you what to wear?
She does sometimes, but what can you do, she’s mostly right, she has good taste. More than anything else, she tells me that my pants don't match my shirt, and I’m too lazy to go and change. We don’t have much, we own relatively few pieces of clothing, because we like the KonMari method of cleaning.
The point is that you should only have things that make you happy at home, not things you got from someone and you’re only keeping them out of decency. You throw all the things you own on a pile, starting with clothes for instance, then you pick them up piece by piece, and ask yourself if they make you happy or not. If your answer is no, then why would you keep that item? We're trying to live according to this principle.
Tell me something no one knows about you.
Well, someone may know, but I have a cold shower every day.
But no sauna?
No sauna. First I have a warm shower, then a cold one. Another thing that nobody knows about me... I never wanted to live in Prague, but live here now.
And where did you want to live? In Třinec?
I use to tell myself that if I were to live in a large city, it would be London or New York. Or I’d live somewhere in nature. Prague, I thought, wasn’t cool. But now that I am in Vinohrady, I like it here and I am surprised at the peace and quiet.
Do you live together with your girlfriend?
You’re both focusing on your careers. Do you share that classic vision - children, family, a house?
We do, but I think we still have time. We’re living our best years now, especially Bára, who’s turning twenty in September.
She still has plenty of time, but you’re already thirty-something…
In theory, I could have children, but I think, given what I do, I will let the other members of our team get there first. (laughs)
Due to your decision, the band Charlie Straight broke up. Are you still in contact with them?
I’ve just had a beer with one of them.
You’ve parted on good terms. Do they wish you success?
Yeah, I think time heals everything. It didn't work much for us anymore. We were together for took six, seven years, and in a year I think Lake Malawi will have been active for as long as Charlie Straight.
You are a band of adults, they were kids, kind of. Do I understand it correctly?
You could say that. I was in the band Charlie Straight from eighteen to twenty-four.
In Fast Confession, you said that if you weren’t a singer, you’d probably be a tourist guide because you like languages. How many do you know?
German, Polish, Czech and English.
Which one do you find most useful?
Would you enjoy it? What did you study, anyway?
Translation and interpreting in Olomouc.
Are you planning to go on a vacation with your girlfriend?
We love surfing. It is difficult, water is often cold here in Europe, but we have wetsuits.
Are you going somewhere in the foreseeable future?
We’re planning to go to Portugal.
What about Sri Lanka?
That was great, we were on the east coast in Arugam Bay. I’d recommend it to everyone!
Aren’t you afraid of sharks?
I'm not, there are a few tips to avoid them. When you feel they might be around, don't surf at sunrise or sunset, when it's raining, or when a girl is menstruating.
Any dream destination you’d like to visit?
Probably Hawaii. Or Australia.
Where would you like to sing?
Glastonbury, Roskilde and Royal Albert Hall, a sold out Lake Malawi concert.
Are you a good cook? Can you cook something?
I can't cook much, but I’m able to prepare scrambled eggs on ghee with parmesan. And this vegetarian recipe with jasmine rice and egg whites, it's called “šmakoun”.