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On music, public opinion and loss

Fast confession - Milan Peroutka: Once I have a family, I want to be a stay-at-home mom

Karolína Lišková
27.May 2019
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11 minutes

He grew up in the family of a writer and the drummer of the legendary band Olympic. Milan Peroutka was on a path to become an artist from an early age, so it's no surprise that he followed in his father's footsteps as the vocalist of his own band Perutě. He is no stranger to acting either, so you could have seen this charming singer playing roles in many TV series. A few weeks ago he became the new face of Nova TV and has been hosting Breakfast with Nova, which is a quite a challenge for him. In this interview you'll find out what it's actually like to be able to do so many jobs at the age of barely thirty, what it's like to live in a famous father's shadow, or what's up with Milan and fans...

Why are you bandaging your foot, what happened to you?

I sprained my ankle. On top of that I found out that it's "sprained", not "strained" an ankle (laughs). Lately I often wake up at 4am to host Breakfast With Nova, and I thought it'd give me a hard time, but quite the opposite, I kinda enjoy waking up this early. On Saturday I woke up at 7am feeling rested, that's gotta be the first time that's ever happened to me. I went out for a run, and the moment I started running, I intended to elegantly avoid a child that was getting in my way, and I sprained my ankle. So now I'm kinda bandaging it, because since then I've been to Get Rainbowed and to another run, I had concerts and so on. I don't really take it easy, so I try to at least wrap it up.

Haven't you been to a doctor?

I haven't, but it's true that when they were wrapping it up for me in an ambulance before the race, they told me: "Mr. Peroutka, you do know it can totally be broken, right?" I had a hell of a bump on it.

You recently began hosting Breakfast with Nova. How did you get there?

I got the offer about a year ago, when I went there as a guest. I'm usually so afraid that I won't have any answers, that I'll put my foot in my mouth... When I was a guest on Óčko for the first time, I was invited to audition for the role of a host, and now the same thing happened to me with Nova. But it took a rather long time, it was about a year. I was a part of a potential pair and they pointed to us and said that they need to have mid-April covered, so we started in mid-April.

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha - 320m
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha - 320m, Praha 5

It's a new experience for me and I'm grateful for it, for being able to try stuff out in this field and in some kinda color spectrum of experience. We'll see how it turns out over time, we should eventually get a new studio and a new concept. I'd personally like to have more music in Breakfast, because musicians don't really have anywhere to play these days, aside from Jan Kraus' Show, Good Morning and then Breakfast or Óčko. I remember that when I was in kindergarten and Good Morning was on, I'd always be pulling my tights on while watching music videos on TV. I think the music is really lacking, and I'd rather de-emphasize the news that we get barraged with from every angle.

I seriously wonder what they're going to think about that.

I already told them, and they want to change it that way, more or less, but it's gonna take a long time. We'll see if, when they change it, Peroutka will still be waking up in the morning for that show (laughs).

Nova TV deals with other things aside from news, though, like cooking, for example.

We cook, which we don't mind, because we like eating. During the short time that we spent working there we have observed that if we don't eat the food on camera, the staff will take it. One of many audience complaints was that it is inappropriate for us to eat on camera.

I don't mind cooking, but it's true that you do other stuff in the morning, not cook dinner or something. The important thing is actually that Breakfast is about three hours long, but the average viewer only watches about twenty minutes of it. I keep saying that in a few months I'll be hosting the Home & Garden Show on Prima TV, because I already know about the behavior of chameleons, how to cook various things, how acupuncture is done... I learn something new every day.

Everyone probably noticed your new hair. Was that the channel's idea?

It wasn't the channel's idea, but they hired me with the hair. It was an offer from the French brand Kérastase, an ad campaign. I told myself that I'd like to try having different hair, because I'd never dyed it before. But I'm a rather conservative guy, so I gave myself two months to think about it. Then I decided to try it. To my surprise I wasn't bothered by it, personally, I felt fine.

When it comes to Breakfast, it's difficult. The viewers generally aren't too fond of change and they judge you from head to toe, and they totally did that with me. Of course the hair sticks out like a sore thumb, they're not used to it. But I almost feel like I'd killed somebody.

Do they really comment that it doesn't look nice, to go back to your natural color?

I'm not an advocate for bleached hair, but excuse me for wanting to try this for once in my life.

Well, you are 28...

I just turned 29. But even if I was 50 or 60. Many times I tell myself that I should have just left it brown, rather than keep discussing it with people. It bothers me that it's easier for people to criticize than to praise. I don't remember my brown hair ever sparking a discussion where people would compliment me before. Who knows, maybe once the blonde grows out, people will look back at it feeling nostalgic.

If the channel hired you like this, I wouldn't be bothered.

Of course, I checked diligently with all of my ongoing projects, including Ordinace v růžové zahradě (Rose Garden Medical Office) and theatrical performances, where Miriam Landa needed do discuss it the most for The Pied Piper. In Breakfast they already knew about my hair, I actually took the promotional pictures with it. The stylists actually told me that it would be good to keep it for a while, if I'm introducing myself this way.

What are all the things that you do and where can we see you?

I really have to learn to function better throughout the rest of the day when I have Breakfast, because it kinda leaves you a little bit hungover. My head's a bit foggy, and if I don't have to do anything, I'd just sit at home and stare at nothing till evening comes and I can go to bed. I hope this will pass eventually, so that I can combine it with other things better.

What I do... I perform in plays, I'll be releasing an LP with my band, which is a big thing for me. But for how big a thing it is, I feel like I'm barely enjoying it, because it's always overshadowed by other activities. But I'm glad we finally managed to finish it, record it, get done mixing it and finish taking photos for it. The LP will be named Live and Dance, there's a new summer single too. It will be this sort of digest of everything we did in the last two years that we've been playing. It's this embodiment of our music that we perform on stage, but it's never been released in a way that'd let people buy or download it. I'm looking forward to it being searchable in a way that isn't just YouTube videos from live performances. And I hope that the studio versions will sound a bit better. There will be special effects to the CD, special glasses and special photos that can only be seen through those glasses.

The band is probably the most important among your projects, since you're a vocalist. At least that's how I view you, since I got to know you as a musician after your dad died.

I always look at these articles, I'm gonna look at yours too, what you write there about me, because it changes with what's in the spotlight. It was funny when I started out in Ordinace, people told me at concerts, "Mr. Peroutka, we didn't know you're an actor too!". Now they tell me, "we didn't know you could sing too!". So in a while they're gonna be telling me that they didn't know I did something other than hosting. Everything is so fleeting! I only have the best memories of The Masked Singer. These days, when somebody praises my performances from back then, I can barely believe they actually remember them. But I really like talking about it. It was an important experience for me, and a multi-class of everything that a person can encounter in the entertainment industry.

Luxusní penthouse na Praze 1 - 226m
Luxusní penthouse na Praze 1 - 226m, Praha 1

I got to know you as a singer, so to me you're a musician. How did you even come across acting and hosting? How do you combine it?

It might not be that much of a strategic thing, even when it comes to the public. I was recently talking to somebody about it at our label. Doing more stuff is good for me, but on the other hand, one label rejected me, telling me that to them I'm this "jack of all trades, master of none", so to speak. Which was the first ever bump for me. It made me realize that it isn't all positive, because I personally viewed it as gathering experience. I like gathering it and I dedicate 100 percent of my time to it. But I still view it as something I do for myself.

Sometimes I wonder if I even do the things properly, or just automatically and half-way, which I wouldn't like. Firstly, our work is weird, secondly, it's about putting your soul into it. And you have to recuperate somewhere, because you keep giving yourself out to fans, for example. Some people pretend that fans annoy them, but I really do it for them and I feel good when I see that I'm making them happy. But there's the space in between having your own peace and being there for them.

I decided that my way of living revolves around that, and in the same breath I add that it doesn't always have to stay that way. Maybe one day I'll decide: "Thank you for letting me experience this, now I want to throw myself into something else". Before The Masked Singer I was on a different journey, I was studying abroad and told myself that the one thing no one can take away from me is knowledge. I was doubting my own ability, whether I have anything to offer, even though it had been tempting me since childhood. I'd been a theater kid since like third grade.

Your dad may have played a role in that too.

Indeed, maybe it's written in my genes in some way. My mom writes books, that's related to lyrics. You're right, you probably can't escape how you feel inside.

Your dad was the drummer of the legendary band Olympic. Did this open doors to opportunities for you, or did it drag you down because of your famous name?

That's a frequently asked question. I only thought about it after many journalists asked me whether it'd influenced me in childhood. But I think it's not like that, naturally you're born in some kind of environment and you take it as it is. Only once you've grown up, and it's that way for you and for the readers too, you start analyzing the individual situations. It's not good to underestimate children, because they remember everything, and they'll think back to it when they've grown up.

For me dad was always a musician that was never home much, he was at concerts where we went to once a year with the family to see him and to make him happy. I only somehow flipped it over in my teens, and then the year before dad died, I went with him on Olympic's 50th anniversary tour. That's where we enjoyed each other's company the most, I'm glad I got to have that time. That's when I moved in with him, actually, so we really enjoyed that last year. That's how we made up for my childhood.

As a child you really couldn't realize that you were involved with the entertainment industry, the most famous band in the country...

I'd say, and many people in the business who have been in it for longer tell me this, that my dad was very humble when it comes to this; almost shy at first, and utterly selfless, that he loved entertaining people. But at home he just wanted to chill out, I got that from him. We weren't anything fancy, we didn't have that much money at home, my parents were divorced. I never felt that we were pretending to be anything much. I just viewed everything as normal, my dad never really put himself above others or anything.

As you said, the most attention surrounded my dad the moment he died. Until then it was a rather normal life. Then it was a little weird, when somebody was taking pictures of some stuff in front of our house, but aside from that it was totally normal. The worst kind of hate for me is when people start dragging my dad into it, I find that somehow more venomous. But I'm going off topic with that.

In the Fast Confession you said that getting into show business was the bravest thing you'd ever done. Why did you get into it when you know what it's like?

I remember the first time I was supposed to sing into a microphone, my hand started shaking, I was terribly afraid. There is no natural exhibitionism in me, but from an early age I've been attracted to the backstage secrets of theaters and movies. I feel like it's a magical world, that the people are creating something, and at the same time that was really pulling me in. I did singing when I was a child, and then I cried to mom at home that I wanted to stop, that I was afraid... and that once I grew up, because adults aren't afraid, that I promise I'd start singing again.

I had it in my head that I have to overcome those fears, and then go for it. I really did grit my teeth and then I pursued it. But make no mistake, even The Masked Singer was a huge challenge for me and I was really scared that I wasn't going to make it. I still remember the first round, I rode up in that elevator and I wanted to say, "I'm sorry, I need more time, I don't want to sing yet" (laugh). It's interesting, I think there's this principle that makes me enjoy overcoming my limits and challenges. And all this is just pure adrenaline.

You really have a lot on your plate. How do you manage to combine it with private life?

You can always find time if you want to. But that approach is a bit selfish, because it always has to revolve around me a little. I don't think that I'm the right person for a relationship right now. When I have a little time, I try to make it nice. And regarding this phase, I don't think I have to push it too much. It will sort itself out, regardless of what happens with my career.

I'm a fatalist, but sometimes I give fate little tips as to which direction it could take me, but the last word is still with it. And sometimes that makes it more complicated for us, so that we can learn something and try doing different things and doing them differently, because we wouldn't actively want to do it ourselves. I'm looking forward to being able to be a "stay-at home mom" one day, that I'll be home. I'm really drawn to learning to cook, for example, to growing stuff in the garden.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I'd like to say that I'm still not done with school (laughs). I was supposed to finish it this June.

What school?

I study engineering, I'm on the verge of graduation.

What for?

I want to. Since I've already spent so many years doing it... This June I should be submitting my thesis, but I don't think I'll make it.

It's not June yet, you can do it...

Okay, then I'll make it. (laughs)

You'll be an engineer, does that mean you'll be making a living doing something other than hosting, singing and acting?

I don't view it that way. I view it as this kind of satisfaction, and as affirmation of all those exam periods and years spent as a student, you have to sacrifice a lot of time to it. It'd be a pity not to see it through and not to walk away with that degree.

After that you'll get a wife, and a house, and stay at home?

I'm reading a book now that outright forbids these "postcard perfect" images. You know how it is - man proposes, life disposes. But I kind of imagine that I still want to learn and try many things in life, right now I'm enthusiastic and excited for having these opportunities. Once there are others... I worked in Spain in a sea museum, for example, or at a bar in Germany while I was at school. I enjoy these challenges, and as I said, one day I'd like to be good at cooking. This lies in front of me still, I have a new kitchen, but the cooking... For now I make great thai soup, you can charm people even with that.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Fast confession:

The bravest thing you've ever done.

Getting into show business.

The most difficult performance of your life.

When I starred in a musical on crutches, I couldn't walk. I only made the first half, but the standing ovation was unbelievable, so maybe that's a recipe.

The biggest challenge in your life.

I feel like the last one is my dyed hair, working with a new TV station, and judgment from viewers on the internet, that's a huge challenge.

The most touching love confession you've ever heard.

I like it when child fans declare their love for me, when they bring something they baked, or a picture. It's just so pure. I like being liked by kids.

How many pairs of socks do you own.

Can't be counted. Just the other day I actually gave fifteen pairs to a particular wardrobe department.

The most emotional moment of your life.

When my dad died. Or one of my breakups.

Your first love's name.

Marcelka... We won a prize at kindergarten camp at a disco party for dancing to Ivetka Bartošová.

The most expensive thing you ever bought.

I don't like expensive things, but one lies ahead of me, it's related to the reconstruction of our garden, and it's a bioclimatic arbor.

Your dream role.

Some kinda mentally deranged dude, something like Jack Nicholson or Bates Motel...

Who do you consider to be the sexiest girl in the Czech Republic?

Tereza Kerndlová and Monika Bagárová came up on my mind, but the viewers don't have to despair, I just think those girls smile a lot and can do their make-up well.

The best life advice your dad ever gave you.

I think it's something like - don't get your panties in a twist...

Name three of your best traits.

Nice, humble and stupid.

How'd you react to cheating?

Badly, I hate that.

Where would you take a girl for the first date?

For a long walk, to test that she can walk too and doesn't just want to get coffees.
Question by the interviewee to the editor:

How are you and aren't you coming to the show tonight?

Pretty hectic, which is why I'm not coming, because I don't have the time.
And do you like this job that you do?
That I enjoy a lot, yes.
And you're lucky these are quickfire questions, because then I'd start asking you too, so thank you.
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