Radek Banga aka Gipsy.cz is a well-known name in the Czech show business. The singer has been active on the Czech hip hop scene for twenty-five years. Radek is very active not only in the field of music; has also made a name for himself as an excellent dancer in StarDance or as a rebel at the Czech Nightingale Awards in 2016, when the band Ortel was awarded. That was when Banga got up from his seat and left the hall. Since then, racist insults have been haunting him like a nightmare. But the singer didn't let it discourage him from further work and live performances. In an interview for LP-life.cz, the musician talked not only about work, but also about his family plans.
I yell all the time, you see, we were shooting the video Life goes on. It is widely known that I am a very evil director. Thanks to that, though, we always manage to get the best out of the shooting. If there isn't a person who knows how to yell, it usually doesn't turn out great, especially with ten children involved, it's chaos. I've really been shouting myself hoarse there, it will take a few days for my vocal cords to kick on again.
I won't reveal everything, but the video has more than one meaning. The song is about how, when you're little, you want to grow up, and when you do grow up, you find out that it's not what you imagined it would be. Then you are 37 and suddenly you start to reminiscence about how beautiful and carefree things used to be when you were little. And now it's nothing but worriment. It's about how little people look into the future and big people into the past.
We have a lot of children in the video, it has several meanings. I always try to do something the simple way, but in always ends up being really complicated, I don't know why. The principle of the video is that two camps compete with each other. One camp is represented by children, the other by adults. Together, they play a game whose only goal is to obtain the enemy's banner. It refers to the games like gendarmes and thieves that nobody ever plays anymore. We wanted to use the video to introduce the game to today's generation that has probably never come across it.
A lot of interesting things happened during the shooting, by the way. We found out that most of the children had no idea what it was about. But they started to have great fun, and then it wasn't just a script for them anymore, they approached it as an actual game. That's why it looks so authentic.
How long did it take you to come up with this? You're 37, that's not old enough to reminiscence about your childhood, is it? When did you get the idea and why?
It is not entirely about me, it is rather based on how people my age look back on their childhood that was completely different. I'm from a generation that didn't know the internet yet. We did have video games, but they weren't very elaborate, we used to go out. These are my generation's recollections, that's why it came to my mind. On the other hand, I have to say that my life was so rich that, in many ways, I've experienced more than the average sixty-year-old.
Czech Republic is a small pond where everyone knows everyone. I always share everything they go through, I know what it's like to be standing there. I feel the anxiety even at home, sitting on my couch, when the lights of death, as we call it, come on. I'm holding my breath, I feel it all even though it's only on TV. In the live show, you naturally don't want anyone to fail, even though somebody has to go.
Sometimes I dance a little when attending charity evenings, I always enjoy myself a lot with wheelchair users, for example. Sometimes I do a little dance, but it's quite rare. I have to admit I didn't really find myself in dancing. I'm a musician and a singer firstly and foremostly.
Actually, I do most of the dancing at home with my wife, we try, but I don't remember much anymore. Usually it doesn't go very well. (laughs)
I have a new answer to that. We used to say "why should we get on each other's nerves". Today I say that's what makes up the relationship. Continuous interaction - you laugh together, get angry together, eat and wake up together. That's what many people don't understand. If you say you're together with someone, but you see them once a week, you're not really together.
We are already at the age when we sometimes even think children are cute, while five years ago we would have kicked them out of the door and left them in front of the house. (laughs) We have definitely made progress by now, we would like to have children, but we are not rushing into it. We even have moments, whole months when we really think we could have a baby. But then we always meet some bizarre contemporary parents who have these would-be up-to-date models of education. Spending fifteen minutes around them is sure to discourage me for another half a year.
Well, I'm also discouraged by some of today's parents, because these kids are growing into terrible assholes, that really annoys me.
You are active in addressing political issues. Isn't it also that you don't want to bring a child into the world of today?
That's another thing. Of course I observe it all, in terms of science, ecology, overpopulation. There are so many factors that I frequently wonder if it is wise to have a baby. But who knows, people might have been wondering the same during the Second World, yet children were born. To tell you the truth, I'd love to have a child, but you're right in that I'm sometimes afraid of it for this very reason. I think we all feel it's not okay, the situation is getting pretty serious.
People frequently bully you for your ancestry, they're vulgar. I've read that in one case, they walked out of the court room without punishment. Is it still a problem?
No. I have to say that I have toughened up in this respect and I don't care about it anymore. When someone writes me and I see that it's a fake profile and that the message is stupid, I block them and give it zero weight. And you know what? Things have taken an interesting turn in some of the cases. A lot of the haters who used to berate me began to follow me, and now we're exchanging messages. In the end, they realized that things weren't really what they'd thought they were. I might have convinced a lot of them that they'd been wrong, which I'm happy about.
Another thing is that I stopped caring about it because not only did penalties usually not fall, but when they did fall, they were ridiculous, bizarre penalties in the first two years when we were dealing with the cases. When you compare it to different cases, different crimes, where people would get three years of jail time, like the Roma who was writing in the Žatec case... He wrote something that was just a mockery of the things that were written to me, but the guy in my case only got a fine of two hundred crowns. So I realized that when it comes to trials, things are strange indeed.
When we succeeded in the Supreme Court, making them reassess our case and recognize me as a victim, I considered it the greatest victory we could have achieved. We opened the door for other similar cases. And at that point, I told myself I didn't need this anymore, because I know that dealing with the individual cases of these people… There's hardly any point to it. It's only a waste of time.
I was afraid at the beginning. I even had several confrontations with people, but that's something that had always been there. Once in a while, there is always a fool who comes to my gig, gets drunk, starts yelling… In most cases, we solved it by calling the police. Then you find out that these particular individuals are cowards, who would never dare to tell you the things they write to you in Facebook face to face. When a person like that pops up, I immediately withdraw, hand it over to the police, and I don't care about it anymore. Recently, my gigs have been quiet. Every now and then, somebody yells something, but I've learned to ignore it.
I still consider the case of our current Prime Minister, Mr Babiš, to be extremely serious, and I will definitely be there. Although I don't like to attend demonstrations, where I'm surrounded by all those people, I feel a civic duty. It's way outside the line.
I admit that I suffer from extreme love for our house, I adore it. Maybe it's because I've never had a real home in my life. And this was the first house I actually began to consider my home. That's why I always try to spend spend time with my family there. Of course we make the rounds visiting our families, brother, sister, cousins, and so on, we always get together. But on Christmas Eve I want to have a tree in the living room and spend time with my loved ones.
I am the type who always tells themselves "I will not underestimate it this year, I won't leave shopping for the last moment". I always get last minute gifts, but I promise myself I'll do it differently each year.
Honestly, when you've been together this long, it's hard to find something that would surprise her. Lately, we've been doing this thing where we basically tell each other what we'd like or need. It's great, I'd recommend it to everyone, because that way you can avoid those faux pas, when one gets something that doesn't fit or suit them.
When you've been together for so long, it's probably the only possible way. If I need those things, they'll make me happy anyway. And usually I am most pleased when it's something music related. Stuff that I need for to create music.
To set things straight. Back at home, things were, because of the conditions under which we lived, pretty grim. When I was a child, we cebrated Christmas about twice, and from the age of eight until my mother's death, we never saw any gifts. At the end, mom was trying a little bit to give us something small. We didn't have much money, so I get it, but our family simply didn't celebrate. Dad saw it as an opportunity to get drunk, so.. no celebrations.
We got used to it and I only started celebrating Christmas at 27, with my Verunka. Yeah, with my ex-girlfriend, we used to celebrated it a little too, but we never took it too seriously.
Next year we will be releasing a new record after a long time. Thirty hit me really hard and it's been dragging me down until now, so I'm really looking forward to releasing it and being active on the music scene again. I can't wait.