Stroy is an alternative rock band from the Czech Republic, which was established at the beginning of 2011 and consists of members Miloš Meier, Marek Bero and Michal Skořepa. Following several changes in the band’s membership, it stabilized in this formation again in 2016. The band’s style can be called a combination of 90’s grunge-stoner-art-rock with ethereal vocals. Stroy is well known for its energetic live performances. The band has recorded two albums. The album “Adam Reborn” (2014) was released together with a video for the single of the same name, which was identified as a candidate for the video of the year. Album itself was received positively by critics. Its successor was the four-song EP “Like It Or Not” (2016), which was recorded with star producer Alain Johannes (Queens Of The Stone Age, Chris Cornell, Eleven, EaglesOf Death Metal, Mark Lanegan) at his home studio 11AD in Los Angeles. In 2015 Stroy reached third place in the international GBOB competition in Norway. In 2017 Stroy will perform as the support band during Phill Rudd’s (ex-drummer for AC/DC) Czechoslovak Tour. All Stroy videos album cover artworks and merch are their self-made.
The Birth of Stroy
Miloš Meier and Michal Skořepa met in the band called The Fuse, They started to jam away from the band in Miloš’s rehearsal room and their extraordinary musical chemistry and natural responses to musical impulses laid the foundations for the creative elements of a new project. They occasionally began appearing as an instrumental guitar/drums duo within the terms of Miloš’s drum workshops and they also performed in this manner at a drum festival in Holland. The Fuse band soon broke up and Miloš and Michal continued their project. They began to create songs and Miloš Meier asked his old friend Marek Bero to join as a bass guitar player. This new member reinforced the band’s expression and energy from their very first rehearsal together. Their absolute symbiosis soon resulted in a recording of their first song.
Forcing The Earth is about the effect humans have on the planet and how they ignore the signs the planet itself gives. The topic of humans today ignoring the call of their own roots from the comfort of their collective unconsciousness has become one of the main themes of the band’s texts. In spite of the band’s excellent beginnings, Marek Bero decided to move to London with his family, to try his luck there, immediately after the song was recorded. This departure from his comfort zone gave him a lot of experience in several excellent projects. But his old band could not be sustained in this situation at this distance.
Miloš and Michal consequently decided to take matters into their own hands. It took them a long time to decide on the right name for the band. There were a lot of options to choose from. In the end Michal typed the “Story” wrong one day – resulting in Stroy. In English this word gave the impression of the opposite to the word “destroy”, the tendency to “create” instead of “destroy”, “creative anger”. The Czech meaning of this word referred to the situation concerning man today: “stroj” (machine).
By releasing the video for the song Forcing The Earth, Stroy introduced itself so successfully that it began receiving responses from this country and from abroad. Miloš and Michal stood before the task of finding a new bassplayer. Following Jakub Roiník’s brief involvement, they finally decided to take Jakub Antl on as a band member. Jakub had played with Michal since the time they were both at the Conservatory, where they played in a modern jazz trio together - Jakub playing the double-bass and Michal playing the piano. They also played alternative rock with the same trio. After Jakub sold out the Prague O2 arena with this band,called Nightwork with the understanding that this partnership was coming to an end, he decided to become a member of Stroy. In 2013 the band presented another independent video for the song “Down The Mountain”. A conceptually simple video was created by Michal for a few bucks and, as Jakub remembers, this included three pizzas. The video advanced the band again and motivated it to record its first full-lenght album.
Stroy’s debut took two years to prepare. Miloš, Michal and Jakub really took their time so that they were able to give their best and the album is very varied as a result. Stroy created most of the songs in the rehearsal room, with the understanding that Michal and Jakub completed the rest of the work in the home studio. The body of the songs frequently originated on the first try – the first time the band played a riff during a jam was frequently its final form and this is how Stroy creates its works untill today.
The synchronisation between the band members was very strong, however, the album also contained songs, which required a more intimate approach. Michal brought songs such as “Emotional Vampire”, “Layne’s Faces Cold” (about the last days of the frontman of Alice in Chains, Layne Staley), “My Window”, or the dark “My Ex Girlfriends Are Kissing Each Other” to the band from his home and he was surprised to find that Jakub wanted to keep the bass guitar as he recorded it in the interests of authenticity and that Miloš was ok with re-recording the drums made by Michal in the demo version, right down to the last beat. This is also how the song “Listen To The S.O.A.D.” was created, which Michal composed and recorded in its final form on the same night he returned from the System Of A Down show in Prague. Bass played by Marek Bero appears in the song “Kiss Another Bottom”. He recorded this in London and he is also co-composer of the song The Mudd on this album. Practically none of the songs had a previous demo-version (apart from recordings on a dictaphone from the rehearsal room) – all of them originated in the studio as they were created and Jaro Lukáč of NEGATIVETUNES drew a fantastic sound from them in both mix and master.
The album was given the title Adam Reborn according to the title single. The meaning of “Adam Reborn” is the concept that an Adam is born in every generation, who has the option of choosing whether to bite into the apple of knowledge or not. By deciding not to bite it he can break the unending circle of wars and human suffering.
A video of the same name was created for this song. Independent financial support permitted an epic video clip to be created, and the band had a field day doing so.
The video clip received a great response and it was referred to as a hot candidate for video of the year on the Musicserver.cz and iReport websites.
The album cover was combination of Michal’s pencil drawing and graphic. Michal was very happy that he was able to combine music with his own art and he began making not only album covers, but also t-shirt designs and other merch.
Like It Or Not
Insert. Michal was 19 when he discovered the solo album by Chris Cornell “Euphoria Mourning”. He found that it was created entirely at the 11AD studio owned by Alain Johannes and his wife Natasha Shneider. Both were producers of Cornell’s first work after Soundgarden broke up and they contributed their co-authorship, instrumental performance to give the album a unique sound. This album became an idol for Michal. It was the first time he felt that all the musical influences and vibes that characterized his musical perception were combined in one recording.
After a time he also discovered Alain and Natasha’s band called Eleven – Alain as a multi-instrumentalist, but mainly a guitar player with an absolutely unique sound, and Natasha on keyboards with a musical range from jazz to baroque polyphony. Both were excellent singers. Heavenly decadence and one of the least appreciated bands in the history of music. They both also played with the Queens Of The Stone Age for a time, with whom they recorded the album “Lullabies To Paralize” as official members. At the time he discovered Eleven, Michal also found that Natasha had died of cancer a few months previously. Alain recorded the acoustic album “Spark” in her honour. Inspired by this finding Michal began composing demo-versions of songs, which he named “Alain1, Alain2” with the hope that he would meet with Alain one day and their lives in music would intersect. This was basically his biggest dream from that time on.
After releasing Adam Reborn in autumn 2014 the band entered the international GBOB competition in spring 2015. After winning the national round the band travelled to Norway, where it reached third place. However, the owner of the competition, Tore Lande, noticed the band and offered them a partnership. He also mentioned that last year’s winner “Firekind” was given the opportunity to record an album with producer Alain Johannes because of their win. When Michal heard this he knew his life had changed. Tore contacted Alain and sent him Stroy’s video clips. Alain agreed to record at his home at 11AD. Euphoric due to the fact that the dream had become reality, that Alain had heard Stroy’s music, Michal composed and recorded the song “Hello Alain” in a single day, in which he reveals his ecstasy because his dream has become reality. He sent this to Alain. Not long afterwards, they had their first conversations over Skype, which were mainly about jazz and art.
At the end of June 2015 the band passed through the door of Alain’s home studio 11AD in Beverly Hills – Los Angeles for the first time. After a hearty greeting, all three entered the living room. At that moment Michal felt another embrace. As if Natasha was also present. The flat was filled with unbelievable energy, full of heaps of pictures, Christmas lights, and, most importantly, all sorts of musical instruments, which could be picked up and immediately used to create. It was the freest and most inspiring place Michal had seen. As soon as they found their bearings, Nick Olivieri of Queens Of The Stone Age tore into the house. It was like a dream.
A lot happened over a period of seven days. The band intentionally came to the studio unprepared. Everything, including the texts to the songs, was to be created on site, so that it contained the studio’s real magic. This is also why the band recorded live in the middle of the living room. Drums, bass, guitar – everything live, without a click.
Additional vocals and guitars were recorded subsequently. Miloš played drums belonging to the son of John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. He was not used to these drum dimensions and this also influenced his performance on the album very positively, because he was forced to approach the instrument slightly differently. The technician was a man from Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Pearl Jam. To his surprise he even offered him a wooden pedal for the bass drum, which he recorded the entire album with. Michal played Alain’s guitars exclusively, including the one he received as a gift from Troy Van Leeuwen from QOTSA. The guitars were run through five amps at once, three in the adjoining room and the other two in Alain’s bedroom. Alain’s work as a producer consisted nearly exclusively of managing the energy. He kept his hands off creation of the music itself, but he was wonderfully quick to find suitable guitar sounds for individual sections in the music – for example the initial “desert echo” in the song Like It Or Not, which Michal plays on the guitar using a paintbrush.
There was frequently no need to speak. Thanks to the spontaneous synchronism between Miloš, Michal and Jakub, the basis of three songs from the album was recorded over the first four days. Some sections of the music were played for the first time in their final form. Pure magic.
It was 2nd July. The seventh anniversary of Natasha’s death. Jakub and Miloš disappeared into the town for the evening. Michal sat on the veranda with Alain and his cigar box (a cigar box with strings, like a mandolin), which Alain used to record the entire album called “Spark” after Natasha’s death. They poured some red wine and Alain put the dictaphone on. Not long after, the basis for the song Natasha saw the light. The next day, struck by inspiration, Michal wrote the text to this song on the couch in the living room. The song is about Natasha who is looking at her photograph over the hearth and says to Alain that she is right next to him if he needs anything.
When Michal sang the song, he felt Natasha was so close to him that the air trembled. He recorded the song live with the cigar box. They then recorded additional cigar boxes and an Indian harmonium. This was one of the most powerful and radiant moments in his life. The circle was closed. The album was called “Like It Or Not”. Due to its uncompromising and specific sound, it truly is not for everyone. Thank God!
The album was ceremonially released in autumn that year at Lucerna Music Bar in Prague. The video for the title song “Like It Or Not” was recorded soon after.
The entire video is based on a drawing, which took three long months to create. It contains a mass of scenes, which reveal the entire lyrics for the song.
At the turn of the year Jakub Antl left the band by mutual agreement. It was clear his path lay in a different direction, not only due to his activities in other projects.
They remain friends with Miloš and Michal.
2016. The first rehearsal with founding member Marek Bero, who flew in from London, clearly demonstrated the power and urgency of the original energy of Stroy. There was no doubt that things were back in their place. Not long afterward the video for the song “Undead“ was created, in which the band transformed into a boy-band and then into zombies. They really enjoyed making this one. Things were starting to move. In the summer of 2016 Michal spent ten days with Marek in several rehearsal rooms in London in order to start creating new material. A three-part video titled “London Rehearsals” was created on the basis of this period within the terms of the “StroyTV” platform. The band continued creating new material for the rest of the year. In autumn it performed very successfully as a support band for Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge at the Prague Meetfactory.
It is 2017 and the band is planning a new album. They will be going on tour with AC/DC drummer Phill Rudd at the end of summer and they are also planning their first concerts abroad.
There is a lot going on.
Danny Rico Daniel is an Austrian musician based in London. He has worked as a professional since he was 18 years old, although his career started at the age of 9 with a children’s band called “Flying Foot Company”. Daniel has toured, composed, recorded and performed drums and piano internationally with artists including: Derek Trotson, Andreya Triana, Ray Warleigh, Oroh Angiama, Madalena Alberto, This Ain't Me, The Paperboats, Army of One, GMR, Sodi Cookey, Tunnagan, Parametrix, John Somervile, Lori Watson Trio, Con-Fúsion, Betty Lenard, the Black White Gray and Maze of Mind. He has also composed the music for two dance productions by Katarse Ensemble, “Fuel” and “Plastisphere”. Daniel has an MA in Jazz Piano from the Klagenfurt Conservatory of Music in Austria.
More information at: dannyrico.com
Prince, QOTSA, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Alice in Chains, Kyuss, Esbjörn Svensson
Was born 25.6.1987 in an artistic family of opera singers. His grandfather was a violin player in the philharmonic orchestra and his father sang and is also a painter. When he was a child he learnt to play the piano and subsequently graduated from the Conservatory on this instrument. As well as playing the piano, he also studied composition under the direction of Czech jazz legend Karel Růžička. Throughout his time studying at the Conservatory he neglected the piano in favour of playing on the guitar and singing in rock bands. He was a self-learner in both areas. After graduating from the conservatory he was a graphic artist for three months, before he auditioned for the Prague version of the Jesus Christ Superstar musical at the Karlín musical theatre and he then debuted in both main roles – Jesus and Judas – when he was twenty three. After JCHS he also played the role of Enjolras in the musical Les Miserables at the Prague GOJA theatre.
in 2010 René Rypar and Miloš Meier invited him to be part of the band The Fuse. He then formed the band Stroy with Miloš Meier after they broke away from The Fuse. They performed several shows in the Czech Republic and abroad as a duo. After several changes to the membership of the band, Stroy stabilised as a trio: Michal Skořepa, Miloš Meier, Marek Bero. The band recorded two albums with various members. Adam Reborn (2014) and the EP Like It Or Not (2016). The second named album was created at Alain Johannes’s (Queens Of The Stone Age, Chris Cornell, Arctic Monkeys, Eleven) home studio 11AD in Los Angeles.
Michal has been shooting music videos (subject, director, editing, camera) since he was 19. He has created around fifty to date. All the video clips for the Stroy band come from his workshop, which is also the source of all the art work surrounding the band – t-shirts, album covers and website design. Michal has also appeared in several full-length films and in episode roles as an actor.
He has been working on his own full-length music film, in which he wants to combine his music with his experience in the field of filming, for seven years now.
He performed with Pražský Výběr at the O2 Arena in autumn 2016.
Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Eleven, Qeens Of The Stone Age, Steven Wilson, The Swans, Wovenhand, Tool, Muse, Ghost, Jeff Buckley, Keith Jarrett, Paul Hindemith, Miloš Meier, Marek Bero
Low heaven is his realm and he is ruling there with thunderous fist. Despite his intensive studies of political science and international affairs he is still optimistic about humankind. He believes that Jack Daniels, business class flights and snowboard makes you feel good. Music is his psychotherapy with variable results. Usually it works. If not he gets angry, use distortion pedal as a weapon and start to play heavy riffs in odd times. And now the boring stuff…
Yamaha, Mesa/Boogie and Markbass artist. His bass method books are sold worldwide via stores and online retailers (Amazon). Bass Gym (2013) and Bass Guitar In Rock and Metal (2013) are one the best selling bass method books in Czech Republic. You could have seen him on festivals like Sonisphere, Ozzfest or Simple Things, in venues and clubs in Europe and UK or at one of his clinics/workshops.
Muse, Royal Blood, Tool, Infectious Grooves, Pantera, J.S.Bach, Alice in Chains, Living Colour, Led Zeppelin, RHCP, King Crimson, Rush, Peter Gabriel, Skrillex, Jojo Mayer-Nerve, RATM, The Beatles, Deadmau5, Pantera, Steven Wilson
In general he admires good songwriting and the art of being an ARTIST in the purest sense of the word and meaning.
For more info visit: http://marekbero.co.uk