Text: Nikolas Bernáth, photo: Tibor Czitó
Dávid Varchola, also known as Paradiso Rhythm, is a Košice-based music producer and a DJ. He produces and collects music, frequently performs abroad and has had his work published in European and other foreign countries. But that’s not all. His House of Unity publishes artists from other countries, whom he also invites to give performances in Košice. His activities thus create an interesting network of cooperation between Košice and the world. Learn more about how he’s managed to do it all in the following interview.
You live and work in Košice but in recent years, you’ve regularly been performing abroad, mainly in Western Europe. How did you manage that?
My music speaks for itself. So does the Paradiso image, the mystery hidden behind palm trees ☺ Producing my own music is a great bonus for me as a DJ, too.
As a creative person, have you ever felt the handicap of not living in one of the European cultural capitals?
Not really. I have my own way of doing things which, I believe, is natural. As you keep growing, so does your career. You can’t expect to become an overnight success. And that’s the way it should be because looking back, you can see the progress you’ve made and be more grateful for all that you’ve achieved.
There aren’t that many people in Košice whose music is similar to mine, but on the other hand, we know each other very well. They include artists behinds such projects as Dead Janitor, Michael Kelso, Denes Toth and Rob Webber.
I’ve had opportunities to leave but I’m not sure I’d have been more or at least equally successful, had I left Košice. People in Slovakia tend to think that going West automatically means that everything is going to get better. True, you might earn more there, but selling your music? I’m not sure.
The music you play started back in the 1980s in Detroit and Chicago. How did it reach a boy from Košice?
It’s largely due to the fact that my dad used to listen to this music. He brought home tapes — rave, breakbeat and hardcore. That’s how I first heard it. Then came the 1990s TV channels. Whoever had a satellite dish and didn’t mind having to re-align it all the time, could watch MTV, MTV1 or VIVA. I didn’t really listen to the radio much but later, the legendary ‘Blšák’ market became the place to buy tapes. And then, finally, came the Internet.
And today, the Internet probably plays a crucial rile in the music industry…
Definitely. It’s also how music reaches the audience. The Internet connects people. It all started with Myspace and today, you have so many options where to put your music to get the best feedback.
That’s also how I present my… not story but whatever it is that makes me who I am. When you see me and my covers, you know they’re unique. The production is closely tied to the visuals, which is how both promoters and fans know they’re on to something interesting. It simply needs to be catchy.
How does travelling abroad make you feel?
It’s great. Seeing a new city and people who come to listen to your music is wonderful. I think that’s a major difference, people coming for the music in the first place, to dance and have fun. In Slovakia, that’s not always the case. People often just want to “go out”.
In addition to performing abroad yourself, you’ve also been inviting foreign musicians to Košice. How do they like it?
I think they enjoy the community, the city and even though our music scene is a small one, they always say that Paradiso will make it grow ☺. The overall impression is always positive and this cooperation has helped me create many long-term friendships.
Is this the way to create a network for Košice as well?
Sure. In recent years, I’ve published digital tracks in England, Australia and Mexico, remixes in the Czech Republic, America and Germany and my tracks for vinyl compilations have been published by the British, French and Austrians. The people I’ve invited to play here, on the other hand, have come from countries ranging from Iceland to France.
I know you enjoy city life and all it has to offer.
There’s definitely been some progress in this city, people are no longer afraid to come up with new ideas. Take food, for instance. A couple of years ago, all the new places that have recently opened might have failed. But now, people are ready for them.
I like the ‘Úsmev’ cinema as well as Kulturpark, which is a meeting place for bikers and skaters, a true urban community. The Botanic Garden is also a great place, one that’s especially close to my heart. The neighbourhood I like the best is ‘Terasa’. I grew up there and it was a nice, quiet part of the city. And then there’s ‘Tabačka Kulturfabrik’, of course.
I see you’ve collected a lot of pop culture items — comic books, records and toys. Are they a source of inspiration for you?
It’s how I relax. Listening to records or reading books. I can spend hours like that. I also like playing games, especially the multiplayer ones. They’re very competitive and you get to play against people from all over the world.
What inspires me most is travelling, though. Whenever I’m in some city, I’m inspired by all that I see around, including public transport or people sitting around on benches. I get ideas for new projects or inspiration for how to finish something I’ve been working on for a while. When I was in Paris, for instance, I wrote “Me in Paris, or in Budapest — Sunrise in Budapest”. It’s all about capturing at least a bit of that experience in your work.
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