Entrevista con Tomáš “Tofi” Fiala el “booker” del festival Brutal Assault (inglés)

El festival Brutal Assault tiene un fuerte enfoque en la música. Muchos estusiastas van allá para disfrutar de peculiares bandas y artistas underground, junto a nombres bien conocidos. Hablamos con Tomáš “Tofi” Fiala y como consigue producir un lineup tan balanceado cada año. Entrevista en inglés.

Brutal Assault - Main Stages

Brutal Assault – Main Stages

We did a really comprehensive interview with Martin “Shindy” Brzobohatý, he talked about the beginning of the festival, the organization, the fortress and the things we all love about Brutal Assault (BA). Tomáš “Tofi” Fiala is the brain behind the unusually well-curated lineups all those years, also he runs Obscure Promotion during the year.

Brutal Assault-Shindy_Tofi

Shindy and Tofi (right) – Link: Interview Shindy © Roman Černý

We love that the main focus of the festival is on music, especially some underground bands get a lot of attention in the fortress. A great thing, when you think about nowadays label politics and commercialism in this (former) subculture. So we are glad, that Tofi could spare some of his time during BA 2018, where we met in the vaults to talk about music and the general philosophy of BA.

It is our fourth BA this year. We are coming every year since our first time, because we can expect a great lineup with outstanding shows and good PA sound. And it is always worth to check out a band from the small stages, we never heard of before.

Brutal Assault-Tofi hosting the talkshow about 80s and 90s underground metal

Tofi hosting the talk show about 80s underground metal

Nice! Thanks

What we noticed the last years: bands that should play in the dark are really getting a slot in the dark and not during the day, just because they are not big enough or some political restrictions. This is also a very unique feature at BA.

Yes, it is! But everybody deserves a good slot. Unfortunately, we have to arrange a lineup and someone has to start. Some bands have to play early, some bands later. Especially for the Black Metal bands, it is a necessity to play in the dark. This is the way we judge things. We don’t have many slots in the dark, sometimes it can be really tricky, but I think we have been fine with the running order so far.

Celeste-Brutal Assault-2018

Celeste at Brutal Assault 2018 – The slot was moved so that the band could perform their show in the total dark, in contrast to Hellfest 2018

Yeah it’s great, the doom bands play also in the night time. We also like the new dark-jazz-themed wine bar in the newly opened area of Bastion X. It would be epic to have Bohren und der Club of Gore actually playing here somewhere in the vaults.

Which band?

Bohren und der Club of Gore: The German Doom Jazz band. Super slow, super funny live.

Oh yes, yes, yes yes

The BA organizers actually listen to the fans when it comes to the booking. Like the survey each year: the bands we suggested show up on the lineup the next year.

I want to avoid to judge the bands only management-wise – from the perspective of the big bands and labels. There can be big bands, that’s good, but it should be based on the music. We want to continue that approach and we are happy that we get so much positive resonance!

Brutal Assault 2017-Swans

Swans at Brutal Assault 2017 playing two hours

Last year, one of our highlights was when Swans played a two hour set! No other festival pulls something like this off.

The basic idea is: try to think about it more individually, rather than to put it into a casket. We just want everybody to feel comfortable and also we want artists to express truly what they want to. If this is one of their needs, we consider if it is worth it to get them. For Swans it definitely was. We want to do special things, and this was one of them. So I was really happy we could work that out.

So it was the wish of Swans?

They said, it was their shortest set they played in years. So, you can always see from a different perspective.

Oriental Stage-Brutal Assault

Oriental Stage

We like the concept of the Oriental Stage – the special bands there and the freaks in the audience. It is always full and people enjoy it a lot. Are you also selecting the bands for the Oriental Stage?

The basic concept behind this stage is, that even if you are on a big festival, you want to have some intimate experiences. This is what we desired and that’s what we could arrange. Usually, we try to pick up the bands which rather play small clubs. It is more a club show than a festival performance, even though it is on a festival. This is something that makes it a very different experience, than on the big stages. I am happy that it works out.

It is actually our favorite stage. We are eager to see Goblin later! It was a little bit sad that the electricity went off during the Grave Pleasures set. But in the end, it was even better, because they played the next day a different, full-length set! Obscure Sphinx also did not face any cancellation with their drone set.

Grave Pleasures Brutal Assailt 2018

Grave Pleasures without electricity – the fans had to help finish the song

The thing was, that the weather was crazy: It was extremely hot and there was huge power consumption in the city, that blew away a dozed transformer stations. So we had to work on that black-out issue. We would even be able to let the bands play, but we were forced to cancel the shows for that night, because there was no option to get the lights back on, the whole city was completely dark. Fortunately we found a solution and both bands were able to play the next day: Grave Pleasures before and Obscure Sphinx after the scheduled bands. I am really happy, that we did not cancel any shows.

One of the Grave Pleasures guys is the mastermind of Oranssi Pazuzu. We miss the rest of the band here.

I already got in touch with them. Yeah, it is a shame that they never played BA.

AlukTodolo-Brutal Assault-2018

Aluk Todolo

We were also impressed with Aluk Todolo at Oriental Stage.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to their show, I really wanted to. So, was it good? Was it full?

Yes! It was super packed at Aluk Todolo, which I would never have expected. They are very different

That is what we also want to accomplish: an opened minded audience and trying to get people to the bands, even if they are unknown to them, and hopefully, they start to like it. We don’t want to be dictated by the big companies. We want to discover new things, and deliver them to the people.

Have you seen the guy of this doom metal project Ydintalvi chained to the wall deep in the underground labyrinth?

Hehe, yes!

How is a normal day of you? I suppose you listen a lot of music, you know so many bands from different genres…

Ydintalvi-Brutal Assault-2018

Ydintalvi

This is more or less my work. I am still a music fan and I love discovering new things and pushing the borders of genres a little bit further. So that is what we are about. I like dark jazz a lot. Though I basically used to be a Death Metal guy. But I like a lot of different things… not so much Pagan and Hip Hop…and Power Metal.

Do you already have something planned for next year (2019)?

Not really. But I have a few bands: Meshuggah, Napalm Death and A Pale Horse Named Death. Are you familiar with A Pale Horse Named Death? Great, great band!

Oh yes, I saw them live once. Thanks for your time and keep up the good work. BA is definitely one of the best open-air festivals in Europe.

In the beginning we just wanted to have a multi-genre festival for extreme and underground music. It evolved from that. There are a few things together now: The dramaturgy, which is hopefully a little bit unique. Than we have the fortress, a great setting which also provides shelter from the sun and rain and as the third thing, we try to constantly improve the festival’s infrastructure.

Doom Jazz wine bar int Bastion X of Brutal Assault 2018

Doom Jazz wine bar in Bastion X of Brutal Assault 2018

So there you have it. Just do what you love, don’t care too much about label politics and marketing. If you do it right, people will realize that, and it will grow and become self-financing. A philosophy that Abismo can support 100%. If you haven’t been to BA, you should check it out some time, even if there are maybe only 10 bands for you on the lineup. Czech Republic is worth a visit anyways – not only for their infamous beer and affordable prices…

 

Further Reading:

 

Sobre Krups

Creadora del Abismo Blogzine y del Illimani Metal Fest, nació en La Paz y ahora radica en Alemania. Melómana y metalera desde hace más de 20 años, ingeniera de profesión. Aprovecha cada oportunidad para ver bandas en vivo, visitar nuevos lugares y para la fotografía.

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