Ian Kelosky is an American singer, songwriter and music producer who has lived in Prague for twenty years. He says of himself that he is a chameleon of the genre, which he confirms with his portfolio. He is dedicated to alternative music, but he has also collaborated with the group Čechomor and creates music for series aimed at American audiences. In the interview, he told Drbna not only about his work, but also about living in the Czech Republic and traveling.
You experience music in many different forms. What are you doing now?
I’ve been making music here in Prague for a long time. As a producer, I worked with various Czech artists at that time. But besides that, I write my songs and I sing, so I play a lot.
I also do a lot of music for American television. These are usually small commercials or miscellaneous series to which you need to add background music. There are many such shows on American television. And lately, a lot of music is needed for videos on Youtube. It was my chance during the pandemic. Of course, it wasn’t possible to play just anywhere, so I could focus on creating.
Czech interpreters, for example you collaborated with the group Čechomor. What was it like working with a band playing traditional Czech music?
It was great. I really appreciated that they make traditional music and don’t try to change it according to western trends, they don’t try modern versions. It was a very different experience for me, because they have a completely different style, moreover, they are very well known and well established in the Czech Republic. They played all the instruments live and acoustically, which isn’t very common anymore, but it was great to work with them.
At the same time, you played for a while in a band that included former Czech MP Dominik Feri. How was this group born?
We met through a mutual friend who played bass in my band and had the idea that we could play together. Dominik is actually a very good musician, a keyboard player. For a long time I wanted to make music with lyrics in Czech, but of course I don’t sing in Czech. Another singer from Slovakia joined us and that was it. At the time, we thought it couldn’t hurt that Dominik was already known and had a following on social networks. But then it turned out that it hurt a little, so now, of course, we don’t work in this composition anymore.
Thanks to music, you have traveled a lot, for example to Abu Dhabi or Bahrain. How has your music been received in such different cultures?
It’s one of my favorite things. I have a band that plays covers, and we’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel and play gigs. By playing familiar songs that the audience knows, it is easy for them to accept.
In addition to Abu Dhabi, where we have been several times, and Bahrain, last year we played in Cyprus, Spain and Mallorca, for example, in different parts of Europe. It was really amazing, and the best part is that we go back to these places. We are going to Cyprus again this year.
What was your first visit to the Czech Republic?
Pretty crazy. My friend, a singer in a band I played with in America, lived in Germany for a while with another friend who sold used cars there. One day a rich Czech came to see him, he wanted to buy a dozen cars, take them to the Czech Republic and sell them here. The friend, a fool, just asked him if he liked music and played our record. He loved it and took us to the Czech Republic to play some gigs and record some new songs. We could travel all over the country and make friends here. In the end, however, it didn’t go as we had planned and we returned to the United States.
When I came back here for the second time, I didn’t even want to stay here forever. I just wanted to get to know Europe a bit, stay a while and come back. And suddenly, I’ve been here for twenty years.
Why the Czech Republic?
I love Europe as such and living in Prague is very easy. It is a very international city and life is comfortable there. Prague is neither too big nor too small.
Also, I always felt like everything was looser than in America. People always look at me funny when I say that like an American, but it’s true. When you think about it, the United States has an old government. On the contrary, the Czech Republic has only been around for about 30 years, so initially there were far fewer rules than in America. Also, in Europe, people are generally more accommodating to artists and musicians, so I felt more welcome here from the start.
You created a group for Americans in the Czech Republic on Facebook…
Yes, that was a crazy idea too. I had a bar here in Prague a few years ago. When I started, I created this group. I didn’t give it much thought and suddenly found out that it had thousands of members and was really useful for many of them.
How is the American community in Prague? Do you organize regular meetings, for example?
Definitely not. The community is quite divided here. I don’t think there’s a big place where only Americans meet. At least for those who actually live here. There are definitely groups of people who come but don’t stay too long. I don’t think the purely American community is here, but there is definitely a general foreign community in Prague.
Are you planning a concert now?
Yes of course. I play regularly in Irish pubs in Prague. On Saturday April 23, I am also performing on the island of Střelecký as part of a student festival organized by the Anglo-American College.