As a female Deejay in a world dominated by men, Deejay La-di-da is a bit of an enigma.
And the enigma is that it doesn't matter that she's a woman playing records. When she gets up on the stage, her presence takes over the room and her music sets people's booties to bumpin'.
Drivin' the wheels of steel for over several years now, Linda Stepnickova, a model turned deejay, makes music from her own dub plates from places as far as Brazil and Norway to the neighboring countries of Germany and Croatia.
THINK: How did you get started in this whole Deejay business?
LA-DI-DA: I had a boyfriend from Switzerland and he was a Deejay and I asked him for just one record. That was, I think, "Bonsai Rebirth Call", it was very popular in Germany and very popular also here. I asked him to send me this one record, and instead I get around 50 records!
So at first I would practice and practiced for one month before I got my first gig at Radost, I was discovering my way while playing for the crowds, measuring the response with the crowd, who were willing to overlook any small mistakes in the mixing.
THINK: Have you changed much from the beginning?
LA-DI-DA: I think I've changed a lot. I'm very close with Afrika Islam and we play together, as well as Marusha and Deejay Sharon. I'm learning scratching from Afrika, I need more practice so I'm gonna train at home 'til he thinks I've got it down, which should be within a year, I believe.
THINK: What female Deejays do you look up to?
LA-DI-DA: Marusha is very special, she talks to people with the microphone and she has very special records. She has a very unusual sound, so she doesn't have to mix that good, because she knows the energy and she makes a very good party, it shows in the people's faces, you can see how they love her.
In Brazil, I've been with her, and they've seen Marusha in magazines, but they'd never heard her play, but within 10 minutes they were screaming, all hands up while she was playing, and even though there was a bad system in that club, she made a really good set, you know. The people who want to talk bad about her, maybe they should try to play and then they can criticize. It's always so easy to criticize somebody.
THINK: What do you think of other women who get into the business?
LA-DI-DA: There are a lot of girls who try to be a Deejay because they thought 'Yeah, she was successful, I can be also', but if you just do it because you see somebody is good and if you don't do it with all your heart, you have to really want to make music, want to create a new sound with mixing two records together, or want to produce records, then it's not the right thing, just to copy someone. You can never be successful, if you don't do it because you want to do it, and do it from the heart."
THINK: You play all over the world, how do you feel about the Prague club and music scene?
LA-DI-DA: Prague is a very special place, it's not into techno music, here we love house music, techno music is a little hard for us. There are quite a lot of good record stores in Prague, which is not so big, and we have a lot of good parties here too; from Planet Alfa, Radost FX, from Lighthouse, and On-Strike, and also in the clubs in Pardubice and Liberec, the scene is alive and it's gonna keep on growing.
THINK: Where do you play usually?
LA-DI-DA: I play at Radost FX, and for On-Strike (smiles catlike), but never for Lighthouse, who will never book me, but believe me I'm not crying for this.
THINK: Being a small city, do you ever come up against anyone here who refuses to accept you as a female Deejay?
LA-DI-DA: They don't like me at Radio One, especially this one girl, but when I come out with my CD, she'll be the first one to get one. Then she can be even angrier with me. Again.
THINK: How's the reaction to your style?
LA-DI-DA: I just try to play it my way, and work with the crowd." I like music, somebody else might like going to cinema, some like to go to the pub. It's the thing for relaxing, you know? I relax if I can play and if I can dance. It's part of my life, I would say I'm one of the people to who music is my whole life.
THINK: What do you think of police repression of the club scene?
LA-DI-DA: I was at a party in Germany where the police raided, going through all the Deejay's bags searching for work papers, but luckily some guys from the crew grabbed my bag and got me away from there.
THINK: Do you think that can happen here in Prague?
LA-DI-DA: No, never, never, never. I hope not. It's the extreme, because the government is too busy fighting themselves. Our generation which is in England around the ages 18 to 25, they're only partying, only clubbing and so nobody's working. And this generation which isn't working, there are big problems with the economy right now.
And I think the government thinks they need this law (the Traveler's Bill) because it's extremely uncontrolled you know, everybody is only partying, taking drugs and they try to find something to stop it, so that people won't go to clubs so much, and they would work and go to school and pay taxes.
It's the same as the drug laws though; if you're told you'll go to prison if you take drugs, it doesn't help you. So it's the same thing. They made these laws that their people cannot make a party, or you need a special permit, but it's not gonna work, because they people are having too much fun.
Our government has much bigger problems, for example with the banks, so I don't think they make a law like this.
THINK: What about the raid on Club Propast ?
LA-DI-DA: The police were doing this just to show the people they should be scared, to make people afraid of them. I didn't vote last time, but I go next time, because I never liked this idiot Zeman from the CSSD, now that he's at the top, I can never let this idiot win again, no, no, no, I go to the next election!
THINK: So you preferred Klaus?
LA-DI-DA: I don't know what the people want, it's a big problem. I think they should look at how the Czech Republic looked five years ago before they criticize Klaus. Sure we have problems today, it's natural, you know, nobody's perfect, everybody makes mistakes, but he's trying to repair it.
But this idiot Zeman, never, no!
THINK: Enough about politics, do you have a boyfriend?
LA-DI-DA: No time for a boyfriend, there's not time. I'm too busy and I think I'm a little bit complicated. If I'm in a serious relationship, the work is the second thing, and then it's difficult to have some progress with my work, if I put all of my energy into the other person. So I decided that my few relationships didn't work, so now I will make music and try and work on myself. I'm only 21 so I'm not hurried. And when I feel like I would like to go into some relationship, I will do it.
THINK: So it gets quite hectic on the road?
LA-DI-DA: I meet every week about 500 people, everybody shakes my hands, or they call me and say, 'Oh, do you remember me?' You know, I have too many people around me, so I like to be alone sometimes.
THINK: But around the crowd you want to share with them the good sounds and to move their butts…
LA-DI-DA: Sometimes you have the people, who are not really into the music. They come to the party to just drink the beer, and then stand around the bar, and nobody's dancing. This is what I hate! For fifteen minutes I try everything I can do; play all different kinds of music, and if this doesn't work, the I just get pissed and then I just play for myself. This happens sometimes in clubs.
THINK: These aren't just people chillin' in the clubs, these are the looky-loos who just stand aside and watch the people dance?
LA-DI-DA: I hate it when they're all just watching, and nobody's dancing, good thing that rarely happens in Prague, I was in one discotek in Germany and for long time it was 90% standing, 10% dancing, and it's not because of the music, it's just that they go there and drink and watch themselves. It makes me pissed!
THINK: What's the best party you've ever been to, that changed your life?
LA-DI-DA: Outside of Prague, maybe it was the Street Parade in Zurich '95, it was really good, and this year's Street Parade was a very big house party with all the big house Deejay's from America and England, it was really good.
As far as small places go, Live Klub in Pardubice, the people there might be young, but I don't care, the crowd makes a very good atmosphere, they react to each good mix, throwing hands in the air and screaming. And that can be unusual at parties.
THINK: How do you cope with the Deejay lifestyle?
LA-DI-DA: Another thing about being a deejay, the people get really jealous. I was playing at one club, and some guy came up and said 'Oh, what sh*t music you play, stop playing' and he was on hard drugs, and usually I'm very cool, you know I don't care what some junky says, but it hurt me.
It was four or five in the morning and I didn't play bad music and I was mixing all right, and I just started crying.
These moments, sometimes you're not strong enough, and you have to be very strong if you're a Deejay; you travel alone, you are most of the time alone on the road, you work sometimes and other times you don't sleep for 30 hours. It can be hard.Some people are a little bit afraid of me, they think I'm too strong-willed, too tough. But I'm totally normal, it might just be a cover for such idiots as that junky.
THINK: So you're able to deal with the stress?
LA-DI-DA: I live my own life, but sometimes it's hard when things like this happen, or if the promoters don't pick you up at the airport or train station, and you're trying to call someone and end up stuck at the airport for two or three hours. Even worse is when the airport is closed and you have to go to a totally different country to get to the place where you play. Sometimes it's too much, and I cry, and that helps. I cry 10 minutes and then it's all fine.
THINK: It has to be rewarding though…
LA-DI-DA: It's worth it although when people smile and go 'Yeah!', or want your autograph, writing on their skin and t-shirts and trousers. It can be too much when 100 people come at you wanting autographs.
Some Deejays don't give autographs, but I think if they like me and they want to have something from me to take home, if they don't have my record or tape, then I give them autograph. It makes them happy, so it's not bad.
THINK: Finally, tell me about your CD coming out next month.
LA-DI-DA: Lot's of different music on my CD, there are two house tracks, a couple of tracks are trance-techno and there are other different styles, it's not all one sound. I play from 126 Beats per minute to 146 BPM. I made one Break-beat track, and I'm really satisfied with that. This CD is a co-operation with Radost FX and Planet Alfa.
- Intro photo from Future Scope