Who is the real Pao?
Alright, so you discovered the secret link...so here's the story you deserve :)
My life journey began in 1989 in a small town surrounded by mountains on the north of the Czech Republic and my love for the music started when I was only a little child - I still have my old walkman somewhere at home, that I used to play countless hours of music released on cassette tapes. My parents were also pushing me into music classes, and even though I didn't have a clue how handy it will become later in life, I somehow learned some music theory and also how to play the flute and a guitar.
As a high school kid I used to like mostly rock and metal music, I literally hated stuff like techno or hip hop. Discovering the electronic music via Prodigy and The Crystal Method was a whole new world for me, but the real breaking point came when I started smoking pot and my friends showed me some old drum and bass. That was something I have never heard before and it's complex soundscapes absolutely swallowed me. Digging more and more into the music and related culture, I decided I need to be doing more than just listening to the music, I wanted to be a DJ...and that I want to know how to make such a good sound on my own. So by the end of high school, I took all my money from the summer job, bought a brand new midi controller, a laptop, and started practicing DJing as well as getting into basics of music production.
Those were great years. Even though I was already living in a different city because of my university studies, I kept coming back to my hometown every weekend and soon there grew up a small, but thriving community of likeminded people connected together via their taste in music. We started to throw our own underground raves, made new friends, bookings started to come... Only thing I wished for was that more people would understand and like drum and bass music.
And slowly over the years, I could watch how my wish is becoming reality, but too late I realized what did I miss when building my imaginary sandcastles. With drum and bass getting more and more popular, there came inevitable drawbacks.
The scene slowly became flooded with clueless party people attracted by the hype and a sense of being cool, interested more in munching pills then the music itself, and wanna-be DJs spinning youtube rips of Beatport top 50 charts. Drum and bass tunes became shorter, simpler and cheesier in order to sell as much as possible, and the bigger cities got oversaturated with events so the promoters were often ending in red numbers no matter what.
By that time, 10 years since the beginning of my DJ career, I was already a recognized DJ in a small, but passionate and thriving local crew. But even though, seeing something I love so much turning into soulless hype-driven money machine eventually made me seek for a quieter place where I could feel safe again, blind against all the unwanted news rushing on social media, but still in the soothing arms of the music itself.
And after some time, during one of the countless workdays I have randomly come across one of those various "24/7 beats to relax/study to" youtube radios playing carefully selected playlist of some chilled out lofi hip hop - and at the moment I was hooked.
This was the exact opposite of drum and bass. Slow, chilled out beats, short tunes with a strong emphasis on a feeling or an emotion, without the need of technical perfection of sound itself in order to play the music on big club sound systems. I realized that was exactly I was looking for, because provoking feelings and emotions or telling a story always was and always will be the ultimate thing I'm looking for in music I create and in music I listen to - and I was tired of not being able to achieve that perfect sound desired in club music.
And since then, I started to focus almost fully on my production alter-ego Pao, which was originally created during a long writer's block to host some hip hop experiments, that eventually caused the much-desired breakthrough and got me back into the music-making game. Nowadays, I still play as a DJ and our crew is doing well, but the lofi hip hop and chillhop is a world when I can express myself freely without having to think too much about sound perfection and rather focus on the soul of the music itself.