‘If you had told me what was in store 10 years ago, I probably would not have believed you, but that’s the fun of it.’

Listen Local interview

Bookie Baker

Caolan, you are both currently living in Prague, and you come from Ireland and Canada. You have met each other while traveling in one of the most extraordinary places, and even ended up in a pretty unlikely destination. What was this journey like for you?

It has been pretty incredible, at times unpleasant, but definitely unanticipated. If you had told me what was in store 10 years ago, I probably would not have believed you, but that’s the fun of it, I guess. It was, at times, wild living in China, and the friends I met there and the experiences I had I am not likely to forget, and I feel the same about the Czech Republic and Prague. Also, getting arrested in China wasn’t exactly on our to-do list. It was pretty scary then and eventually led to us living in the Czech Republic. I loathe to say something like, “everything happens for a reason,” you really don’t know what is coming next; we met the most wonderful people here.

Where would you like to find an audience for your music?

The short answer is that we would be delighted to play for anyone who likes our music. We love playing in Prague, but we also often play around the Czech Republic. Last year we toured Switzerland and Germany and had one concert in France; they were all excellent experiences. Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to tour from Czechia to more distant venues in Europe, eventually reaching England and Ireland.

Bookie Baker in the Main Square of Prague
Bookie Baker in the Main Square of Prague

Having moved around a lot, what do you consider home, and in what sense?

Home, for me, is more about the people that surround you. When you live abroad as an expat for extended periods (and we have both lived away from our respective countries for a very long time), your home becomes the people you choose, your adopted family, so to speak. Ireland will always be my home country and where I come from, but I think of home as where my best friends are. The Czech Republic is the country we have chosen to live in, and we love it here.

Can you recommend some music from the regions where you feel at home? Or some music that inspired you recently? We are interested in how musical inspiration comes to artists.

We’d love to. We could talk about this for hours, as our friends can attest. We have a few playlists on our Spotify that recommend artists and songs we like. We’re both big fans of the soul with gospel influences, and with that in mind, I love Hozier, and he’s Irish, too. On the folk side of things, anything Punch Brothers does is lovely to me; The Milk Carton Kids have some beautiful pieces, and The Tallest Man on Earth is an incredible artist. Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes has always been a significant influence in songwriting for us both. On the 17th of August, we have the privilege of opening for them in Prague, so that’s just wonderful. You can read about it here.

Bookie Baker on stage
Bookie Baker on stage

Do you ever use data to help you find an audience in your work as an independent artist? What are the challenges you face?

Spotify analytics has helped identify our target audience and show what countries we are listened to in. It held a few surprises which were fun. For example, I would not have guessed that we have some regular listeners in Zambia and Tanzania. Primarily, the countries I would expect are the Czech Republic, Germany, the USA, England, Ireland, Canada, and Europe.

One challenge we face is that artists often avail of schemes and promotions run by their home country to showcase musicians and artists. Countries often want to lift up and help their native performers, and while that’s lovely, neither of us can benefit from these advantages as we are so far from home.

Other artists

We had conversations with other artists about the same topics earlier:

And a label:

Marie Zhořová
Marie Zhořová
Project Manager

Marie is a project manager and a performing artist.