Please The Trees
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Please The Trees

Prague, Hlavní Mesto Praha, Czech Republic

Prague, Hlavní Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Band Alternative Psychedelic




"A Czech band progress with a new U.S.-produced LP"

It occasionally occurs to me that rock journalists should let bands claim in interviews that their latest LP is the best thing they've ever done – and then on no account use that particular quote, which is a yawnsome cliché down there with “we just make music for ourselves and if anybody else likes it, that's a bonus.” But then again, sometimes a group’s new release IS their best yet.

A case in point is A Forest Affair, the third long-player from the Czech four-piece Please the Trees. The album is being launched at a concert on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Prague's intimate Malostranská Beseda that is likely to be packed to the rafters.

The band’s previous efforts Lion Prayer (2007) and Inlkalesh (2010) certainly had their moments, but to these ears at least they were occasionally a little heavy on bombast (hear early single Red Sky on the radio and you could mistake it for Arcade Fire) and a tad light on variety. A Forest Affair is a step forward. It’s more diverse stylistically, the songwriting is superior, and – above all – it sounds great.

Please the Trees’ leader Václav Havelka is justifiably proud of the LP, which is coming out on the hip local indie imprint Starcastic. “Not to bitch about the old records, or that I don’t stand by them, but they were just part of the process,” says the bearded, long-haired singer-songwriter. “I feel like with the new album I can really present it as, this is what I do.”

Originally from the forests of the Krkonoše Mountains, Havelka has for some years been one of the most active figures on Prague’s independent music scene. Alongside performing solo and with a full group line-up, he has hosted his own “Natural Bridge” show on alternative station Radio Wave, and – as part of the promotion company Scrapesound – brought leading international alternative rock and country artists, such as Mudhoney and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, to the city. I also write score music for theater plays. Did it for Srpen v zemi indianu and Dogville at Stavovske divadlo, Idiot at Dejvicke divadlo and Hodinova hra at Divadlo na zabradli.

Please the Trees came together in the mid 2000s when Havelka, then working solo and DIY-style under the name Selfbrush, hooked up with Some Other Place, a purely instrumental group from the south Bohemian town of Tábor. The original lineup remained intact until a member of the Tábor camp, guitarist Zdenek Kadlec, exited the group after the recording of A Forest Affair at the tail end of last year.

“The whole process cost me somebody who is very dear to me. He and I practically started the band together,” says Havelka, with sadness and a little frustration in his voice. Kadlec quit over Havelka’s decision to record in the United States with a producer whose input involved rather more than pressing record. “Zdenek felt the total opposite to me. He felt the demo we recorded here in the Czech Republic was what we should play. He thought we weren’t playing our own music.”

The producer in question was Jonathan Burnside, who has worked with a list of acts as long as your arm, including Nirvana, Faith No More, Melvins, and Red House Painters. He also helmed records by Czech bands such as Tatabojs and Slut during a stint in Prague in the 1990s. However, Havelka didn’t meet Burnside until two years ago, when the American, on a short visit to the city, was introduced to him by his Scrape sound pal Ondrej Šturma at his solo performance at an exhibition opening and the pair hit it off.

“I just felt recording with him, in his environment in California, was really something we had to try. My aesthetic will always be DIY, but I just thought, sonically, I really want to work with somebody I respect and who can bring an extra dimension to the music,” says Havelka of the producer, who suggested fresh approaches to some songs and added guitar parts on others. “He just gave the record character.”

Burnside also gave A Forest Affair an expansive and often warm sound on tracks that range from the driving, Crazy Horse-style guitar maelstrom of Hell on Earth and the heavy, drone rock of Sleep to the lovely She Made Love to the Moon, with its Bad Seeds-esque organ, and the country-tinged guitar pop of the catchy Nobody No One.

Recording in America put a hole in the coffers of Please the Trees, who offset the cost somewhat with a few dates in California (a previous U.S. tour had taken them to the world renowned South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas). But Havelka says bands like his never make any money anyway. “You just have to walk your own path.”

The 34-year-old, whose take on the backwoods hipster look recently earned him a place in the website’s list of the 50 best dressed Praguers, sees his band’s music in an international context (which is one reason he sings in English). He hopes to tour more beyond the Czech Republic’s borders – and to win the respect of the like-minded musicians from other countries. - Prague Post

"The Rocker Olympics - The Music World Convenes In Texas For SXSW"

Story by Ken Richardson
But the best of this batch was the Czech Republic’s Please The Trees, a brooding quartet that could have come from Czecho-Wilco, considering its American-roots appearance and bizarre blend of musical influences. One minute, it was doing some lovely Johnny Cash country, complete with train rhythm on brushed drums, and then it launched into huge, strummed, progressive chords, and then into … what’s that? I have no idea! Except, maybe, it was an amalgam of all the foreign records or radio the band was able to hear in its homeland. And on top of everything, singer/guitarist/feedback-lover Vaclav Havelka mused with a slight yodel in his weathered voice. How odd. How wonderfully rock and roll.
- Sound And Vision Magazine - June 2010

"Akron/Family,Warpaint and Please The Trees – Music Hall of Williamsburg, 3.3.2010"

Hailing from the Czech Republic, Please the Trees kicked off the set. Although they traveled from afar, their sound fits in just right in the states. Lead singer, Vac Havelka, has a bit of an Eddie Vedder resonance in his voice, without all the parodied hoots and hollers. Pure and simple folk-rock, but instead of having its roots in the American Frontier, its in the Czech frontier, which is somewhere between the Hapsburgs and the Franz Ferdinand I.
Czech Republic: The Final, Final Frontier. -


Still working on that hot first release.



Please The Trees have been following the trail of inspiration and perfecting their sound for over six years now. The latest fruit of that pilgrimage is their brand new record, A Forest Affair, which also represents something of a fresh departure. Indeed, the Czech bands indomitable and deep-seated spirit of adventure and keen desire to place themselves firmly in the context of the international music scene led them all the way to California. 

Originally from the forests of a mountainous region in East Bohemia, lead singer and songwriter Vaclav Havelka has for some years been one of the most active figures on Pragues independent music scene. Alongside performing solo and with a full group line-up, he has written music for several theater productions (including a staged version of Lars von Triers Dogville at the Estates Theater), hosts his own Natural Bridge show on alternative station Radio Wave, and as part of the promotion company Scrape Sound brings leading international alternative rock and country artists, such as Mudhoney and Bonnie Prince Billy, to the city. 

The captivating, beautifully produced and stylistically varied A Forest Affair follows 2007s Lion Prayer and Inkalesh from 2010 and represents the peak of Havelkas career as a songwriter to date. Legendary are the band's live performances on which Please The Trees build their strong reputation. Past tours of hundrets of shows included Europe, UK, USA and Israel. Former LA Times music editor says about the band's performance at the Taix club, Los Angeles during the Culture Collide festival, the band played during their second US tour in 2011, at his prestigious blog : Please The Trees from the Czech Republic offered robust arrangements where guitars didnt sound like guitars and frontmant Vaclav Havelka brought his own flair to the stage (and off the stage). A bit Grizzly Bear and a bit Arcade Fire (minus the massive number of people on stage), Taixs main room finally saw a band who went out into the crowd and lose themselves in their own music.

The band received Czech Grammy award for the best alternative record of 2012, for their third record called A Forest Affair the band recorded in California with producer Jonathan Burnside.


Please The Trees planting trees project

After spending time with a gardener friend in New York (who has been secretly planting trees around town), the band get's inspired and starts planting a tree in every city where they perform. Each tree planting is photographed and documented, then posted on Facebook profile of the project. 

Map of planted trees:

Facebook profile:

Band Members