Life at Ataccama
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Life at Ataccama

A Star in Our Orbit: Fosco Alma

Our new edition of Starstruck is here, and this time we’re moving from chugging riffs to fat beats, courtesy of our own Miroslav Stolfa. At least that’s how we few at Ataccama know him. To many, many more, he’s better known as Fosco Alma — MC, producer, composer, and Czech hip-hop scene veteran.

Rapper, programmer, lyricist, composer, producer, engineer…so many identities in just one man. But which comes first, and why?

I think it depends on the type of project I’m working on. It depends on the demand in my mind. I’ve worked hard all my life to be as skilled and experienced in all these, because I love them. I love to use them. I feel like I can give something to the world. And when I do something, I don’t know how to do it at 99%, I’m obsessed with doing things at 150%. I am a huge perfectionist and that is, obviously, a curse and a blessing at the same time. Because perfectionism can be extremely annoying, it can slow down progress sometimes, but on the other hand, it can bring wonderful details into any project.

Since I was young, music has lived in my soul, so I’m a very sensitive person who needs to think about things more deeply to be satisfied. I think for me, the music comes first. It is pure creativity for me. Everything is only about feelings and emotions.

Where did the name Fosco Alma come from, and what does it mean?

My artist, or stage name, comes from “I really need a cool stage name, let’s look in the dictionaries.” So I looked into many dictionaries of many languages, and ended up with a list of words I like. Long story short: Fosco means dark, Alma means soul. So it’s “dark soul” in English, but it comes from a Spanish dictionary. Of course, when I was 15, I wanted to have a mysterious artist name. Who didn’t? :))

You have eclectic music tastes — from rap, to rock, all the way to k-pop — but which artist has stayed with you the longest?

Maybe it’ll sound awkward, but Eminem is still the number one for me. Aside from listening to him, I also study his flow (meaning how and where he puts the words into rhythm), because the way he plays with words is unbelievable. And it inspires me a lot, I realized that it can be done in the Czech language as well. It’s harder than in English, but it works. Many of my fans, and also many haters, call me the Czech Eminem. So, I think I did it well!

What’s a genre you haven’t explored yet, but would like to?

I want to explore the blues more, because I love electric guitars and organs, and the way how these instruments can evoke feelings and emotions. It resonates with me. Another genre I sometimes explore is classical music. It gives me, as a music producer, a new perspective on chords and their progressions and transitions.

Where do you get inspiration for your lyrics? What’s your process?

I get inspired everywhere I can. Mostly from my life, of course. I take every emotion or feeling as an inspiration. I feel a little crazy because of that, but that’s how music is my way of dealing with different aspects of life. A motto of mine is: Nothing goes to waste. Not even bad days. Thanks to that, I feel happy almost every day. I try to look at the bad things from a positive side. Always. The only bad day is when I realize I have eaten all the chocolate in the house, haha.

But back to the second question. I often feel lost when I work on a new lyric because, for example, I have a good theme, but can’t find the right words. Right words, meaning, words I like. And I don’t like many words. [Perfectionism alert!]. So, often I just start to write what sounds good to me, and remember the original theme in the chorus at least. And often, when the song is complete, and I’ve listened to it for a few weeks (or months!), I go back and rewrite verses to be more suitable with the theme. Generally, each lyric I write, I use. Only a few of them have not been released. Because nothing goes to waste, haha!

What’s your favorite bar you’ve ever written, and why?

If I can be honest, I’m afraid that I don’t have a favorite bar of mine. I have written so many lyrics, that I have no time to choose a favorite bar :D I have a few favorite verses. One of them is a verse from song “Já a ty 2” where I use two different rhymes in each bar (in the middle and at the end), but throughout the whole first half of the verse. It sounds really good to me. Other favorite verses often have one type of rhyme through the whole verse (like in my song “Almagedon” or “5 minut”). So, the more technical (skilled) the verse is, the more I prefer it.

Tell me about Blakkwood. How did it start? What was your goal?

It starts like every child’s dream. Since I was young, I always wanted to run my own music label/brand/movement. It doesn’t matter what you call it, I just wanted to put together talented people and establish a respected music supergroup. So I tried once, then tried again, and the third attempt was the successful one and Blakkwood was born. We (me and my friend Lucas Blakk) established the legal company, created the environment for artists, rented an office, built a recording studio and created an e-shop with our own brand. We had some talented people in our sights, because I was at the top of my music career with my old music band named MAAT, and we met a lot of people everywhere, and a lot of them wanted to work with us. So we chose the most talented ones and started helping them with their careers.

This is the really short version, there are more things that happened, but the idea was, like I said — bring talented people together and kick the Czech music industry’s ass. Because nobody took hip-hop/rap seriously here. Everybody thought there was no money in that. We proved the opposite. Made successful artists, earned respect, made money and learnt so much as well.

But this chapter of my life ended when I realized I was really tired of being on the phone 24/7, managing problems of all kinds. I felt like the only thing I really wanted to do was make music. Not managing, not calculating budgets, not talking with people. Just me and my music, like before Blakkwood started. So I stepped down from all positions in the company and started focusing only on my own music. I consider that moment as the most positive decision in my life, because from that point on I do only work I love to do. Because since then I really know what I want from my life: Do my best and enjoy it.

What would you say is the highlight of your career?

That I am a “still hungry” one and want to create more music. That nothing breaks me. That I haven’t burned out yet. That I still have visions and goals. As I always said, when an artist feels being on the top, the road ends.

Which collaboration has meant the most to you? And who’s your dream collab?

Each collaboration gave me a lot. New views, new perspectives, new experiences. But one of them that I really appreciate is with Ben Cristovao. Why? Because he shows me how a successful person could be so humble and grateful. That’s the way I like it. Be humble, whatever happens. Because we never know what happens next in our lives.

In your eyes (and ears), who’s the greatest audio engineer to ever do it? Let’s put it this way — if you could have any one person produce, mix and master a track for you, who would you pick?

A really good question. I’m searching through all the hip-hop producers I know and really respect, in my mind, but in the end I would pick Hans Zimmer! Because I resonate with his compositions, and it could be awesome to try a collaboration with a person out of my genre. I would say to him “Hey dude, you’ll make instruments, but hold on, I’ll make drums, alright?” :D

On that note, what’s one piece of audio hardware you can’t live without?

I definitely couldn’t live without a midi keyboard or my favorite BlueBird mic. These are fundamental elements for my music-related work. But if I look at it from another point of view, then this one piece of audio hardware would be quality headphones! There are a few more pieces of audio hardware I can’t live without.

Do you have any other creative outlet besides music?

I like to play video games, and I am a programmer who loves to learn new things. So I put them together, and now I’m working on my own video game in my free time. It’s a survival multiplayer in a post-apocalyptic open world, which may sound very common, and many game titles now come to your mind. That’s good, because I don’t want to share too many details until I completely finish the alpha version. I hope it will be very, very soon.

How did your first taste of fame feel like?

Of course, I was excited. It’s awesome when everyone likes you. Everyone wants a photo. Everyone asks you about everything. Everyone feels like being your buddy. But sometimes this attention isn’t what you want. Sometimes it’s annoying and exhausting. Every time it depends on people, of course. If they’re humble, it’s nice to spend some time with them and chit-chat, but if they’re macho-types like “yo bro, come to my chest,” it’s better to disappear. :)

Ready to fall into our orbit? We’re always on the lookout for rising stars — check out our open positions and come build amazing things with us at Ataccama!

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