Interview – Darko Peric – What artists listen to

darko peric interview la casa de papel
Photo: James Minchin

This year we had a chance to watch new episodes of Netflix’s ultra-popular hit series „La casa de papel„. The primary cast of the series includes Darko Perić, an actor from Serbia, who plays the character of a war veteran and „goody-good“ of Helsinki. „I listen to music whenever I can… A few days ago I was talking to a friend who told me that we used to choose friends based on their taste in music and that she realized that this criterionstill stands today. It literally is, in a way“ says Darko. The editorial staff did not get a classic interview this time. It was rather a part of a real conversation about music with a fellow speaker who is more than just informed about our section „What do artists listen to“.

Balkanrock: How familiar are you with our rock ‘n’ roll scene?

Darko Perić: I am very familiar with the scene up to 2000s. Young bands are not that familiar to me, but the old ones are pretty good. I had just been to Ada Bojana and the nostalgia for the YU sound had hit me. It was such a romantic feeling that I immediately downloaded music from all these bands in one day – Đavoli, Bombaj štampa, couple of albums from Atomsko sklonište, Kud idijoti, Opus, KBO… Also, a band that I had heard about last year, Društvo skrivenih talenata from Nikšić.I have been into punk and hard core since I was thirteen. While I was living in Timisoara I was in a band. We played hard core. In terms of music and rock and roll, I was on the extreme side of it.

BR: What was the name of your band?

DP: I had few bands. Mostly, they were just projects. One of them was Nuka kuka. We did not record anything, we just had local gigs in Timisoara while I was living there.

BR: Did you sing or play?

DP: I was always the singer.

BR: Do you play an instrument?

DP: I play a bit of harmonica. That is the only instrument I know how to play.

BR: I have seen some photographs of you playing the guitar.

DP: It was just for fun.

BR: Have you ever played some of Serbian music to the cast of „La casa de papel”?

DP: Off course I did. When we were told that we will have the song „Bella ciao” in the series, no one knew what that was. No one has ever heard the song because it was a typical song of Italian partisans. But, since I listened to punk and Kud idijoti, I knew the song and I played it for them.

BR: Are there any musical talents within the cast?

DP:Now that I think about it, Palermo (Rodrigo De la Serna). He is an awesome character, an Argentinian from Buenos Aires. He plays guitar and has his own acoustic band. Here you go, he is a musician. Alba’s grandmother, Lola Flores is very famous, one of the most famous singers. Something like Esma Redžepova of Spain. Alba is very talented, she also sang in the theatre but does not have any musical side projects. And the rest of the cast…. nothing, but who knows… Maybe the talents will develop further. I have a project in development. One of my friends is a musician and lives in Madrid. He composes music for films and experimental music. Experimental music is one of my favorite things and we are planning to do something together.

darko peric interview la casa de papel
Photo: Mark Schardan

BR: You like the movie „Kako je propao rokenrol”. How do you comment the music in it?

DP:How can you comment on music that was practically made by a genius? Dušan Kojić Koja is one of the people who had been present in music for over 40 years, and to persevere on Serbian music scene and not give up …. The music made for this film is something amazing. We have Đura in the film as well. Bombaj štampa is not an amateur band at all. I am trying to rewind all the stories from the film in my head now. The third story in the film is with Đura and Vesna Trivalić…

BR: The first story has Žika Todorović and Bata Živojinović and the second one is with Nebojša Bakočević and Anica Dobra.

DP: Anica Dobra is a great actress…. She is also starring in „Crni bombarder” with Dragan Bjelogrlić. This is also a beast of a film for which Gile had composed the music. But in that period, the movie „Mi nismo anđeli” was a big hit. On the otherside was „Crni bombarder” which people also saw, and it was a bit weird, a bit more alternative and underground. In „Mi nismo anđeli” we had the band Vampiri and love tricks while “Crni bombarder” was a subversive film. The scene with Dragan Maksimović on Ada Bojana is something incredible. It was the last breath of the old ex YU cinematography. Both musically and scenario wise. There were Bata Stojković i Petar Božović…wow, what a film that was. I must watch it again. That was a period around when you were born. You cannot imagine what that meant. There was no internet, no reality shows, none of that.People were still watching movies.

BR: This is my favorite film.

DP: Really? „Dečko koji obećava” is my favorite film. And one of my favorite ex YU actors is Bekim Fehmiju. Him, Ljuba Tadić, Rade Šerbedžija, Aligrudić, Šovagović ‒our best actors. After them there areoff course, Mija Aleksić, Bora Todorović, Bata Živojinović, Pavle Vujisić, Zoran Radmilović. „Specijalno vaspitanje” is also a great film. Šećerna Vodica”, a film with fantastic music of the band Via Talas from Rijeka and the legendary actress SonjaSavić and one more big fil related to music ‒ „Šmeker”. The movie and the music made by Vlatko Stefanovski….Someone had recently played me the movie „Mali budo”, and there is some music appearing but, come on…The last breath of cinematography during my twenties was the movie „Munje”. It was an attempt, but you cannot compare it with the film „Kako je propao rokenrol”. Different times and stories and everything.

BR: Nowadays mostly the “popular” music is present in films, turbo folk or folk, whatever it is being called now.

DP: Watch the movie „Teret”. There is also some folk music there, but the real and authentic Serbian folk music that people were listening during those years in Serbia.

BR: Yes, that is completely different from the “folk” music that they make now.

DP: The new folk music that is being made is not that familiar to me. I might have picked it up while I was changing channels in Montenegro. I am interested in folk music, but real folk music. For example, Toma Zdravković, who I could compare with Gainsbourg and listen to without any shame. I also like to listen to Vasilija Radojčić. All of this is music that comes straight from the heart. Also, the old folk songs from Cune Gojković or sevdalinkas from Himza Polovina, that can seriously throw me into melancholy. I have stopped to keep up with what is popular. I mean, I never did because I was a punker. I cannot keep up with the new stuff. For example, Last year I was in Serbia in Novi and went to Exit festival after 15 years and I have discovered one of the best bands that have appeared in the last 15 years – Idles. Madball was playing on the other stage at the same time and it was so loud that I could not stand it and then I had gone up to that small stage where there used to be, if I remember correctly, local music only and saw this band and I could not believe it. The mix of Minutemen and The Fall, but it was very explosive. It was like the first time I have heard the band Šarlo akrobata.I have several friends who are music lovers like me. One of them is a collector and in Timisoara he has over 50 thousand records, he is a friend of Bane Lokner, and so he sends me some of the rarest records that you could not believe…Punk in Yugoslavia in the 60s and some bands from Belgrade, Zagreb…This way I discover some of the old bands. Right now, I and trying to remember what he sent me that was from Serbia and rock and roll off course.

BR: Have you get the chance to listen to some new music from Gile, Bajaga, the bends that were a part of the old scene?

DP: I listened the music Bajaga made with Divna Ljubojević, but just that. From the other old ones, although I am not sure if I should put him in this group, Rambo Amadeus, for whom I have the outmost respect because the man is the king, for everything he did or will do. Hands down. I remeber, ten years ago the band Goribor was a pleasant surprise. Also, the song „Samo bluz” from Kristali, Lost Propelleros… I live in Barcelona and a lot of bands came here but mostly from underground punk scene. I have friends in Pula, Slovenia, Zagreb who visit me. Bernays propaganda from Skopje is also one of the great bands from the Balkans. One of the bands from the 90s which I really liked was the Love hunters. I am also a big lover of hip hop besides punk and rock and roll. This is what I get from Belgrade. Bvana and Prti Bee Gee are OK, especially because they love basketball. In the old 90s there was a wicked band called Badvajzer and they are the reason I started listening to hip hop. People in Romania got the craze for hip hop after the movie “Mržnja”. Recently someone has sent me the record of the band Dječaci, they are quite interesting also. Dubioza kolektiv, is popular now and they are ok. A completely new thing for me is Božo Vrećo, who is great.

darko peric interview la casa de papel
Photo: Damia Plensa

BR: What kind of foreign music you listen to?

DP: From hip hop I love KRS-One. He is the man who invented the term hip hop. Before that it was just rap. I also like Public Enemy, the champions of rap, because those are the true messages. It is Ok to have your own and respect them, but you also must respect the others. I love blues as well besides hip hop. It happens that in the period when you listen to bands like Sex Pistols and Exploited a band like The Clash appears and they had politically engaged messages in their songs. Listening to Joy Division I discovered that music does not have to be aggressive to have an engaged message. Punkers and people who listened to the mainstream music were also into Joy Division and The Smiths. Do you want me to name my favorite ex YU bands?

BR: Yes.

DP: Of punk bands, I like Kud Idijoti and Pekinška patka. In the years they were very active, especially, Pekinška patka, there were only few people who made music that way in Europe. Atomsko sklonište was one of the favorites. For a long period in my life bands like Luna and La Strada for Novi Sad were present. Laboratorija zvuka, Paraf, Talas, Rok mašina…Two of my most favorite bands fromex YU are Azra and Laibach. From Kragujevac there was KBO. There is also a great band from Novi Sad – Proleće. When we were kids, we liked this great band from Belgrade – Rotten Sausage, HC band that had lyrics written in Serbian. And if I am to go to a whole different genre – Leb I Sol band. First albums of YU Grupa were amazing. Korni grupa, Indeksi, Film and Bijelo Dugne with Bebek also, while they were god. It happens like this, I send a hard disc to a friend and he fills it up with all kinds of music, you could not believe. For example, the first albums of Josipa Lisac – they are so funky, so crazy. There are couple of songs that can give you the chills and there are always some songs from Đorđe Marjanović. „Dok čekaš sabah sa šejtanom” song from Zabranjeno Pušenjeis also one of the best albums. The first album of Bombaj štampa, Bjesovi, Idoli, Opus… There is something weird I’ve got, and I liked it – it was Valentino Bošković.

BR: How much do people in Spain know about our music?

DP: People here know about Bregović, Kusturica and No smoking orchestra, Dubioza kolektiv. There are musicians and they cannot believe what was made during the 80s in Yugoslavia when they listen to the music from that period. But mostly they are familiar with these three.

BR: I hope you were OK with the questions and that there was nothing that bothered you.

DP: I am OK with all of it. I have read that you asked some actor what he listens to before he goes on stage. Whenever I have a hard scene to do, something intense like that scene where I had to strangle Oslo, I always play the song „Tren” from Bora Dugić. It is such an emotional song and it always makes the tears run down on their own. There, I asked myself a question and gave the answer.

BR: I am glad that you have been checking out our portal. And now we also know what happened before this scene and why it is so emotional.

DP: I always joke around whenever they ask me what kind of music Helsinki listens to. It’s usually Toma Zdravković, Šaban Šaulić, Džej, Zdravko Čolić. What does Helsinki listens to in his spare time? He listens to Zdravko Čolić.

Translated by: Andrea Ambruš