My name is Milan Samko. I’m a singer and guitarist, and I work as a design engineer for a company which produces airplane interiors, especially galleys. I live in Pilsen, Czech Republic with my loving family: my wife Olga and my son Oliver Milan.
I chose this job because of a desire to work in the aviation industry – I also liked to draw since childhood. My grandfather from my mother’s side was a building designer, and this inspired me to work with technical drawings. Airplanes always made me shiver and I wanted to be a pilot as a child. I built small paper planes with a lot of shapes and paintings. As soon as I started to write and read, I created many handwritten encyclopedias about space ships, the universe, and fighter jets. My last one was about Concorde planes because of the crash of Air France flight in 2000.
Outside of my job, I love to create music and compose songs. I first became interested in music when my cousin showed me a VHS movie “The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night” when I was 12 years old. I then started to sing and play guitar, as well as other instruments like bass, drums, and piano. I did not learn cover songs; I wrote my own stuff. My parents supported me a lot and arranged a practice room at home near my bedroom, which has been a really pleasant advantage for me and my brother, who plays drums.
If I could say which musicians have inspired me, it would definitely be John Lennon, Alex Turner, Hozier, Matt Corby, and Alex Vargas. I prefer the most to play soul and R’n’B – in the end, it all sounds like rock’n’roll. What I love the most about music is that I find myself in another world during composing sessions. It is a very pleasant and satisfying feeling. I feel the special energy that comes from inside of me. It flows very naturally.
I usually start my music with a melody from the instrument, then I have some vocal melodies, then I start to write the lyrics. I’ve got only a few songs where I started the opposite way. I keep trying to find new possibilities on how to compose songs.
For recording, I’m currently using the Fender Mustang, Epiphone SG, and a Jolana Gibson Cremony from 1971. I play through the Fender 59 Bassman LTD guitar amplifier, which is one of the best amps I’ve ever played. I use the MXL V67 condenser microphone for vocals (which appeared to be the best option for my baritone voice), in combination with a T-bone MB75 dynamic microphone. I always record simultaneously with both microphones – it gives me more options to edit my record. I’m using Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as my external soundcard which I can travel with. The pedalboard equipment I use is a spring reverb from T-rex, Super-Octave OC 3 from Boss, a legendary Pedal Ibanez Tube Screamer TS 9 with an original chip from 1984 (which has a specific wide sound), and a tremolo pedal from Mooer called Trelicopter.
My favorite experience with playing music was touring through Latvia. There are plenty of beautiful places worth seeing. I played 7 concerts across the country in one week. I would like to mention the club called Mint Tints in the capital city Riga, which had an amazing atmosphere. There was a beautiful beach by the Baltic Sea in Liepaja where I jumped in. On the last day, I performed at two festivals.
My favourite music video of mine is Olympian. I wrote this song for my son Oliver. I really enjoyed filming it. Unfortunately, it rained a lot so I had to change the script, but it worked pretty well in the end. As I say, spontaneous ideas are the best.
I’m currently working on a new music video before the hot summer festival season and I’m really looking forward to it – I always enjoy the process! My future goal is to compose great songs and play them all around the world.
There are many similarities between composing music and my current occupation. There is working with the computer and you have to think about the process of the whole project – when you think about some change of design, it’s a little bit similar to changing an instrument or tempo in my track. You always have to think about the impact.
My advice to anyone looking to write and record their own songs is to let your music flow from your heart. If you are able to do that, then it’s time to record it. Do it at the moment when you have the energy and feeling. Otherwise, it will be harder to get the final version.
I have many colleagues in the office who are musicians, so we have the same topic for conversations and like to share our recording process ideas. Sharing our creative passions is very important, so it is nice that there is a magazine like Otia, which appears as a very helpful guide and nice reading for technologists from all over the world.