Michal Menert

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Michal Menert
Born (1982-06-10) June 10, 1982 (age 36)
Kielce, Poland
OriginFort Collins, Colorado
GenresElectronica, nu jazz, hip hop, soul, trip hop
Occupation(s)Music producer
Years active1997–present
Associated acts

Michal Menert (born June 10, 1982) is a Polish-born American electronic music producer and the founder of Super Best Records. He was also the first artist on the Pretty Lights Music label and was an integral part of Pretty Lights, producing Pretty Lights debut album, Taking Up Your Precious Time as well as contributing to several tracks after his official departure from the project. Menert tours with a 7 piece band including MC, violin, and DJ.

Early life[edit]

Michal Menert was born in Kielce, Poland and spent his early years in Krakow, when Poland was still part of the Eastern Bloc, under the rule of the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. His parents were professionals in academia and industry, and would fill the house with banned books and Western music. His father, Tadeusz (Tad) Adam Menert, had a passion for music and played drums in a small Polish psych-rock band.[1]

In 1986, he "was forced to leave Poland due to various political reasons", Tadeusz Menert later wrote. He and his family migrated to West Germany. From there they migrated to the United States in 1987 with the help of a sponsor they met through Antic's letter column,[2][3] and moved to Loveland, Colorado where Tadeusz Menert became a librarian at the Larimer County Detention Center.[3]

Menert started skateboarding with Derek Vincent Smith in the 8th grade. The pair, together with a drummer Menert knew, began making music after Smith brought a bass guitar to skating session. In his freshman year of high school Menert met Paul Brandt who eventually replaced their original drummer. Calling themselves "The Freeze", the band consisted of Derek Vincent Smith on the bass guitar, Michal Menert on the guitar and keyboard, and Paul Brandt on the drums. The group was influenced by artists like the Beastie Boys, Tha Alkaholiks, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, The Roots, and The Casualties as well as by old school hip hop, funk, punk rock, and the skater culture.[4] The band placed second in a community battle of bands in their sophomore year.[5]


Early 2000s: May to December[edit]

After high school Menert attended college for one year with Smith and Brandt.[4] In the early 2000s, under the name AES, Michal began producing hip hop music both on his own as well as with friends in the music groups Gone, Listen (stylized Listen.), and Makeshift Gods. Menert's first solo album, May to December was released on April 27, 2003[6] In repayment of back rent for studio time, Menert worked part-time with Derek Vincent Smith as an engineer at Morningwood Studios in Fort Collins.[7][8]

2004−2006: Taking Up Your Precious Time[edit]

Derek Vincent Smith and Michal Menert began working on Pretty Lights as a side project in the summer of 2004,[9][10] producing the first album, Taking Up Your Precious Time in 2005 while on a trip to Europe. The album was released the following October.[11] Believing it did not make sense to charge for a product that individuals would simply rip off the internet, Menert and Smith mimicked the business model of Steely Dan by releasing the album for free. They hoped that the music would catch on and they could make money playing shows.[10] As a side project the pair did not feel any pressure to make money on the music. Menert and Smith initially promoted the album by reverse searching people's music interests on Myspace and sending messages to them about the free album.[12]

On December 7, 2006, twenty-four-year-old Michal Menert was robbed at gunpoint and severely injured by three Loveland, Colorado gang members during a drug deal. Menert fled the scene and was found by police on a sidewalk in downtown Loveland. He was admitted to McKee Medical Center in Loveland with a stab wound in the chest just missing his heart and a tip to wrist laceration with tendonal damage on his dominant hand. While Menert was in the hospital, Pretty Lights was becoming more well known and after discussion Derek Vincent Smith proceeded with the project on his own.[10][11][13][14][15]

2007−2011: Dreaming of a Bigger Life[edit]

After Menert left the hospital in 2007 he learned his father, who had previously been diagnosed with cancer, had become more sick and needed a caregiver.[11] While caring for his father, Michal collaborated with friend Benjamin O'Neill on a never released project called The Years in 2007 and 2008[16] and worked with Paul Brandt on their collaboration Half Color in 2008.[17] A few years later (c.a. 2009) on his way to his first show after his injury, Menert was pulled over for swerving and arrested for distributing narcotics to an undercover officer two years prior. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge, Menert was sentenced to three years of probation, six months in prison, and 200 hours of community service. Due to his father's declining health Menert served his six months under house arrest rather than in prison.[11]

While taking care of his father and under house arrest, Menert worked at Walmart and produced his album Dreaming of a Bigger Life.[11] By spring 2010, Derek Vincent Smith had produced two solo albums under the name Pretty Lights and the project had undergone a shift in sound. Rather than rejoin Pretty Lights, Menert chose to create a solo project under his own name. On June 8, 2010, one week after his father's death due to cancer, Menert released Dreaming of a Bigger Life for free as the first album of the newly formed Pretty Lights Music label.[18][19] Menert's debut live performance was at the 2010 Sonic Bloom music festival in Bellvue, Colorado.[20]

2012−2014: Even If It Isn't Right[edit]

Menert released his 27-track album Even If It Isn't Right on April 24, 2012. Collaborating artists on the album include SuperVision, Paul Basic, and Derek VanScoten.[citation needed]

From November 2012 to April 2013, Michal Menert released a four-part series of singles called Elements.[21] A vinyl release followed in 2014.[citation needed]

2015-present: Dream Season, Elements and Space Jazz[edit]

In April 2014, Elements was released as an EP on Super Best Records. Menert, described Elements as a tribute to alchemy. Elements became a name-your-price digital release followed by vinyl shortly after. Menert produced the album with Mux Mool.[citation needed]

Menert released Space Jazz on April 21, 2015. His first full-length album since "Even If It Isn't Right" in 2012.[citation needed]

Space Jazz was released on vinyl February 19, 2016.[22]

Super Best Records[edit]

Michal Menert works with producers he chooses for his own record label, Super Best Records. Super Best Records roster currently include Late Night Radio, KEEPLOVE?, JK Soul, Shuj Roswell, Mux Mool, Maddy O'Neal (formerly from Krooked Drivers), The PARTY People, Tnertle, Willdabeast.[citation needed]

Michal Menert Big Band[edit]

The Michal Menert Big Band - an 18-piece ensemble led by Menert - debuted in 2014. The band has performed Menert's catalog to large audiences at notable locations including a November 2014 performance at Fillmore Auditorium in Denver and an April 2015 performance at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre.[citation needed]. Menert also played at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with the Floozies in October 2015 as well as many notable summer music festivals such as Summer Camp Music Festival and Sonic Bloom Music Festival.

Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics[edit]

Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics debuted in 2015. This is 7 piece band including a DJ, MC, and violinist. They are scheduled to play at major music festivals in summer 2015.


Michal Menert discography
Title Album details Notes References
Invisible People
  • Released: 2003
  • Label: Voicebox Records
  • Formats: Vinyl

as AES in the "Makeshift Gods"

May To December
  • Released: 2003
  • Label: Voicebox Records
  • Formats: Compact Disc

as AES

  • Released: 2005
  • Label: None
  • Formats: Digital

with Derek Vincent Smith

Taking Up Your Precious Time
  • Released: 2006
  • Label: Pretty Lights Music
  • Formats: CD, Digital

as part of Pretty Lights with Derek Vincent Smith

Dreaming of A Bigger Life
  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Pretty Lights Music
  • Formats: Digital

with tracks co-produced by Paul Basic

Even If It Isn't Right
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Pretty Lights Music
  • Formats: Digital

with tracks co-produced by SuperVision, Derek VanScoten, Paul Basic, and Outlet

Twilight Frequency
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: None
  • Formats: Digital

with Break Science

  • Released: December 2014 (digital), April 2014 (vinyl)
  • Label: Super Best Records
  • Formats: Digital, vinyl

Released as a series of singles from November 2012 to April 2013. A vinyl EP was released in 2014.

Dream Season
  • Released: 2015
  • Label: Super Best Records
  • Formats: Digital

as part of "Half Color" with Paul Basic

Space Jazz
  • Released: 2015
  • Label: Super Best Records
  • Formats: Digital, Compact Disc, Vinyl
Michal Menert and the pretty fantastics 1
  • Released: 2015
  • Label: Super Best Records
  • Formats: Digital, Compact Disc


  1. ^ Rhodes, Nick (23 March 2012). "Getting To Know: MICHAL MENERT". Headstash. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  2. ^ Menert, Tadeusz (May 1988). "Poland to USA via Antic I/O". Antic. Vol. 7 no. 1.
  3. ^ a b "Tadeusz (Tad) Adam Menert". Coloradoan. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b TBM. "Michal Menert [Interview]". thebeatmpls.com. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  5. ^ Baca, Ricardo. "The Reverb Interview: Derek Vincent Smith, a.k.a. Pretty Lights". Reverb. The Denver Post. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  6. ^ "May to December". cdbaby. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  7. ^ Todosijevic, Zlatko. "Interview with Michal Menert". Soundfuse. Soundfuse Magazine. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140106031836/http://old.gothictheatre.com/artists/detail/derek-vincent-smith. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Voicebox Records Archive". Voicebox Records. Voicebox Records. Archived from the original on June 3, 2004. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Reen, Jash. "Interview: Michal Menert (Pretty Lights Music)". Wild City. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e Chester, Britt. "Michal Menert is stronger than ever on Dreaming of a Bigger Life". Denver Westword, LLC. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Michal Menert Interview: Get Ready To Learn A Lot, Including How To Pronounce "Michal Menert"". Sophistefunk. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  13. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20130601122714/http://m.rockymountainnews.com/news/2006/Dec/15/two-arrested-third-sought-in-stabbings/. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "3rd arrest in stabbing of 2 men in December". M.rockymountainnews.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Two men arrested in December stabbing in Loveland". Highbeam.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  16. ^ Menert, Michal. "The Years - Remember June". SoundCloud. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Half Color". Facebook. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Tri State Indie - An Evening Cruise with Michal Menert + Insane Electric Factory Show". Tristateindia.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  19. ^ "Interview: Michal Menert (Pretty Lights Music)". Thewildcity.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  20. ^ "PRETTY LIGHTS MUSIC (THE RECORD LABEL)". Facebook.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  21. ^ Almodovar, Tyler (17 May 2013). "Michal Menert – Your Ghost (Part 4 Of "Elements" Series)". White Rave Rafting. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Michal Menert - It's finally (almost) here! Space Jazz,... | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-02-22.