First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
I can describe myself as non-binary composer, songwriter, lyricist, singer, guitarist and writer. Exactly in that order. Calling myself „non-binary” is pretty important for me, because if someone expects any of the typical masculine or feminine features from me, well, it'd be better if he/she go somewhere else. That’s in short.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
Yes and no. For all these three questions. Kraków is not so big but also not so small city with everything you need to live, you don’t even need to speak polish to find a job quickly and easy. You can go almost everywhere here by foot and not get tired at all, but in the winter it’s better to not go out because it has some of the most polluted air in Europe. The music scene is a bit overdosed with few dozen good gigs that are worth checking out every week. I heard that at least a few people from Germany find Kraków similar to Berlin in the case of the music scene. Local scene influenced me a lot in the past, in my life I met lot of people who are touring around the world right now and are supporting big names bands, I met great musicians too, especially the jazz scene here is quite cool and inspiring. But now I’m mostly facing raising intolerance here and aggression, which sadly is slowly infecting also the music scene. Kraków was always fucked up right-wing and conservative, but now it’s sometimes unbearable with amount of people with stereotypical thinking.
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
At the moment I'm focused on recording two new songs and I want to go further with arrangement and recording process than in the past. Since the last 2 previous years I’m constantly thinking of improving my composing, arranging, lyric writing and singing skills. I know I could never have the expensive and professional equipment, but that does not relieve me of my duty (a duty that I imposed on myself) of communicating my ideas as precisely as possible. And overcoming my own limitations.
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What would you say are your biggest influences when it comes to art and music? Are there any bands that you would say struck you with the chord that inspired you to peruse your current path of musical aspirations?
I can easily list the artists that were influenced me the most: Micheal Jackson - since I got the album „Bad” on cassette when I was 4, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Fryderyk Chopin, Witold Lutosławski, Iron Maiden but also Dickinson’s solo albums, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (you probably know why), Madonna, The Prodigy, Nirvana, polish metal band Kat (but not that crappy metal The Great Kat) and lot of less known artist like Lxnnnie, Agura Matra, von Zachinsky, Vittuma, Kackala, Me And My Two Horses or like Silke Berlinn - she is also a very interesting person with an unique history. About other arts: painter Roberto Matta, writers like Umberto Eco, Julio Cortazar, Stanisław Lem but of course many, many others. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russel, Friedrich Nietzsche.... and many, many others!!!!
What are your thoughts on genres in general? Do you find them creatively helpful as a template to work with? Or do you find them restricting? Or possibly somewhere in between? Now that the internet has caused so much crossover in music, would you even say genre labels are relevant any more?
It could be a little surprising, but I think most people are playing exactly the same chord progression but just on instruments that have different sounds and could tag exactly the same song as rock’n’roll in one time when played on an electric guitar or as electro-industrial second time when played on other musical equipment. When it’s still exactly the same song with the same notes. I think that 90% of music around us is a pop music. Just look at great pop album „The Satanist” by Behemoth, most of songs on it have pop song structure, just because Nergal can’t sing and he has to growl doesn’t make it that much different than other pop music. Nergal is a good pop songwriter. Try to play „Messe Noire” on piano and you’ll hear what it is. Both mainstream music industry and independent music scene is defined by 80’s pop music song structure. But the root of pop music is obviously Mozart’s works. Let some symphonic orchestra play „Rhythm Is a Dancer” for example and what it will be? One of the artists that I discovered not so long ago ,and is not a pop musician, is Pamela Z. Yes there are some exceptions, but not so much. And I love good pop music.
So much has been said, and it sometimes feel that every word combination has every been taken. As a lyricist myself I know the pain of how hard it can be to articulate something in a way that is both engaging to the audience and uniquely artist. How do you find inspiration for your lyrical poetry?
Last week I wrote whole song with lyrics in less than 1,5 hours. I’m composing and writing when I need to say something and it’s quite easy then. The other thing is arranging the song. Also writing rhymed lyrics is the most natural for me, I can easily write a rhymed story, but to write a prose is a real challenge in comparison to writing rhymes in my case. Near 95% of my lyrics are about things I experienced or things I want to express. Some lines are in my head for many years, linked to people, situations etc. Then in one moment some external factor pulls the trigger and that’s it, the song is ready... So when you look at my lyrics you can learn a lot about me. I wrote few lyrics dedicated to my wife as the person who influenced me the most in my whole life and because of things we went through together.
When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?
Sometimes I just get a strike in the head and whole song is ready in a very short time, sometimes melodies, like particular lines of lyrics are in my mind for years and rest of the song also comes in just a few minutes as a reaction, for example, to a specific situation. But then the hard work begins on the arrangement. But from the beginning I have an idea what it should sound, but also I feel that mostly I cannot reach the final shape that I think the songs deserve. I’m constantly working on my arrangement skills. Seriously: every morning I feel that I’m on the very beginning of my music trip. To listen and to learn, that’s my main goal all the time.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?
Literally everything is connected. Since Wittgenstein and Einstein said what zen masters were saying ages ago, I can’t tell it differently: everything has evolved me spiritually, emotionally, logically. Or better: everything IS evolving me, because we can’t forget we’re living in a spacetime. I’m not forgetting that also everything is completely pointless, but that’s why „reality” - the thing whose existence can not be proved - is so exciting.
Would you consider yourself to be an overall political or spiritual individual? If so, if how what would you say are your strongest/most important views and/or causes?
Both, because like I said above everything is connected. I stopped thinking that anything belongs to me some time ago. I am part of the spacetime, I belong to everything around me. But it also affects my everyday decisions, like to say „no” when hearing racist or sexist jokes when I can (when I know nobody’s get hurt or get fired because of his/her views and encourage to say „no”), say „no” to violence everywhere I can, but when I can’t, accept the situation and try to react when my position will be different. Of course I made lot of mistakes and I’m still making some from time to time, but it all IS BRINGING me to here where I am now. But to say it all more simply in colloquial language: I’m a pacifist. Only total disarmament will ensure peace.
Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path?
The most important moments is my so called „career” were the crisis moments. When everything is screwed totally then it’s a time to learn something. But I won’t tell who, how and what tried to break me, but somehow I’m thankful for it now, one of my best songs „Fear Of Freedom” was written as reaction to one situation when I played live with a Polish folk, a bit famous here these days in a „punk-like” band and it was probably the most unpleasant experience when performing live. But I wouldn’t write the song if it did not happen! So I’m really thankful.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
I can quit the job just to finish the song. Fortunately me and my wife still have something to eat and have a roof over our heads.
For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
I always talk too much on live gigs, I treat live performances as a meeting with people, sometimes I’m asking people a lot of questions when I’m performing live.
When it comes to performing, what are your favorite sort of venues to play in, and what are your favorite areas to tour? If you could tour with any other band in the world who would it be and why? What are some of your favorite memories of touring?
I can perform literally everywhere and anytime. Of course not when I’m composing or recording new stuff. But it’s the only limitation. I have no favorite venues, because if at least one person is having good time on my gig, this is the best place in that moment. If you have a nice tea and a possibility to bring me to your place, I can perform just for you. Or for a cat or dog you’re living with.
Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity? If you could collaborate with any musician or artist, dead or alive, who would it be? And what in particular draws you to want to collaborate with them?
Currently I don’t have any side projects maybe except one piece of work for tape and voice of contemporary female polish composer of an electroacoustic music that my vocal teacher urges me to record a vocal for it. In case of famous people, I would love to collaborate maybe with Daniel Johnston, Bruce Springsteen and John Cage and I really don’t know why, probably Springsteen is the first person that I would sit and play the guitar and sing with. But also I would love to meet Bruce Dickinson and talk a little about Crowley.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Answer is very simple: my own limitations.
Promotion can be one of the most difficult things in the music industry. Do you have an agent that helps book shows and manage your online presence, or have you decided to trek it out without and mantle the reigns of the social media apparatus yourself? Is it difficult engaging the online world consistently and originally, or do you find it easy?
I’m just taking any chance and opportunity I have. When I’m hearing that someone’s talking about organizing a show I’m creaming: „I can play”. And that’s how it goes. Sometimes someone is asking if I can play and the answer is always the same: anytime, anywhere. As for online promotion some people helped me last year, like Andrey from the label Synth-Me. Hans of Featzig Camp - a very nice underground fest in Germany made an excellent work last year. But I’m trying to take any chance I can.
In an industry that is driven by sales, and consumerism, what are your thoughts on digital downloads (legal and illegal)? Do you feel that streaming and digital download stores aid the accessibility of music? How about music piracy? It obviously hurts sales in some regards, but it also boosts the access and distribution of the release which could lead to potential fans who do come to shows, buy physical copies of music, and get merchandise? Do you feel there would be enough turn around in that sort of system or are you firmly against file sharing?
That’s a good question. In my opinion one of the biggest problems of this world is access to a high culture. In a long run solving it could even help with solving the world hunger. In BIG SHORT. It could sounds crazy, but sensitize to art, especially so called „high art” could change people’s everyday decisions. And further it could change everything. Illegally downloaded music could even save someone’s life. Literally. Do you know how crazy the words „isolation is not good for me” sound when you’re sitting in a cell in jail? And I just reminded one popular song, so imagine just what more sophisticated art could do. But of course it would be good to not let artists starve. Then I have not just one simple answer.
When it comes to non-musical media, what do you find yourself most inspired by, and what about it draws you to it as a source of inspiration? Do you participate in the gaming world? Avid reader perhaps? Maybe cinema fan? Combination of some lol?
Avid reader!!! I’m enjoying also paintings exhibitions and art albums. And the cinema fan!!! I love all those great american social issues movies like „12 angry men”, „Missisipi burning”, „Philadelphia”, „Children of lesser God”, „Dallas Buyers Club” and from last few years „Spotlight” and „Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”. Only damn Americans can make this kind of films...
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Yes. believe me people, I have started to take voice lessons and it should bring some effect soon, so check out my music this year, for sure it will be better and better. Thanks you very much, it was a pleasure to share with all of you with some thoughts.
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