Interview with Mariusz in Belgian magazine Progresiste
Mariusz: The Pinkroom band was formed quite a while ago, it went through transformations, changes of line-up, and for the last two years it exists as a duo that involves Me and Marcin, as we are members of the group from the beginning and founders of this project. Though, everything beginned earlier, when I met Marcin after few years since our earlier group, EMPTY ROOM, disbanded. In the meantime Marcin played in metal band called ISLAND. So when we met again we sat for a few nights considering starting the new band and, with Tomek Sanigórski (guitar) and Daniel Karwicki (bass), we decided to reach for the genre that is forgotten in Poland, which is art-rock. We began to jam with each other. After a few personal changes we formed the trio: Me, Macin Kledzik and Kacper Ostrowski (bass) and we began to compose the material. From the beginning the band decided to give up any live performing until the record will be issued. Unfortunately in 2008 Kacper leaved the group an from this moment PINKROOM is a duo. At that time I already was very determined to lead Pinkroom to publishing the album, paying no attention to adversities. Because of that I decided to give up my job for a while and focus on composing music. For some period I was saving money to realise what I planned. I put the resignation on my employer’s desk and after a few days there were only me and music. For a few months I worked hard, sitting every day at the rehearsal room and composing tunes and then improving them with Marcin. When the whole material was ready I began searching for the recording studio. I really cared about the sound quality and the realisation that could compare to west or american records. By accident I went to Maciej Feddek’s JET studio in Nowy Dwór near Bydgoszcz. My friend took me there saying that his colleague is probably recording something at that place. Maciej turn out to be outstanding professional, he knew exactly what he wanted and so we produced that album together.
« Psychosolstice » is the first album of Pinkroom. Can you tell us the genesis of this album ? What has been the creation process of it ? What are each member contribution ?
Mariusz: Album was not exactly supposed to be the concept-album, the pieces were created for quite a long time, some of them are already few years old. After all in my opinion the record is coherent and can be taken as one story, maybe because it tells about complicated human nature, and we are exactly like this. From the beginning we wanted our music to be fresh, and not attached anyhow to so called progressive rock, at that time every band from this genre was playing the same way, they were copying old and worn out ideas, we didn’t want to hear that in our music. First pieces were born from collective playing and improvising during rehearsals – that’s how 2am, Moodroom or Days Which Should Not Be were created. The rest of tunes mainly I composed by myself, because only I went for all the marbles and devoted all my time for composing. As far as creative process is concerned I always try to make music tell something by itself, not to make it as a cliche mix of choruses and verses that makes a background for lyrics and vocals. I put a special attention on particular riffs and arrangement of sounds, for example after I play something and I notice it’s similar to something else that I’ve heard before – I discard the idea and try to find another way. The most important for me are the emotions contained in sounds, I search for such parts that carry some load of energy. Because of that during the recording of cello I recorded initial draft on keyboards and presented it to Ania Szczygieł, then she sat down, she closed her eyes and basing on it she played straight from soul. Then she tried another few times listening to the instructions of Marcin and producer, but for me it wasn’t It. Paying no attention to imperfections I insisted on that first version because I think it has the sincerity and feeling. Listener of such music as ours would know at once if the part is sincere or if it’s forced. That is the reason for which I like David Gilmour’s solo parts so much, there are so many emotions contained in just few sounds, comparing it to fast, technical, spectacular playing – I always choose that first option. Most of the guitar solo parts I recorded in studio without practising it before, I wanted it to sound true, improvising is my favourite way of composing. I don’t really care about music canons and rules, if something sounds good to me then I think it’s mine, that’s all. The only intentional element of our pieces is breaking the rythms, we don’t exactly like tunes in standard 4/4 measure.
When you create a song, could you describe what you believe are good words and what is a good song for Pinkroom?
Mariusz: I don’t really limit myself as far as music genres are concerned. I think there are many different genres contained on our record, from jazz, through pop, up to metal. I believe the most important thing is to create in harmony with own self. If I composed a tune that has a tint of pop music, I don’t reject it at once because of that, I think if I had such need then I have to follow the voice of my soul. Then there is a chance that the record will be interesting and the listener won’t be bored. I’ve never wanted to play one-genre music, I’m not really into records on which one piece is similar to another, played on the same match of instruments and in similar way. Basically, each of our tunes is different, in each I use different effects and sounds. There is trumpet, flute, cello in two of the tunes, various samples, backgrounds and keyboards. Basing on that what I just said someone may think that there must be quite a mess on that record but I guarantee that it’s not like that. The material is very coherent and fastened by rythm section, vocals and sound of guitars. Whole record is very well produced so there’s no need to be concerned. Besides, the reviews that showed up so far confirm that everything from the music and lyrics up to graphics sums up as integrity.
Speaking of lyrics – I didn’t write them, but even though I can say that they are personal for me, maybe becouse of the fact that I know Marcin – the author of most of them – for a very long time and we have slimilar view on reality. Lyrics are always created under the influence of impulse, considerations. Almost every one of them are about human’s psychic dilemmas, spiritual lostness. They are not really telling the story about particular event, they are more like description of author’s state during writing. Marcin always says that when he feels the need to fill the piece of paper there starts something he calls „picture thinking” and he tries to describe that pictures. I think you could easily imagine that world after deep familiarizing with lyric layers of Stonegarden, The Days… or Recognized. And under the mask of surrealism there hides the feeling of loneliness and lack of being understand, longing for something good, questions without answers.It is certain that though subversive name Pinkroom will not describe in lyrics happiness, parties for teenagers or a beauty of nature. We would rather like to put attention on fact that the world is not so pink and sometimes somewhere there is such individual that doesn’t agree with everything that media and progress of civilisation are serving to us.
Is there a hidden meaning behind the title of the album?
Mariusz: You could say that, besides – as I mentioned before – the whole production is an integrity. While searching for good title I looked at the cover, read the lyrics, listened to tunes, I wanted title to be original and describe the content of the record. And so Psychosolstice refers to the wholeness. „Solstice” is an astronomical term, solstice of day with night, point in which day begins to be longer than night, such turn, change. „Psyche” is soul, mind, inside. The title symbolizes the psychic change, psychic solstice, soul of a man on the edge, or even literally psycho, insane solstice. Such swelling thoughts inside the head finally have to fly out the nest, ripping out the part of you, there appears the wish to escape from it all, to scream out at free open space, hope to be free of the world in which people function like robots, don’t respect each other, pollute themselves and enviroment, closing in houses with cameras exposing themselves for public peeping etc. But each one can unerstand it in own way, graphics and title are supposed to inspire the considerations.
The album has a sound and a style quite close to Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd or Riverside. Are these groups a strong influence for you ?
Mariusz: Many bands that I’ve listened or still listen to influenced for sure my view on music. Pink Floyd is the band that formed me, it was the first band to reach my consciousness as a group that created music that acts on imagination, their records became determinant of what I was searching in music, I mean rich arrangements, emotions, non-trivial lyrics. Their music was like religion so I don’t deny that they influenced my creativity. I’m still impressed by records made in that times. And Roger Waters’ concert in Warsaw that I’ve been to was a great mystical experience. Porcupine Tree became some kind of continuation of these fascinations by psychedelic rock, beautiful nostalgic sound passages, I really appreciate Steven Wilson’s approach to music, he doesn’t limit himself by genres as well, he does his own thing and he does it great. Even though, as I said before, I try not to copy someone’s ideas, if I heard something before – I discard it, and eventual associations to that bands may be the result of my being fond of their attitude towards music as the work of art that becomes of affect or emotion. Just like them I try to make rich and uncommon music. Certainly, you can’t avoid some accretions, but is it wrong to be compared to such masters? In regard to Riverside – I’m actually surprised that someone can hear such influences, I really respect their work and I’m glad that polish music is finally as good and well recieved around the world but many of my tunes were composed before I heard their records and I don’t like some elements of that albums, I’m rather fond of work of Mariusz Duda under the CD called Lunaticsoul.
What are other influences of the band ? How do they influence your music ?
Mariusz: I will not hide our fascination, but I would like to say that they are only the stimuli that inspired us to create. Certainly in our music one can hear the influences of famous King Crimson. We value their creativity and approach to music. They first showed me that there is no need to be afraid of no-matching sounds that there is no such thing as musical canons but first of all they showed that they do not have to create sweet songs for the masses, we can reach human psyche with other means much more valuable that compel the listener to think, and sometimes to change their lives. People compare us with various bands which means the influences are not unequivocal and we are not a copy other band. Man creates new with transforming what already exists. Some bands infected me with poly metric rythms, some with complex compositions, the others with melodiousness finally. As everyone i had periods of fascination, one time it was a fascination with Pink Floyd, Jimi Page guitar again, and, another time a rich area of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. Heavy music is also not alien to me. I try to listen to everything that has some emotional value. It is known that when a band makes its debut they have to compare it to something which already exists, to determine approximately what music we play. It’s a bit like the exotic fruits, if you eat unknown fruit a first time, often you say „tastes a little like, pear, mixed with orange,” etc. I hope that when the next CD comes out it will be an axotic fruit Pinkroom flavoured. will be such an exotic fruit with flavor Pinkroom. I agree with one think, I wanted the album sound quality to be on top bands’ level. Therefore, an important part of the puzzle turned out to be a studio where we recorded and engineer who understands what I say to him.
Your music can be classified as Progressive music ? Is this a classification that you would accept ? Would you require another one ?
Mariusz: We know a band must be attached somewhere, but saying our music is difficult to determine and that we don’t like pigeonholing, we would fall directly the drawer occupied with bands that say they are original and can not be determined. However, we rather consciously create our music. In my opinion, we play rock music, certainly guitar, with multiple layers of moods, melodies interspersed with seemingly noisy disharmony. We also like to play with rhythm, but not to the extent that it sounds like musical showing off. All this in gentle electronic backgrounds sauce. I don’t really know today’s music genre, recently I checked one of the foreign websites and found a progressive example of such species called the Proto Prog from The Beatles and Dorsami headed. Funny is pinning all the patches, because in my opinion a true musician creates for his own pleasure, but time will show which drawer they throw us into. The main thing is to create in harmony with oneself. As for the term progressive rock, I try to approached it with caution because many bands determined this way, don’t create nothing new or progressive they only copy old good ideas.
There are also some Jazzy influences (curse, moodroom v2). Is this also a genre that influence your music?
Mariusz: First of all I would like to correct the mistake in album’s cover. The list of pieces is mistaken and Curse stands for 2am which should be the other way around. Maybe one day the first edition will be a collectors’ rarity Answering your question we also naturally listen to jazz. As I mentioned before we enjoy improvising which is a key jazz element. I often admire the skills and emotional devotion of jazz musicians’ performances. We have never play cover songs in our rehearsals even before our own material was written. We improvised instead,sometimes for many hours with no breaks, changing motifs. This is how 2am piece was created, played and luckily recorded during one of the rehearsals. Important feature that Pinkroom’s music consists of is that Marcin is strongly into jazz and fusion therefore he wants the drums to be more organic than A to Z organised. Adding some emotions as we play makes music live its own life,makes it exceptional, the listener can easily sink into this lyrical musical picture.
Is it easy or difficult to play and promote music like yours in Poland?
Mariusz: I think it is quite difficult in Poland with such music as we play. in large mash music for the mass created by marketing dragons there is nothing left for us but doing our own thing and reach specific groups of listeners who in music are looking for something more than a bouncing rhythm. Besides, it is probably just a little better in the West. Fortunately, in my opinion, people are already bored with this monotony and already begin to search for thinking music. It’s far from the revolution, because the major labels, unfortunately, keep everything in their hands, the radio plays their songs nonstop, practically every radio has the same playlist. But there are also other broadcasts playing real music. At this time, more fans heared about us outside Poland: Germany, France, USA. We will not force Pinkroom’s promotion in Poland, given the fact that the contents of album we recorded and lyrics have chance to appeal to everyone, no matter if you are from Russia or from Australia.
Do you have contact with other Polish bands such as Riverside or others?
Mariusz: We have just begin our journey in the music scene so we do not have any major contacts, especially since most bands with our genres are from Warsaw, and we are from Bydgoszcz. But we have their support and sometimes we talk by phone with the guys from Indukti or via e-mail from Riverside, they are very helpful and we often use their advice that help us make steps on this path. I think that in the near future we will meet in joint concerts.
What are the things you are happy about this album and what would you like to redo ?
Mariusz: It may seem strange, but I wouldn’t change anything in this record,.I like it very much and the strangest thing is that I can still listen to it in its entirety, although during production I have listened to it already 346 times. I do not at all boring. Maybe I would work a little on the mix of some moments, there’s always some deficiency, but overall I’m happy with it in 100%. I wish the second album will be just as good.
What are your project for near future ?
Mariusz: Currently we are working on video and promoting our album. we are aware that Pinkroom is a debut band and people will gradually discover us . 3 new members joined the band for the concerts and we played a concert in the Polish Radio PiK. we plan on touring to show our material in a live version. Some musical surprises are prepaired for this occasion. We also composed some new songs and we plan to work on the next album in winter. I am also working on a solo project, so there’s lots of work. Gradually our music reaches different corners of the globe and we hope that we get to people who seek this kind of music as Psychosolstice.
What would you say to our reader to invite them to listen to your music ?
Mariusz: Certainly emotions in our music are unique. It is hard to me convince anyone. I think that anyone who expects something more from music than catchy melodies embellished with rhythm, certainly will be not disappointed. Listening to our music one can stop for a moment and explore multi-layered worlds that we created . Certainly this is not an album for a single listening. As I said music is everything to me I would not want to be off the chosen path, would be nice if more people fall into the same train.