I would like to being this conversation by showing my gratitude and appreciation for your music and your time to answer this interview. I sincerely appreciate this. I cannot put in words how much I enjoyed “O turniach, jeziorach i nocnych szlakach”. It is truly a work of beauty. I’d like to know what draws you to create music. What inspires you to play the style of music that you do. What influences you when it comes to your musical process? Especially when it comes to the latest album.
W.: The recent album was inspired by our little homelands of Warmia – the land of lakes and forests to the north; and Lesser Poland. The land of might Tatra mountains down south. Tracks 3 and 5 tell stories of the former, and 2 and 5 – the latter. Those lands shaped us, we grew our roots there, they made us who we are. This is a homage to them, a story told from a perspective of a lone wanderer.
R: Our homeland – of highest peaks to deepest depths, forgotten wood paths where only moon’s glow shows the way, misty fields and sleeping villages, keys of departing birds, calmness of still lakes fire, burning horizons, powerful blows of the wind, old tales, fables, forgotten legends, traditions of simple people from the countryside.
Still about Wędrujący Wiatr composition process, we know that the band is a duo, Razor and W. How does the songwriting work? Do you work together or individually? And as for the lyrics, could you share with us the process of their creation as well? In addition to that, when it comes to the lyrics, I have read about its themes, but I do not speak Polish. I do, however, find it more intriguing and mysterious than if they were in English. Could you tell us some of the main subjects that you deal with when creating your lyrical work?
W.: We usually come with a certain concept together or separately – this often might be an “image” we would like to capture with our music – and then I start to write some guitars. I usually record few fragments and send them to Razor and then he works with them – arranges them, does drumming, keys and stuff. Lyrics and vocals are done in the end. We think of our music as of canvas on which we paint a certain scenery; lyrics are very important but they rather complement the music.
R: In lyrics we describe the nature of where we live at, but also dive into some of our regional legends. For example “Na łańskam jyziorze” is legend from Warmia about tragic love history of two people and their child. In the “U stóp śniącego króla Tatr” there are elements of legends from Podhale, about sleeping knights below Giewont peak.
Both of your full-length albums feature album covers that completely fit the music and, in my humble opinion, look great. What can you tell us about them? How important is the image aesthetics for the band? I mean when it comes to the pictures the band shares, the covers, the colours used. And how important is the cover art for the band? Speaking of that, I just remembered of TT from Abigor, stating in an interview I conducted with him that “Black Metal releases are comprehensive works of art! The cover in good quality, booklet artwork, lyrics, CD or LP carefully mastered – this can be an ultimate and even enlightening experience.” How do you feel about this?
W.: I agree, since I see an album cover as a part of a greater whole along with music, message, band’s image and so on. Many bands ruin the atmosphere they make with their music by poor imagery. We carefully thought the visual concept through also regarding our image as musicians. Typical “metal” imagery consisting of some long-haired dudes making muscles in forests or some industiral scenery is ridiculous and since very beginning we wanted not to look like metal band and this also applies to my other projects.
Your country is the home to many, many outstanding extreme metal bands. It is interesting to see how many great bands come from Poland, playing interesting music. And, of course, Wędrujący Wiatr is not an exception. How do you feel about the musical scene in Poland? And to what do you credit so much amazing extreme metal bands coming from your country?
W.: I like polish black metal underground from the 90’s – bands such as (old) Graveland, Veles, Fullmoon, Ohtar, Infernum, Werewolf, etc. and much of the modern black metal is completely out of my interest. Polish scene back then was radical, now it is very much about “art” rather than ideology it seems.
R: I think that polish scene is ok. From 2016 I like new album of Wędrowcy~Tułacze~Zbiegi. Generally I prefer the older BM’s scene.
How do you see all these attacks against the Black Metal movement and bands. I am talking about the cancelation of the Graveland concert in Canada. This question is not about your relation or lack of with the band or it’s political or not political views. Or yours, if you have any for that matter, but rather, all the attacks, some even physical, against bands that plays a more extreme form of metal, such as Graveland or Peste Noire.
W.: (Anti)fascists tried to block Graveland’s first gig in Poland too, but the best they could do was Internet battle. It is funny to see how those “freedom fighters” try to censor everything that does not fit their liberal concept of art and yet people submit to them. Those are flies to be swat in a lazy manner and if black metal community yields to such actions then they get what they deserve. Of course I understand that many gig organisers or venue owners simply want to stay out of trouble, but the problem is that such actions are actually permited and not much beside Internet ranting happens.
I neither think that “art has no limitations”, especially that much of modern so-called art is simply shit, but black metal was always something more than plain art and it is a bit surprising to me that what once was a rebel movement can be halted so easily by bunch of useful idiots.
R: I thought that black metal is war so let them fight.
It’s always interesting to hear/ read the opinions of the musicians that creates music that I admire on some subjects. I feel that, nowadays, we live more of empty lives. Well, most of us anyways. There’s no social contact anymore, or real contact, as a matter of fact. People wake up, face the traffic, work, go back home, check the internet, watch television, sleep and then it’s all over again. Being fed what they must do, buy and believe in. How do you feel about this? Where do you see society heading to?
W.: I’ve been living in a city my whole life and can tell that cities slowly kill us all. They are the root to much evil and degeneration that happens to people, be it on individual on social level. My hometown, at least, is rather small and very close to vast forests and fields, but it is still a machine that consumes lives. I, myself, try to be as creative I can after hours; and then there is also family which is the first and ultimate haven. I deeply despise modern lifestyle you described and except the fact I too have to commute and do something for living, I try to distance myself from city life as much as it is possible on a daily basis.
The question in which I always ask the musicians a bit about themselves, but not concerning your musical tastes and backgrounds. Obviously, I do not invade your private affairs. What I ask you to share with us are some of your favourite activities outside the musical world, such as cinema, literature, tourism, drinks, anything that you’d like share with us.
W.: I am priest in a pagan community and much of my activities are somehow connected to this – I wrote two books, some articles, etc. and am constantly trying to expand my knowledge on the matter. I also write some novels occasionally and read a lot (mostly SciFi and polish XIXth century books about folk life). Oh, there is some drinking too, yes. And a plain family life.
R: I like to read, but personally I have no favourite book genre, as opposite to the movies where I very like horror films, especially ones from 70′-80’s. I would like to travel and visit new places but at this moment lots of work and little time won’t allow me to do it.
One more time about Poland, but outside music now, well, I am an admirer of the Polish cinema. Even though I do not share the views of some of the Polish moviemakers I regard the most, I can see the beauty and quality of their works. How deep and dense they are. How do you feel about the movie industry from your country? Besides that, I am a world traveller. I find Poland extremely beautiful, but, so far, I’ve only seen the touristy, major spots. Could you share with us some places, cities, regions or attractions for those that would like to see the real Poland, the true Polish spirit?
W.: I am not very much interested in cinema, be it Polish or not. I like SciFi and historical movies. I like polish cinema from the 90,s, “Ogniem i Mieczem” and “Pan Tadeusz” screen adaptations for example and also works of Stanisłąw Bareja, Wojciech Smarzowski or Marek Koterski, but I watch movies very occasionally and often do not care who made them if they are good. I do not follow the news from movie industry too so can’t say much on this topic.
R: I like old cult comedy films from Stanisław Bareja. Some 90’s movies were fine too. Nowadays I deeply appreciate movies of Wojciech Smarzowski – he has very good feeling for the themes he takes on and a great dose of naturalism. Masterpieces.
As for the sightseeing aspect – I’m not to able say which of Poland’s parts is the most beautiful – our country is beautiful everywhere, each area has own history and traditions.
In your personal opinion, and this is not about releases, but rather your expectations, what do you think, what do you believe that the future holds for Wędrujący Wiatr? And what do you wish that will happen in the future with the band? This is, in my modest view, one amazing band. I surely hope to see and listen to more and more new releases from you. However, do you feel the need to focus on your other bands as well for a while more?
W.: We will surely write more music and recently we have talked of doing this more often than every 2 – 3 years. There will certainly be no concerts too. My other projects will have their time, but right now I am interested in making some ambient/folk/dungeon synth stuff and will probably focus on that.
R: At this moment we have plans to record something like EP in the form of one, very long song. Far future? Time will tell.
And so we have reached the end of the interview. Hopefully, you and the readers have enjoyed this piece of conversation we had here. One more time, I want to thank you for your time and patience. I also would like to wish you nothing but the best in your plans, musical, professional and personal. I leave you with the last words of the interview.
W.: I can only thank you for interesting questions and thank all people who support us, since the feedback we receive is enormous and – while we have rather egoistic approach to our music – it is still giving us motivation and energy to keep up what we do.
R: All the best.
February 21, 2017