Friday, 29 July 2011 06:32

Wired in #20: PUSTKI

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Looking for a band that really embraces the European mind set? Check out PUSTKI, a fantastic band from Warsaw, Poland! This combo writes their songs in Polish, plays international festivals, loves European inspiration and puts together a catchy yet unique sound. It‘s great to come across a band that has managed to create new music that you can relate to whether you understand the Polish lyrics or not. I interviewed PUSTKI‘s bassist Szymon Tarkowski for E&M; read on to find out what he thinks about playing gigs outside his home country and listening to non English music. 

E&M: A couple of years back you wrote quite a lot of music for movies and theatre productions. In what way is that different from being totally free to write?

Pustki: We're still doing it. Last month we wrote some music for a movie about Gdynia (a town in northern Poland). It actually gives you even more freedom than writing songs, because you're not restricted to the typical form of a song - you can expand your ideas and concentrate more on instrumental parts. This is always a nice change from our normal activities.

E&M: Pustki songs have really cool music videos.  Who comes up with the concepts?

Pustki: Usually we allow people who make our videos to come up with their own ideas but we always discuss things first and if we don't like anything we won't do it. We're pretty obstinate...

E&M: And what was the idea behind using an animated video for Parzydełko?

Pustki: That was the concept of Janek Koza, the director and creator of the video. He is pretty well known in Poland for his specific graphic style and we knew more or less what it was going to be like  - and we liked it.

E&M: You recently played the Liverpool Sound City Festival. What was that like?

Pustki: It is always very interesting for us to play abroad because people don't know us there and we have to convince them that we're good  - we only have the time given during the concert and if we can't make it, there won't be a second chance. We like playing in England because people usually listen to the concert and talk to us about it afterwards. This time it was really nice, we played with some other Polish bands in a venue called Mello Mello and people seemed to really like all of the shows.

E&M: So when you play in front of an international audience, do you ever worry that they don't get your music because they don't speak Polish?

Pustki: We translated some of our lyrics into English just so that people abroad could understand what we're singing about. Some English versions of our songs are available on our MySpace - myspace.com/pustki. On the other hand we think that music is an international language and if you want you may get it, even if you don't understand all the lyrics. I like traveling and when I am in a foreign country I always buy some local music - and very often love it even if I don't speak the language of that particular country.

E&M: I often interview bands that are already really well known in their home country, but not many people have heard of them outside. Do you feel like that as well?

Pustki:Polish bands are usually pretty unknown outside Poland so it's not a surprise for us! (laughs) Actually, I think it's pretty bad that the world is becoming so centralised, or globalised, and everybody listens just to the music from the US or England. There are so many interesting performers from all around the world that are only knwon in their home countries... I think that people should become more open to music from some other parts of the globe - it will just make their life more colourful and interesting.

It's pretty bad that the world is becoming so centralised... There are so many interesting performers... that are only known in their home countries. 

E&M: Is there another Polish band who has inspired your music or are you more oriented towards international bands?

Pustki: We all like very different kinds of music in the band. Some of us are big fans of P.J. Harvey and this probably is reflected in our songwriting and in our sound. We also like post-rock scene from Chicago, groups like Tortoise or Chicago Underground. But we have always tried to include some kind of a local feel in our music, we wanted it to sound different, to sound Polish, in a way. We don't want to imitate rock bands from England or the US, we'd rather make something unique. I have more or less the same idea with the other bands that I play in, Babadag and Płyny, and I think that this is the best approach - it makes you different and therefore more interesting.

E&M: Can you describe the Warsaw music scene a bit for us?

Pustki: It's very varied, there are lots of clubs where you can play music and lots of great bands that perform there. I think that musicians in Warsaw are particularly fond of mixing different styles of music, fusing electronic sounds with jazz or some rock sounds with contemporary classical music. There is an avant-garde scene that is pretty strong, which is kind of surprising for musicians coming from abroad - you can come to Warsaw, play a concert of modern free jazz, and have the club full of young people who seem to really love it! There are also special festivals and events devoted to promoting good, alternative music, like WUJek or Re:wizje.

E&M: You decided to make a DVD of one of your concerts last year. How did you decide which concert to use for that?

Pustki: There was a special concert which was a part of a series of concerts named 'The smallest concert in the world' - different Polish groups performed in front of an audience of only 20 people. So the concert was given just for the purpose of filming it and putting on a DVD.

E&M: And finally, what does Europe mean to you?

Pustki: I think that we all love Europe, we like traveling around Europe, meeting local people and tasting local food! It's great that Europe is so diverse, that you have countries as different as, for instance, Portugal and Sweden, but it all works like one organism now.


For more on PUSTKI, check out their website http://www.pustki.pl/.

Last modified on Friday, 29 July 2011 14:53

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