Sunday, 19 June 2011 21:22

Wired in #17: Wickeda

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Wickeda isn't a particularly new band. Their first album dates back to 1999 and they are a celebrated ska, punk and reggae band from Sofia, Bulgaria. Nevertheless, the guys from Wickeda are not tired and they're playing tons of shows, working on new albums and are still managing to keep their music fresh! E&M talked to their singer and bassist Erol Ibrahimov about life and music in Bulgaria, putting together new songs and listening to your own albums.


E&M: Wickeda is already really well known in Bulgaria. How has the band influenced the country's music scene?

Wickeda: That's hard to say, because we don't have the right perspective. We are too close to what we are doing, but the fact that ska, reggae and punk music became so popular in Bulgaria soon after we released our first album speaks for itself, I guess. Nowadays there is a lot of new "skapunkreggaebalkanwhatever" bands down here and many people argue that they are influenced by Wickeda in some way. The other day I saw a "musician wanted" ad in a forum, someone was looking for a drummer and was describing the style of his band as Sex Pistols meets Wickeda. That sounded to me like a band influenced by Wickeda, but who knows... It is hard for me to tell whether the band has really influenced the Bulgarian music scene or not, but as it goes in the song, time will tell... well, maybe....

E&M: And in what way have you seen the country as a whole evolve over the past years?


Today we are living in a free, democratic society. It seems pretty obvious, but it takes time to change your mentality. Freedom is a responsibility. We are still learning. It's a long and winding road - sorry for the quotes from pop songs, but that's the way I learned English. The most important change for me is that people in Bulgaria can now express themselves freely. They can express their thoughts and feelings without any fear. And another thing: they can travel all over the world and they can exchange their thoughts and feelings with whoever they want. The rest is just details.

E&M: So, your music could be described as Balkan punk. Is that typically Bulgarian? 

Wickeda: No, I wouldn't say that our music is typically Bulgarian. There are so many influences in it from around the world and they are changing from album to album. Sometimes it is really confusing, especially for our fans. I don't know if they are always pleased with our albums, but I'm sure they are never bored.

E&M: You already have a couple of albums out. Do you ever listen to your old albums?

Wickeda: We do listen to our old albums and don't always feel good about them, especially with the recent ones, because they are... I don't know... just recent. We are always thinking, we could have done this better or that guitar in the outro is too much, etc. This time though, I like the new one.

E&M: I was wondering how long you play around when you're putting together a new song. How do you know when it's time to record it? 

Wickeda: That is the question! When the song is good enough to put it on a tape. We never know for sure. Sometimes we play around with an idea for mounts and then just trash it and after a couple of years we take it out, make some adjustments, put it in the new album and it turns out to be a hit. Fortunately, there's always deadlines, otherwise we would be celebrating our 20th anniversary with just one maxi single in our discography.

E&M: You made a video to your song koi sam az. What's the song about and what was the idea behind the video?

Wickeda: The translation would be "Who am I" and it is a kind of "fool on the hill" song, I mean the main and only character is a man who isn't well fitted for the modern world. He doesn't like what he sees from his high position (geographically not intellectually), but he is more of an observer than a revolutionary. No one take him seriously and he is not judging anyone. He claims that he is from Sirius and just stopped here to refuel and go back soon. About the video: it is all self made. We shot it with a non-professional camera in New York several years ago, with the intention of making a video for another song, but we never made it. Last year we finished Koi sum az and decided to use material from New York - that's all, there's no hidden messages or big ideas.

E&M: What topics do you write your songs about?

Wickeda: About daily life and ordinary people - like drinking coffee with a friend, or a boy meeting a girl on the subway and falling in love with her. Sometimes there's no topic at all.

E&M: A couple of years ago you opened for Manu Chao. What was that like? Is there another band you'd really like to open for or play with? 

Wickeda: It was great! The energy was overwhelming. We are big fans of Balkan Beat Box and I hope that we'll have a chance to play with them.

E&M: When you play festivals across Europe you necessarily also play in front of people who aren't familiar with your music yet. Does that idea ever make you nervous?

Wickeda: Yes, that is a big challenge, but it keeps us awake. If we are able to make people who see us for the first time dance, then we can go on for a couple more years. 

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

Wickeda: Europe is our home. And always was. We finally get together.

E&M: Thanks for the interview Erol! 

Last modified on Sunday, 26 June 2011 14:46

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