From the diary of the citizen of the world – interview with Łukasz Szałankiewicz (ZENIAL) [ENG]

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author: Valentine Wiggin (aka Sylwia Partyka)

We invite you to read the interview with Łukasz Szałankiewicz mostly known from Zenial project, but as you may read below, he’s also very active on other musical and non-musical grounds. About past present and future we talk. Enjoy.

Hello Lukasz, it’s nice to host you here on SS. First I’d like to ask you, what kind of audience does your music appeal to? Do you have a sense of mission for your music?

I make my music – like any artist – to all interested in the subject and in all sorts of sounds, but of course I hope it will reach the widest possible audience. Just like that (laughs). Sometimes I’m very pleasantly surprised that my “niche” of creativity has the power to spread like the tentacles of the Ancient Ones (laughs). Focusing on a mission for a particular audience, no, such a thing doesn’t exist.

Is your project producing work for the mp3 and Internet generation, or for collectors and enthusiasts? What is your personal approach to the consumption of music in today’s world?

Honestly? I don’t have any problems with both groups. Indeed, I’m aware of the poor quality of mp3s, but then the availability and popularity of this format is really tempting. For a few years I co-created AudioTong platform, which in its early stages thanks to mp3s helped many artists, it allowed them to reach many parts of the world. I respect collectors, after all I am one of them. Concerning the consumption of music – you have to listen, to attend concerts, support labels, magazines, etc. Of course, I’m not talking about pop music because it doesn’t need any support.

What is a better form of presentation for you: live performances or regular albums? Tell me about the places you had the pleasure of visiting last year. Which show was the most memorable?

Both things are linked. Albums come with time, it happens that for a couple of years there’s nothing, because you just know that it isn’t a good time. I prefer to wait then. There was a time when I was very productive in this matter, but less active in case of live shows. Now I try to balance everything. Although we live in a time where a CD is more of a promotional element, not something that determines an artist’s value. 2012 was a fruitful year for me. Among others: visits in Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, residence in an important Stockholm EMS studio, residence in Prague Skolska 28 gallery. Installation in Zacheta gallery (Warsaw) ordered by Warszawska Jesien. Presentation at MIT in Cambridge.

The last concert in 2012 was in Tbilisi during the Georgian edition of Unsound Festival and I was very pleased with this event. The whole thing took place in a big club and was well sounded. I thought that the audience was only club-oriented and it would be hard for them to assimilate my stuff. But that didn’t happen [laughs]. And a curiosity – in Finland during the festival Là-Bas Biennale I played in the middle of a boxing ring.

By observing your activity one can easily say that playing gigs is a daily bread for you. What are your further plans in this area?

I have a lot of plans – currently preparing for a concert in Belgium which will take place at the end of June as part of the Tuned City project. At the same time I’ll finish the material which, thanks to Zoharum, should be released on vinyl after the summer vacations… Approximately 80% of the material was recorded in EMS and then was mixed in Prague. The pre-premiere will take place on September 14 at the OSA festival in Sopot. Then I’m getting ready for a concert in Estonia and a number of others that haven’t been confirmed yet.

You are also the initiator of many events “around” music, could you tell us something more about that?

Indeed, in addition to making music curatorial activities turn me on as well. I’m the author of “In Progress” series, presenting new electronic music and improvisations at the Centre of Contemporary Arts “Łaźnia” in Gdansk and, for some time, a similar series called “Vibration Palsecam” in Poznan Cultural Centre “Zamek”. I also participated in several other festivals on the organizational level, and in a number of other activities such as AudioTong.

Speaking of Poznan I’d like to know your opinion of it as a cultural and life space. You seem to be rather Nomad, often changing places where you live. I’m curious, which cities have you lived in so far and which of them was the best for living?

Poznan is a good location – close to Berlin, Warsaw, Gdańsk. I keep getting used to this place – in every aspect – so I’m sorry I don’t have a specific opinion on the town yet (laughs).

And everywhere is far from Krakow, but I’m still associated with this city. I like New York, Berlin, Lviv… Actually, I’d like to live in Prague – I had the opportunity to stay there many times and found it’s a really appropriate place for me.

What kind of man are you in private? Introverted freak or party-comedian?

A little bit of everything. Cthulhu keeps his finger on the pulse.

We had the opportunity to review the AABZU album – “There’s No Other God Than Rambo!” What’s the news since its release? When will there be a next release?

At the moment we’re preparing for the next album. This time we want to focus on the atmosphere of sci-fi B-class movies, I’d also like to throw in a pinch of conspiracy theories (laughs) We should move on with work on this material this year.

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You had the opportunity to work with many artists, Polish and foreign. Which collaborations do you remember as the best, and which have made a less positive impression on you? Is there an artist with whom you’d especially like to collaborate in the future?

I don’t think I have any bad memories – if there were any problems, it was rather due to a misunderstanding of language, communication barriers or the difference of mentalities. Some collaborations were one-timers, others naturally expired, but for years I work with a more or less constant group of people and I would not make any distinctions between those persons and me. Each of them is different and the effect is the most important. Currently I don’t know who I want to work with – I rely on instinct and spontaneity in this regard.

How would you rate our Polish experimental backyard? I am referring to both the quality of music making and the relationships between artists, and level of events.

We are a festival culture, permanent concert series are disappearing, as well as the desire to do regular events except for festivals, more or less professional. Maybe this is the trend now, but it’s not enough for me. I don’t want to speak about the particular elements of our experimental backyard, because my opinions in this regard won’t change anything. But I think that we’re no different than other music backyards – some are doing very well for years, others come and go, this one likes this, the other doesn’t like that. The usual stuff (laughs).

Tell us about the “Rosora” project and Franz Bardon’s character. And few words about how did you like the residence in Prague.

This is a project dedicated to the Czech Hermeticist Franz Bardon. Very interesting character. Rosora is a sort of pioneer of acoustics in the case of recording magical practices. I found the description of this person while studying his leading work, “The practice of Magical Evocation”. I prepared that work for the Skolska28 gallery during my residence in Prague. Later, during the Babel festival we played a concert dedicated to Bardon and Rosora with Mikolas Chadima and Martin Blazick.

Excerpt

The final recording can be found on the DVD that came out with issue #3 of Trans/Wizje magazine, but as far as I know, the limited editions of 500 copies have already been sold out.

Were you one of those waiting for 21/12/2012?

No, I wasn’t. I wonder what happens to all those who sold parcels in African mountains to survive December 21.

A few words to the listeners – old and new ones?

Currently, I invite you all to my Facebook fanpage (www.facebook.com/zeniallo), because at the moment I’m working on a new website (hopefully it will be launched in the near future) and the old site serves only as an archive of my past actions. All those interested are of course welcome: www.zenial.audiotong.net

Links:

in progress :

http://www.laznia.pl/aktualnosci,teraz,26,in_progress.html

Wibracje Palsecam /label :

http://palsecam.bandcamp.com/

Audiotong /label :

http://audiotong.net/

Franz Bardon :

http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Bardon

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