Tuesday, March 6, 2018

interview: Thy Worshiper

The long-running avant-garde and teachers of weirdness and heaviness Thy Worshiper are a band to explore and to be explored. They are not an easy listen and they are proud of how much effort they put into making music that that sounds different and that is anything but routine. They began in Poland in the 1990s, but they call Ireland home. Let’s find out what’s been going on in their camp recently. Please remember to check the links at the end of the interview to begin your adventure in the avant-garde.

Hi. Who from the band is answering? How are you? Does everyone live in Ireland? How is life treating you as a musician in Ireland?
Hi, Dariusz K. here. I’m fine, thank you. In fairness, Marcin is now the only person who isn’t living in Ireland.

Hard to say how life is treating us as musicians. I’d rather say that life is treating us the way we are treating music – we could do it better ☺

In 2016 Thy Worshiper released Klechdy, a massive work of the avant-garde that lasts one hour and 20 minutes. How much of the album was written by the band or is there a primary songwriter? You have some people who play interesting instruments, like Jew’s harp, churinga, ocarina, and other instruments. It looks like everyone contributes with backing vocals and a couple of you play acoustic guitars. Can you tell us a bit about the secrets of your recording magic?! Did you spend lots of time in the studio?!
It’s difficult to write an album which lasts over an hour. The entire band was engaged in it. There is no primary songwriter in the band. Everyone had a task to perform, everyone needed to be involved. There is no other way. Klechdy is – as you said – a quite complicated album. There is no way that one person could handle the writing… no one I know, anyway. We’d been rehearsing a lot before we entered the studio. Preparing every single piece, every single note. But not the way you might think. We didn’t focus on notes, but on the emotions we were able to transmit through the music itself.

Every single album by Thy Worshiper is different. We are trying to evolve. We hate repeating ourselves. We hate when bands play the same music for decades. Therefore, we don’t. We are constantly looking for new solutions to change our style from album to album. We are aware of mistakes we’ve made and every time we end up making new ones. ☺ The point is that everyone in the band has to be satisfied. The music has to be dark, sad and weird. This is the only azimuth for us…. Well – almost the only one – I love to create music to which I like to listen afterwards. ☺

Relating to the instruments – we used all strange instruments we had or decided to use because of their sound. If something makes a sound which is weird or makes our music deeper, we will use it. No borders here. For example, we used a water boiler, iron barrows, screws in a bucket, chains etc., plus some original folk instruments like those you mentioned above. We spent some time in the recording studio, but most of the songs were ready, therefore it wasn’t an extremely long time.

Do the songs on Klechdy sound like you imagined them when you wrote them? Do you remember what you thought it was going to sound like before it was all recorded?
We had an idea, but you’re never sure how it will sound after full mixing process. We never give clear instructions to sound engineers. We only want to get clear, deep and heavy sound. The entire album has to sound complete.

I hate questions from engineers like “send me some examples of bands to show me how you want your music to be mixed…” Seriously? What kind of question is that?

Klechdy sounds good. I really like it, I love to listen to it and it has that atmosphere we wanted to have, therefore I can easily say – mission accomplished. ☺

I like the percussions and vibes of the song “Marzanna.” It’s avant-garde, it’s ghostly, but it has melody and it’s memorable. The song “Słońce,” on the other hand, sounds like meditation music, with monks chanting. Very different. Then again, on “Anielski orszak” we get a bit of a black metal feeling in the atmospheric way. Question: Do you feel that the reviewers and the fans are beginning to understand your music better after all these years? Did the album get some thoughtful reviews?
Klechdy got really good reviews, actually. To be honest with you we didn’t expect that. We thought it might be fifty/fifty at best, but we got huge number of positive reviews. I actually don’t remember now any negative one. I know there were few, where reviewers didn’t know how to classify us, so they didn’t know how to “bite” our music. We read also that album is too long and boring, but who cares. I like it ☺

I don’t know if reviewers are beginning to understand our music after all these years, but I feel that people are starting to look for new ideas, fresh riffs, some “spices” added to extreme music. They have enough of the same shit they have listened to for 30 years or more. At least I have enough. When I listen to a new album by some good metal band I listened to when I was young, I hear the same ideas over and over again. I think that occurrence has something to do with commercialization of metal music. Labels no longer are looking for fresh bands but only the ones they manage to sell. Money determined music these days. That’s why I believe in the underground.

Did you have opportunities to do some shows in 2017?
We played a tour in Poland at the beginning of 2017 with Christ Agony and Ragehammer and a few gigs in Ireland. We record music with the knowledge that we will play it live. So there is no problem for us to do live shows at all. We are – let’s say – moderated live performers ☺

Polish culture is obviously important to Thy Worshiper. The lyrics are in Polish, for instance. What is like living and working in Ireland and keeping the culture of Thy Worshiper there?
Ireland is similar to Poland in terms of history – they lost their independence, almost lost their own language, they had to fight for it. Same as Poles. We understand each other I guess, and the other thing is that Ireland is a very tolerant country. It helps ☺

Who in the band is old enough to remember the situation for Polish metal music in the 1980s? What was that like? Do you remember? How do you view the situation now? Bands like Vader and Behemoth and other bands have achieved worldwide recognition. How do you feel about it, as a Polish person?
I think every one of us… we are old enough hahahaha… Listen, situation in Poland in 1980s was as fucked as you can imagine. Those were the years of deep communism. It was difficult to play music in general. We had metal scene… actually pretty good one but playing abroad was almost impossible. Few bands got through but it was more 1990s than 1980s, I guess. We had a few festivals in the 80s like Metalmania (first edition in 1986), Jarocin – but it was rather punk rock than metal festival. We had lots of underground shows.

We had no instruments, no gear, nothing. We had to make everything ourselves or borrow it from school placements. It was very deep shit but the spirit was stronger than it is now. That’s for sure.

It is different now. We have a few good bands. Polish scene is stronger than ever, I guess. We are more recognizable in the world. We have internet now. You don’t have to send demos on tapes to labels, magazines, promoters. You just upload your music and promote it. It’s easier now from one hand but – as I said before – there is too much music around us and we are flooded by it. It is difficult to stick your part in somewhere there.
How do I feel about the Vader and Behemoth? I’m proud of them, even if I don’t listen to them. They are professionals and I’m at every live show they do in Ireland. They are really good live, but I can’t listen to their albums… not my music ☺

Connected to the above question, is there in Poland an interest among metal music fans in Thy Worshiper? Poland seems to have many death metal bands, but is there a tolerance for the avant-garde music of Thy Worshiper?
We have lots of death, black, etc. metal bands but we have a few really good avant-garde ones as well. Polish extreme music scene is big. We have strong underground… Times have changed…

We have some fans – that’s for sure. I believe that their number will increase when we keep recording new albums. We understand that every time we record new album, which has to be different to the previous one (that’s our policy), almost certainly a wave of criticism will fall on us. We aware of that but we won’t stop making music we like.

What news do you have about your band for 2018?
The most important thing is to record new album. It’s almost ready. We have to find time to finish it and record it… And you can trust me: it’ll be a weird album. And completely different than Klechdy
It’s almost done. We are hoping to release it this year…. Probably in the autumn.

Thank you for your time!
Thank you very much for interview.

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