We conducted an interview with Łukasz, the drummer of Wroclaw, Poland’s WE ARE IDOLS on January 8, 2012.
Thank you for taking this interview. Please, introduce yourself and the band.
Band is called WE ARE IDOLS, we are from Wroclaw, Poland. We started in 2006, played few shows since then, just released our second LP.
Please describe your local music scene.
First: There are couple of really good bands, for instance IDENTITY (hardcore in vein of CRO-MAGS), GUANTANAMO PARTY PROGRAM (dark, slow post-hardcore). Old troops from INFEKCJA are having their 20th anniversary this year and they will probably play forever. Unfortunately, there’s not that many new bands showing up, but I hope it’s going to change soon.
Second: A lot is going on in Wroclaw, maybe sometimes even too much. There are tens of gigs every month and it’s impossible to track them all.
Third: There’s a great place called CRK. Open DIY space for bands and artists. Started as a squat, after while became the biggest independent cultural centre in this city.
30 people standing as far from the stage as it’s possible, doing nothing? [laughs] Hopefully not, this time we’re counting on a great party. CALM THE FIRE also tour with their new record “There Is No Cure” (you should check it on their Bandcamp ASAP), and I’m really looking forward to see Slip. Wasn’t easy to make them move their asses from Warsaw. And Identity never played a bad show, at least so far.
Tell us about your place in hardcore scene. Do you mostly perform accompanied by hardcore/punk bands? Did you find a friendly place to play shows in more rock’ish surroundings?
We are 100% DIY punk band. Even if we tried to fool some people at the beginnings, we never had any rock attitude. I think 98% of our shows were DIY. We did not have many chances to play at “rock shows”, it happened just few times and I must say it’s not our cup of tea. I have nothing against playing those kind of shows from time to time, but punk scene is our place and we’re not going anywhere.
In what other bands have the WE ARE IDOLS musicians been in?
70s, 80s, 90s, or 00s punk rock? What times were the best for the genre?
Hard to say. Most of our influences come from metal bands from the 70s and punk bands from the 80s. I mostly listen bands from this century though.
What future do you see for polish punk rock?
It doesn’t look bad at all. I think we have never had so many good bands, that might be interesting for people abroad. There are lot of shows and crazy amount of new records. Future looks bright.
You have just released your second album entitled “Powerless”. Tell us the story behind it. How has your music changed from when you first started performing to now with your newly released album?
The biggest change since our first record is that the music is much more “serious”. When we started this band we only wanted to play music we enjoyed at this time. We took what’s the best from rock, metal and punk bands and just played it our way. Lyrics were just a part of a convention at the time. This does not mean that they were not important, but sometimes they were not completely serious.
“Powerless” is different. Much darker and pessimistic. Even if right now I like it much more than our debut, I’m not going to say that this record is better than first one, it’s just different. I heard that some people are disappointed that we dropped our rock’n’roll feeling, but that’s just the way it is.
Can you describe how you create your songs? Jamming, basic riffs, how does it begin for you?
Piotrek, our guitarist, is the man when it comes to writing new stuff. Almost 100% of our music is made by him. He brings main riffs, we’re jamming for a while, arranging the whole song. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes, sometimes three months. When the outline of the song is ready, Igor writes lyrics.
You have released the outing via Long Walk Records, Dropout Records, Wydawnictwo N.I.C. and Hasiok Records. Did I miss something? Please tell us about your relations with these labels. Have you been thinking about signing to a bigger label?
Long Walk is a small label run by myself, Dropout is Galon’s venture. N.I.C. and Hasiok are run by our friends, that also helped us with our first LP. Before we even started writing new album, we knew, that it’ll be released by us, so we didn’t bothered anyone. No one ever bothered us as well, so no, we have not been thinking about bigger label. To be honest, right now we don’t need anything else. Every one of our labels has a different background and different customers. That’s why it makes sense to have that many people involved. Thanks to that our recordings are available in South America, Holland, Germany but also you can get it on a small show somewhere between Poland and Germany.
Who did the artwork for “Powerless”? Tell us more about it and compare it to the previous one.
It was done by Rafał Wechterowicz. If you don’t know him yet, check out his works. He made projects for SLAYER, MOTORHEAD, ELTON JOHN and LADY GAGA. Sounds cool enough in press info to hire him. We would do this even if he wouldn’t be such an awesome guy. He also made artwork for our first album, so we knew what to expect.
The story with the cover is pretty much the same like with the music. This one is darker, more serious and with “The Meaning”. There’s Dionysus on it, the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy. Suites us well.
What do you think about the current status of the music industry? What’s your opinion spreading the music online and piracy?
First of all, people were sharing music for free when no one even heard about “being online”. And I never had any objections. Today, when it’s so easy to download music, it makes no sense at all to fight with it. What we can do, is to try to convince people, that they should consider paying for music, even if it’s digital, just to support artists.
We are streaming all our music on the web, we even decided to put Powerless on our bandcamp before it was available on CD/LP. We’ll see how it will affect record sales. I personally bet it won’t change a thing.
Please name your inspirations. How many bands that inspire you have you seen live?
There’s five of us and we all got different top bands. But there are some that we can name our inspirations since the beginnings. When we started, we were all under huge influence of bands like DOOMRIDERS, COLISEUM, or more rockish bands, like HELLACOPTERS or TURBONEGRO. And last but not least, BLACK SABBATH and BLACK FLAG. That has not changed much since then. Maybe there’s less TURBONEGRO and bit more of BLACK SABBATH.
How many shows have you been playing so far and why do you think you played too few? [laughs] What are you touring plans for 2012?
I tried to count them few days ago and I think there were around 70 shows. Not much you can say for a band playing for five years. In 2011 we played just few shows, I think it was our worst year. All this because it took us a lot of time to write and record new album.
About our plans for 2012. Hard to say anything at this time. There is an idea to hit southern Europe this fall, play some shows in Czech Republic and somewhere on the way to Balkans. I really hope we’re going to make it.
Do you have your most memorable live show?
Plenty of them. One of the best shows we’ve ever played was in a small, crowded rehearsal room somewhere in Warsaw. It was insane. We love playing places like this. Small venue, big show – that’s how it works.
Second story worth to mention was our show in Sieniawka, small village just on the Polish/Czech/German border. It was the very only show that we played as a band of four. Everything because one of our guitars got broken right before the show, either during huge fight that happened that day, or by some drunk punk who stepped on it (we have around 150 suspects).
We also really enjoyed our last trip to Czech and Germany. It was the first “real tour” in history of this band (even if it was only one week). We took our homeless friend with a camera with us and he made a great video-journal. Check it out on his blog www.farfrombreaking.net.
What do you guys do in your private lives? What stops you from making both touring and recording the only things you do in your lives?
We are just hard working, everyday regular normal guys with boring lives. Really, nothing worth to mention about our daily life. As I said before, Galon, our bass player runs small label called Dropout Records. He put out mainly crust/grind bands. He also published four issues of Dropout Zine. I just started with my own label as well. It’s called Long Walk Records and I put out Powerless on CD and got some plans for the future.
Thank you! Is there anything you’d like to add? Feel free to tell people anything you want.
Thank you for the interview, and big thanks to all the people, who spent some time reading it.
WE ARE IDOLS are streaming their album “Powerless” here:
Photos by Damian Christidis and Skowron.