Dark, apocalyptic hybrid GUANTANAMO PARTY PROGRAM have been making waves with their gloomy, yet musically refreshing and powerful take on the shadowy fusion of hardcore and post metal. On their new record “III”, the Wrocław, Poland based multi-faceted ensamble switches with ease between various atmospheric layers and serves as the darkest of their forays into the tales of the end of the world. It also indirectly poses a question: is this the kind of world you wish to live in? We caught up with the band’s guitarist Łukasz Lisoń right before the September release date of the record and touched on many aspects of the long-running project and their new excellent offering.
“III” by GUANTANAMO PARTY PROGRAM is out now on Antena Krzyku.
Hey guys! Pleasure to have you back on IDIOTEQ! It’s been 4 years since we last talked and despite the fact there are a ton of stuff to talk about, I’ll try not to drag you into a lengthy medley of questions like I did the last time, haha. How are you? How does it feel like to be on the verge of revealing your new work?
Hi! Personally I’m a bit stressed, because that’s the first time I’m being interviewed. Through all these years, that I have been playing with GPP, that duty (or maybe pleasure haha) was fulfilled by the rest of the guys. Anyway I am more than ok. Hope the rest of band is the same. However we do feel some kind of anxiety regarding our latest album. It wasn’t easy to write it. Recording and mixing also didn’t go fast and smooth… but we finally succeeded. The release date was the 9th of September.
Apart from recording and putting this new release together, how has this year been treating you so far? What’s been keeping you busy?
We finally completed the album, which we had started recording in the summer of 2016. We also managed to do our first cover song. It is “5 minut” of the mighty GUERNICA Y LUNO. It was released this November by our dear friends Lenny (Hasiok Records) and Piotr (DIY Koło) on a tribute LP. So I have enough courage to say that this year was kind and generous for our band.
Besides, we’ve found enough time and determination to step out of our smelly rehearsal room to play some real shows. It’s impossible to mention it all…but…for example we had a particular blast in Zelebsko DIY festival and in Soulkostel (Vernerovice CZ). Apart form GPP, Wojtek, Darek and Grzesiek created a new band called Paperplanes, which is now preparing for some demo recordings. For me it seems to be quite enough for one year…
Haha, sure thing. GUERNICA wise, I’ve just received the vinyl version on the tribute record and it looks amazing! We’ll definitely run another piece or two on that soon!
Ok, so back to the band, 2017 marks the 11th year of yur existence as GUANTANAMO PARTY PROGRAM. Do you have fond memories of your early days?
Honestly I’m not the right person to answer this question, because I joined the band at the end of 2009, just before releasing the first album. I do have quite strong and funny memory about it. I saw GPP show in 2008 at MOK Opole. I didn’t know the guys that time… When GPP started their set, a loud “What the fuck is this!!?” came to my mind…haha. I was so disappointed, that I survived only for two or three songs and just left. But that time GPP played a bit differently. Above all, it was fast and chaotic, more like CONVERGE. So when one year later Kuba called me and asked if I want to join them I felt really awkward. But I gave them a chance…haha, and this year it is my 8th year within the band. Throughout all these years we experienced tons of great moments. From the very beginning we played with great bands and encountered great people.
Given your newest work, both musically and content wise, how do you think you have evolved since then?
For sure we became more self-aware. We know our assets and drawbacks. I think that after two full length albums we are confident how our music should sound and what feelings and emotions it should evoke. On the other hand we are still prone to various influences so Guantanamo Party Program keeps evolving. At least I hope so… I’m already thrilled what the future holds…
What aspect of running this band do you find most rewarding?
Two equally important things for me as a member of GPP are friendship and opportunity to channel emotions which build up everyday. We know each other for at least eight years… That’s pretty long time… Isn’t it? We appreciate our assets and accept our drawbacks. I’m sure that guys will agree, that the noise we play on our albums, shows, rehearsals helps us to clean our minds. Music is a way to get rid of all the burdens which world brings to us. Not to mention that the process of making music is such a great fun. Experiencing sounds becoming songs gives a damn thrill. Meeting awesome people, visiting interesting places on tours is obviously also a reward for us.
Your previous work was well-received by both reviewers and listeners. Were you worried about what the reception will be like for the newest chapter?
Yeah… we were more than afraid about how people will react. Especially considering that during the making of “III” we ourselves were extremely critical about the songs. But as the album progressed we played couple of times some new songs at our gigs and people enjoyed them. So we thought that we should give them a try… Now, we are few weeks after the premiere and we’ve received loads of flattering reviews which eased our concerns, and for which we are immensely thankful. We are honestly more than happy with the “III” reception.
The record sounds really huge and I had literally goose bumps when I first heard the whole thing. The production is shattering and truly resonating. What methods or perhaps some particular gear and devices did you develop to send shivers down listener’s spine?
Thank you for your kind words. We’re glad that you like it. Let me think…We didn’t do anything special regarding the gear on that album. We used the same stuff that we play live. The biggest change was that especially for the recordings I borrowed an ORANGE ROCKERVERB amp from Dawid who’s playing in TORN SHORE (you must check that band!). That amp kicked my ass!!! Dawid, thank you once again….
Before the album was completed we had decided to take a risk and record the album ourselves. I work as live sound engineer so I took the whole responsibility. I did the tracking and most of editing. We were recording at our rehearsal space. What is interesting, it is located on the premises of the “Hutmen” ironworks. I experimented with drum miking, setting lot of ambient mics in weird places like corridor. That was an awesome experience and there are moments on the album that you can hear those all effects that we recorded. I think that the risk paid off.
But to my mind, the most important ingredient in the overall sound is Haldor Grunberg from Satanic Audio who did the mix and master. He understood well our concept and the way we wanted the record to sound. He knows his craft and it for sure can be heard on “III”. Mixes went smooth and fast and we are more than happy with the results.
What led you to tackle even darker, nihilistic lyrics? Where does this particular angle stem from and how do current political and sociological affairs impact your writing?
And once more, I’m not completely the right person to answer this question, because the lyrics are profoundly Darek’s and Grzesiek’s job. It may sound pretenious… but I’m certain that our words alike music, are influenced by life in general. As we get older we observe all the shit happening around us. Populism, people being afraid and distrustful of each other, omnipresent violence are issues that conjure up such emotions and feelings which influence not only our music but also lyrics… Of course the footprint is not literal. It rather concerns the specific mood.
“III” features a very distinctive cover. How did you come up with this graphic and how does it relate to the content of the record?
“III” graphic was invented and designed by Maciej Chodziński. When we were finishing the album I came across the video that he created for the KURWS. It straightaway grabbed my attention, because it was quite weird and anxious. Searching through Maciek’s blogspot I found a lot of paintings/graphics which held that emotions. I decided to contact him, because I felt that his unobvious style suited well our music. Thankfully he agreed. We gave him complete freedom, we only suggested to preserve the dark mood. Finally we are more than satisfied with the result. Maciek is great artist and we uderstood each other perfectly.
Back in 2013, we discussed the role of Polish lyrics in your work. “III” marks your first record with English lyrics presented directly through the inlay cover, right? What has prompted this decision?
Polish lyrics are quite natural for us. We didn’t even try to write or perform in English. To be honest, there is no philosophy hidden in that approach. In that way we stay true to our listeners and to ourselves.
We treat Darek’s voice as a fourth instrument. That is way it’s often pulled back in the mix. I reckon that already on “II” we’ve printed English translation next to Polish lyrics. It’s the same now on “III”. From time to time we play shows abroad what’s more our publisher Antena Krzyku does a great job and our record is available in distributions all around the world… so I think is nice that people who don’t speak our difficult language can understand what Darek is screaming about.
Speaking of which, is Antena Krzyku the only distributor of III, or will there be some additional labels involved?
Antena Krzyku is the only record label who released our “III”. Because Arek Marczyński isn’t new in the business, he cooperates with record shops, mailorders and independent distributions basically in Europe but also in USA. You can find our newest record for instance in Deathwish, Xmist or Eroding Winds.
Ok, so finally, do you have plans to tour in support of this record in the coming months?
Yep. At the last weekend of November we will visit Katowice, Orlova (CZ) and Kraków. Then starting on 8.12 we play in Warszawa, Gdynia and Łódź. In the coming year we would like to continue touring with the newest record. Plans are bold. More information will emerge soon… Just keep checking our webpage or facebook profile.
Flyer by Jakub Zasada.
Great! Can’t wait to hear the new stuff live. Thanks for your time guys and good luck on your upcoming endeavours. Feel free to drop your final words and take care!
Thank you for your engagement and patience during that interview… It’s awesome that people listen to our music go to our shows… We really appreciate it.
Once again thank you and we hope to see/hear you soon!!!