Formed in 2012 by Bartosz Badacz (ex OBSCURE SPHINX), Jerzy Robert Chodkowski (ex PHOBH) and Kamil Stankiewicz (ex ATROPHIA), Warsaw based atmospheric instrumental post metal act [::] have recently released their debut recod “aux::in”, sure to garner serious attention and praise from the genre loving audience. The record opens a new chapter after the band’s split with Bartosz Badacz and pairing with new guitarist Wiktor Jarawka of progressive metal act ONEIRIC. We had the chance to speak with the trio about the band, their idea of creating adventurous soundscapes, their writing process, other projects they’re invovled in, and an end-of-the-year summary of their music experience in 2016.
Band photos by Woda i Pustka
Hey guys! How are you? How have these gloomy Autumn days been treating you so far?
Hello! So far so good, Autumn have turned gloomy just recently, been quite nice and sunny before, aspecially during our debut gigs in Elbląg and Gdańsk with SOUNDS LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD and in Warsaw with THE HEAVY CLOUDS and 30,000 MONKIES, much respect to all of them, it’s been a pleasure.
Cool! First of all, forgive me for starting off with a cliché question, but it’s just too intriguing to be skipped. Your name. [::], a symbol that kind of forced you add a written form. Is there a symbolic meaning for 4 DOTS?
Not much, no meaning at all, as a three-piece we thought it would be funny to be […] but then [::] turned out to be more fun. 4DOTS was kinda forced due to the internets and the rules, we had to use some name, not symbols and it seems that it’s either [::] or 4DOTS now in use. We prefer [::] though.
You formed this band 4 years ago. What took you so long to release this debut record? Was writing and performing with other bands a part of your life while you were preparing the release of “aux::in”?
It took a while to have the 4 songs crystallized before the recording them as they are pretty complex and we all had and have normal day time jobs or day/night shitfs as I have, so we have maybe a dozen hours of rehearsing each week – that’s number one. Second reason would be our original guitarist – Bartek Badacz – leaving us few months after recording the CD. Finding a guitar player equally talented to Bartek was really difficult and then, when we finally found one, Wiktor Jarawka, he had to learn all the stuff, as wicked as it is, get fluent with it, feel comfortable, play it his way, have the flow. In the meantime we’ve been working on the drums mix and mastering and as it turns out, this delay was good for us.
Can you tell us a bit about why the idea of instrumental music stroke such a chord with you?
We started as an instrumental three piece, just jamming around random rythms and riffs. This stuff then evolved into something bigger and as we thought about vocals quite a few times, even tried to fit some in, a soprano, but still treated more as an instrument then as a vocal itself, we came to an agreement that there’s no space left for it here, there’s too much going on.
Can you describe your writing process? Do you think there’s a marked difference in creative process between 4 DOTS and your other projects?
Sometimes or rather most of the times it’s our drummer, Jerzy, that comes up with a certain rythm, then I grab the bass and ask him what am I supposed to play here (but much less politely) he pinpoints the accents and some important moments (like THE BEGINNING) and we start working on it. Sometimes we are writing it down on the whiteboard, making some different versions, derivatives. Then we show it to guitarist and tell him that we just took care of the rythm and he can go crazy with the guitars now. Sometimes we just jam and it’s there, but then again, Jerzy would usually take the certain rythm and work on it, making few different versions and mixing them.
Considering all your musical endeavours, what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of externalizing you emotions through your work? Was this a cathartic experience for you, writing “aux::in”?
We found it very challenging yet amusing, somehow enriching. It was something new for us all, given the different musical backgrounds. Before [::] Jerzy used to play in PHOBH and he used to play much more complex and chaotic stuff, more aggresive. Now he had to learn how to play less intensive and a bit more melodical stuff, I had to learn to play bass the way that fits this kind of drumming (and it was not easy for sure, it still isn’t) and bonds the rythm and spacial guitars with lows and mids I provide, Bartek was doing his stuff as he used to in OBSCURE SPHINX but I think at some stage we provided him with more freedom, more room and you can actually hear that his parts are sometimes “elsewhere”, not minding all the rythm and groove that’s going on below. Not a catharsis for sure, more of a rollercoaster. Lots of fun but through a lot of work.
Providing you had a vocalist, what would you find interesting to write about?
No idea, to be honest.
So there are no themes, messages or hidden ideas behind these tracks?
Nope, nothing at all. Pure and raw music as it flows out of our hearts and or brains.
Alright guys, so what projects are you currently working on?
We are currently focused on the gigs planned in mid December, we’re opening for SOUNDS LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD and OBSCURE SPHINX.
We do have some ideas regarding tshirts, we just need to work on them with Kuba Sokólski, who designed the CD digipack, then screen print it in his lab in Musca Imago.
Jerzy has a drum and bass side project, but it’s not d’n’b, it’s drums and 6 string bass, a bit heavy, but groovy. They are now slowly getting ready to play live and release their music as it is somewhere between mix and mastering.
Wiktor is a member of ONEIRIC and used to play with Monika Adamska. Kamil is now focused on [::] but had something going on before and still do have some ideas to play different stuff, from ambient to sludge, depending who’d be the partner in this crime.
Have you played a lot of shows with 4 DOTS so far? Also, considering your touring experience, what cities, places and venues in Poland caught your attention and made you miss them?
We recently debuted with [::], played 3 shows so far, Elbląg, Gdańsk and Warsaw. We really really liked Wydział Remontowy in Gdańsk – great stage, perfect sound, awesome people.
What has kept you in Warsaw? How do you feel about the city?
To keep it simple: it’s our hometown, we either were born and grew up in this city or in the suburbs or moved in a decade ago and we feel good here. Deliberating different options of location with regards of job opportunities and flat prices is a long long story.
Ok guys, so lastly, since it’s almost 2017, would you like to share your favourite albums released between January 1 and today? What artists do you recognize for their efforts in making alternative music exceptionally engaging?
Jerzy: MESHUGGAH – The Violent Sleep Of Reason, as by far the best album they ever did record. Other than that he is using youtube and his playlist is quite wide, from brutal dubstep to traditional japan music. He is waiting for the new MERKABAH, due to come in 2017.
Kamil: CULT OF LUNA & Julie Christmas – Mariner, DEFTONES – Gore, NEUROSIS – Fires Within Fires, OBSCURE SPHINX – Epitaphs, ORANSSI PAZUZU Värähtelijä, WIEGEDOOD – De Doden Hebben Het Goed (ok it was released in 2015, but I recently got to know it), ZEAL AND ARDOR – Devil Is Fine,
What are your goals for the new year?
Some more gigs, few more tattoos and few days in a studio to record new stuff… you know, the usual stuff bands do…
Alright, thanks a lot for your time guys. Feel free to add your last words and take care!
Thank you and see you at the gigs!