Members of Wrocław quality hardcore bands TORN SHORE and THE DOG recently took a little time out to blend their influences and share more interesting ideas through a whole new project called NIGHTCLUB FIRE. IDIOTEQ was invited to first listening sessions back in mid December 2015 and we haven’t dropped a word about it until now. We sat down with the band’s attractive, but more importantly, talented PR magician and vocalist Igor and tried to hack into his mind and interrogate him about their motivations, inspirations, punk values, travelling, and lastly, but not least, NIGHTCLUB FIRE’s debut record, where noise rockish hardcore gets a hint of swingin’ dirty blues.
Ho ho ho, we meet again. First of all, thank you so much for doing this interview with us and introducing your new project. It’s a pleasure having you here. Tell us who or what inspired you to start NIGHTCLUB FIRE.
No, no, no, I am the one to say thank you for having us here. So, thank you… NIGHTCLUB FIRE is the collaboration project which includes two guys from TORN SHORE and two guys from THE DOG. A few months after our common short euro-tour which happened in 2015 Dawid and Łukasz from the first band came out with the idea of creating something new. They asked me and Dawid # 2 to join the squad. I can remember it very well, cause it was one day after the TERROR show on which Dawid # 2 lost his tooth. The band was meant to play noisy hardcore rock inspired by 90s bands. We said “ok”.
Smooth and easy, huh? How did NIGHTCLUB FIRE affect your work with TORN SHORE and THE DOG. How do you balance between these bands?
Yeah, we’re good mates so we didn’t need to go through the whole “getting to know each other” process and other shit. First song was done only one day after our first talk about the band. Smooth and easy – like you said. Due to our schedule we’ve got time for 2 rehearsals a week. One for THE DOG / TORN SHORE and other one for NIGHTCLUB FIRE. In fact it’s almost impossible to keep that soft rigor. Lack of private time is even a huge problem for a one band so when it comes to two bands there’s no place for the conflict of interest, hehe. That’s all about the practical issues. And of course we are so fucking full of musical ideas – despite lack of time – that one band is just not enough for us.
If you had to describe the difference between these projects in just a few words, what would you say?
TORN SHORE goes out to the punks with existential problems, THE DOG – to the ones with personality problems and NIGHTCLUB FIRE – to all those left with drinking problems. It is all very problematic music… If I can say so, TORN SHORE is also somehow intelligent and precise, THE DOG is furious and chaotic and NIGHTCLUB FIRE stands exactly between.
A proper symbiosis.
The debut record from NIGHTCLUB FIRE sounds really professional, without losing its natural feel, still keeping both its musical side and the story engaging for listeners. How do you improve your craft?
That is very nice thing to hear. Dawid and Łukasz have been playing together since very long time. Besides TORN SHORE they run their another project called BORDERLINE COLLIE known for its dark lo-fi improvised country music, so I guess they are pretty tuned with each other. These guys just know how to write songs. Our album was also recorded live somewhere deep in the woods in the great place (VINTAGE RECORDS) and maybe that’s why you get that natural bluesy vibe while listening to it. I don’t know how we improve our craft. We spent only one day in the studio – we were born with certain talents, man…
Haha, fair enough :)
How much of your lyrical conent derives from your observations and how much arises from your ability to explore themes from your own experience?
I think I’m not able to establish the border between observations and my own experience. Hearing stories and participating in actions give us experiences wich inspire us unaware. For example “People are no harmless” tells a story of a small town community – the one which is rotten and sinful inside but devout and god-feering on the outstide. I grew up in a small town and that kind of social enviroment is something that I know very well but I like my lyrics to be blurred and fuzzy so there are no straight references. I don’t have any golden method of collecting themes and writing lyrics. They are pretty stupid and they just appear.
Photo by Paweł Jóźwiak.
Writing lyrics for punk records often means focusing on cultural struggles, social injustice and similar themes. Representing a hardcore band, do you feel the need to cover such subjects?
Yeah, if you play in a hardcore/punk band you are aware of the presence of that strange kind of pressure which suggests you which topics are legit and which are not. Your lyrics need to be socially sensitive and politically attached in well known schemes – otherwise you won’t be treated seriously. Personally I don’t feel any need of dealing with such topics (on music backgrounds), that’s just not my cup of tea and I’m genetically programmed against every collective code which is set to be the one and the only one. In other words if I get the external pressure of doing something, I start to feel the internal pressure of doing something strictly opposite. And I also think that the greatest achievement of punk rock was the ability to teach the musicians to do whatever the fuck they want, to sing what they want, to look like they want and express theirselves in the way they want.
Given this definition of punk, is it still alive? Are these values still apparent?
I wanted to write something pathethic and breathtaking but I can give you more practical proof. If punk rock was dead, I wouldn’t be in a band.
Ok buddy, so let’s go beyond punk for a moment. Apart from you local experience and something you can watch in television or read in the Web, there’s nothing like a proper direct observation and learning through meeting other people, especially in various distant places, not necessarily in your closest neighbourhood. Do you travel a lot? Does it influence your storytelling and your perception of the world?
You just overestimate my lyrics – they are not that wide! If you ask about my private inclinations, I’m not good at meeting new people but I do like to travel. Sitting somewhere in a new place and starring at locals is one of my favorite activities. That kind of “being with another” indeed can affect me but I think that books are main fuel for my imagination. On every album which I was part of you can find at least a few links that are strongly tied to the literature.
Is there any real or virtual place in particular that you would like to find yourself coming back to? Also, feel free to recommend some good reads while we’re at it.
Tel Aviv is so far the best place that I have been to. I fell in love with that city and I’ve been constantly thinking about coming back there. I don’t know what’s so special about this place – it’s made of concrete, it’s dirty and it’s not even pretty if you see things through European standards – but it fucking rules. And people there are really good-looking…
But coming back to the question about books, I’ve been really into Hannah Arendt lately. Now – I guess – she’s my #1 writer. “Eichmann in Jerusalem” would be a fine introduction to her other magnificent and unique works.
Ok Igor, lastly, let’s go a couple of years back. Do you still remember your early days when you initially gravitated towards hardcore? What pushed you to get involved with it in the first place and how has these reasons evolved over the years?
When was a teenager I used to be a typical punk rock wannabe. THE EXPLOITED, dreams about anarchy, plaid pants and stuff like that. I didn’t think much but I wanted to be radical and alternative… Then I saw “Decline of the Western Civilization” on VHS tape and it changed my life forever. I watched the guys from BLACK FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS – who didn’t look like the punks I knew – but their music was so agressive and they seemed to be so real. I thought: “Damn, this is it”.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you have faced in your adventures with various bands?
Fortunately, I don’t consider any of my band-things as real challenges. When I read interviews with so-called professional musicians who say something like “this year was very hard for us/we’ve got a lot of work to do” I ask myself: “what the fuck are they talking about?”. Playing in a punk rock group is – primarily – fun. Doing music, playing shows is like going fishing or riding skateboard. It’s like hanging out with buddies who do the rock incidentally. Of course there were a few stressful moments – especially for me, as I’m not the most extroverted person in the world – like first live show ever or even a first big stage show but I guess it’s really nothing compared to the basic life challenges.
So how much time do you devote to developing your musical projects? Also, are your current dayjobs completely separate from your musical interests and simply to pay the bills?
Not much… I’d die to have more spare time for the activities that I enjoy. At now my life mostly consists of doing things that I don’t want to do. Really demotivating. Playing in two bands requires from me a few hourse a week for rehearsals and more or less two or three weeks a year for concerts. My current job is completeley seperated from my interests which simply cannot provide me any money, so, yeah, bills and music are not from the same dimension.
Any advice for the young kids who can’t sing or play guitar and want to start a band? :)
I’ve been in a band since 2006 and I still can’t sing. My advice comes from the quote which was used by BIG BOYS at the end of their every sick live show in the 80s: START YOUR OWN BAND.
Ok Igor, thanks a lot for your time. What is your message for the punk community in 2016? Feel free to add your final thoughts.
Thank you too, man. It was a pleasure. And now my message to the punk rock community: more nietzscheanism, less social christianity.
Cheers! Good luck with the band!