If you’ve been following Polish experimental / post rock scene’s musical offerings over the last couple of years, you’ve learned to trust our local musical instincts and to marvel at many artists’ ever-present curiosity. One of these prolific souls is Polish musician Jarek Leskiewicz of experimental act NAKED ON MY OWN, who once upon a time crossed his path with Oslo based creator Martin Anderson, known for his work as DOPEDRONE (est. 2000), and managed to deliver a 4 quality experimental records blending dozens of various moods and sub-genres of experimental and post rock music. Their latest offering is called “Salvaged” and was released this past Summer, blending the genre-related familiarity and authorial ideas of atmospheric soundscapes and making it work surprisingly well in its favor. Given that their art specializes in performance of the experimental variety, it was inevitable that their next co-release would prove that they are not stuck in any creative rut. As part of our constant constant pursuit to make inventive alternative musicians celebrated force in wide range of underground music scenes, we have conducted an in-depth interview with both gentlemen, offering a wide range of insights on their collaboration, inspirations and constant urge to explore more shades in multifaceted sonic arts.
“Norge-Polish collaborators Naked On My Own and Dopedrone have recently emerged with cinematic sounds and production values to rival the likes of M83 and Explosions in the Sky. Like the latter, these guys are all about ambience, free-flowing structures and creeping dynamics. While we’re unlikely to hear a 3 minute pop-romp from Naked On My Own or Dopedrone anytime soon, they offer up plenty of melodic hooks in their sprawling compositions to lift them above dreaded elevator music territory.” / nu-gaze.blogspot.com
“A mix of metal, doom, and ambient music. Sharp expansions and heavy rock textures creating catharsis. Smooth guitar riffs and melodic vocals equipped with post-rock elements.It is different form of beauty and style.This sound is unique…” / lifewave.sitemix.jp
“…The end result is an absorbing journey into the darker reaches of shoegaze and drone. Charged, is a brooding, seven-minute exploration of industrial psychedelia, whilst Tunnel litters the swell of post-rock with samples and pulsing bass-loops.Indeed, with Leskiewicz, you sense the passion for post-production and studio trickery is as strong as his zest for playing…” / nugazer.blogspot.com
“And here goes another Polish act but this time on a totally different atmospheres all together as oppose to [ Gars ]. Well still loud… actually loud is what we live for these days. AWESOME demo’s here guys and with time if we lucky enough we might as well get to hear a proper LP by these guys. LOVE THIS ONE. Three tracks, three entirely different tone and approach.” / thesirenssound.com
Photo: Jarek Leskiewicz of NAKED ON MY OWN / OPOLLO.
Hey there guys! First of all, could you tell us a bit about this collaboration?
J: It’s a collaboration that started years ago between me (Jarek Leskiewicz from Opole, Poland) and Martin Anderson (Oslo, Norway). I found this talented gentleman on the internet and instantly fell in love with the soundscapes he creates. We started remixing each other but it soon morphed into a fruitful and enjoyable collaboration. So far we’ve released 2 LPs, an EP (with various remixes from the artists we admire and friends) and a single. We also help with each other records. Martin plays on some NOMO and OPOLLO releases, and recently I guested on a new DOPEDRONE track.
M: It’s a friendly collaboration, where we both exchange ideas. The best ideas are molded into songs. At current Jarek holds the record of coming up with good sketches hehe, which is good since it keeps the project flowing.
J: Hah…I bring the quantity and Martin the quality.
How did you guys team up for this co-release?
M: Like always, everything happened through emails and file sharing.
J: Yeah, it’s the most comfortable way of doing things for us. We’ve had quite a long break from doing the SUNSET WRECK music. Late last year we’ve decided to give it a go and return to that sonic landscape frame of mind. We started with the first song (which was MODULOR – actually the LAST track on the new LP :) and that worked out great. We’ve followed this momentum with other songs and it all fell into place quite naturally after that.
Technically, how did you create your parts and eventually merge them into this cohesive and adventurous record?
M: One of us sends over an idea or a full sketch, and if we both feel the idea has good potential, the other one adds additional layers of various instruments….and so it continues sending back and forth, adding sounds and rearranging parts. In the end, we have something that feels right.
J: I work (more or less) in a loop mode. I’ll find an inspiring sound or drum pattern and build upon that. It takes me a while to get to the finish line as I’m a “try every alley” type of guy.
I think the adventurous aspect is the result of our tastes in music being so widespread and eclectic (hopefully in a good way!). While we keep the heavier side of it as the foundation, our music spins through some different genres like post-rock, prog-rock, doom, shoegaze, drone-ambient, dub, industrial or avantgarde…with contrasting, melodic sensibilities thrown in. There’s even a Talking Heads influence on this record :)
What gear have you picked up to produce “Salveged”?
M: I use a jazzmaster and a baritone for guitars, and my old tired Epiphone bass. Last year I built a small modular synth, which I used a little on Salvaged. Hoping to give it more use as I expand the system. All outboard gear is run through a bunch of effectpedals. I use a Hovercraft Dwarvenaut 20 amp through a loadbox, into the soundcard. The rest happens in the recording software with various soft synths and fx.
J: In my case it was the usual stuff (but slightly updated). Jagmaster & 5 string bass. An effect board, a collection of guitar pedals, tube pre amps. Some analogue synthesizers and additional effect processors. A bit of banjo too.
Cool :) What were some of your favorite things about cooperating with another inventive musician?
M: When it come to working with Jarek, I’m always blown away with the sounds he comes up with after I have sent him an idea to work on. It’s satisfying to get new and different perspectives on song ideas.
J:…and vice versa. When I’ve heard Martin’s music for the first time, I instantly became a fan. It gives me almost a ‘listener’s’ perspective when playing back the songs we are working on. It’s really exciting for me. We inspire each other. I’ve said it before but working on music with another person is quite intimate. Like in any good relationship it comes down to mutual respect, patience, understanding and the right balance of give & take.
What were some of the criteria that made you feel satisfied with a sound or a track?
M: I don’t know if there are any criterias, for me it’s more of a feeling that a sound adds something that lifts a song to a new level or adds some “spice”. Something that brings more life to the song. I think we both work intuitive and a lot of the bits and pieces come about by improvising and jamming along with a sketch.
J: I’m sure there are always ways to “perfect” the material but we try to not to burn out on it too much, and “let things be” at the right moment in the process.
How content are you with this slightly different setting compared to your latest efforts with your main projects?
M: I’m very content with this setting, as I’m learning a lot about mixing, experimenting with sound and other things, and this again projects inspiration into my own project.
J: I really enjoy collaborating and exchanging ideas with others. This setting allows me to get a fresh and valuable perspective on a song or my own writing. I trust Martin when it comes to mix/production and deciding if the ideas have potential. It makes the creative process much easier. When we’re on the same page and both excited about a song, that’s all i really need to feel content.
Have you been thinking about going live with this project? Perhaps you’re already prepping for a live show with SUNSET WRECKS?
M: We haven’t really talked about it. There would be a lot of technical issues to sort out about how to get our sound out live in the best way possible. So for the time being, I think we are content with it being a studio project. But who knows what the future might bring.
J: The music we make is very layered and there’s only us two. We live in different countries… I’m open for this live option but there’s lot of things to work out. To be honest, I’m more of a studio hermit, im also not crazy about crowds. I do enjoy playing live, but recording and exploring sounds is my main thing. I love the isolation side of it.
Having said that, I’m currently preparing and rehearsing for the upcoming festival gig with my drone/power ambient project OPOLLO.
Can you tell us more about it?
J: About OPOLLO? It’s my side-project inspired by space, SF, soundtracks and ambient/drone/noise/experimental classics. So far I’ve released a demo compilation called “Rover Tracks” and “Stone Tapes” LP in 2015, through New Nihilism label. Martin guests on some tracks.
I’m playing at FESTIWAL AMBIENTALNY in Wroclaw on 3rd of December.
Awesome! Will you be working together in the future? Have you thought about mking this record the first in a series of collaborations with other artists?
M: I think we’ll be working together as long as we are content with what we are doing with this project. So far it has been very satisfying. We haven’t thought about collaborating with other artists, altho we have had other musicians do remixes.
J: I’m sure we’ll make more music together. We are well-tuned duo. Already started working on some new SUNSET ideas. Collaborating with other artists? I had my fair share of that with many side-projects and guest appearances and Martin has his YETI ISLAND group. I don’t really see the need for that in the SUNSET WRECKS micro-macro cosmos but I’m open for some guest vocals or instrumental parts. Remixes and reinterpretations are always welcomed.
OK guys, thanks so much for your thoughts. Please feel free to wrap it up, add your final thoughts and share some plans for the future you have recently made.
M: My only plans for the future are continuing creating music with Jarek, getting a Dopedrone album done, and playing some gigs with Yeti Island. Thank you very much for the interview. Its been fun.
J: My plan is to keep writing and looking for inspiring, evocative sounds. Big thanks for conducting this interview. Cheers!
Great! Thanks again for your time. Take care!