Cxemcast 065 – Chino

Tell us about your live. How did you record it, and what should the listeners expect?

Since Cxema asked me to deliver a podcast, I’ve been recording my live performances every time it was technically possible. It’s hard to say where and when exactly it was recorded, however, because I didn’t set the date. This live is recorded with the help of a few machines: a mixer, a couple of effects, and a recorder. It’s mostly unreleased stuff (only the last track is a live version of Plattenbau from my last EP on Shtum), and sort of distorted electro/acid/EBM mixture. It’s a bit wild in terms of distortion and compression, but I like this kind of sound.

Chino has only one album for now. As you have mentioned in the description on Discogs, it is in a huge variety of styles, however: “Acid, Acid House, Electro, EBM, Ghetto, Ghetto House, Leftfield, Industrial, New Age”. Why so many?

The most important albums for me are very diverse in terms of genres. So, I wanted to make something that is constantly changing. I just find records and even sets that are all in the same genre very boring, and I don’t want to be limited by genres — artists shouldn’t stick to a particular one. To be honest, I prefer EPs, not albums. With this format of the record, one can tell more about a shorter period of musical interests, than with LP, which takes a while to produce, and lots of things can change during that time.

And why releasing on cassette?

I always wanted to do a tape, I have been listening to tapes as long as I live, and still do. There was no plan for an album, actually. Cooper from Altered States Tapes wrote that he’d like to do a tape with my music. I have sent him a couple of ready-made tracks, and he said: “Maybe let’s do a 60-minute tape”. I thought that tape is actually great format for album, because you won’t skip any track. I usually prefer listening tapes from the very beginning to the end.

They say, you have a passion for the ’80s Roland sound. Do you have some records which feature this particular kind of sound in your collection? 

I don’t have that many records. I have always been more interested in collecting instruments instead. By “Roland sound” I mean synthesizers and drum machines. I have lots of them in my studio, but recently I’ve been trying to find a perfect mini-setup, just to be more effective. With too much equipment I might lose time and energy on messing around, connecting, disconnecting, fixing, soldering etc. 

And what about studio gear? What currently is in your perfect setup?

The synth that I use in almost every track is Roland SH-101. To me, it’s sort of a Swiss knife. In pair with TR-707 as a trigger, it’s an endless inspiration tool. This is a part of my studio that was never exchanged, and takes the central position since the very beginning. I had lots of other modules, though, old and new clones of classic Roland machines by Acidlab, x0xb0x, MaM, new Boutique series — I like that rotation of gear. In my mini-setup I currently have Octatrack as the main sequencer, drum machine, and loop player, Monomachine as the main synth, and usually there is a couple of other small synths: Mutable Instruments Shruthi, DSI Evolver or Acidlab Bassline. But even in this modern setup I have lots of samples and patches that are emulating that classic sound of Rolands.

Your first release came with Murphy Jax, Xosar, and Legowelt remixes. How did you choose who will rework your tracks?

Actually, the first release was Early Days EP on Recognition, and for that release only Legowelt did a remix. I always had a lot of respect for his music and very original attitude. I also met him when he was playing in Krakow, so I thought it would be great to have his remix on my first vinyl release, which is still very special for me.

Murphy Jax and Xamiga (Xosar + Legowelt) did remixes for my 2nd record called Duch. It was the mutual decision of Rafał of S1Warsaw label and me. We just had a feeling that it will fit into the concept and vibe of that sort of haunted record.

You did the cover for your last record, Kolaps, yourself. Also, you create posters for your parties, study lithography at the Academy of Arts in Katowice and have some graffiti-background, right? Please tell us more about this part of your creativity.

I find it much easier to visualize someone else’s music, and it wasn’t easy to design the cover of my own record. There is a funny story behind it, though. I did the first version of the cover (it was very different) when the record was still in the mixing, mastering, and cutting process. It took a couple of weeks, and during that time I realized that I don’t like that version of the sleeve, so I decided to make another, but I wasn’t happy with any new idea. Meanwhile, the record was ready, and the only missing element was the cover. The pressure of time is not the best pal of creativity. The whole situation made me very frustrated, I was trying everything, copying some elements from one app to another back and forward, making super strange operations and suddenly my computer totally collapsed and the picture that showed up on the computer screen ended up as the front side of the cover. Just like my PC would say: dude, I’ll show you how to draw “kolaps” (“collapse”). I love this kind of accidents and hidden meanings.

Yeah, I’m also making lots of posters and graphics for the parties, especially for our We Are Radar series. I’m also working in lithography studio of Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. Actually, I’ve just started doing PhD in visual arts. I’d also like to work on some audio-visual set in the near future. Actually, graffiti was the spark that everything started with, both visual arts and music. I was really impressed by the sound of ’90s/’00s graffiti movies, full of scum electro and industrial tracks. I just wanted to compose tracks like that.

You are not the first Polish musician in our series, and the previous ones were speaking about a lot of other new Polish artists. Is it just about promoting each other, or is it true that the Polish scene has exploded recently?

Yeah, everything has recently expanded in Poland. I think it’s because the new generation of DJs and artists is much more self-confident than my generation. Also, everything is more available nowadays. A couple years ago, there was no Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Mixcloud etc., so it wasn’t as easy back then. And there are also lots of people from Ukraine coming to Poland with amazing energy. They have also become a very important part of the scene in Poland.  

Speaking of the Kraków club Radar, people usually add “now sadly defunct”. What exactly did happen?

Radar club was just a one-year story. It was a super intense time when we met a lot of amazing people, had some legendary parties there, but none of us (we opened Radar with Olivia and our friend Ola) had enough patience to handle all those non-musical parts of the business. In Poland, you have to get hundreds of permissions, pay lots of ridiculous taxes, struggle with police and city guard almost every night. We want to focus more on musical part of our lives, not on bureaucracy, which makes us sick. So, the great memories stay with us, but we’re happier now with having more time for music and creativity.

What were Radar parties like?

The core of We Are Radar parties are Olivia, Kinzo, and me. Olivia is an amazing selector with years of experience and really great taste, Kinzo is a one of a kind obscure italo collector with the same amount of experience, and there is also me as a live performer that is always trying to face new challenges, and with long presence on the scene as well. The other part of Radar parties is, of course, based on our musical taste, which is focused on the past, the present and the future of electronic music.

We’re presenting music that is not in the mainstream of underground, I would say, but, of course, we’re also trying to keep the balance between what’s attracting our audience and what’s interesting for us. Although we’re more into that harsh part of the musical scene, we also appreciate contemplative situations, that’s why we always do 2 rooms: “main floor” and “strange room”.

In one of the previous Cxemcasts, Olivia has told us that her favorite party from your series was the one with Ron Morelli. What about you? 

Yeah, that party with Ron was unforgettable, but a few really crazy nights have happened since Ron played at We Are Radar as well. Definitely the wildest one was our 6th Anniversary with Giant Swan. What they can do live and how people react to them, that’s on a completely another level, it’s like some sort of mechanical voodoo. 

What else is happening in Kraków, by the way? Olivia has mentioned that it can be quite a conservative city.

It’s hard to say, I’m sort of living in a bubble right now. I have contact only with people that are on the bright side. Since a couple of months, I’m trying to avoid all that sickness of conservative-catholic part of Polish society. There are no arguments that could convince them that they’re completely wrong. Now, I’m just waiting for the next elections and I hope that something will change. So, currently with only good people around me, I feel great in Krakow, it’s really a place to be. 

Tell us about Biuro Dźwięku Katowice and Silesian Sound. What are these projects?

Biuro Dźwięku Katowice is a project formed by my good old friends Jan Dybała and Piotr Ceglarek. Three of us studied together, we even went to the same class in high school with Jan. Moreover, we started to make and play music together many years ago. Besides their amazing music activity, both of them are also very talented visual artists. They did videos for 2 tracks from my last EP on Shtum, by the way. Their work at BDK is focused on experimental music, they organize outstanding series of workshops, concerts and artists’ residencies in Katowice. I joined them during the first year of that project, but it wasn’t possible for me to participate in it when I started playing almost every weekend.

Silesian Sound was a project we did with Japanese artist Yosi Horikawa and my good friend Kuba Sojka. It was focused on industrial legacy of Silesia region in Poland. It was formed specially for the closing concert of Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival a couple of years ago.

Actually, Kuba Sojka has visited Ukraine recently. Are there some other Polish artists whose work resonates with you?

Me and Kuba, we grew up in the same region and have lots of common inspirations. We were also playing at the same clubs, and we did a couple of live collaborations, but recently we didn’t have a chance to do anything together. Currently, besides my Radar crew, I’m also playing a lot with my 2 good buddies: Aheloy! and Yamaha FT. Our project is called Miasto, Masa, Maszyna.

About 2 years ago, we had an all night long improvised jam at a Krakow club Bomba. Since then, we’re playing together almost every month. Sometimes it’s just 2–3 hour long live sets, sometimes it’s all night long sessions. The musical communication between us is somehow so natural and so spontaneous that we don’t have to rehearse. And even after 7–8 hours of jamming, when we’re super tired, it’s still a pleasure to play with these guys.

Who else should we pay attention to among Polish artists?

You should check out my night jams buddies, Yamaha FT and Aheloy!. There is also a great crew from Warsaw called Syntetyk (Dzuma, Huragan, Czapla Siwa, Phatrax, and Axis, doing visuals). Speaking of audiovisual projects, you should definitely check out Modulartelevision (MTV), formed by Jan Dybala, Piotr Ceglarek, and AARPS from Biuro Dzwieku Katowice. One of my favorite producers nowadays is Wiktor Milczarek aka Dyktando, and then there is also Seltron 400, a collaboration of my good old friends Eltron and SLG. 

In conclusion, after checking on your Discogs page, we would also like to know about your favorite Polish brutalist building, your favorite party poster (from your portfolio and from someone else's), and your favorite place in the Tatra Mountains.

My favorite brutalist building doesn’t exist anymore. It was an old railway station in Katowice. Unfortunately, the city sold it to some Spanish shopping mall company, and they destroyed it, then built some incredibly bad designed shopping center at its place. Favorite party poster from my portfolio... Let’s say, again, 6th Anniversary of We Are Radar w/ Giant Swan. Speaking of someone else’s, I really like all Disco Not Disco series by Floating Bstrd. Favorite place in Tatra Mountains — Valley of 5 Lakes.

 

Interviewed by Darko Lisen