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Moonlight Interview

Moonlight Interview
By: Sam Grant
With: Andrzej Kutys, Maja Konarska, Michał Podciechowski of Moonlight

Interview Info
By: Sam Grant
With: Andrzej Kutys, Maja Konarska, Michał Podciechowski of Moonlight
Also Present: Charlie Farrell

Sam: It’s been a week so far on the tour, how has it gone?

Andrzej: Some good concerts, in Krakow, for example, but not always. Though there were plenty of good concerts on this tour. It is our purpose, especially on this tour, to play 18 good concerts, as good as we can do.

Sam: Is this the main event for you per year?

Andrzej: The biggest one, yeah.

Sam: How do you find you’re generally received, or does it differ from town to town?

Andrzej: The public is always different. In Krakow it was great. Sometimes people are more interested in listening to the music, sometimes they are more enthusiastic

Michal: We play a lot of new songs now, so they usually listen to it.

Andrzej: There are lots of new songs to play.

Sam: Is the new stuff more complex? What’s the difference between the new album and your last couple?

Andrzej: Everything is different. We always try to do the best things that we can in a specific moment, you know, and for us this is the best thing for this moment.

Michal: It’s obvious, when all the bands release a new album they say, ‘yes, this is the best one’, but we know that his album sounds different, the songs are different, the lyrics are different, and that’s OK for us, that was the purpose.

Andrzej: It should be different. We are different every year. We try to listen to new music, to discover new music, something interesting in our playing all the time. When we met each other in 1991, obviously not with the same people, but when the band started we had no idea how to play music. I think we have the idea now, but we are learning all the time and I hope that in the new album you can hear it.

Sam: Was it a conscious decision to write stuff that was different from your previous albums?

Andrzej: Yes it was. I think our different albums - like Candra, it was a demo in 1993, but only the lyrics stayed, we changed all the music; on Candra, and even on Yaishi - we think that Audio 136 is a step forward.

Sam: What is the motif on the front of the album? There seem to be some Eastern links to it, what’s the idea behind that?

Andrzej: You say Eastern, someone said for her it connected with reggae music…

Sam: You haven’t moved into reggae have you?!

Michal: A little, a little!

Andrzej: It’s just a nice picture, you know.

Michal: A little, in the rhythmic parts.

Sam: You have some time-signature changes, some beat changes. Are there some jazzy elements in there as well? I think some people think there are a lot of metal elements to the sound that you make.

Andrzej: There were metal elements.

Michal: There are rock elements now.

Sam: It has got a lot softer recently. Maja, you’ve started singing in English only in the last couple of releases. Is that an easy thing for you to do?

Maja: *Speaks in Polish*

Michal: Maja understands a lot, though there is always some guy who translates the lyrics. Maja writes in Polish…

Sam: And he translates them into English.

Michal: When Maja sings in the studio, he always listens.

Sam: Your English is quite capable. Do you think that the English translations are a good reflection of what’s being said in Polish?

Michal: Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Sam: Do you feel that’s quite a strange thing because you might be concerned that the real artistic message of what you’re trying to say isn’t coming across as much as you would like it to?

Andrzej: Maja hasn’t sung in English for so long, because the first English version was after Yaishi. Before we always did Polish versions of our albums, but now it changes, some of the songs are in English and some are in Polish. This is the last version. There’s no Polish version and English version.

Sam: Was it your idea to do it both in English and Polish or was that the label’s idea?

Andrzej: No, it was Metal Mind.

Michal: We like the English version because English is the language of rock.

Andrzej: But a funny thing, for German people, in our music, I don’t know if it’s the same for other English bands, in our music, when they are listening to Maja singing in Polish, the Polish language sounds very exotic. Especially to Germans because I gave some to my cousins, who are German, and they said, ‘Wow, it sounds really exotic to me!’

Sam: I think a lot of people like that. I hadn’t come across any music or text in Polish before I had come across bands like Moonlight and Closterkeller. There’s something very alluring about that, and what you’ll find, if you’re writing a lot of stuff in English and in Polish is that a lot of people prefer the Polish lyrics, even though they don’t necessarily understand them. Because it works well with the music and the sound, so that’s definitely a positive thing.

Charlie: If you’ve written the vocal melody in Polish to fit the music, it must be difficult to get English words to fit in.

Michal: The vocal melody was the first thing that came and then there was the lyrics.

Sam: I don’t know if you know an Artrosis song called Emerald Night, which is Szmaragdowa Noc in Polish. If you try to sing Emerald Night over the melody it doesn’t work so well.

Andrzej: I think that’s a matter of the translation. If Bon Jovi sings ‘I love you baby’ in Polish it sounds terrible! In English too anyway, but it sounds better, but in Polish it would just be terrible!

Sam: I think that’s because a lot of English and American rock like Bon Jovi and similar are build of power ballads, it’s the foundation of rock music. That’s unfortunately how it goes. What’s the rest of the music scene like in Poland, because the only thing I know about it is what you guys do.

Michal: The best side is our music!

Andrzej: I can say that I don’t listen to much Polish music, really.

Michal: There are some interesting bands, but not so many. Like –

Andrzej: Ocean. There is a band called ‘Ocean’ which are pretty good.

Michal: Vader…

Andrzej: There are some good bands but our music industry is too small.

Sam: Is the stuff that really sells in this country music that isn’t Polish?

Andrzej: No, of course not. I don’t listen to very much Polish music because what we have here in Poland at the top of the charts is rubbish. In Poland pop bands are not interesting, they are not so good. It doesn’t take much to be a star in Europe.

Sam: Are you happy with playing just round Poland or do you find that a bit restrictive? Would you like to get out and play in other places?

Andrzej: We would like to get out, it’s important. We think our music would be better understood outside Poland. We would take any opportunity to play outside Poland, it’s a great handicap now.

Sam: Where would you like to play in particular?

Andrzej: We haven’t played in enough places to say such things. We’ve played some concerts in Germany and it was very nice because in Poland you go to places like this and no one really cares about you but in Germany you are treated like an artist.

Sam: I hope that the English lyrics will help you break out and help you go to other countries in spite of the fact that a lot of people prefer the Polish lyrics. I think if you want to break out and go to other countries then unfortunately you have to sing in English. So what does the future hold for Moonlight, where do we go from here?

Andrzej: Now we are focussed on this tour and when we go home we will see. We will try to play much more concerts than before. I think our biggest problem is that after ten years of playing we didn’t meet a good manager. We didn’t meet a person who would do it professionally.

Sam: Did you have problems with marketing or did they not promote you well enough?

Andrzej: Yeah, in Poland especially you can promote yourself playing concerts because you can’t hear it on the radio, you can’t see it on the TV. As I say, our Polish music industry is so small that there is no place for bands like us. We have to play concerts to promote ourselves and we didn’t play these concerts enough. We want to play outside Poland. Of course now it’s only wishes, but I hope these wishes come true.

Sam: You said you have some management problems, has the situation improved?

Andrzej: No, Metal Mind organises this Dark Stars festival and that’s all. We have some interviews, but our goal now is to play outside Poland.

Sam: Is Moonlight a full-time thing or do you do things apart from it?

Andrzej: No, of course not. Our jobs are good because I’m a radio DJ, our drummer teaches people to play drums. Maja sings in commercials, but Moonlight is not our full-time job.

Sam: It seems that if Maja is doing some vocal work outside of Moonlight, you’re doing Djing, the focus is still very much within music. You’re fortunate in that regard because there are a lot of artists and musicians who don’t get opportunities in work in music, they just have to make money.

Andrzej: Especially in Poland because there are a lot of problems with work. We are very fortunate.

Sam: I think you’re doing well and in spite of the problems that Metal Mind throw up I think that you have a good label behind you and a good amount of other bands on your label with you.

Andrzej: I think Metal Mind for Polish conditions is quite a good record company but we hope we can find a new manager, a person who will be good enough to organise some concerts outside of Poland. We don’t expect Metal Mind to do all the things…

Sam: ...but it would be nice. One more thing. I’ve noticed that Metal Mind have put out an awful lot of DVDs. It’s rare for the smaller labels to do that for their bands, but there’s a lot of media out there with Moonlight on it and the more they put out, the more well-known you’re going to get.

Charlie: But for the people who can’t travel to see you it’s really good.

Sam: Yes, that’s a really important thing. This is the first time I’ve been to Poland, I’ve only come for the Dark Stars, but a lot of people wouldn’t come and wouldn’t get a chance to see Moonlight, unless of course we bring you over to England.

Andrzej: We are very glad that you are here, we hope that you enjoy the concert.