If I had ever been told that I would have my own band in the future and I would sing , I would have tapped my forehead saying ''You must be kidding''. I used to be mad about playing drums and I would think about it in terms of my permanent artistic profession. I had never expected that one day I would start to write lyrics, and furthermore, perform them with my own music... And this is exactly what has happened.
Sidney's beginnings or the first, Macintosh G3!
It was towards the end of the year 1998 that I bought the first computer for recording music; a beige desktop - Macintosh G3 with a 17-inch monitor. Inside, there was the Audiowerk sound card,working in association with the Logic 3.6 programme. In those days, the equipment was top-notch and it cost a fortune. Today it's worth the crate of coke but this is always like this with computers.
It was then that my chances to produce music were good enough for me to deal with everything on my own. What had been beyond my wildest dreams earlier (I didn't even have my own multi track cassette recorder) came true.
In those days, I had been beating the drums in T.Love band for eight years. After Janek Benedek had left, I began to compose for the band as well. I made the riffs for the compositions called "To nie jest miłość"(''This Is Not Love'') , ''Jest super"(''It's Super'') and some other songs, but all the time , I wasn't able to register my ideas even in the most primitive and simplest way. Now, I was able to spend all nights working on looping effects of the rhythms stolen from CDs, sampling of guitar riffs from the beginnings of the compositions as well as programming my own beats. I could enjoy unlimited access to the world of home-recording.
I connected my computer to the "beaten" Fender Stratocaster guitar, which I had bought from Majchrzak from T.Love a few years earlier. I also installed my old drum-machine Korga DDD-1 and I went really mad about creating various pieces. I used to record a few songs a day , mostly the so called ''sneak peeks'', the unfinished ideas that would sound valuable only from my perspective. It was Muniek that was supposed to become their depository and some of them really met his expectations and understanding, and were later transformed into T.Love's songs such as "133", "E.M.I.", "Jak Dzieci" (''Just Like Kids'') from the album entitled "Antyidol" (''Anti Idol''), recorded in 1999 and "Pank is Ded?", "Ajrisz" and "Potejto" from the album "Model 01" . They were created thanks to my tiny home-recording studio which was soon enriched by Yamaha MSP5 amplifiers,the Emu 5000 digital sample,the Soundcraft 328 XD digital mixing console and the first professional preamp - Focusrite Isa 430 with the Neumann TLM 103 microphone. Now I was in the possession of the equipment which enabled me to make high-quality recordings of not only vocal but also acoustic instruments .
What is also worth noting, is the fact that in the year 2000, fed up with frequent relocations of the band from one rehearsal room to another, I decided to find a permanent venue in close vicinity of my flat in Tarchomin. It was on the first day of my search that I came across a nice location in Żerań, reliably safeguarded, big enough, and what is especially important, accessible 24 hours a day. Our new place was called Tarchostudio and we soon got down to work. Our own, acoustically adapted studio, the back-line of T.Love band plus more sophisticated recording equipment provided a wide range of opportunities and what remained to be done, was to fill them with our new ideas...
"Boys in the sound", or "Chłopcy w brzmieniu"
At the beginning of our craze for computer music, we created songs in association with Majcher, first in my house in Tarchomin and then in Tarchostudio. The band was called "Chłopcy w brzmieniu" and they were supposed to form some kind of music supplement to a large multimedial project, aimed at the creation of the first true interactive music in the world, the music that could automatically adjust to its listener, like in computer games. However, the level of complexity of that idea increased with the number of joints that we smoked and the amount of alcohol that we drank while talking about it . Majcher is still working on the project but it hasn't come to light yet. Perhaps I shouldn't have spoilt the surprise that is bound to be great once it is completed and proves successful' The name itself was a Polish version of the English phrase
"Boys in the sound" which we heard when the words read by female voice in Spanish at the beginning of the album Jane's Addiction's "Ritual de lo Habitual" were played backwards by the computer.It shows the high-level abstraction that we were exposed to.
There were mostly rock songs , with a little bit of electro. It was Majcher and me who sang in the music ideas, which, as a matter of fact, were hardly comprehensible. The only lyrics in Polish were created by Muniek and me while we were coming back from one of the T.Love's concerts . As we were up drinking all night, the text that we invented was rather controversial. It began with "High, I'm touching his balls...". The other lyrics were nothing more than the so called ''Norwegian language'', a loose set of incomprehinsible syllables that were supposed to resemble English. It was then that Piotrek Nowicki vel Nowik, Majcher's friend from school who had graduated from the Multimedia System Department of the University of Paris, joined the band. He was really competent in multimedia.In association with Nazim from T.Love we made an underground video clip to the song "Boys in the sound",in which Nazim, with a suitcase in his hand, keeps running throughout the city and he finally connects his earphones to the ground.The whole scene is interwoven with the repetitive images of a pot of milk that is boiling over. The work on the clip was progressing very slowly and I was a bit shocked by the magnitude of this interprise. I remember trying to write the Polish lyrics to that stuff but they didn't prove successful.
However, it was more and more frequently that I thought about doing something faster and by myself. Some time later, Majcher and Nowik decided to start an online commercial company to help them finance their own artistic activity.I followed my own footpath.
Everything coincided with an enormous popularity of hip hop in Poland. I suddenly realized for the second time ( at the age of 18, I became fascinated with black music), that the words performed in rhythm could be as exciting as singing itself and the message you want to convey could be wrapped in different ''sound'' entourage. It is possible to play the acoustic guitar for hip hop beat and just keep telling your story. And as I am a drummer who rhythmically plays the guitar, I could make ''the music within the rhythm'' sound really good. Furthermore, if you add the atmosphere of reggae to all of this, the result could be really unique and unknown in Poland ever before. And reggae, hip hop plus "Manu Chao" folk is something that I have always been listening to . It was about the middle of the year 2000 that I dared to record my first "sidneylike" song.A six-pack of cold Okocim Mocne beer, brought from the BP petrol station, proved very helpful. As a matter of fact, it was a fully free-style song. Its beginning was as follows "I'm not any fucking rapper...''However, it was not much later that I became one. In the year 2003, I added the new lyrics to that riff and that was how the introductory composition ''Witam'' (''Hallo'') was created and later included in my first album.
University, or "Have you got a joint with you, Bob?"
In the year 2000, after a 6-year break, I came back to university as an external student. Before the break, I had studied at Warsaw University, the Sociology Department at Karowa Street for three years (however, I only managed to pass the first one with rather poor results).
This time, I resumed my study at ISNS, the Institute of Applied Social Studies.
I found myself in the second year because I had already had all my first-year credits, completed at Sociology Department. That experience proved really fantastic for at least a few reasons. First, I found myself in a completely different environment. I was surrounded by people, most of whom had already worked but they wanted to graduate and receive their diplomas for various reasons. Among them, there were some guys who worked in radio stations, hospitals or even at the town hall as well as the girls working in advertising agencies or somewhere in industry. In a word, they were pretty good and interesting companions.There were about sixty people in my year and as for external students, we were quite harmonious and cooperative. I used to play my sneak peeks to my university colleagues before our lectures. I was called Bob due to my long curly hair and also because I occasionally helped them to some joints. Some of them were really artful chaps. I remember a student called Tymon, a hairless hospital attendant who, quite seriously, applied for political asylum in Cuban Embassy and he has probably received it. We used to meet after classes at numerous wild parties, held in different places. It is worth noting that three of my ISNS friends stayed at my place for a certain period of time; Daniel and his girlfriend Aneta, now his wife, and their friend Paweł, a journalist. We spent together a lot of boozy nights, talking about music and lyrics.
Secondly, it was at university that I met Michał Marecki. It was just before one of the lectures that were given on Saturday mornings at Żurawia Street. Those days, Michał kept playing with Fiolka Najdenowicz in the band led by Leszek Biolik. He was also active as a keyboardist and played ska in the band called Pan Profeska with the saxophonist Maria. His education was also interrupted due to his music career. He had taken up loads of jobs before he finally began to take music seriously.As far as I know, he even ran his own company dealing with phone-line installations. Our sense of humour was similar and we had almost the same taste in girls. Consequently, almost at once, we made a decision to start playing together. No sooner had I met Michał than I included his first keyboard pieces in my latest music ideas that I had already began to deal with. As far as I can remember, they were connected with two compositions, "Butelki"(''The Bottles'') and "Tekila".
Thirdly, the university study itself after a six-year break helped me refresh the contents of my head and let me look at the themes of my future compositions from a different angle...
The formation of the band composition, or "You keep playing and I keep recording"
In autumn 2000, I started working with Michał Marecki on keyboards recording in Tarchostudio. We began discussing the formation of the band composition. It was Michał who told me about a certain guy called Siwy who was just staying in Warsaw. Siwy, an ex-guitarist from the band called Bakszysz, was now playing in Maleo Reggae Rockers .Having heard that he was still looking forward to some propositions, I decided to make an appointment with him in Tarchostudio.
Siwy came with a plastic bag full of brew, he walked around the studio, listened to a few pieces and then asked straight away whether we would start playing together or not. He was so straightforward and unpretentious that I felt really impressed. With a cleanly-shaved head, lack of some teeth and a baseball cap on his head , his mouth breathed out some heavy tobacco and liquor flavour.His guitar with a Midi equipped set-up enabled him to produce shit hot reggae beats. This is what Siwy was like. He referred to himself as "That's me, 24 h" which implied his love and constant readiness for bashes. This is how I won his heart. I used to phone him from time to time while we were making the first album (which took three years) and he would always come on time with his guitar and a bag full of beer.I would jump from one music arrangement to another and incorporate his jam pegs here and there on the computer. Kajetan Aron,the contemporary sound designer at T.Love's concerts, helped me with the recording of more difficult instruments. It was he that recorded Siwy's acoustic guitar in "Chomiczówka'' and "Tequila'", the furnace guitars and live drums. Meanwhile, in association with Kajetan and Muniek, we produced a concert album entitled "T.Live",the recording of T.Love's concert that was held in Stodoła in 2002. It was also Kajtek who mixed my first compositions ''Tequila'' and ''The Bottles'' which were included in the CD with the soundtrack of the film'' Super Production'' as trailers of the album (We made a title song called ''Lużny Janek'' in association with T.Love in 2003). It was more or less then that Kajtek accompanied the band Kult as their concert acoustician in the numerous concert tours. He bacame the main resident of "
Słabe Studio" , a recording studio in which the records of the bands cooperating with Sławek Pietrzak S.P. are produced. As a result of that, he stopped co-operating with T.Love.%%%
I remember Piotrek Pniak, one of the best drummers in Poland, from one of the concerts, held in the 1990s, in which both T.Love and Proletaryat took part. My reception of their concert, held in a huge concert hall, was at least twofold. On the one hand, I couldn't resist my admiration for him because I play the drums myself and I know how hard it is to achieve such great skills and excellence. As a matter of fact, I didn't know there were such instrumentalists in Poland. On the other hand, I could hardly understand why one could play Marley's "No women no cry" in such fascist way as they did it at that concert. Now I knew that if I were to play with the loops live, the drummer would have to perform exactly in line with them in order to avoid any mess in sounds.
I managed to gain Pniak's phone number, I met him and took him to Tarchostudio.It soon turned out that he was quite eager to cooperate . I kept phoning him for three years and I invited him to come to Tarchostudio to the recording sessions which usually lasted for a few hours, to record the material for further computer treatment. Later, I glued his looped rhythms to the mechanical beats in my arrangements. Sometimes I would take a microphone to make a mono recording of his performance,on total compression. I'd keep moving while holding it in my hand and searching in the earphones for a fine, dirty and folded sound. Occasionally , that method proved successful . And what is more, we used the drummer slang for communicationn which sometimes brought about quite good effects.Thanks to Piotrek, I got to know Filip Rakowski vel Funky Filon, who recorded the sketches for "Butelki" (''The Bottles'') and "Chomiczówka", but later he decided that he didn't aspire to being anything more than a side man and he gave up the idea of joining the band. In the band, considerably renewed for the season 2009/2010, he works as a scratcher and regularly participates in all our concerts.
I also recorded the sketches of DJ Panda for the first album. I got to know him thanks to Pezet ( the rapper who I worked with on recording the song ''I Open a Bottle of Wine'') because Noon, Pezet's producer wanted Panda to prepare sketches for the first Pezet's album entitled "Muzyka klasyczna"(''Classical Music''). Panda kept working on the recording in my house which, by the way, coincided with our old school reunion and a table tennis tournament which were being held in the big room.
I also recorded Wojtek Seweryn from Lech Janerka's band and Fiolka Najdenowicz. Soon afterwards, Wojtek died of cancer. It was Wojtek who made the introduction to "Chorwat" (''Croatian'') with the use of acoustic guitar in its original version. In terms of technique, he was the best guitarist I had ever recorded. He produced sounds with incredible lightness.
It is worth noting that Mikis Cupas, an old friend from "Eksperyment", the Comprehensive School in Warsaw that we had both attended, also helped me with the recording of the first album. Mikis, who used to play with Cytadel, our school band, attracted Robert Gawliński's attention and started working in collaboration with the band Wilki, but he also recorded for me the acoustic riffs, included towards the end of "Witam" (''Hallo''). Janek Benedek,who had made me join T.Love and later, let me have a go in his own band called Warsaw, recorded two acoustic guitars for "Ragga-rap" and "Siedem Grzechów Popkultury"(''The Seven Sins of Pop Culture''). Korzeń, Grzegorz Rytka, Struś, Dominik Trębski and Marcin Ołówek recorded live trumpets.The other part of the whole enterprise was to find and invite the vocalists.
I came across Pezet amost automatically soon after his album ''Classical Music'' ,made in association with Noon, was launched.The album with the ultimate fat beats and the best rap performed by Pezet, proved one of the landmarks on the map of Polish hip hop. The album made an enormous impression on me and I still think that next to the first Molesta and Paktofonika, it is one of the best Polish productions.
I came across Pablopavo and Reggaenerator on my way to "Czwartek reggaeowy"(''Reggae Thursday''), the event that was held in "Punkt" , the restaurant in former "Piwnica Architektów" in the centre of Warsaw where Zjednoczenie Sound System used to play once a week. I brought them a record with demos and when I invited them to the studio, they managed to record the lyrics both for "Przemijamy"(''We Pass'') and "Radio Warszawa"(''Radio Warsaw'') just in one evening. The song "Przemijamy" (''We Pass'') was freestyled so I could easily cut out three skits based on the same beat. Although it was before the premiere of the first album Vavamuffin, the high quality of their recordings seemed to bode well for the future career of the band.
I saw the hip hop Trzeci Wymiar (The Third Dimension) on TV while I was watching a video clip for the first single included in their debut album. Once, almost by chance, they dropped into Tarchostudio, where they incorporated a few verses into the song "Inny Wymiar" (''A Different Dimension'').
I was lucky in more ways than one. Adaś Toczko, the sound realizer, accompanied by his contemporary assistant Szymon Sieńko was just relocating his studio "Elektra" from Gdańsk to Warsaw. Adaś brought the whole equipment to Tarchostudio so that he could realize two bonus studio pieces, "Polish Boy Friend" and "Europolska" (''Euro Poland'') for the concert album T.Live, which was being mixed here. The works on the new location of ''Elektra'' didn't progress smoothly so after the completion of T.Love's recordings, he spent the winter evenings mixing Sidney's songs for another month. Thus, towards the end of December,2003 I had the whole of my first album mixed.
The lyrics, or "the kick and the message are the most important things"
My first songs recorded in Tarchostudio were freestyle. When I had my beat recorded, I went to the nearest BP to buy some beer, then I switched on the microphone and I started yakking , just at random. Of course, the lyrics conceived in such manner were rather mediocre and they usually sounded rough. And although there were a few brilliant phrases and some apt comments, it was more like playing with words than writing the lyrics. This is how "DJ Alkoholique" came into being:
DJ Alkoholique, DJ Alkoholique, that's me x 4
DJ Alkoholique will tell you now, DJ Alkoholique will tell you
DJ Alkoholique will tell you now, DJ Alkoholique will tell you
I'm an alcoholic, I drink a lot.
This is all you know about me
A six-pack of Okocim Mocne makes the world go round
And it's even better than some blunts
DJ Alkoholique, DJ Alkoholique, that's me x 4
It is a fact that the Poles drink a lot. They like alcohol as much as I do.
It is a fact that the Poles drink a lot . They drink and then they throw up.
They drink and then they feel sick...
Everybody goes out boozing; politicians, actors, footballers, priests,
Journalists, caretakers, the president's bodyguards.
But he doesn't! But he doesn't!
The President doesn't booze.He has never drunk! He has never drunk! x 4
Oh, fuck it...
It was in the same manner that "Porno-pasterz"( ''Porno Shepherd'') came into being, an online presentation of the problem of sexual harassment among the priests, expressed in very sharp punk words as well as a piece called "Faja" (''Pipe''), a bonus track to the first album that hadn't been published yet :
Give me your pipe, oh please give it to me, don't pickle it
If you want to have your own habits, have them.
But now please give me your pipe, do not pickle it.
Shall I roll it or stud it ? That is the question. A negative answer is excluded.
Batatas could be harmful whereas a pipe gives a nice shock.
Look! That son of a bitch is going to stop us .
Fuck you cop !
These are my documents and my car insurance. And I am not under the influence . So fuck off, will you? x 2
I see you need some cash for vodka. Yes, I see but...
And soon I heard Marecki's remark: "Now look here. In my view, you should give the lyrics some thought". At last, I took his advice seriously. ''Tequila'' was the first composition whose lyrics were created ''in a new way''. First, I invented the whole plot and then I divided it into stanzas so that the tension of the story could be the same from beginning to end. Then, following the plan, I began making rhymes. It was probably then that I first became aware of the fact that if the story I wanted to tell was true and really experienced by me, it was not a difficult thing to make rhymes. My next compositions bore this tendency out . Whenever I tried to make up a story that was not based on my own experience, I got stuck and I could hardly proceed but when I focused my attention on the emotions that I really felt, everything was progressing smoothly. I remembered Muniek's saying "the kick and the message are the most important things", which I heard on one occasion and I started to think about everything more seriously. I happened to talk with Muniek about the technique of writing lyrics and I tried to make him reveal his own one.I wondered how he came up with the new ideas and how much time it took him to write the lyrics.
Now, in retrospect, I must admit that the lyrics included in my first album were considerably affected by my contemporary friend, Kuba Wojewódzki. And I don't mean the man who is commonly known from TV screens but ''our Tarchominian '' Kuba, the next-door neighbour. By sheer coincidence, their names are the same. As a matter of fact, it is unlucky coincidence for our Kuba if you compare their artistic standards.
Kuba used to be a good companion to a bottle of liquor or the nights spent surfing the net. He specialised in ''stupid local hoaxes'' such as: ''Can you hear that noise coming from the upstairs? It sounds like a wild do. Let's join them!'' or ''Do you know what, Jarek? I overheard my neighbour Dorota complaining she had no onions left. Let's bring her some from the all-night shop. We shall put them on the doormat and run away ". Kuba's jokes and tricks were ridiculous and amusing, but above all, they were just brilliant. It is thanks to him that I recall that period as the days filled with joy, amusement , wild parties and good music. He tuned to the songs of his favourite Stare Dobre Małżeństwo (Good Old Married Couple), and I kept playing Gentleman and Sekou, and I tried to assure him that German reggae is also worthwhile.Our friendly relationship waned a little when I found myself a girlfriend and he didn't because our daily routines stopped corresponding to each other. Besides, I had to get rid of my alcoholic hobby for the time being in order to help my liver regenerate. So now, we are fairly sober friends.
A contract with EMI, or "nobody wants it"
In the year 2002,as soon as the first two songs (''The Bottles''and ''Tequila'') had been mixed, I took them to Pomaton, now EMI Polska. That decision seemed natural because we knew each other very well. After all, it was Pomaton that had released T.Love's albums.I wondered how they would react when they heard a singing drummer. As a matter of fact, I hadn't shown those songs to anybody ever before. The only exception was Juzek from Sissi Records, Ania Dąbrowska's husband , but when he listened to them, he said he didn't believe it. Two weeks later, Paweł Walicki and Ania Dróżdż, the representatives of Pomaton announced they were ready to co-operate and they looked forward to seeing the whole album. Yes, it was a joyful day.Then I started to believe that my work was wortwhile and if I managed to complete the whole album, it would be released. Now I knew I wouldn't have to wander from one firm to another or to establish my own publishing company. Following some reconnaissance , Pomaton included those two songs in the album associated with the film "Superprodukcja"(''Super Production''). Soon afterwards, Muniek and I took part in a very odd press-tour all over Poland. We had to attend various meetings, held in Empiks, with hardly any people or journalists present. As a matter of fact, nobody cared a rat's arse about the soundtrack album to a Polish movie.
I must admit that Pomaton kept waiting patiently for the album to be completed. Sometimes they asked me how I was progressing with my work and I told them to take it easy . When they asked me again, I told them not to panic.Two years had passed and at the beginning of 2004, I provided them with a master album. I was almost sure that they would assign to me Paweł Walicki as the ''first contact man'' whom I had always liked and respected. I was a bit afraid when they informed me that a man called Jarek Rawicki would be in charge of Sidney. In those days, I didn't know him at all. Jarek,my namesake and my homie, a few years younger than me, also coming from Chomiczówka, turned out to be a mega guy. It is worth noting that we used to attend the same Primary School No 106 at Conrad Street (he started school a few years later) and our mothers had known each other before mine decided to emigrate. The music Jarek listened to was quite OK, he appreciated hip hop and reggae, and he really liked Sidney's music and hoped that its promotion would prove successful. It could be easily noticed that he worked with him with pleasure.
The successful effects of the promotion couldn't be taken for granted: just before the album was to be launched in May, 2004, during the meeting held in the EMI conference room, the representatives of all promotion departments were asked the following question:'' Has it been possible to find the media patronage over the album?'' and they answered in unison: ''Unfortunately, nobody wants it because it is neither hip hop nor reggae and "as a matter of fact, it's hard to say what it is''.Luckily,Tomek Nalewajek's video clip for ''Tequila'' as well as his vacation clip for ''I Open a Bottle of Wine'' were aptly prepared and they brought desirable effects. It is worth noting that the song '' I Open a Bottle of Wine'' met the wide audience expectations.
However, it was not until autumn 2004 that the album dramatically improved its sales due to the fact that "Chomiczówka" came first on the Trójka' s (the third programme of the Polish Radio) charts. As far as the clips for the first album are conerned, I must admit I was really lucky; both ''Tequila'' and ''Wine'' were OK and they were followed by a very emotional clip for ''Chomiczówka'', made by Paweł Popko, Muniek's cousin, then we managed to collect vast sums on the clip ''Croatian'' which was shot by Grupa 13 not far from Szklarska Poręba. In 2005, I spent my summer holidays with Paweł Popko in Shanghai where we made a video clip for ''We Pass'' in rather austere conditions. Towards the end of promotion, Wojtek Włodarski made a successful clip for the song" Ragga-rap" with the use of industrial video camera.
The promotion was probably so successful, partly due to the fact that in March,2005 I received three Fryderyk awards; for the best author, the best composer and the best alternative album of the year 2004.
"Always on the run", or Sidney Polak's 140 concerts.
No sooner had the master album been completed than I set off on my winter holidays to Krynica to do some skiing. And hardly had I come back home than I called out Marecki, Siwy and Pniak and we soon started our rehearsals. We needed to adapt the contents of the album to the requirements of a live performance. Unluckily, we soon realized that it would be impossible to play all the tracks live. To make matters worse, the bass guitarist no longer played with us. That was why we decided to make the most of our old Macintosh G3. Pniaku ,like Terminator, was connected to a computer -generated metronome, and the background bass loops, extra keyboards and trumpets successfully complemented the sound scope and let us perform in four. What I especially liked then was the fact that the band seemed so mechanical; and as a matter of fact, it was like a hip hop band. The use of sample bass resulted in obtaining some kind of equilibrium and more characteristic tone.
It was a year, or a year and a half later, not until autumn 2005 that we decided to enrich our band composition by a professional electric counter bass player.As a result of inviting all the well-known bassists to the casting session held Tarchostudio , one proved really unbeatable. His name was Paweł Mazurczak, who had previously played with such bands as Trebunie Tutki, Calle Sol, Tadeusz Nalepa and Antonina Krzysztoń. Apart from being a brilliant musician, Paweł is just a fantastic, cheerful man full of kindness and selflessnss. The man to steal horses and drink liquor with. Of course, almost at once, I started to think about the best candidate for the band manager.It was thanks to Muniek who made friends with Habakuk, a band from Częstochowa that I was introduced to Michał Gawlicz, the contemporary manager of the group. Michał, Broda's cousin, a vocalist from Habakuk, seemed ideal for this position. He wasn't mannered as a result of his co-operation with T.Love, ''the great star'' and, what's more, he had access to small clubs all over Poland. I thought that he could make the band play a lot ,without hoping for enormous profits, especially at the beginning of our collaboration. . Having listened to our album, Michał agreed to help us but he expressed one reservation; Habakuk would always go first. He organized a lot of concerts in the year 2004. The first of them which was a kind of a warm up before the debut concert in Warsaw, was held on 20 March in Kluczbork, Siwy's hometown and it was him that the people who came to the concert wanted to see. I could hardly scare the shit out of myself when I first made my appearance as a frontman. Luckily, I managed but I felt so nervous that I didn't feel like drinking beer before the conc
ert because I was afraid of throwing it out. The concert took place on 15 April in ''Punkt'' in Warsaw and it attracted a large crowd of our acquaintances The drink bar was occupied by the so called ''box of scoffers'', the members of contemporary and former T.Love who came to the concert to laugh at the drummer who bagan to rap.Of course, everybody was very polite, the concert was really wild, especially thanks to Reggaenerator and Pablopavo,who helped me on the stage so that everything could progress smoothly.However, there were a few biting remarks.They accused me of opportunism and kept repeating the phrase: ''Once rock, and now hip hop and reggae. Have you done the right thing?'' Generally, I didn't care about such remarks; it is always like that when you start doing something new so you should learn to be resistant to such biting comments. However, it was 3 days later that we were really a bit down because there were only two people at our concert in ''Ucho'', a club in Gdynia. Gawlicz must have been wrong hoping for much earlier promotion of the album, whereas, in reality,it was not until June that it really started.On the other hand, I have very nice recollections from one summer concert that we gave in the club called "Jezioro Łabędzie" in July, 2004.Not only was the club full but more than 300 people were denied acces. It soon turned out that Michał Gawlicz, although invaluable at our concert tours, unfortunately, often happened not to be able to go with us due to his concerts with Habakuk. And then, we came across Bartek Głowacki,who was invited by Michał to come and see one of our first concerts. We soon decided that he would become our ''roadie'', the concert tours manager, whereas both of them were to be in charge of the organization of our concerts.That was how Michał's friend, his university colleague from the Department of Social Studies, formerly working for the Centre of Culture in Oleśnica near Wrocław, became our manager for a six-year period. Some time later, after the second album had been launched, he decided not to work as our manager any longer, because he had probably hoped to gain bigger profits. However, he still kept singing with us as the so called hype-man until March, 2010 when he finally left the band. Now he works as the manager of Maleo Reggae Rockers as well as Jamal.%%%
We gave about 30 concerts in 2004 but we also doubled that number in 2005 when we appeared on stage 55 times.The main organizational problem resulted from the dates of Sidney and T.Love's concerts. While making the solo album in the years 2000-2004, I had no idea of what Muniek was going to do. First, he kept repeating that it was the end of T.Love and it was supposed to be their last album. Then, on another occasion, he seemed to change his mind and began thinking about the next one. Now, in the year 2010,we are working on a double album which is going to be released in 2012. And it is woth noting that Muniek has just decided not to include some of the guitar riff ideas in this album saying they would sound better in the next one... In other words, T.Love are unlikele to go off the stage. As a matter of fact, I have never considered leaving the band and not playing the drums for them. And it is not only a matter of apanage; as a result of my twenty-year-od association with the band, I feel there really at home. It is my band and my life. Setting the dates of the concerts of Sidney and T.Love used to be a real challenge that would require a masterly precision. If you are familiar with Polish show business, you know what I mean.It was extremely difficult to design and arrange the concert tours of the two bands simultaneously because both of them were really active and played a lot. Luckily, Budzik, T.Love's technician, who occasionally replaces me when I play a concert with Sidney, gradually mastered the drums . It is only a pity that Michał Marecki, who wanted to become a full-right member of T.Love, accepted some date solutions that were detrimental to Sidney. But the rules of the market are strict and ir
After the year 2005, the number of concerts was gradually decreasing and in 2008, we appeared on stage only twice due to the fact that the preparations for the second album were well under way.Some personal changes proved irreversible. One day, Piotr Pniak announced that he had to get involved in the formation of the band Iguana, created in association with his fiance and a vocalist called Monika and that was why I could no longer count on his regular support. However, two years later, he came back to record a DVD and a few gigs. It was almost the same with Siwy, who left the band for Maleo's sake, but now he also supports us occasionally. The composition of the band has been enlarged by Artur Lipiński and Jurek Markuszewski, a drum duo, who took turns with Pniak and Thomas, a guitarist from Roan from Bydgoszcz, whom we met thanks to Hubert Gasiul, a drummer who, temporarily supported us at concerts.
To sum up, now (that is in the year 2010 ) the band is composed of myself, the vocalist, Michał Marecki, the keyboardist, Paweł Mazurczak, electric counter bass player, Funky Gruzin as DJ, Thomas, the guitarist, sometimes performing together with Siwy and sometimes instead of him, and Artur Lipiński, Jurek Markuszewski or Piotr Pniak, the drummers. My beloved wife, Małgorzata, became the manager in March, 2010 and I must admit that , as never before, all organizational matters are being masterly dealt with.
A new album or "the music of our hearts..."
The success of the first album seemed to make more and more people give me a lot of advice on what I should do and what I shouldn't.I really liked those who said: '' You don't need to change anything, buddy. It is OK so just do the same thing in the second album.''
I nodded and smiled but I could hardly understand what they meant by ''the same album''. Did they expect me to write another Chomiczówka? I might as well write something about Tarchomin, where I've been living for 12 years.
My life has changed dramatically since my first album was released. Before my album came out, I had spent all my free time either on its preparation or on studying, which took me 4 years. And afterwards, I started giving concerts, making clips, participating in interviews and going on tours all over Poland. Apart from 60 T.Love's concerts, I also gave dozens of solo concerts. The tempo of my daily routine became really hectic, my liver stopped working normally and, to make matters worse, in 2004, I was banned from driving for three years. On top of everything, I had to take another break from my study although there was only one important exam that I was supposed to take before my graduation. Without my driving licence, I was a bit like ''Tarchomin's prisoner". Those who know this area, will easily understand what everyday life is like here without a car. Things didn't come easy.The more I alienated myself the fewer clever ideas for the lyrics I came up with. I could no longer give suck at the microphone as I used to.There was always something that stopped me.
And as if this were not enough, I had a ski accident in December 2005 in Andalo, Italy. The last day, the last descent, the disastrous turn, the northern slope and hitting the ice surface,as tough as concrete, from a height of two metres. And result was a compound thigh fracture in three places; a terrible pain and long rehabilitation, followed by a wheelchair, than walking on crutches and finally a walking stick. Some problems in my private life made me feel that I was really dogged by ill fortune. People started to ask about my second album but we had completed only one song. It was ''The Isle of Man'', the composition that had been created during our rehearsals before the release of our first album. It was not until 2006 when I met Małgorzata, my present wife, that I slowly began to regain some balance and harmony. Now, I think it was a good idea to let everything that was brought by the first album fly away. Now that I have regained tranquility and a sense of well being, I go on living without stress and tension, I do not play as many concerts as I used to and I have started to come up with new lyrics. I just had to reset myself so that my hard disc could be refilled. At the beginning of 2007 I passed my driving test for the second time and I also received a motorcycle licence. When I got on my moped, accompanied by Małgosia, I went so mad about riding that we covered the distance of at least 30,000 kilometres.I spent my free time working on the second album but this time it was no longer stressful. I wanted to share my new image with the audience; I was no longer that cheerful boozy guy they had got used to seeing. I gave up the idea of making an entertainment album and I did it on purpose because I
was sure that such album wouldn't prove successful. And, as a matter of fact, I was short of light entertaining ideas.I just can't tell lies in my lyrics and what I really want to express in my songs is what my heart is actually filled with. This is why the album called "Digital Lifestyle'' sounds far more serious; as if it was addressed to more mature and older people. I received a lot of e-mails and I can see that this is exactly how people perceive it. "Hallo, Sidney,I have grown up along with you!"%%%
The production of "Digital Lifestyle" proved a bit more complicated than it was in the case of the album entitled "Sidney Polak". Now I recorded the drums in the S-4 studio at Woronicza Street in association with Leszek Kamiński. I managed to record the trumpets during my holidays in Florida in co-operation with some Cuban sidemen, the acoustic and furnace guitars were recorded with Adaś Toczko in Elektra, now the "stationery" studio at Asfaltowa Street in Warsaw. The two songs from the album, entitled, "Scooter" and "Blaze" were produced by Krutsch, a German producer, whom I met during the concert held in Wrocław in 2005, in which Culcha Caldela and Sidney bands performed together. I managed to encourage Kasia Nosowska to sing a country song with me.The EastWest Rockers played off for "Blaze", and Pezet with Michał Marecki's friend called Isabelle,or Isa, vocally supported the "The Last Sound" which was included at the end of the album. The whole album, apart from the compositions ''Scooter'' and ''Blaze'' was mixed by Lech Kamiński. This time, we were very unlucky with the video clip for the first single entitled "Rain'' because the ''nightmare'' produced by a Mr Wnuk, recommended by EMI (now,unluckily,without fantastic Jarek Rawicki) proved completely useless. Paweł Popko tried to improve it later, but there was hardly anything that he could do. By contrast, the two video clips made by Piotrek Onopa and Jacek Szymański for the songs "Scooter" and "Natalia" were brilliant, but, unfortunately, it was a bit too late and the best moment for promotion was missed. However, we had a stroke of good luck during our holiday in the USA in 2009. In Los Angeles, we were hosted by Eliza Logan, who used to work for EMI and helped us realize the video clip for the song "Blaze". Eliza and her huband John, Reda's operator as well as their friend Calder Greenwood, also a camera operator and a director, working for Hollywood blockbusters, got involved in the production of the almost unknown Polish artist, as part of their uncommercial sneak peeks. Sounds incredible yet true! Thank you once again. You are really great! The clip was fantastic, and its post-production took a lot of time because it was processed by computer.Now we are thinking of filming the song entitled '' The Last Sound'' and we hope the clip will be completed in a few months.
The smallest concert in the world
This DVD is the recording of the concert that was held on 27 October in 2009 in Alvernia Studios near Cracow, as part of the project called "The smallest concert in the world''. The idea of playing for 20 people was nothing extraordinary to us because we had already had a concert for 2 people in the year 2004 to our credit.
However,it was not the number of people that really mattered because it was a nice experience to play for them. It was only a pity that I had a cold, a sore throat and a running nose. But to tell you the truth, this is what the band looked like towards the end of 2009.
It is worth noting that this DVD was recorded with the full concert composition of the band. Firstly, because both guitarists, Siwy and Thomas participated in the concert, secondly, because Ania Ołdak, Michał Marecki's friend sang in the concert choirs and Bartek,who later left the band, made his appearance as a hype-man.And finally, Pniaku played the drums, Mrówa, or Paweł Mazurczak played the counter bass, and Michał Marecki played the keyboard. Funky Gruzin,or Filip Rakowski was responsible for sketches. It is also worth noting that Dziura, or Mariusz the "Activator" Dziurawiec, was the sound realizer who did everything on spot, in Alvernia.który zrealizował dźwięk koncertu na miejscu w Alvernia, Damian Kubacki, who realized monitors and Byczy, our technician. Jacek Antosik recorded the soundtracks of the concert which I later mixed with Piotrek Witkowski. Sebastian and my Małgosia helped us with mixing. I'd like to express my gratitude to each participant of that event and I'd like to send them my warmest greetings. Great thanks for everything!
The studio in Alwernia is a unique venue. The whole place looks like a spaceship, which is, perhaps, not fully visible in the DVD. The bonding bars between the domes, futuristic doors and toilets; everything seem to have been stylized according to the convention of ''A Space Odyssey 2001'' or ''Alien''. We were a bit afraid that such surrounding wouldn't go together well with the atmosphere of our music, but the two huge loudspeakers, which make up a considerable part of the scenery, added some warmth to the place. Now I wish the concert had been recorded with the use of stage lighting because it looks like an event which is held in a school club-room. However, it was Bartek Piotrowski , the director, who deliberately, made such decision so let it be as it is. After all, now we are different from others. After the concert, an unforgettable wild party was held in the inn , called Krystyna, where the whole team as well as the guests from radio Roxy and the audience came to stay in order to wind down. The day after, the musicians and the rest of the team went back home and I stayed with Małgosia and Jacek Antosik so as to mix the concert.
The best thing that has happened in my career since I joined T.Love was writing my own songs and founding my own band; the second thing in my life in order of importance. It helped me look on the bright sides of my future, brought me lots of optimism, happiness, and other good emotions. It awoke in me the spirit of adventure.On the one hand, my band was formed in opposition to my participation in T.Love, on the other hand, my appreciation and respect towards them were considerably strengthened.
To be honest, I feel distinguished by fortune because I can do what I'm doing , that my passion has become my profession, and that this profession is so exciting. Music means my self-fulfillment, or, at least, it makes me strive for it. This constant pursuit of self-fulfillment, in turn, makes my life more meaningful, and prevents me from self-destruction.
Because I... we... - I think I can speak on behalf of the whole band, really love what we are doing, which , I hope, is being reflected in our sounds of music.
Warsaw, 22 September 2010