Interview: Jacaszek

by Diana


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Diana fired some hard-hitting questions at Ghostly International's Jacaszek. Check out what the electroacoustic composer had to say about his music, his upcoming projects and...Lady Gaga.

Michal Jacaszek is Polish electroacoustic composer whose brilliant latest record, 'Glimmer', I highlighted earlier on this blog. Jacaszek has released 7 albums by now, and although I'm not familiar with his entire discography I've pretty much loved everything I've listened to up to this point. So when Ulrik suggested that I should have a little chat with Jacaszek I couldn't see any reason why we shouldn't do that. Here we are now, talking to Jacaszek about everything from how being a musician works for him, to his thoughts on being signed with Ghostly International, what music he enjoys outside of his own genre and what his plans for the future are. We had fun putting the questions together, so fingers crossed you'll like reading them.

Diana: I know that besides making your own music, you have other projects going on; working on a festival, composing theatre music... Do you, personally, find it easy/doable being a musician these days?

Jacazsek: I’ve never done anything else so it's hard to relate this to any other activity.. I think that being an artist is surprisingly more stable than any other kind of job in times of financial crisis. Many of my friends with "safe, regular jobs" in banksand companies are getting fired . I will continue to keep pursuing my music.

D: I have a thing for nifty, independent record labels and it's often that I go and search for music by labels, which is also how I found out about you. How did your collaboration with Ghostly start? Do you consider it a big success in your career to be signed with them?

J: Signing with Ghostly is a result of consequent work on music a couple of years ago. Yes this has been successful, but I dare to say that my music deserves it.

D: Your favorite artist, whose genre is considerably different from yours?

J: There is a lot of good music outside my genre. I love the Polish hardcore-punk band Armia, neo-country singer Sam Amidon, hip hop like The Roots and D’ Angelo. I listen to classical avantgarde (Messiaen), baroque chamber music (Bach, Purcell, Dowland) and many many more composers and artists.

D:It took me a couple of listens but now I'm completely infatuated with your music. I can't seem to put it into words, but there is something about the sound, the combination of the electronic and the acoustic, that just does the trick for me. Could you describe your creative process?

J: So far my music has been based on samples. I have my own library of sounds and chords taken from CDs, LPs, field recordings and more. I start with creating a sample using a keyboard and then trying to build a simple sequence or interesting sounding musical phrase. This is often enough to create a foundation for the future track – I loop the sample, I add another one, then I invite live musicians asking them to improvise to that background. This way I am gathering a material for further edtiting, manipulations, combinations etc. When the basic form of the track is ready, very often I ask musicians to play again, to add some clean instrumental parts to finalize the arrangement. This is my basic method, but I find it can be difficult to do this way. At the moment, I am working on expanding a live instrumental aspect of my creative process. I would like to minimize the electronic elements in my music.

D: What are your plans for this year? Can we expect some gigs around here, new projects...? Tell us more, please!

J: I am currently working on some new music. In March, I'll tour in Poland. In April we will tour America – Mutek festival in Montreal,
Unsound Festival in NYC, Communikey Festival in Boulder, CO and more. Then I go to Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic and Germany.

D: And last but definitely not least: what's your (if at all possible) unbiased opinion on Lady Gaga?

J: She represents a media pop world – a realm that I haven’t explored much. I have never seen any of Gaga’s clips or heard any songs. The only thing I know is one time she was dressed in a costume made of meat. It is really hard to make any comment about that idea.