Interview: Michal Jablonski
Ahead of his appearance for On the 5th Day this coming weekend (March 10th), we're delighted to bring you an exclusive interview and podcast (DJ set - link below) from Poland's much cherished Michal Jablonski.
You've most likely noticed that Jablonski has been making some powerful waves on both the Polish and international techno scenes of late; waves formed of relentless energy, personality, punch and fearlessness - a pretty effective combo if you ask us! As an artist who has until recently focused on live performances mostly formed of entirely original productions, we’re super excited to hear how he jells together a hybrid set, ensuring the Jablonski flair the techno world is coming to love so much is woven throughout, ready to engulf room two revellers. Word on the street is that he has something pretty special in store for us!
What Michal conveys in his sets is also communicated through a library of serious, no messing about productions which we definitely recommend exploring, often with an industrial twist and heftier, mean underlying backbone which we've definitely found ourselves hooked on (released on the likes of New Rhythmic Records, Circular Limited and Sonntag Morgan, amongst others).
As if being inspired by Michal’s musical prowess wasn’t enough, getting to know artists like him is another one of the beautiful perks of what we do and so it gives us huge pleasure to be welcoming him and sharing this podcast and interview with you. This personal, heartfelt insight into Jablonski's world and the music he loves so much is the perfect stimulation for the body and mind and his recorded DJ set will no doubt leave you gagging for the weekend and what's in store for us.
Happy reading, happy listening and see you at the weekend! <3
Can you think back to a time when your journey with techno began (perhaps just before you started playing vinyl, or was it long before then?). What was happening in your life and what inspired you to begin your journey?
My journey into music started years ago. I’ve been producing for fun for as long as I can remember. Hip-hop was my primary inspiration, techno has taken its place after my first visit in already shut down Paragraf 51 club. I was a teenager back then, and my older friend Gem took me there with him. It was when I realized that this is it, my music.
Can you think of a track (or tracks) that represent those earlier days for you, something that influenced you back then and was significant in setting you on the path you are on now?
At first, I admired the sounds of acid techno, the fast pace of tb-303, and schranz. After a while I started looking for something else though. I couldn’t spot any progress in that music, and the artists seemed to constantly produce very similar tracks. That was when I discovered Off-Beat music. It was the sound that has always fascinated me - broken beat accompanied by loads of odd noises. I adore tracks that are surprising, unpredictable.
Old productions, such as Olga + Jozef, Loktibrada, Taakaki Itoh, DJ Boss, Oscar Mulero, Jeroen Liebregts were my favorites at the time. I still often get back to them.
Listen to Jeroen Liebregts - Vloer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3nkA0rrxKc)
How about now…. which labels and artists stand out for you and why?
Tommy Four Seven’s 47 is definitely on the top of my list. All of its releases have a distinct taste, especially the recent ones, that are brutal off-beats. CRS, managed by VSK and Conrad Von Orton, would be my second pick. A while ago I’ve noticed the fantastic LEYLA label. Also, Headless Horseman’s label would land its place on the top list.
Currently the list of my favorite artists would include: Tommy Four Seven, VSK, Mannie Dee, Headless Horseman, Scalameriya, and Killawatt.
Listen to Tommy Four Seven - The Trace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmuz8sMhbJc)
For some, techno is a form of escapism and freedom whilst for others, it can be as significant as faith or religion. What does techno mean to you?
Before, music was a form of meditation to me, an escape from reality. Now it’s my whole life.
We're aware that your partner, Dorota, is also at the heart of the local scene in Poland, running a podcast series and booking agency. It's really nice for us to see another family run project evolving in another country (similar to what we’ve got going on here). Do you work closely together and if so, how is the experience of working together?
I believe it’s really important to have a significant other to share your passion with. Before I became a part of Elite Music Management agency, it was Dorota who managed my bookings. I owe her a lot. We support and help each other from the very beginning. Dorota is constantly showing me what’s new on the market, in terms of artists and releases. Music plays a very important role in our lives, we focus our attention on it and talk a lot about it. Even though our opinions often differ, we still inspire each other a lot.
We're obviously hugely excited to welcome you in March for your second UK appearance (with many more to follow, we have no doubts!). What do you have planned for us?
I’d rather keep it a secret!
Which others Polish techno artists currently excite you? Who do you think is helping to grow the country’s scene and its voice within the techno world?
Definitely Błażej Malinowski, a very talented and creative artist, who collaborates with The Gods Planet label. Except him, Michał Wolski, Rraph, Vertical Spectrum, and Violent - each of them represent a different style, but all of them bring something fresh and exciting to the table. I’m very proud of them and I genuinely wish them best.
Can you see yourself doing any collaborative projects in the future? If so, who would you like to work with?
My music is extremely personal to me. I’ve tried to collaborate with other artists many times, but unfortunately it turned out to be very hard for me. I have my own timing, and sometimes it’s slow, what is often unacceptable to others. I know that I’m a difficult person and it’s hard to work with me. It’s not easy for me to get an agreement with other artists, and I have a hard time compromising. So for now, I think it’s impossible for me to engage in any collaborative projects. The only collaboration that I’m planning is an A/V project, with a very talented VJ artist.
We know you mainly focus on live performances as for you, this is the ultimate form of self-expression, which makes a lot of sense. How are you finding moving across to more hybrid performances recently? How will you ensure you still feel a strong sense of self expression in this process (having been so used to live)?
Many aspects influenced my decision to come back to DJ sets and extending them to hybrids. At some point, there was not enough time for me to prepare for another live act - I was spending a lot of time producing, and presenting just one live act for a long time resulted in my loss of fun while performing. I want to focus more on production now, and work on new tracks instead of performing only live.
I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. Now I can play my own tracks with other artists’ music. Hybrid performances give me endless opportunities. I can add drums, pad, atmo, fx and other sounds to my favorite tracks. Each time create something totally different. Only my own imagination limits me.
Can you tell us about any extra special gigs you have played recently? What made them so special for you?
Well, I really liked my last NYE gig in Lisbon, to which I was invited by Vertice. The event took place on an underground parking lot in the city center. I got a very warm welcome and I met many wonderful people out there. I’ll remember that night for long.
I also won’t forget my gigs in legendary Tresor Berlin, KHIDI, and Gare Porto. All of the clubs mentioned are simply perfect to me - dark and industrial, an environment I like most.
We are yet to make it to Poland to experience the techno scene there. Where would you recommend we go when we manage to visit? Are there any promoters there who stand out for you and if so, why?
Everyone should at least once attend a SLAP event in Hala Stulecia in Wroclaw. It’s a top-shelf event for almost one thousand people, with wonderful atmosphere and well-aware, passionate public.
What are your thoughts on the techno scene in general at the moment, do you think it’s in a healthy place and where do you think it’s going in the future?
We can hear a lot about the commercialisation of the genre lately. It makes me sad, that some artists openly admit that techno is just business to them. In the times of the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to achieve success. Now everyone can be a DJ, producer or own a label. I don’t think it has the best influence on the scene. However, there are still tons of wonderful music and talented artists among us. I believe that quality and sincere passion will always be appreciated.
Support Michal here: