Pagan Records, who have been on the forefront of the new wave of polish black metal, have so far released endless records from Furia, Mord’a’stigmata, Non Opus Dei, and many more out to the world. Along with Furia, whom we had the privilege of interviewing at Roadburn 2018, KŁY has been one of the brightest prodigies in the roster. An anonymous force whose LP debut Szczerzenie caught much of the underground off-guard with it’s soulful, ambivalent, soundbending and transfigurative sound. Mixing elements from post-punk, to industrial, to post-rock and even creating a cinematic aura around the atmosphere, it becomes exhausting trying to pin the band to one single genre. Which, at the end of the day, is utterly pointless.
Showing no signs or wish to play live, KŁY is 100% focused on composing and expressing life, death and everything in between through their music. After such a successful debut, two years later, the band comes back from the forest with yet another vital release: Wyrzyny. With participation and mixing handwork from Furia’s own Nihil, you can’t avoid but to tie one band to another, but these really are two completely different beasts. As a means to celebrate the release day of Wyrzyny, as the band expands into a world of their own, we share with you today the chance to get to know them a little bit more. Exchanging some ideas and thoughts about what makes such a unique project… so unique, the topics delve from the true sound and word, to the connecting ties between Szczerzenie and Wyrzyny, to so much more.
Hello! Thank you so much for spending some time with me to talk about KŁY! First thing I'd like to ask is: how have you been hanging on during such unprecedented times? Have you been able to keep busy? Composing or just trying to survive?
We are just trying to go on with our lives.
How did KŁY come into this world? I know anonymity is important for you but, without giving any names, how did the project start and how satisfied are you with its present output?
It started on 10.10.1998 at 11.00 AM CET, Poland, Kielce, Barwinek district. We entered the local studio to improvise. The results are the preludia you hear on Szczerzenie and Wyrzyny. As for the present output, it’s not the satisfaction that counts – it’s the very fact of being and playing together.
You've been around for some time now, but only recently have you begun releasing music. After your first demo Taran-Gai in 2017, you signed to Pagan Records whose collaboration has put you under the spotlight. How did that come to be? Can you say the label feels like home?
Nihil of Furia – who mixed Taran-Gai and produced Szczerzenie (and Wyrzyny) – sent the recording to Tomasz, the head of Pagan – for review. And Tomasz liked it. Yes, the label feels like home. Actually, Pagan Records is home. Through our cooperation we got acquainted with exceptionally amazing people (hello Tomasz & Danuta!).
Before diving deep in Wyrzyny, I'd like to delve a bit around your first full-length record Szczerzenie. It was released exactly 2 years ago and has been one of the more interesting contributions from Poland since then. One thing I find quite unique is how easily you’ve achieved a sort of state of levitation, like a parallel between dreaming and dying, through your songwriting. What inspired you to combine both the lyrics and sound to help picture such an emotion around your music?
The inspiration came from the strict application of the rule to follow “the true sound and word” – namely, only when the word and the tune says: I AM THE TRUTH FOR THIS VERY MOMENT, do we accept it and search no more.
It’s interesting how the record forms this cinematic texture through some of the melodies involved and especially with the reverb drowned intros between the tracks. The atmosphere builds as if we were listening to a dream-sequence. I’m not sure if they’re a reference to you, but Tarkovsky and Bergman come to mind quite a lot during these transitions. How do these sections connect with the story of the record? Who had the idea to use them?
Tarkovsky, Bergman, Lynch, many others. But they are just fellows on the trip. Lucid dreaming is a practice we are keen on. Look at the sunlight in spring and autumn – it shows you how this world is shouting: I AM UNREAL. Yet we exist in it, but not as nouns or subjects but rather as processes or states – floating, flowing, glowing, shimmering.
You can still sense some sonic similarities between the two records, but Wyrzyny really asserts itself like a big mature step forward in songwriting. However, speaking of aesthetics, tone and overall feel, would you say this is a continuation of the previous record or a completely different narrative?
After Wyrzyny arrived to us in a form of pretty well shaped sketches of compositions and lyrical layers, we realized that it is both continuation and something else. I would say Szczerzenie is of water element and Wyrzyny is of earth one.
I’ve got to mention the two connecting elements from both of the art covers. On Szczerzenie, you have the antenna cracking the sky, while on Wyrzyny we have mushrooms amidst the stars. Is this a reference to how we “dream” or navigate reality between artificial vs. natural perception?
These are invaders-saviors coming from another planet. On Szczerzenie we have sent the signal, asking to be invaded and receive salvation. On Wyrzyny we have received the reply from heavens.
I read somewhere that Furia was an important band for you when you were searching for an identity in your music. Obviously you might share a small likeness but feel completely different from them. Tell me how important was it for you to have Nihil working with KŁY in the recording process along the way?
We have learnt about Furia in December 2012 – their music brought back the belief that there is something still vital in metal genre. We have a feeling we understand well their art, yet obviously we ate all our lives fruits from different soil, thus we grew in diverse way. Nihil is a phenomenal producer, emphatic listener and a person of utmost sensibility – and we respect him for that. He reminds us of Socrates – he is using the maieutic method to help us deliver the musical child each time we are pregnant and ready to give birth.
In 2018, I had the privilege of talking to Nihil and Sars of Furia about many things. One topic that came to discussion, was the immensity of artistic output in the polish scene. I’ve lost count of the amount of bands (KŁY among them) that have put out original, creative and spiritually strong records in the last couple of years. How would you perceive the polish scene as of now? How would you describe the polish sound to someone who’s just starting out?
We do not know if there is any collective “Polish sound”. If geography has some impact, then we represent the sound of Kielce region. But so do Cultes des Ghoules, and yet we are totally different. Rather, the similarities might appear as far as affinity within lectures, musical nourishment, the way of life is concerned. We can define ourselves as forest people – all that is good in us, stems from the forest (and meadows and what grows on meadows). As for the sound description, it’s always better to listen to the music instead of trying to describe it.
Another topic that came to mind, that I find important to discuss with you, is how despite the language barrier between some of your listeners (like me), you’re still able to express a lot of emotions through your music, thus transcending beyond the linguistic threshold. For you, is it more important for the listener to feel the emotions rather than understanding the words?
Isn’t this question more relevant to you than to us? But we got your point. I would recommend the reading about the work of Corine Sombrun and her pursue for the search of primordial language. On the other hand, the method is known worldwide – Reichel-Dolmatoff wrote about it when doing research on Desana Indians, Castaneda made a new-age distill out of what he learnt about it. Research on neurocognitive processes and mirror-neuronal communication is pretty advanced these days. How do we accomplish it? We play and play and play and search for appropriate tune and words, till we find them. And the most important: we know each other for almost 30 years – we communicate without words already. Anyway, to feel is to understand.
After your previous record, you stated you felt some anxiety in presenting your music live. Did Wyrzyny change your mind or are you still 100% focused on composing?
No anxiety, rather persistence in our decision not to play music on demand in exchange for money gratification (without denigrating or criticizing those who do it). We are composers, not performers. Directors, not actors. Please watch the movie Tous les matins du monde (“All the Mornings of the World”) about the music of St. Colombe and Marin Marais. The main character, St. Colombe says there: “All your public is only one person” (speaking of himself).
Last question. What have you been listening to lately?
Klaus Schultze (Irrlicht album), OLS, Andrzej Zaucha, Renata Przemyk, Wolfsheim.