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Interview with The Natural Born Chillers
January 17, 2011
Like an explosive love affair between electro and rock’n’roll, techno and punk rock, The Natural Born Chillers deliver a high-power sound with a strong visual element. With remixes of top-shelf club hits, their live performance style has echos of DJ stylings paired with dynamic compositions and charismatic vocals. This five piece band from Ostrow Wielkopolski has played the most popular clubs and underground cultural events in Poland.
A special concert presented in conjunction with In the Solitude of Cotton Fields on Saturday, January 22 at 10pm, following the 8pm performance of In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, Performance Works, Granville Island, Tickets only $5, available at the door only after 9:45pm. More info here
How would you classify your music?
Michael Lis / Maciej Matysiak: Classifying our music is a hard task and we wouldn’t really want to take it up. Throughout the years we’ve been involved in many genres, starting from punk, rock, through reggae, dub and electronica to finish with. It’s a mixture of different styles and various musical influences that we were raised on.
However, very often, as an answer to such questions, we simply call our music ELECTRO ROCK’N’ROLL
Your music combines energetic electronics, live instruments, vocals, and a strong visual element. Who are your influences?
Michael L. / Maciej M: We grew up listening to punk rock, mainly British and American, as there were few Polish bands at the time that we could identify with musically. Lyrics of the Polish punk artists were strongly politically intertwined because of the situation within the country (communism, martial law). To be honest, we remember shit from those times, but the music survived on tapes and vinyls. When we were 7, our parents took us to the Jarocin festival, which at the time was the biggest music event in Poland. It was a tremendous experience, comparable with the impact Woodstock had on Westerners. You had the authorities creeping behind every corner, just waiting for a chance to get at the punks with rubber batons. This is how our story with music began.
It all started with punk, rock, first joints, Bob Marley, Aswad and Steel Pulse, reggae festivals followed by guitar ones, then first club parties and suddenly BANG!!! Dance, electronic, club music.
It totally got to us and we started doing some ourselves but with a sound of our own.
Peter and Michael, your father, Jerry, is a member of the famous rock band Big Cyc, formed in the late 80’s, known for their controversial behavior and for exposing Polish politics, economic disproportions, drug addiction and the problems of Polish youth. Do you think that it is important to challenge the status-quo through music?
Michael: Big Cyc started out fighting with the socialistic regime, nowadays it only mocks the current system. When it comes down to me, politics and putting on a fight, then I simply don’t care. I don’t want to waste time on politics, although I’m not completely indifferent towards it. I cast my vote during elections and want to have impact on the current political option. You can use music against politics, I have nothing against it. The same thing is being done by Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine. American politics seem to be brawlier than the Polish one, at least from a global perspective.
Piotrek: I think there’s no need for us to fight anymore… if we don’t feel comfortable about something we can simply tell about it or ignore it… we have choice, a thing that our parents lacked. It’s good to talk about problems that touch us, however, I think they’re relatively small, compared to the ones of Poland from 25-30 years ago, when our father started out.
What are the major trends arising in the Polish punk and rock scene at the moment? And what influences have caused these changes in punk/rock culture?
Michael / Maciej / Wojtek Niemczyk / Piotr: To be frank, there’s no real punk stage in Poland anymore, the one that we used to have. The Polish music scene has undergone globalization and lost its independent character. Punk music lost its ideological foundation and became commercial music. You can still find bands that try to make up ideologies to their music, but it’s pretty contrived most of the time.
You will be touring in North America and South America before returning to Poland, what are your expectations?
Piotrek: We expect thrills, a positive charge of “summer” in the midst of our winter, and most of all good fun, cause we’ve heard that Latin American blood is wild and avid for partying till dawn, just like the Slavonic one.
What made all five of you decide to start the band?
Michael: I can’t do anything else.
Maciej: I’ve always wanted to do it.
Peter: They needed a drummer. (laugh)
Bartek: All of the above mentioned. The only difference is that I can’t play drums, so I play bass.
What advise would you like to share with young musicians that are trying to make it in the punk/rock scene?
All: Punk is dead. Play disco and rock’n’roll. (laugh)
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