INTERVIEW: ZAMILSKA

Dense, rhythmic, hypnotic beats and a fascination with levitation permeate the tracks on Polish producer ZAMILSKA‘s latest album, UNCOVERED, which is set for physical release on 19th July. Her jagged soundscapes combine techno textures and intriguing vocal samples to reflect “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. With her enviable ability to create beats that ricochet around our skulls, we wanted to know more about ZAMILSKA. We caught up with the Producer to talk about the inspiration behind her new record, her upcoming live shows in London (The Shacklewell Arms on 2nd August & Visions Festival on 3rd August), and to find out the details of her previous collaboration with Gazelle Twin

How did you first get in to creating electronic music?
I didn’t choose this profession, it chose me. I cannot see myself doing anything else. I’ll skip the “I have always known I will deal with music” story. It’s all true but a bit of a cliche. I always wanted to be a Rockstar, play bass or drums, throw them into the audience and break them on stage. At fifteen I got my first computer. After stumbling upon Bjork’s Post album, I knew I would be making electronic music and somehow mixing in my inspirations for rock’n’roll and world music. It took many years of hard work to get here, there were moments when I didn’t have much to eat. But I am here, talking to you. Hard work pays off, and if you think something is impossible in life – maybe you just do not want it.

What’s the industrial/electronic music scene like in Poland where you’re from? Are there gig nights or venues who champion the genre?
Perhaps it will sound surprising, but I really do not part take in the “scene”. When I am home I like to stay in, enjoy the quiet. That, of course, doesn’t mean that I stay oblivious to what is happening musically in Poland. I love Resina, with all my heart – cellist, who is extremally talented. Also, I am a big fan of artists such as: Syny, Coals, and Księżyc. The Polish music scene is getting better. We just need to stop looking and trying to follow the West, create our own sound.

Your latest album UNCOVERED is about the concept of levitation. Talk us through this theme, it’s quite a unique concept.
The concept of levitation came up during the album cover design. It was as if a remaining piece of the puzzle fell in place and the entire story came together as whole. It’s about something malevolent that you want to leave your body, come out of you so you can start with a clean slate. Exorcisms, voodoo – all that is on the album. UNCOVERED is a story about cleansing, dropping weight off your shoulders. A fall with an attempt to rise. Ultimately, you do not know if the person is falling or rising.

Do you have a favourite track on the album? If so, why?
That’s a great question. I have never thought about it. When I was making the album, I had a different favorite track every day. The ending of ‘Done’ would almost make me cry. Perhaps ‘Hollow’. I’ve heard someone on the radio saying that it’s the biggest pop banger I have ever created. I like the entire album, it is a story that only makes sense as a whole. And you need to know that it is odd for me to like something in its entirety.

You’re coming over to the UK in August to play a headline show at The Shacklewell Arms. What Are your anticipations for this gig?
I am really excited to come back to London. Playing live shows is so rewarding after all the time spent in the studio. Finally, being able to perform in front of live audience. I try not to anticipate; each show is different. You can play in a large venue and something does not feel right and you can play the show of your life in front of a thirty people audience. People are most important. I really like London as a city, I’ve spent some time there. I hope people show up and enjoy the show.

You’re also going to be playing a set at Visions festival. How are you feeling about that? Any artists you’re aiming to catch on the day?
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see anyone on the day of my show. But if you can you should see Shygirl. It is a very special show. I saw her in Poland, she is a very cheeky girl on stage.

You host your own radio show on Polish national digital radio. Talk us through what kind of music you play, and how you came to work in radio.
I was invited as a guest on one of the radio shows, we were talking about music, and I kind of took over as a host. Radio execs liked my voice and offered me my own show. However, I just resigned from hosting. I wanted to focus on my own work, with UNCOVERED coming out I didn’t want compromise the quality of the radio show. Becoming a radio host was my childhood dream, but it was getting harder to focus on my projects and sift through fifty albums weekly, in order to choose music for radio. And since I presented music from undefined electronics, from distant corners of the World, novelties and sounds of the 50’s, I couldn’t compromise, after two years, I had to resign. I’d like to return to Polish Radio, if they want me back, as soon as I settle all my present affairs.

You remixed Gazelle Twin’s track ‘Belly of the Beast’ which was featured in the ABC series How To Get Away With Murder. Talk us through the creative process for that – how did you make your mark on her already very unique sounding track? (we’re big fans so please give loads of detail)
You want the details? So you need the entire story. In 2014 my debut album Untune placed twelfth on The Quietus’ list of albums of the year. Gazelle Twin topped the chart with Unflesh. I’d never heard of her, but the title and cover got me curious. A woman charting that high – I thought that she must be wonderful, you know “girl power” – had to be noted. I instantly fell in love. I thought she was genius. Soon after a Glasgow promoter invited both of us to play and The Quietus got involved in promotion of the show – serendipity. I would finally be able to see how she really looked under the pantyhose mask. It turned out we shared a dressing room.

I was extremely nervous to meet her in person. To the point that my manager had to just usher me into the room. Elizabeth tuned out to be a wonderful woman. I admire her in every inch. She mentioned that she was releasing Unflesh remixed and offered cooperation. I asked if it would be ok if I remixed ‘Belly of the Beast’ and so it began. I never anticipated such good response to this track. In my opinion the original is brilliant, so it was very difficult to change anything. I decided not to add but rather strip it down. Kind of echoed the sound. Instead of reverb – just a hint of dirt and bass. Only a little, not to mess with the genius.

Nine Inch Nails also recommended one of your tracks on their official Spotify playlist. How did you feel about that?
NIN are the music of my youth. I admired them during every stage of their career. They were the best example of an innovative band. A combination of heavy sound with electronic, dirty hits. It is kind of as if Jesus came down from heaven. Only you never believed in God. I didn’t want this to get into my head. I suppressed it, didn’t want this to mess with my head and make me think that’s me done. You know, the idea that Nine Inch Nails know you exist!

Finally, If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Distracted and inspired by everything…

Huge thanks to ZAMILSKA for answering our questions!

Order your copy of Zamilska’s album UNCOVERED here.

ZAMILSKA UK Tour Dates 2019
02/08/19 – The Shacklewell Arms, London
03/08/19 – Visions Festival, London

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

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