An interview of Polish breakcore masters Slepcy by stevvi, originally conducted in May 2001 (and if I remember right published online on c8), published in Datacide Eight in 2002 in print, and reposted by stevvi on the c8 forum. Unfortunately their discography only extends to a handful of releases, but particularly “Absent Opera” on Kool.POP remains an outstanding example of the experimental approach and depth of breakcore ca. 2000.
Q: Who are you?
I’m marcin/desper/stefan from Slepcy Recordings label/something. Slepcy ( blind men or the blind ) concentrates on rather extreme ( both hard and delicate ) sound experiments. Slepcy are two people: me and Piotr, who is now in Ireland (Dublin).
Q: Why call yourselves Slepcy?
Some time ago Piotr has done a track called Slepcy, but he did not ﬁnish it….that’s the root I think…again the decision was quick and too tell the truth, the name is not that important to us…
Q: How old are you?
22 and 22
Q: How tall are you?
20 cm……… oops…..177 cm that is…..
Q: Where do you live
In Lublin, Poland ( 180km SE from Warsaw) . This is what Microsoft Encarta 97 saysabout my city: “Raw Milk Collection in Lublin. Communist efforts to modernize Poland’s agriculture in the 1970s were too little and too late. Nineteenth-century farming methods, such as collecting raw milk by horse-drawn cart, persisted until very recently. Insufﬁcient agricultural output from the country’s farm plots, most of them small, resulted in food shortages, rationing, and lengthy lines in urban areas. Poland’s rural population is dwindling as young people move to the cities in search of work.” he he, funny. Piotr has been living in Drogheda 34km from Dublin for a 0.5 year now, and plans to stay there for another 0.5 year.
Q: Hmm… so you live in Lublin and Piotr in Dublin. That must cause confusion when you’re drunk ;) Is Encarta anyway true in what it says about Lublin?
Firstly, well, is Dublin is not that far from Lublin -only 7 letters……also I always have a mirror to drink with…..
Q: Ermm…. Only one letter, I think!
You go into details too much- wanna talk about it?? ;), only 100 $/h..
Secondly, ( I have to read it 1st!) it shows Lublin as if we were sort of “ Raw Milk Collection Valley “ which is untrue but funny. They’re right about that in this region specialization is agriculture. But as agriculture is in bad shape in Poland so as economical state of this region. This shows only one side of the many.
Q: So what other sides are there? Would you tell me a little about Poland, the country, the people, their attitudes… everything!
Well, …there are good sides- but It’s boring to talk about it, lets say something bad. First of all the country is transforming, I mean the economy- so as society. Imagine, being 50 years under control of totalitarianism. Almost no progress. Poland was responsible for producing weapons, Hungary, Czechoslovakia for some other things. Now, after those 50 years in ‘89, so-called democracy came in here. During all those years people had to be politically correct or go to jail or even be killed for thinking against the party ( well just like in “Animal farm” really ). Then the black power came in – the clergy. Nothing would be wrong with it, but as always, so as this time it was all about the money. Fortunately, they don’t have the power of communists. I must add here in order to explain some things, that in Poland left-wing parties are post-communists ( really these are the people who ruled before the breakdown of the communism- even our president in a communist), right-wing parties are ‘ in G/god believing’ people, and nationalists. The centre, well they can’t make up their minds-after all they’re centre. Anyway, as usually politics is about money – that’s how it is in Poland. All in all, it’s all ﬁlled up with stupidity – so two examples:
1. some time ago the right-wing government wanted to change ( I’m not sure if they changed it) regulation about pornography- the hard porn should be zoophilia, pedophile, sex with aggression and every sex act where people’s genitals are showed TOGETHER. So how about shit/piss eaters, or even orals… 2. Polish gov. is now waiting for presidents decision about delegalizing all kinds of drugs including soft ones as …am..marijuapdioaosomething, if he does not vote against the regulation everyone caught even with a portion of mariioasnonesomething will be charged against with a possibility of being put to jail for 3 years OR will have choice to go under?? treatment. But the problem is not that those regulations may seem to be restrictive, but that the Gov.. sees no other problems but those. The unemployment is now 14% ( 2,5mln people) and rising, inﬂation goes up too, the currency is going down, the law is protecting thieves, organized crime is getting even more stronger. Imagine that in my region people earn 24% of EU payments…o.k stop…
And as to the society- for me as a future marketing/promotion/economy specialist ( he he ) the society looks good- only 7% is higher educated. Ok, easier to manipulate, but this pisses me of, because of the ‘culture’ being so low in my city I cannot see movies like i.e. PI, eXistenZ ( I had to download it from the inet in order to see it before it gets forgotten). But, what is even more depressing, most of those 7% are artzi-fartzi, oh sorry, some are goth he he….
But for me it’s all just funny…I bet some other people would call me an artist too, shit..or yuppie, or dink or whatever- you can’t get outta stereotypes….really
Q: This may sound like an idiotic question, but do you think the fall of the iron curtain has ruined Poland? Obviously things have changed… is there anything you miss about the “old days”?
Most of Poles seem to miss the communism…it’s like someone said: ‘Poles want to have capitalism in homes and socialism in work’, it’s all because in communism social care was better and almost nobody was rich, they tried not to see the wrong sides just to get the minimum existence. Another quote here: Poles used to say ( in Polish this rhymed ) : ‘Standing or lying: 2000 is due to you’- you always had money for food, and cloths. Only the government people lived like people in capitalism, but they were succesively giving bullshit to the society. ‘The fall’ ruined the communists, that’s for sure. But still, being in the economical phase of transforming from plannist system to free market based one- it’s unfortunatelly normal ( from economical point of view ) that anomalies occur. Worse is, that after 10 years, the government still does not know what to do to make Poland stronger, and the society already forgot about the communism being really destructive. The society itself has a short memory, you have the government providing you with food is a good one, on the contrary to the one that’s makes people go and beg on the streets.
Q: So how does a simple, technologically backward Pole start making extreme electronic music?
6 years ago a mate showed me Fast Tracker 2 and so it begun, no more no less. For me, it was a natural step after ‘listening’ stage. After some time Piotr got into it.
Q: So what were you listening to during your “listening stage”? And how did you get into that?
O.k, I begun with Duran Duran when I was…6. Then in early 90’s rap/ hip hop was my world, that techno and English hardcore, early XL, Production House. Then I got into John Peel radio programmes- but in the same time I met reggae scene people from my city, started doing ﬁrst parties in my city, some gabber ones. And, to tell the truth I heard DHR, but before that I thought of experimenting with gabber and breaks together, but not that extreme as Alec did at the beginning.
Q: You have records out on kool.POP (#6) and Ambush (#11). How did those releases come about?
Few years ago I found digitalworldnet site, and decided to order some records there. I contacted Joel Amaretto and also asked Joel to distribute slepcy 1st cdr compilation. And so it begun. After some time I realized that Joel was the owner/founder of kool.pop label…. One of slepcy cdrs went to History of the Future guy and once when dj scud was in USA he heard our cd in hotf guy’s ( sorry, I cannot recall his name ) apartment.
Q: I ﬁnd it very heartening that an English guy can go to a strange American place and end up releasing a record from Polish producers :)
……who live in a tent ha ha ha- I heard that, in Berlin there already is a rumour “slepcy live in a tent and make music there too”- so let it be that way. But seriously, yes- even in supa-dupa ( in polish, word “dupa” means “ass”,…… nice ) underground hardcore supercore breakfuckinshitbeat(and brokenlegbeat too) scene globalization is present-this is heartening- soon economy will rule the world ( already rules it ;)), will kick poor’s butts, and give more money to the rich-and there will be bigger demand for economists and other manipulators like me………he he…….but seriously…..I like both English and Americans…and Germans and French… …………..but I seem to dislike Polish somehow ( maybe it’s because I know them to much and don’t no to much of the rest)………stop!
Q: Your sound on those records is quite distinctive, contrasting traditional orchestral instruments with electronic mayhem in a way I haven’t heard before. How do you come up with the ideas for tracks? Do you have any obvious inﬂuences?
Here I can speak only for myself…but I speak for Piotr’s too ;), at least I’ll try to. There are 2 main ways I do things.1st is chaotic- there is no idea at the beginning- it’s only sound. 2nd is when I have the whole or a part of the track already in my mind before it’s done. It’s usually connected with some thoughts- I try to transform my thoughts into sounds- but in the way that it’s not boring. It’s all because I make all this basically for doing it; I don’t care if it’s good or not, if somebody likes it or not ( well, maybe I DO care a little about that ;> ), I just like doing it. ..and I think I can’t get rid of inﬂuences that I got from Samuel Beckett’s works and Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (aka Witkacy) works, also or maybe mainly with reference to the form. They both experimented with it and in their works, they expressed the essence with the form (I think they did so) ok, end of this bullshit ;). Also I recommend Lutoslawski and lots more “modern-classic” composers.Most of them are very mathematical, so as computer based music. Oh and one more thought- the main one I think in order to explain the connection between orchestral thing and electronic one in slepcy. The main thing in classical instruments is that you cannot play the same sound two times- it will always sound different. My task is to show or to try to show that electronic instruments may also sound different- it’s difﬁcult, but possible.
Q: Is there a general background of classical music in Poland? In the UK it is very rare for young people to have even heard of the well known classical composers, let alone of their music.
I don’t think so, well, Poles would love to be seen like that, you know intelligent society- better than i.e. product based Americans, and “ordnung muss zein” Germans- ( I’m mainly talking ‘aboot’ the higher educated part of the society- only they maybe suspected of listening to classical music), but almost all of them simply listen to such music for the same reasons that they go to theatres or watch “CULT’ movies. I myself started listening to this music, because I have some friends that play classical instruments and that I had no opportunity to listen to extreme music, there’s no such a music in music stores. And polish teenagers really don’t listen to classical music too, they just listen to what the market gives them, I mean what the promotion guys from big music companies give them after market analysis of some sort. Sad, but true, not only in Poland. We are learning from other European countries and USA really…..
Q: So does that mean, with the playwrights you mention, you’re an “intellectual”? ;)
I am the 7th percent of all 7% of intellectuals in Poland…….
Q: I have a feeling that means you don’t exist ;) What equipment to do use to make music these days?
I don’t exist. And my equipment is a PC with software like trackers (FT2, All Sound Tracker), plugins. And lately I got this Roland xp10 with Alesis s4 (it’s Piotr’s) here but I didn’t use it yet. Piotrek also has Akai s2000 sampler and now some laptop. But he’s quite busy with his job in Ireland nowadays.
Q: Do you miss him?
Yes, somehow it’s different (worse) here without him, but he’ll be back…I suppose (well, he plans to visit Australia, England? ) …and no more Krasne Lake sessions for now (I had to move back from my tent there he he)
Q: What job has he got in Ireland? I’m in Ireland at Christmas but I’m about 150Km away from Drogheda :(
Now, he moved to Dublin- he worked in some company that supplies airport/planes with food…, now he works in newsagents, but if that work pisses him off too much he’s got another job for him—in some chocolate factory………
Q: It seems obvious to most people in the West that our system has some very major ﬂaws. Why do you think that Polish people are following the Western way of capitalism when they had a clean sheet to start with after the old Communist regime fell, when they had a chance to construct something totally new?
I think we think :), that it’s the normal turn after the communism. What else do we have to choose, nothing new can be ﬁgured out here, no new system. It seems that the only way should be getting all good things from both capitalism and socialism. Maybe the government should take care of society to some extent but with letting free market rules in? It’s really easy to discuss it but in practise I don’t think it’s that simple. Although I was too young to see the real side of communism, I think that everything would be better. We would have another China here. Also I think we are following the West because of Poland being another emerging market for global companies. Global companies are investing but also bringing the culture. These are foreign products so a different life style. Of course managers remember about the regional aspects- different design, tastes- but it’s obvious. And I don’t mean it’s wrong- it’s evident. But shouldn’t this be the other way round? Should not the culture be the ﬁrst? I know, it’s impossible, but theoretically, it would be possible if the companies’ goal was not maximizing the proﬁt- but that would mean…… liquidating the money. Maybe it’s all a bit Utopian, but it’s nice to talk about it. :) yeah, he he, Destroy the System…..!!!! he he
Q: What movies do you watch? Do you get a lot of Western ﬁlms shown in Poland?
Let’s get things straight. In Poland, we have a typical pop culture, ﬁlms, cafes, porno. Come on!, It’s been 10 years………the problems are not that, we don’t have food or cars, it’s just more political thing, economical. We’re emerging market remember? Well, maybe the living conditions are different (it’s easy to get used to shitty roads), wages are smaller, but the rest is, I think, at least bit similar to the rest of the Europe and the civilized world. As to the ﬁlms, yes, there are all pop ﬁlms here, and those more independent too. If something does not show up here, then It surely can be easily found on the net.
Q: So what ﬁlms do you like… one’s about raw milk? ;)
No I don’t like porno very much ;), I prefer the movies that I don’t understand too much ;), so after the ﬁlm I may say, hmmm deep! ;))
Q: Surely “deep” equates with porn?
Q: When did you ﬁrst get onto the Internet and what’s the Net infrastructure like in Poland?
I discovered the web about 6 years ago. And till now it’s still a modem based connection for me. We have this problem with national main telefony operator being a monopolist. Still, the prices are high, and if you want non-modem better connection and you’re a student you can use terminals at the university or internet cafes. As to the technical side. My city (Lublin ) has the best “net framework” in Poland (one of polish companies together with Alcatel did it). Still the net speed is not that good when I want to download something from USA or Japan or even Europe. But as I didn’t have opportunity to use inet in USA, the speed in Poland is quite satisfactory for checking mails, web sites, radio. To summarise, the inet market in Poland is getting bigger, lots of new inet providers show up day by day, but, we have the monopoly of this “Polish Telecom”- Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. and they make the country develop slower.
Q: It sounds exactly the same as the UK. Who built your Web site?
I did, maybe it has not big design, but it is. But, I’m trying to do some ﬂash ver of it. Xyster of Clinical-Implants a Lublin electronic-funk group is responsible for the technical side of it (the server, domain)
Q: Do you drive a car? ;)
No. But I’m working on it.
Q: How many times have you failed your driving test?
3 or 4 or 5 choose wise!!
Q: 6? And you have now passed?
You,,,you,,,,,,yes it was my 6th- and last one!!!
Q: Congratulations! You played at Fuckparade 2000. What was that like?
Actually, I didn’t play on the FP2000 itself (Piotr, couldn’t be there- he was working in Ireland), but as a part of Kielce Terror Squad in Stellwerk-gabba party on Saturday. We were the 1st to play ( it was a kind of live act- not very much live but we played only our tracks from cds- so it was a live-cd-act) so DJ Bula, from KTS begun with some 300-500 speed/scream mania, and then i:Gore ( who has releases on Hangars Liquides and now plans to press some vinyls in Holland ) and I did a “pingpong” set, which I love to do (it’s not that boring as playing alone – i.e, you may try to match the track of your partner or deytroy it he he, we even once played a “tripong” set with Piotr – the other slepciec that iiiis. ). It was really nice, as the sound system was loud enough (I don’t care about the quality that much, we weren’t playing chill out y’know), the place itself was good too, and people, didn’t know what to do so either screamed or stood up and watched, maybe they expected typical speedcore, but they didn’t get it very much. As to the FP2000, as I saw every FuckParade ( incl. The 1st Hate one), that one was the worse-from one point of view- too much house music, and on the other hand there was this klangkrieg truck which was great, and all those stars berzerker, scud, praxis etc. he he. Year by year, I went to Berlin to the parade, and I think it’s all good, but why this form? It just shows the truth about the roots of harder electronic music. It’s all techno. But different people. I myself prefer the sort of teknivals.
/ but I’ll go to fuckparade next year If I have possibility to do so/
Q: Why will you go back?
I’m a crypto-loveparade addict , when I leave fp I take my hidden sunﬂower wearing and go to slaughter German candies ( I love o hear when they scream in german- It’s another opportunity to learn new languages, meet positive people and talk about deep things like poetry, books, ﬁlms, religion and the problem of racism.
Q: What plans, musically and otherwise, do you have for the future?
Together with i:Gore ( Kielce Terror Squad) we plan a little session, also I’m waiting for Piotr in order to do the next Krasne Lake Session, also I wan’t to pass some exams like “Badania Operacyjne”, “ Ekonomika Inwestycji”, Ekonomeria,………………oh and to meet stevvi, and all other great guys and drink a bottle..of Russian vodka
Q: Meet me? You’re life will be full of disappointments ;)
I will be prepared……
Q:”a little session”… what does that mean?
he he, we’re going to do some tracks together, what did you think?? I’m not that kind a guy, I’m keeping my virginity for you!!!
Q: What about Magda? We could maybe all get together… ermm… maybe not ;) Thank you.
I’m already jealous- but….what is yer wife like?…….thank you.