One of the greatest pleasures about being involved with Noise Pollution, is the fact that new music is always streaming in, not just from local areas, but from all around the world.
In this latest instalment of our “Introducing..” series of interviews, Shayne speaks with Jakub Zdzienicki, guitarist and bassist for Polish melodic black metal band, Voidfire. Here, Jakub speaks about the bands inception, their upcoming album release, and the bands future…
Hi Jakub. Thanks so much for giving us a bit of your time for this. We’re really impressed by your album, so we’re really stoked to be able to talk to you.
Lets start at the beginning. Tell us about the formation of Voidfire.
It could be said that Voidfire has its roots in my older band. It was called Zimno and was founded by me and a friend of mine, who was a drummer, back in 2016. Our musical tastes were different (I was mostly into black metal, while he was an avid fan of 5FDP and such), so the style was quite eclectic and could be described as a strange mixture of black, thrash and heavy metal.
By summer 2017, we’d had material for a debut instrumental album, but we split up due to different reasons. I decided to take the guitar material we had, rework it so that it can fully suit my style and musical vision, and find someone to record drums for it. At some point in June 2018, Łukasz Sarnacki, a drummer quite well-known in the Polish scene and an acquaintance of mine said he was interested. Initially, he only offered session drums, but later his involvement in the project became much greater. Together we decided to move away from the idea of making an instrumental-only album. I asked Jakub Lisicki, a poet and a friend of mine, if he wanted to write the lyrics for the upcoming album, to which he agreed. After some brain-storming we came up with the idea to make this a concept album; Łukasz arranged studio recordings and after a few months of searching for a vocalist, in May 2019 he got me in touch with Krzysztof Sobczak of the band Lilla Veneda, who became our vocalist, completing our line-up.
I ask this question of everybody I interview, because it always fascinates me; Where does the band name come from?
The band name represents the concept of the album and of some future releases we are planning. I don’t want to give away too much and would like to leave room for interpretation to the listener; if you read and interpret the lyrics, you should be able to understand the meaning.
How would you define the Voidfire sound?
Melodic black metal with numerous acoustic parts is probably the simplest label that comes to mind.
Whats the music scene like in your home of Bialystok?
The metal scene in Białystok may not be huge compared to bigger cities, but we certainly do have some bands that stand out, from which I could name – Death Has Spoken, Hermh, Abused Majesty, Dead Infection, Incarnated, Northern Plague, Divine Weep, Bright Ophidia, and of course, Batushka (although at this point they are far from being a local band).
Aside from metal, Białystok is regarded as Poland’s capital of disco. The techno scene is also quite vibrant. The punk scene is growing as well, although I wouldn’t say there are any notable examples.
Coming from Poland, can I assume that Behemoth is an influence on you? What other bands are you influenced by?
As far as my enjoyment of Behemoth’s Apostasy, Evangelion and The Satanist goes, I wouldn’t really describe myself as a fan of the band, nor would I say it has an influence on me. Among my biggest influences I would name Burzum’s Filosofem (it was actually both the album that inspired me to start playing guitar and the album that got me interested in black metal; I was incredibly impressed by how simple yet how magical this music was), Dissection, Mgła, Plaga, maybe some early Gorgoroth.
Tell us a bit about your writing and recording process for the album.
As I’ve already said in the answer to the first question, the guitar material used on the album has its roots in my former band, Zimno. After it had split up in summer 2017, I decided to record the material I had at the time and find a drummer. However, being a lone musician at the time, I had full artistic freedom and around March 2018 I started reworking the songs to make them suit my style and vision, making them more melodic, less chaotic in structure, and more focused on one particular sound, that is, black metal with an emphasis on acoustic parts. By June of the same year, when Łukasz joined as a drummer, I had discarded some of the songs originally intended for Zimno, heavily reworked some of them (in most cases to the point where only a few riffs stayed untouched) and wrote some new ones. Łukasz recorded drums in August in the studio Dobra 12, and a few months later I recorded guitars and bass there. With the basslines, I tried to be more creative than the typical black metal bassist who only plays what the guitarist plays, I think the songs in which I accomplished this the most are Kwiat Pustki and Ogień Pustki. It was actually, like, the 5th time I had held a bass guitar in my hands and from what I can remember, a few parts were improvised.
Lyrics were written by Jakub Lisicki, who joined the band in August 2018. While I cannot say I co-authored them, we were both equally involved in creating the concept of the album and the main themes that the lyrics revolve around. The lyrics throughout the album tell a story; as I’ve already said, I want to leave room for interpretation, so all I’m going is that the main subject is the artist’s quest for inspiration and searching for it in emotional suffering, although it doesn’t only come down to this, there is more. What is also worth mentioning, is that in all that darkness that the lyrics speak of, there is also light, a hope of sorts.
The final part of the recording process were, of course, the vocals. Krzysztof, our vocalist, comes from Wrocław, which is several hundred kilometeres away from Białystok (actually, because of this distance, we never talked to each other in person during the recording, we only communicated through the Internet), so it was more convenient for him to record vocals somewhere closer to his home, that is, in Impressive-Art Studio, which he did (in July 2019) without any other band members being present there (again, we communicated through the Internet). A situation that probably doesn’t happen too often with bands recording albums. The entire album was then mixed and mastered by Piotr Polak in Dobra 12 Studio and originally planned for release back in 2019, although due to unforeseen problems with getting the logo and CD packaging designed, we had to delay the release, which, in the end, led to setting the release date for 28th of February 2020.
The album has been well received by critics so far. That must be a pretty satisfying feeling for you.
It truly is. It is quite heart-warming when a complete stranger tells you your music is amazing and calls you, for example, a ‘true master of the dark sound’ (quote taken from the review by The VOID Journal), especially considering that this is the first time I release my music to the public.
How do you plan to build on the feedback of critics or fans, and use it to broaden your fan base?
I’ve never really considered that, to be perfectly honest. However, most people seem tell me that they like Voidfire’s style and they would like it to slowly evolve, which is something I was planning anyway.
Can you tell us what the album title, Ogien Pustki, means.
‘Ogień Pustki’ is quite simply Voidfire (or, maybe more accurately, ‘Fire of the Void’) translated to Polish, so the album is pretty much self-titled. The question ‘Why did you name the band in English if everything else is in Polish?’ might come to your mind at this point, and the answer is quite trivial: in my opinion, ‘Voidfire’ simply sounds better and has the potential to get to more people that ‘Ogień Pustki’, without losing the meaning.
Tell us about the artwork for Ogien Pustki. Who is the artist, and how did you go about choosing this piece?
The artist is Zdzisław Beksiński, a world-renowned painter and the Polish master of dark surrealism. I’ve always been fascinated by his art and choosing one of his paintings as the artwork of my album seemed like an obvious choice. I chose this one in particular because, despite the fact that Beksiński’s paintings don’t have any deeper meaning by themselves (they are loosely based on the painter’s dreams and imagination, which he stated in an interview), it seems to suit the theme of the album very well. It can be treated as a symbolic representation of the concept of the album.
As I listen to your songs, I can’t help but think that some of your material would really lend itself to a visual accompaniment. Do you have any plans to create some music videos?
Not right now, however, we may create something for future releases.
How important is social media, and the internet in general, for you guys to get the word out?
Absolutely vital. The ability to promote our music and make it available to people all around the globe without needing the help of a label is absolutely fantastic and without it we wouldn’t be able to get to so many people. I probably wouldn’t even be answering these questions if not for the existence of the Internet.
How would you describe Voidfires live show?
As of now, we do not play live shows.
What about in terms of the near future – now that the album is about to be released, what are your plans for touring? Are there any international gigs or tours on the horizon?
At the moment, no. We aren’t working with any sort of a label, which makes finding venues to play live shows a lot more difficult than for bands who are signed. However, of course, this may change, as we can never know what the future will bring.
I know the album isn’t quite out yet, but what are your plans, if any at this stage, for a follow up release?
I don’t want to say much at such an early point, but let’s just say there is a lot of new music to come. Maybe even sooner than you think.
If someone were to say “why should I listen to your band?” How would you sell Voidfire to them.
I’d say that if they enjoy the melodic side of black metal and lyrics that are deeper than ‘hail satan, screw christianity’, they will at the very least find Voidfire interesting.
Lastly, what is the ultimate goal for Voidfire?
Interesting question. I’ve honestly never considered that. I don’t think there is a single, defined goal for Voidfire, apart from, of course, artistic expression, but I think this is the case with most bands and musicians.
Thanks again for your time today, Jakub. All the best for the release of the album, and the future of Voidfire.
It was a pleasure. Thank you.