Hey Blazej, thanks so much for being available for this interview. How is 2024 shaping up for you, and how has the previous year been?

Thank you for having me both here for this interview and also for the upcoming Technokunst event. Last year was filled with many releases on my part, including a few EP’s and two LP’s: one solo album titled „Between Method and Madness” and another under the new Keen Distress project, which I created together with Robert Matysiak. After spending some weeks trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, I began recording music at a faster pace, which feels both natural and liberating to me. So, I have to say, I feel very good at the moment. Finalising new projects always gives me sense of emotional balance and inner peace.

Let’s go back in time a little bit. Growing up in Toruń in Poland, what core childhood memories or experiences first ignited your passion for music, especially hearing about an early fascination of yours with vinyl records?

My earliest memory involving vinyl records and music in general is a vague recollection of listening and dancing with my mom and sister to Stevie Wonder (I still have this record to this day), probably around 1988. The turntable that we had as a family fascinated me from as far back as I can remember, but my love for electronic music and clubs came later in life. I believe it was during my first parties around the age of 17 when I began attending house events in my hometown. Additionally, I listened to a lot of jazz and hip-hop music. After moving to Warsaw two years later, I discovered proper venues and vinyl shops, and that’s when my passion for it really took off. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get started. I made the decision to go to the USA to work there for five months, taking up part-time jobs including sandwich-making, among others. After two months, I could afford my own turntables, and I’ve had them ever since. It’s hard to believe, but it will be 20 years in August since that moment.

You have spent some time in the USA. How did this experience influence your taste in Techno or music in general?

As I mentioned, my short stay in the USA revolved around working and earning money for my own turntables. Towards the end of my stay, I was fortunate enough to visit the Amoeba Music store in San Francisco (I’m pretty sure it is still there). I remember being incredibly impressed by the vast collection of new and second-hand vinyl records all in one place. I ended up purchasing around 50 records spanning many genres, including music from Jeff Mills, Mix Master Mike, DJ Premier, Charlie Parker, among others. While I already had some records at home, this experience marked a shift in how I thought about my collection, and upon returning to Warsaw, I began focusing more consciously on techno releases and music in general.

It is always hard to put feelings around music into words, but could you try to summarize why Techno as a genre works for you?

For me personally, Techno has always been and continues to be incredibly open in terms of sonic explorations. It never confines itself to being merely danceable or functional music. In my view, Techno encompasses a broad spectrum of emotions that resonate with various minds, whether at home or in clubs. That’s why it remains so fascinating to me to this day and continues to surprise me on a daily basis, although you need to know where to look for it…

How is the Techno scene in Poland? Is there interference from the government and is politics embedded in the scene, like it traditionally has been in Berlin or more recently in Tbilisi for instance? Have you seen any interference in night life from political leadership in the past years?

In Poland the government is not interfering that much but at the same time it’s not very supportive especially with smaller projects. With bigger festivals it’s much easier to get the funding from the city but in general scene is build from the ground up with the huge effort from promoters, clubs and artists themselves.

You’ve been based in Berlin for some time now. Arguably it has been the best location for Techno in the past years, how are you finding your footing there?

I moved to Berlin with my family 8.5 years ago, and back then, it was incredibly refreshing to experience how things worked in the city’s music industry. Fortunately, after a while, I began playing regularly in clubs here, and now I can easily call Berlin my home. When I relocated, my daughter was only 6 months old, so I discovered the city from a very different perspective. I’ve always prioritised my studio work, being a good father, and a partner. That’s why I quickly realised that Berlin has much more to offer than just parties.
I have to say, I still enjoy it a lot!

You have worked as a radio host, a label curator, a producer, a DJ and a promoter. Which role is closest to your heart and why?

Creating music will always be my main focus. It gives me drive to make everything else you mentioned. Of course it is all linked, without gigs we, as artists, can loose a connection and those special moments of sharing the music with the crowd, meeting like-minded people, and enjoying the music together. My journey with radio was quite extensive, spanning 12 years and exactly 600 shows on Radio Kampus (together with Michał Wolski). It was a beautiful experience to freely play music every Sunday, inviting artists to perform and discuss their work outside of the club environment. Creating a label was always a dream of mine, and now I could not imagine my life without it. Since  I’ve been promoting my own events for years, it was more than natural to make them under Inner Tension name as well. As I mentioned it’s all connected and it complements each other. Working on all these aspects brings me a lot of satisfaction, yet playing in front of people energizes me enormously, and I simply love every aspect of it.

You have released on some great labels out there, including Semantica, The Gods Planet, Kvalia Records or Monday Off. You seem to be the type of person that likes to collaborate. Is there a trick to how you approach working with labels?

At the very beginning, I was quite closed off to collaboration, but now it provides me with a lot of inspiration. I never compromise my own vision, but engaging with other artists in my workflow can lead to unexpected and beautiful results. That is more on collaborating on a personal level. With certain labels, besides music, I’ve been able to build a specific trust, so working could feel natural. Particularly after the first record for a certain label, I can easily predict what I would like to create next. In a world where most things are consumed very quickly, I can create music that fits both the curation and my personal view on music. I have always valued those long-term connections and friendships built on a shared love for specific music, yet without expectations on both sides.

We just had an amazing event before the New Year with a good friend of yours, Claudio PRC. Have you known each other for a long time? You’ve released music together on his label, 012.

On April 26th, it will be exactly 10 years since we first met each other. Since that moment, we’ve shared a very special bond, upon which we’ve built a friendship and mutual support. Claudio is one of the kindest people I’ve met in the scene since the beginning of my music journey, and I’m happy to say I can call him my friend. Besides collaborating on releases like 012, we’ve also released music on Semantica and my own label. He will always have my respect as an artist, but most importantly, as a human being.

Speaking of Claudio, I’m sure you had plenty of friends play for Technokunst in Budapest already. Do you ever talk shop about promoters like us and share some insider info with each other?

It happens, especially when we go somewhere for the first time, we often exchange thoughts about the venues and events.
With Technokunst was the same although I’ve seen what you are doing on daily basis so I’m pretty sure that it would be a very special night and did not ask around that much 🙂
I need to add that I always wanted to play at your event and can’t be more excited and ready to experience it!

We have pleasant memories of your set at Alkototabor in 2021. What changed since in terms of the type of sound and sets that you play?

It always depends on the party, sometimes it might a bit more intense but not in terms of bpm’s but more in layering and tracks themselves. The core still is the same and it’s about the unspoken connection that can be created between the crowd and myself.
Deep yet danceable.

Also in 2021, you have launched your own label, Inner Tension. This seems like a significant point in your life as an artist. What was your vision for it and how do you curate the output?

Inner Tension is a direct reflection of my taste in music, and as I mentioned, it was my dream to curate my own label on my own terms. Like my own music, each release has to feel right at that specific moment. Initially, I focused more on my own productions, but currently, I’m finalising the first major VA release featuring very inspirational artists I know. Many of them I met or discovered while touring, and I’m extremely excited to bring them into the label.

Can you tell us a little bit about your ‘Why So Silent?’ project? How did this concept come about, and do you have any plans for future events? Are you doing any other type of work as a promoter in your home country or in Berlin?

The Why So Silent? project is currently on the back burner, but I’m trying to organise at least one event a year. To date, I’ve hosted 44 events under this concept. It involves a unique fusion of live electronic music and experimental silent movies. From the beginning, I’ve been drawn to the idea of inspiring my guests to prepare live or DJ Sets to specific titles, and I must say it has attracted many people, especially in Warsaw, where I’ve held most of the events.

Talking about production – in terms of studio work, what are your favourite tools for creating music and preparing live sets? How do you choose between hardware and digital instruments? Care to show some bits of your studio?

To be honest, I completely stopped thinking about it. Over the years, I’ve collected many hardware instruments along with digital ones. When it comes to my DJ sets, I’ve played with both vinyl and digital formats. For my music creations and live performances, I’ve used both hardware instruments and Ableton. Ultimately, I choose what feels right in the moment especially in terms of studio and working on my own music.

How do you balance hypnotism and “deepness” with usability in a club environment, and how do you change the priority of these aspects? Where do you think is the deeper sound of Techno headed?

Personally, I would describe it as “focused”. Being on the dance floor or in the studio completely immersed in sound. For me, that is the key to everything, regardless of the words used to describe it.

How is 2024 looking from the perspective of scheduled releases?

I’m currently working on a big project, and I have a very specific plan for the next chapter. However, as usual, I prefer to focus on sharing the things that are right in front of me rather than discussing the things that are still in the making.

Still working. Still creating. Still caring.

Thank you.

Blazej Malinowski.