Vilcin: Instead of an introduction... Let's go back to the days when the idea of founding a Pagan metal band inspired by Slavonic Heathenism first sprouted in your head. Do you remember this moment?
Wojsław: Sometime in 2005, a rather bad quality project Czernobog was created (one track from this stuff was recorded on the 3rd Stworz album), and then (in 2007) there was Dystopia. And although the first project survived for just one month, the second quickly evolved musically (and thematically) towards the funeral genre. Both of them became a basis for my further activity. After meeting M. in 2007, with whom I shared ideological and musical views, I knew that the next step would be something more ambitious. Then I became interested in Slavonic Heathenism and I could not imagine a different course of development.
What happened next? I mean completion of the compositions and selection of topics.
We managed to complete the compositions even at the end of 2008 and started playing checksounds, which lasted intermittently until 2010. M. left Stworz in 2009, so I was responsible for all the compositions, and still am. However, on the “Synowie Słońca” (“Sons of the Sun”) album U was responsible for the bass guitar parts and partially for the arrangements. The three-person Stworz’s crew with A. as the drummer remained stable, with some breaks, which I talked about earlier, up to the year 2010. In 2013, Stojsława joined and she would rather stay. The Heathen subjects were chosen before the music, so it went naturally.
What was your path to Slavonic Heathenism?
I don’t remember exactly, but in 2005 I was surfing the Internet and from time to time I would find some information about it. For me that was something different, intriguing, and let's face it – radical, so I was looking deeper and deeper. My interest was kindled even more when, for my surprise, I discovered the music dealing with Heathenism. However, I was ready to organize seasonal rites as late as in 2009, and from there was still a long way to go.
Continuing with this topic - we have some new bands in Polish Pagan metal scene, but not so many of them actually reach to authentic folklore and dig into our mythology. How do you see it, and how it relates Stworz‘s music?
I used to wonder why in Poland we didn’t have a Pagan metal scene like the ones in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus (I really hate the western Pagan metal scenes). But when it became established, it's been an almost incredible flood of “student mediocrity”. As usual, more important to copy Korpiklaani, Tyr and other bands for the hundredth time than to look at our authentic roots, and if it is done, it is usually with a poor effect. I think, maybe wrongly, that it is a matter of approach. I’m not interested in playing metal just for metal's sake. Stworz could play something like it did in the previous releases, but I just like the aesthetics of metal. I focus on the essence, not the form, and the rest is a consequence. With all the rest of it, as I see it, it's the other way round even if it is a generalization. That's why it looks like it looks, although I understand that the people may like it. I (as usual) I am in opposition on this issue.
So, tell me about your inspirations for composing the Stworz stuff. I am especially interested in the borrowings from traditional songs and the often difficult rhythms associated with them.
Frankly, my inspiration is somehow the result of what I do, what I read, what I listen to. I am not inspired by any specific group or type of music, but of course as I listen to them they more or less consciously influence the work. As for the traditional songs that I like them in their raw, traditional versions. In my opinion most of the today's "folk" bands are killing these songs with their contemporary arrangements, although it is not the rule. I do not know what to add here because, as you can hear, my rhythms and arrangements are not particularly complicated. However, the selection of songs results from the album's theme, e.g. on “Zagony Bogów” (“Fields of the Gods”): it is the spring, associated with rebirth, the beyond, the issue of the soul. Hence the choice of two songs that have preserved references to this subject: “Czerwone Jajeczko” (“Red-Painted Egg”) and “Szerokie Pole” ("The Wide Field"). In the previous album, there was just a "Lipka" („Lime tree”), which was recorded sometime in 2010, which was then something new, and before the album came out, two or three bands already had time recorded their versions, heh. “Lipka” was selected simply because I really like this song.
Do you have any favourite region of Poland or one in another Slavic country? Which music appeals to you the most?
I really like the music of Mazovia, its different regions, and from the Tatra Mountains and Podlasie. And besides, I would point to Lemkivshchyna even though I just do not listen to this music as much as I used to. Outside Poland – Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and especially Macedonia. And aside from folk music, my imagination was always moved by Chopin, Polish soldiers' songs and medieval music.
How has the sound of Stworz changed since the first 2008 demo to “Zagony Bogów”"?
As you can hear. Our approach is certainly more professional now, but polishing the sound still does not interest us. As far as music goes, our development was primarily associated with female vocals and we will go in this direction on the next albums. Our approach to arrangements has changed too, especially when you compare it to the first recordings.
The 2016 CD has acoustic sound, close to the style of medieval folk, raw but engaging. This theme is heard, among others, in Bulgarian formations Svarrogh or e.g. Nokturnal Mortum from Ukraine. So where did this idea come to Stworz?
The idea came here from the fact, that I just like – and need – to make music, but I not divide it into genres. Some acoustic songs were originally created as metal ones and the other way round. My first attempts at composition, before I heard black metal, were songs on acoustic guitar. For many years, I have explored eastern neofolk/ritual and similar “inventions”. I also greatly appreciate the Polish achievements in this field (eg. Piorun, Wojnar, Kraina bez wiatru). Hence, in 2009, the project “Słońcakres” appeared, which eventually ended up as a Stworz cassette under the same title, because I I did not see any point in splitting it to various projects. Six years later, my publisher offered to release it again on CD, and as I do not like such bare reissues, and as I was feeling inspired at the time, I added new material to it, in style and atmosphere referring to the previous one. Thus “Na trzy strony Słońca” (“On three sides from the Sun”) was created . And that is not the end.
Stworz plays gigs, too. Do you remember the first one?
No, I do not. However, our first gig took place in 2008 on a closed party. The specific audience and the nature of the space and time contributed to the excellent atmosphere, although there was not a lot of sense in all that. Then we played a year later, under similar conditions. And that was all.
The acoustics in underground clubs is sometimes difficult. Therefore, I will ask which of your gigs appears to you as the best one, and which one would you rather forget?
Given the conditions and our approach both were good. These weren’t performances on big stages, but just playing underground for a clearly defined audience, which then suited me very much. Asound system... there was one, and probably it's only so much that you can say, but it absolutely did not interrfere with the reception – that is not the point. I would like to forget about some foolishnesses that took place after the concert, but on the other hand – today it is a funny topic for commemoration.
Let's get to the questions about what the future. So what are your plans for the coming months? I mean any new studio material and maybe concerts?
Concerts? I do not think so. First of all, I do not care about them, let alone I don't have the time and opportunities. I like to create music, not so much perform it, especially in front of an audience. Some studio material, yes, there will be for sure. We have a finished (on both sides) split with Alne, so sooner or later you can expect it, but it will be a highly experimental release. As for the regular material, I would like to release it in the autumn of 2017, for our tenth anniversary, but whether I will have the time to compose and record it, do not know, given that I am attracted to a rather different direction of musical exploration.
The last word is yours. What would you like to say at the end to our readers?
Thanks for the interview!
Interview by Vilcin