The Canadian label Artoffact often surprises with unexpected releases departing from all conventional styles and trends. The Polish duo, Cabaret, surely meets this criterion, particularly considering the top quality of the music. They play a warm but dark version of pop music based mainly on electronic instruments, yet also display acoustic elements — and yes, I said POP! The terms, “synthpop” or “Futurepop” have such negative connotations in many circles, but those negatives are not to be associated with Cabaret’s approach. Check out their strong debut “Homophobia” and immerse yourself in the Cabaret experience — you won’t regret it….
Chain D.L.K.: At first to start this interview, I would like to ask you for an introduction of CABARET. Who are the people behind your musical project, how and when did you met and built up CABARET?
Cabaret: Jarek: I created this band in 1997 but professional activity started in 2001 when Micha³ joined the band. We are working as a duo and it’s OK. Maybe one day we will take new people to our team… We have some music experiences from the past. Micha³ was doing music as a one-man project called Noise Gate. I was doing music in band named Punk In Motel (today well known as Oszibarack (2.47 Records/EMI)).
Michal: We met during a recording session for “Mode In Poland” – a Depeche Mode tribute album – and decided to work together… There is also a strong friendship between us.
Chain D.L.K.: It seems a little odd or curious that Cabaret, a band from Poland, would sign with a label based in Canada. Why Artoffact which is so far away? Weren’t there any interesting offers out of a European country?
Cabaret: Michal: All record labels we were in touch with said to us: “…it is great music but it is too… good. (?!?) We need something more soft, easy to listen stuff…”. Artoffact Records was just only interested in our music as it is and as it sounds without any changes. And they are cool people, very open for new trends and sounds. We do not care about the distance… We have phones, Internet… I do not see any problems with this kind of co-operation.
Jarek: I just want to add that we have a kind of recording freedom and everything is based on a big amount and credit of trust. We are doing what we know best – music, they are doing what they know best – they are selling this music. Do we need something more?
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve been active since 1997 I think. Why did it take that long until you could release your debut discs on Artoffact?
Cabaret: Jarek: Yes, it took a long time to record this debut album but we wanted to be sure about our music. We also couldn’t find the right record label, until two years ago Artoffact Records made us a proposal.
Michal: During all the years we created 2 – 3 songs for some compilation albums. And one of those albums has brought the contract to us. The people from Artoffact discovered us on the “Melodies And Structures” compilation album.
Chain D.L.K.: Some words to your ‘Electric Chair Song’ debut. I have heard that you also produced a music video for this track which was selected and presented on a film festival named Flader Festival 2005 at the end of September 2005. Please tell us a bit about the production, the content of the video and the reactions of the audience…
Cabaret: Jarek: Some facts… This video was not presented on this Flader Festival. We did not play there due to some technical problems… We decided to record this video because it’s always good to have some videos in our collection. The audience reaction is good. Our fans know that we do not have a big money budget and this video has been made for free. Our friends decided to help us. I like this picture kind. It works with this music and words. Maybe some people will describe it as an static video but there is a sense behind this pictures… We would like to co-operate with Krzysztof Szarek (director) in future. And I think it is a great idea to make some other black & white videos for some others of our songs. Maybe one day we will issue it as a full black & white CABARET music-video story. We also think about doing a short movie about the recording session of the next album.
Chain D.L.K.: With “Every Home is Wired” you are presenting us a cover version of a Porcupine Tree track. Why this track?
Cabaret: Michal: It was my choice to record this song as a cover on our single. I love the music of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson so I thought it could be nice to have a cover song of one of my favorite bands. Jarek also loved this idea of doing a cover song so we did it. And we did in our own way so I think it is a very interesting interpretation of this track. We also decided not to use a top hit song as a cover. Everyone is recording “Knocking On Heavens Door” or “Enjoy The Silence”. We wanted to be different, as always…
Chain D.L.K.: I have noticed on your full length CD “Homophobia” the following reference: “In Memoriam of Jerzy Kaminski”. Please tell us a bit about the meaning behind this…
Cabaret: Jarek: Jerzy Kamiñski was my grandfather. He died 3 years before because of lung cancer. He was a very talented musician, he played music his whole life. During World War II, the music gave him the passport to stay alive… He was my music teacher, he gave me my first lessons in playing keyboards and piano. So I decided to make this kind of tribute in the “Homophobia” CD booklet.
Chain D.L.K.: Next to the rich content of electronic instruments I have noticed the use of several natural instruments like a saxophone, pianos or some real drums. Do you guys have a special training on these instruments, maybe a special classic music training for the piano parts which can be heard mostly on ‘Song For Berlin’?
Cabaret: Michal: No, we don’t have. All we know about music, recording, playing on instruments, we know through ourselves. We have never visited any music school. It is true… We are autodidactic people.
Jarek: The piano part of “Song For Berlin” has been recorded 100% live at one time. We did not record it with the “step-by-step” MIDI method.
Chain D.L.K.: “Song For Berlin” and “Check Point Charlie” both deal with Germany’s main city. I think you are referring on both tracks on personal experiences. So what’s it all about with these two tracks, what’s the meaning behind them?
Cabaret: Jarek: “Song For Berlin” is a simple song about… love. It is not about Berlin. Berlin is a kind of symbol, symbol of freedom, of love atmosphere. “Check Point Charlie’ is about human life at the present time. Many things in our life are controlled via computers, we do a lot of things in automatic ways… Also the song ‘Be On Standby’ is about the same problem. We are like machines, like robots… I have found one day some words of Leonard Cohen “give me back my Berlin Wall” and it was the inspiration for this song.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you do live performances? What is going on at a CABARET gig for all those who can’t see you live on stage? Which parts of your music are actually played “live”?
Cabaret: Michal: We did not play live very often in the past but we want to change that. We want to prepare a kind of tour with some effects, but we do not want to tell all about it right now. We want to make a kind of surprise for our fans. We want to play a kind of a mix of electro and acoustic music during our show. You asked also about the technical side of our shows… We use a lot of electronic stuff like a laptop, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers and it is a natural thing that we use some backing tapes. But many major music lines we do play live on stage… On backing tapes you can find some drums lines, bass lines and some string chords but the rest is live music that we play on stage. We also want to play a kind of an acoustic set to show the people that we know what to do with instruments like piano or a guitar. And of course all vocal lines are live. Let’s say: 50% is live music and 50% is backing tapes music…
Chain D.L.K.: Comes the question about your upcoming plans. What’s next for CABARET?
Cabaret: Michal: We are going to start a recording session for our next album at the end of January. We have some demos ready to record. There are going to be two differences in our recording process: we are going to work more as a group than ever before. We want to do many things together, and not in separate ways like it was in the past. And second thing: we want to invite some extra musicians and people. For sure you will hear the female voice of Aleksandra Biliñska – a talented young girl we have discovered some time ago. Just wait for the final result.
Jarek: We’re also thinking about a second single from ‘Homophobia’ album… so maybe before we start the recording session for our next album we will make a short session to collect the single song set. We also want to shoot a new video for the song “Rain On My Skin”.
Chain D.L.K.: Anything you would like to add to our readers?
Cabaret: Jarek: We do often read your Chain D.L.K. Magazine. You’re doing a great job. Thank you for this interview. Best wishes to all your readers…
Michal: Thanx for the interview and I hope to see you soon at our show. Keep in touch with us and our music. And take care…
Visit Cabaret on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Brandon L. Clark]