Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Osada Vida interview, 2009

Here's an interview I did with Osada Vida in 2009 in light of their then new album, Uninvited Dreams.
This interview was posted in Prog Archives and Progressive Ears. The version below is taken from Progressive Ears. Thanks to Duncan Glenday for the editing and design.

Assaf Vestin: For those unfamiliar with Osada Vida, can you give us a brief background of the band? How did it come to be, and what were your musical influences?

Adam Podzimski (Drums): Osada Vida was set up in 1997.  Lukasz and I created the band in 1997 as a trio.  The members of our band had changed several times and the same was with our music.  In the year 2000 we recorded our first demo album Moment Krytyczny (The Critical Moment).  Since then we have recorded two more albums: W Drodze Na Ksiezyc in 2002 and Osada Vida in 2004.

Our music was changing, developing you can hear it on our previous albums.  But the year 2005 was very crucial to our band.  We invited the new guitarist - Bartek Bereska - and released an album Three Seats Behind a Triangle in 2006.  We try to find an inspiration in every good piece of music.  No matter if it’s pop, jazz, metal or even classical music.

Lukasz Lisiak (Bass): Together with Adam, we wished to play our favorites’ music: Rush, King Crimson, Camel, early Porcupine Tree, Talk Talk and a stuff from 4 AD.  We never chose any style or never gave it a name.  We simply wished to play the music, which we felt, we loved, enjoyed and we wanted to listen to.

AV: Is music your main or only profession?

Adam: Let say that music is our main occupation.  We dedicate a lot of our free time to it but we must do something completely different for living.

Lukasz is working as the main manager in a logistics corporation, Bartek studies chemistry, Rafal is an application programmer and I am working in orphanage as an educator - and of course I try to teach kids listening to good music!

AV: What’s your musical background?

Adam: We don’t have any special musical education but each of us was taking some private musical lessons.

AV: What is the meaning of your name, and how did you choose it?
Adam: Let me tell you a short story: In the area of today’s Benin, there’s a small village.  Its inhabitants live far from all civilization but in perfect harmony.  Their newborn babies are given to phytons that look after them and protect them.  This village is called Osada Vida.

We chose that name because that Osada Vida was a place where people lived in their own way, with their own rules.  They didn’t care about the world which was outside their village.  I think that members of the band are like that people from Osada Vida.  We create our own music, an unusual mixture of sounds which could be inconceivable to some people but it’s just our music.

Lukasz: And why did we choose the name? Well, our first gig was approaching and we had to decide at last.

AV: On some web sites, you are listed as prog-metal.  But then again, you might not be that heavy or that edgy as to not appeal to people who dislike metal.  How do you see yourselves?

Lukasz: We don’t follow one style only, you can’t close us in a one drawer labeled "prog rock" or "prog metal".  We don’t calculate or combine with music artificially - all we create is coming out of ourselves.  We don’t want our listeners to think during Osada Vida’s concerts: "Will he make a mistake or not?" or "Will he miss the tune or not?" I’m talking about those "shredding maniacs".  Progressive metal? Sure, we are old-school headbangers! I mean me and Adam have been inspired by Anthrax or Testament, so it’s clear we perform some kind of metal, isn’t it?

All I say is: we’re releasing the third official album, we’ve had a few gigs, a lot of reviews in different languages have appeared in many places.  In my opinion, the listener who’s interested in our CD, surely knows or at least is aware of what he can expect to find there.  We believe that our listeners are fully conscious, seeking freshness in music.  We do our best to provide them with what they look for.

AV: How did the public and the press receive your last album in your home country, and abroad?
Adam: As we could see our album was warmly received in Poland and abroad.  But I’ve noticed that probably we have much more fans abroad than in our motherland.  A lot of flattering reviews are sent to us from Poland, Europe, the USA and Brazil.  In February 2007 our album Three Seats Behind a Triangle was chosen as the "album of the month" in the Progressive Rock and Metal Webzine in Brazil.

Lukasz: All our previous albums are - I think - uncompromising.  In case of all three, we always had some plans and concepts.  As for Three Seats Behind a Triangle we had the whole story described, I mean well-selected lyrics.  Next we had to compose the music, which would express the content.  Creating The Body Parts Party we wanted to have shorter, simpler, and more melodic songs.  As a result, our fans are divided into two groups: Those who prefer Three Seats Behind a Triangle because it’s more complex and plain.  And those ones who prefer lighter and smoother music.  Well, it’s hard to please everyone’s taste.  That explains why we had no limits while making the new album.  The only limit was the space on CD.

AV: Tell us about the concept behind your last album, The Body Parts Party? And who came up with it, and how?
Adam: When we’d finished our Three Seats Behind a Triangle tour, we started to think about a new album.  Lukasz was composing all the time.  He was bringing new musical ideas at our rehearsals, so the music was composed very quickly.

After as serious and difficult a topic as Three Seats Behind a Triangle was, we wanted to do something funnier and easier to understand to an ordinary man, so we decided to make an album about people’s characters and attribute their features of character to the interior organs of human body.  We chose several organs which, in our opinion, describe people’s characters in the best way, in the meanwhile, I hit on an idea about the title of our new album.  Lukasz is the main composer of our music, but also Rafal and Bartek did a really good job.  Me and Ola wrote lyrics and you can hear the result of our work.

AV: Is there a new album in the works? If so, what’s it like - is it a concept album as well, and will it be stylistically similar to Body Parts Party? What can you tell us about it?
Lukasz: The brand new album is ready.  It’s again a concept album titled Uninvited Dreams.  It will be released on 23 November in Europe and 1 December in the USA.

As previously, our drummer - Adam Podzimski - is the author of all new lyrics.  We’ve always avoided to be literal in our lyrics and nothing’s changed this time.  The title of album explains the whole content.  Dreams have fascinated people through years.  Let’s look at all dreams interpretations created in many cultures and centuries, at all fortune-tellers and astrologists, even scientists who tried to study dreams.  We focused only on on "unwanted" ones.  Each of us must have experienced bad dreams, that you hurriedly wished to forget as shortly after waking up.  Another time, although you wanted to dream about pleasures, no pleasant things appeared - just the black hole.  Taking into consideration the fact, that we sleep through one third of our life, such situations are frequent.  Why? Because stress, nerves, sadness and everyday problems inevitably accompany our life.  Sometimes, you plunge into a bed with a small hope, that night will bring the desired solution and the change into better.

This is what the new CD is about - probably the saddest one of Osada Vida - as for lyrics.  It’s not a secret that we rather try to express the content through sounds, not through words.  I don’t feel as a vocalist, knowing to express all emotions, which we want to express with our music.  Therefore our albums are played instrumentally in seventy percent.  This is also the case currently, although we prepared a few vocal surprises.  I deeply believe, that they are really positive and make the whole album look fantastic.  I will not reveal more details - you have to wait for release!

As for the music - working on this album was a fantastic experience for me, mainly because we returned to an old way of composing.  I mean the one before Three Seats Behind A Triangle.  So, there was no situation that we worked on a given, completed song, that came to somebody’s mind, I mean of us four - we simply met on sessions, playing and feeling which of our common ideas would be most suitable for the next step.  Such an attitude resulted in totally non-commercial, uncompromising material, where the shortest song lasts almost 9 minutes! Not to mention Bartek’s "Spanish" surprise, which the Fans will hear soon.

We treated the new album with no rules, no borders and no limits.  Therefore the new songs sound more like we played live.  There is a place for unlimited Bartek’s great guitar solos, and for Rafal’s keyboard crazy rides, and for Adam’s drum craze - of course all in good balance and taste! In my view, it’s an incredibly precious CD for a Listener who searches non-trivial, complex music, which you have to understand, listen into deeply, discover, and be part of.  Consequently, it’s definitely not music, which makes you feel bored quickly.  We traditionally mixed all music styles, that we love ourselves: rock, metal, jazz-fusion, prog, electronic and even funky.  I strongly believe, Osada Vida has such Listeners.

AV: Do you plan to tour or support the new album with live shows?
Lukasz: Definitely yes.  We wish to play more concerts now.  We would like to follow a two- or three-week long tour, not only one day concerts.  Well, we feel a little bit like Alan Parsons Seriously - it’s not an easy topic.  It seems to me that people are unwilling to leaving their homes to go to concerts.  For us, live shows means pleasure, but also costs that we must cover.  Therefore we aren’t planning any concerts outside Poland.  But of course, who knows? Everything depends on promoters!

Osada Vida In Concert

AV: How do you feel your previous releases compare with this current new album? Are you still satisfied with them retrospectively?
Adam: Our debut was made without any rush.  We had plenty of time and it caused - in my opinion - that Three Seats Behind a Triangle has many thought-out compositions ...  but the production is not good enough.  I hope that The Body Parts Party is a more mature album.  We didn’t have a lot of time to make it, but in the recording studio we could count on our experienced friend, Marcin Chlebowski, who helped us a lot.  But Uninvited Dreams I like the most.  It’s difficult to compare these three albums because I can’t be objective!

Lukasz: We’re really pleased with our albums, mainly when we talk about compositions.  Of course, we would surely change a lot of things on our previous albums such as mix and mastering, I’d probably change my vocal parts But we can’t regret any steps or decisions because they were caused by our level of knowledge and experience.  We also had more financial barriers at that time.  Anyway, we’re not ashamed of anything.  Why should we be ashamed of not being able to read at the age of two?

AV: A multi-part question for you:  What’s your attitude towards progressive rock? Do you listen to it? Like it? Think it’s just pretentious? Do you feel comfortable with being listed as a prog-rock or metal band or prog rock or metal websites? Do you feel "at home" with other "more conventional" prog rock acts?

Adam: Every member of our band likes progressive rock, more or less.  Every one, I feel so, listens also other kinds of music.  But I think that we all like to listen good music and I hope you can hear it in our songs.

Lukasz: I’ve always found it hard to classify ourselves.  On our new album Uninvited Dreams happens a lot in various climate, tunes, tempos and structures.  It’s not important for me how it will be called or classified.  Really.

AV: What other prog - or non-prog - bands from Poland do you like or appreciate? Apart from the bigger names like Riverside, Indukti, Collage, Amarok, Gargantua, Laboratorium, SBB, Quidam, Satellite, Believe, Skaldowie etc. ... what is the state of prog-rock in Poland? Is it thriving or more of an underground movement or depending on the genre played by the individual band?

And what about non-Polish prog bands - do you have any favorite prog bands or musicians?

Adam: I think you’ve enumerated most of Polish bands that we like and appreciate but there are still some worth to mention like After…, Division By Zero, and Animations.  The condition of Polish prog-rock improves and it makes us happy but it is still the beginning of a long way to appreciate this kind of music in our country.  Favorite bands? Oh there are too many!  We love Rush, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Genesis, ELP, Yes and all classical prog-rock bands.

I think Porcupine Tree is the band that caused Osada Vida to be created.  We all extremely like this band.

Lukasz: I also love listening to Muse, Foo Fighters, and Peter Gabriel - but also Mastodon, Tool, Slayer, and Europe.

As for prog rock, I’m keen on Flower Kings, Pain Of Salvation and of course the whole classic prog stuff.  But there’s the whole lot of bands which are just more or less perfect copies of prog rock big names, like Pink Floyd or Dream Theater - it doesn’t get to me.  Besides, I love Rush!

AV: Is there any band or musician that you’d like to collaborate with or have play on your album?
Adam: There are many artists that we would like to collaborate with but as far we haven’t talked about it.  Who knows, maybe in the future?

Lukasz: Geddy Lee, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Gildenlow, Jorn Lande and John Lennon!

AV: [Laughs] If you had a very generous funding, what kind of album would you do, or are you doing it already?
Adam: If we had a very generous funding - dreams oh dreams - we would invite the most illustrious musicians and release an album which probably ... wouldn’t really be our album!  But talking seriously, if we had a very generous funding we could devote to music entirely.  We would have our own recording studio and the top-drawer music equipment.  But I’m sure that we would still play "Osada’s" music.  Fortunately money doesn’t influence man’s creativity.  But up till now we don’t have problems with a large amount of money.

AV: With the spreading of the iPod culture and mentality, do you still think there’s room for this kind of music, which demands the listener attention and devotion? Would you consider compromising your artistic intentions and aspirations to gain more financial success? Do you still believe in the concept of making albums and not single songs? Will you keep up making concept albums as you have done before?

Adam: I think that many people are fed up with "mind-blowing music".  I believe that they want to listen the music that can offer something more.  There are not many things better than holding a good released CD in your hand and listening to the history that the artist wants to tell us.  Music is not our job so we don’t count on financial success so we don’t have to think about the compromise.

Lukasz: For us, it’s very important to have an original and attractive artwork to give for our Fans.  Rafal Paluszek always takes care of it.  You won’t get that on an  iPod

AV: How would you persuade an open minded person to listen to your music?

Lukasz: Through our music we want to move your imagination, give some moments of relaxation and provide you with positive emotions.  I hope it is the case.  Be with us and show us that what we do - especially for you, our Listeners- makes sense and gets where it really should, to your hearts and minds.

Anyway - best wishes and great thanks to all fans who are supporting us and listening to Osada Vida ‘s music.  All the best!

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