A longstanding figure in Poland’s forward-thinking electronic music scene, Hatti Vatti, aka Piotr Kalinski, is no stranger to sonic experimentalism. Inspired by the avant-garde sounds coming out of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, Kalinski’s discography is a masterclass in exploratory compositions, an approach further realised in the recent release of concept album SZUM. A collaborative project with RE:VIVE, an initiative built to introduce artists to historic musical archives, Szum sees Kalinski delve into a world of samples in a beautiful synthesis of past and present. The product is mightily impressive, showcasing the infusion of Kalinski’s cutting-edge analogue craftsmanship with fragments of Poland's political and cultural heritage. In light of SZUM’s recent release, we caught up with Piotr to discuss the ideas and influences behind its creation.
SZUM has been described as a 'concept album', what would you consider to be the main ideas and themes explored in the record?
Main topics are information chaos, controlling and relationships in modern societies, between people, but also between people and machines. Machines are very powerful nowadays, we are societies of people and machines between them. It's also about waterfalls of information we
reach everyday, this constant noise of binary codes from everywhere. We live in the future, we live in very unknown and new territories, not geographically, but mentally.
It's an album which incorporates a wide-reaching array of sounds, can you give us a bit of insight into the creative process behind it?
SZUM is a mixture of a big amount of various synths and beat machines with some samples taken from old Polish movies and animations. I had a clear idea about how to make a mosaic of modern and vintage sounds. I was very happy to use my own hardware, gear of my friends and archives
of Polish National Audiovisual Institute. Lots of sources. Very creative.
It’s a project which saw you work with RE:VIVE. Can you tell us a bit about this collaboration?
They asked me about digging in Polish archives, in old Polish works -that's what I exactly wanted to do anyways. So everything was very easy to connect and i said yes very quick.
How significant was the archival material in your work? What is it that you find attractive about working with samples?
Mostly sound structure, this is Poland's specific vibe in it. It's hard to describe, we grew up with these things in Polish TV and radio in the 80s. I'm a child of a communism era.
The video for Hero/in includes images of Warsaw’s socialist-modernism housing projects, is this area significant for you personally? Does Poland’s communist heritage play a role in your music?
Yes, it's a very important part of Polish art history. Modern architecture, Polish jazz, experimental electronic music.... Poland was a strange country between the 50s and 90s, very open for new and
How have Poland’s historical narratives moulded the sound on this album?
It's interesting... The topic of my album is very close to topic of "1984" by G. Orwell - and now we see very sad things happening in Poland nowadays. So as you can see many future visions and demons of the past are now visible today.
There’s a vast discography to the Polish underground scene, yet it is barely charted internationally. Why do you think this is?
It's the same as Finnish or Turkish music which is not in the charts. I think it has very local character and apart from Polish jazz and Polish metal we don't have too much focus of people from abroad. I think it's very natural, and there is some kind of tradition that English, French, German and Swedish music is getting more attention. I think Poland is very exotic for many of your readers. Same as Russia is exotic for me. And of course both places are just eastern parts of Europe, not exotic at all.
Can you tell us a bit more about the Polish Radio Experimental Studio? How has this influenced the tradition of experimentation in Polish electronic music?
I don't see huge influence in modern Polish electronic music, but for sure it's visible in avant-garde and classical stuff. Several hundreds of titles for film, theatre, TV, radio and various exhibitions came out from the Studio. It's a very interesting story, with many important figures. They were behind the scenes. I can see some influences in music by popular polish musicians like Skalpel or Noon.
Do you find a lot of your musical influences come from within Poland?
I've always liked British music, and UK bass culture was always very close to my heart if we talk about dub, garage or D'n'B. I'm also very into footwork stuff since 2010 when I lost my interest in dubstep. And of course I grew up with Jamaican dub. For me 70s Jamaican dub is like
breathing. In more recent years I've also become very into African and Nordic music. In 2013 I released "Algebra" - a sound documentary made while travelling and living in Muslim countries.
Are there any DJs that you would recommend to watch out for in Polish electronic scene?
I'm not into the club scene so much to be honest. I really liked Bartosz Kruczyński stuff, he was 1/2 part of duo Ptaki, but his solo works are much more experimental. I also like Daniel Drumz, he is a
producer and DJ from Cracow. I think there are great bands to watch -Coals, Pin Park or Kurws to name a few.
Why did you choose to release this record on MOST Records?
I needed a new energy and what I know they needed it too.
Do you think you will continue to work with this label in the future?
Time will tell.
Could you tell us a little bit about your own label Kanu Kanu, are there any plans for upcoming releases?
It's a very small underground label, mostly focused on Polish dub techno, avant-garde and ambient music. It's also the offshoot canal for some of my own stuff. Yes, I would like to put out more releases in the future - it's very important to do physical formats, even in small amounts -but still. So we had blue 12" vinyl, CD, square 7" lathe cut... Maybe it's a time for a tape release.
What direction do you see your music taking in the next few years?
SZUM was released on 24 March on MOST Records.
Words: Georgia Tobin & Tai Kolade