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Interview with Rafał Iwański from Hati


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The second edition of CoCArt Music Festival in Toruń, a series of concerts aimed at promoting independent music, came to an end in March. You were given the opportunity of reading the account of the event on our website. This time we are pleased to introduce you to some points of view presented to us by one of the organizers: Rafał Iwański (Hati) agreed to provide an answer to some of our questions.

The second edition of the festival is already behind us. I have heard many opinions on last year’s edition, both positive ones and those less favorable. How do you appraise the second edition?

I regard the second edition of the festival as successful. In reference to the first one, there has been made a great progress – we managed to bring to Poland many significant musical projects from different parts of the world, some of them are already the music history. Generally speaking, it was better, harder than the first time. It should be emphasized that all the accompanying events - that is, the audio-video workshops of Emiter and Franczak and the classes of Karpaty Magiczne, installations, demonstrations, debating panel did really well in practice. It was a novelty to us – after all, last year there were only two days of gigs. When it comes to the concerts themselves one should admit that at some points a sort of chaos would appear, we would have some problems with the crew and video equipment, which we regret and are really sorry for –but hard as we tried, we could not avoid it. Most probably in one year we will give 5 concerts per day (not 6, like this year). Nevertheless, all artists were content and left Tor€n in great moods, many of them instantly declared the will of coming back, others write that they would like to visit Tor€n someday in the future. However, I think it will not be possible – at least in the form of a concert (maybe it would work out in the form of workshops or something of the kind) – for our main idea is to present new projects every year. People who attended this year’s edition also told us they enjoyed the line-up and thoroughly soaked up the atmosphere. With regard to particular concerts – we were absolutely pleased to have seen the concerts of post-industrial classics – Troum and Reformed Faction and were positively surprised at seeing audio-visual show of Modulate at the end of the first day in the garage. The second day was ruled by Richard Pinhas, who played for the very first time in Poland. Despite being the legend of guitar ambient, the best part of his shows is performed in the USA and Japan. Talking about ZEV’s performance – it is always a revelation, worth seeing on stage.
Sunao Inami also provoked great enthusiasm, especially in the people who are not that keen on the underground music. By saying so I meant the fact that such perfectly accomplished audio-visual shows, like Sunao or Modulate did, managed to capture the attention of the majority of attendees, although both of the musicians are not so meritorious on the independent scene like for instance Troum or Reformed Faction. Due to the fact they played at the end of the evening, both Modulate and Sunao Inami did well by being an introduction to after parties. Personally, we are also satisfied with our performance with PURE –in the very last moment before closing the line-up we made a good decision to play as HATI & PURE, instead of HATI on its own. It was our fifth concert played together, and the first one to have been played in Poland – I want to add that never before had we had a joint rehearsal, only some appointments to discuss various stuff and the material itself took its proper form during the previous shows in Germany. We enjoyed performing at the CoCArt Festival – we were more than pleased to simply play there and additionally we received a positive feedback from the people. It is difficult for us, organizers, to estimate our own gig in comparison to the other ones but I may give you an ‘off-the-record’, ‘behind-the-scene’ account of what happened afterwards: Peter booked a studio in Berlin straight away and we are going to work on a new record right there, in June. He wants to promote this project in Europe – wants us to play at other festivals of the experimental music or go on a tour together. So it was worth everything in any way.
All in all – I consider the 2nd edition of the CoCArt Music Festival as a successful one and now we can say that next year there will be another one, full of surprises.

What made you choose such artists for the second edition?

We invite artists who we ourselves know, appreciate and whom we believe. This time we really wanted to introduce people to artists from the whole world, not only from Poland or Western Europe… We had an opportunity of seeing and meeting a great number of those artists earlier – at festivals, concerts or by playing a joint tour (for example with Zev or Robert Curgeven from Australia). Many of them we truly admire for the things they do, knowing them only from their records or various opinions. Hence we wanted to see them with our own eyes, after having heard so many good opinions, for instance on Oren Ambarchi (we did not have a chance to see him, even though he had played in Poland a few times before), a guitar ambient master Richard Pinas from France (for the first time in Poland) or a Japanese Sunao Inami, who played his very first show in Western Europe. We really wanted to have someone from Japan - that is why we had invited Inami. Besides, he was in seventh heaven because of his stay in Poland.
Z’Ev is our master and a friend – and since we got him to Poland in 2006, we have gone on two tours together and released a joint record on Italian Ars Benevola Mater – we are constantly in touch. He is one of the most important people we have ever met in our life. Z’Ev influenced us strongly on different levels. The boys from Troum are also our friends and since our first meeting we have been supporting one another in every possible way. I am the great fan of their amazing music. When it comes to Reformed Faction –Zoviet France and the projects of Robin Storey and Mark Spybey which emerged on their debris were one of the most important ones in the underground music of XX century. In October of 2008 I organized a Polish tour of BEEHATCH (the project of Mark Spybey and Phil Western from Download) and while traveling we talked over the issue of the very first performance of Reformed Fraction in Poland (it did not turn out successful in 2008, just like in Oren Ambarchi’s case) – actually the performance of the same people who played as Zoviet France but named differently (they did not want to be "dinozaurs " and reactivate under the same name). The story with Modulate began when we met Bobby Bird (more recognizable as Higher Intelligence Agency, he also recorded two great albums with Biosphere) in Grolich at the Ambient Festival, where we played in 2008 and came to an instant conclusion that a cooperation of any sort between us was worth a try. Bobby proposed an audio-visual collective – Modulate, which he has been a part of for some years now. They are great, modest people from Birmingham. We have been keeping in touch with Karpaty Magiczne for years. Incidentally, Atman is one of the most important bands of my youth. Moreover, I want to add that Marek Styczynski is responsible for Cybertotem Community project – a sort of compilation consisting of artists who interpret Styczynski’s records. The album will be released soon. Mirt/Gadomski and Emiter/Franaczak are polish musicians, whose artistic development we have been keeping up with and appreciating for years, our artistic paths have crossed at some points. Column One, in turn, is a bit longer story to tell – I have been listening to them for 15 years, in 1998 I saw them perform in Torun, in the ruins of the Teutonic Order’s Castle, the concert I will never forget. In August 2008 we were at their show, which was a part of the movie festival in Wrocław, and we saw that they were doing something entirely different from the things they used to do, and immediately decided to invite them to play in Torun.

Is CoCArt to be a Troun’s equivalent of Wrocław’s Industrial Festival?

No. Firstly, we do not relate to the term ‘industrial’ or its connotations (which does not mean that postindustrial band do not play at our fest) and it seems to me that in relation to this CoCArt is less subculture-oriented, if at all is. The majority of the bands that played in Wrocław will surely not perform at our festival - however, there are some exceptions, for instance TROUM, Karpaty Magiczne or Reformed Faction (Rapoon played at WIF once). It is my conviction that we are more into introducing people to the independent music of the world, but the one deprived of industrial, military-political or pagan context. Certainly, we are interested in genres like postindustrial, noise, ambient or psychedelic – maybe psychedelic in the first place… The widely-understood psychedelic art – maybe some are afraid of using the term in the formal language because it has "dangerous" connotations – to my point of view the audio-visual art, modern or less modern (old school), which we show at the CoCArt Festival is mostly psychedelic and it does not matter whether the artists connected to the genre have been playing this music for just a few or many years – their self-presentations have a strong psycho-active effect, which is the thing that is actually fundamentally common for them as they are less or more psycho-active – they may possess the power of transforming the consciousness of listeners. We have always believed that their intentions are clear and that is how we actually match them – and the fact is that someone who is more left-wing-oriented and criticizes the consumerism or gets inspired by shamanism, the others, on the other hand, do not want to get involved in it, at least during their very own concert, as at this point all they are interested in is the sheer power of sound flowing into their brains – all this stuff is amazingly interesting to us and I think that it suits our reality really well, especially in times of loss and ever-growing chaos. Enough said regarding both CoCArt Fest and Wrocław Industrial Fest. Personally I really admire the festival in Wrocław, which I have attended a couple of times. I saw a great number of amazing shows there, it is truly up to the world mark. From the very beginning, our aim is to create an international festival, which is to present an uncompromising, contemporary audio-visual art. I would like to add that it is good enough that we have the possibility of cooperating, working and being supported by The Center of the Contemporary Art "Znaki Czasu" located in Torun and, in spite of the fact that it is not a kind of "high-tech-audio-video" (a tendency which is present almost everywhere nowadays) fest - because frankly speaking, we, as the artists, do not want to be slaves to some electronic concerns and advertise their cutting-edge products… It is common knowledge that every single person uses their technologies, but honestly the art and music DID exist a long time before all those inventions. It does not matter what sort of appliances you use as long as they bear fruit.

Are there any plans as far as the next edition of the festival is concerned? What artists will Toruń host?


At the moment, we are incapable of answering that question and reveal any specifics. There is plenty of applications from the whole world… On the other hand, we keep up with some projects we have always wanted to see live on stage and which have never played in Poland before. We will know something more precise in the early Autumn.

In this case I am waiting impatiently for the official line-up. Thank you for the talk.
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Translator: murd
Add date: 2010-08-13 / Interviews


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