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"The mourn seasons" - an interview with Pawel Ptaszynski

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”The mourn seasons" - an interview with Pawel Ptaszynski

Romain Rolland, a French humanist once said: "…music, whatever people say, is not a universal language: the bow of words is necessary to send the arrow of sound into the hearts of all men". Even though most of us, passionate music lovers, distance ourselves from such opinions, I suggest looking around carefully, because we can find out they are justified.

In the world of surrounding plastic, mass destruction culture, that shreds the values of our lives – there are people who use their power of persuasion to fight for what is really important and precious. Maybe you've read about Tomasz Beksinski who used to inculcate the willingness for music travels. Maybe you've heard the broadcasts of Piotr Kaczkowski, who infects people with the passion for. Have you ever wondered how did it happen in your case? Have you ever chosen any music (now important to you by the way) thanks to “the Guide”? We can call that a person, who can open our eyes to what is beautiful, and to what we usually can't see. It's them who operate the 'bow of words' to shoot us with 'arrows of sound'. Today I will show you such an Enthusiast and the product of his work – a fruit, however still not ripe, but already sweet enough.

Here is an interview with Pawel Ptaszynski, a creator of  "The mourn seasons" program, which is broadcasted every Sunday, 11PM on the air of "Streamelite / YourRadioLine" radio, which remains in strict cooperation with the Alternation music magazine.

How did you hit on an idea for the convention of your broadcast? Can you unveil and explain the scheme of division for these 'mourn seasons'?

Well, the convention is very simple. It is based on assumption that during the year there is no other season than winter. In my opinion, winter is beautiful only on the pictures. I don't like this time of year - short days, pervasive coldness and depressive darkness. In Harold Ramis' film - "Groundhog day ", Phil Connors after several passages of the 'time-loop', says sarcastically to the crowd: "I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life". I just imagined what would the life look like if this was true. I imagined the frost, the snow, the wind, and the thrilling darkness – constant winter. Therefore my broadcast is a sort of an answer to this aforementioned question. The music is adequate to the climate in this projected world.
There are four seasons in the year. Each one has some characteristics. Spring and summer are full of happiness, autumn is a bit sad, and winter – quite depressive. In my own-made world there are actually four winters – the mourn seasons. The difference between them is shown by the climate of the music I play. First season is a sort of a cold spring – first three songs are seldom instrumental, they have lyrics, beat, quite fast tempo, sometimes hard guitars. Second season represents sub-zero summer – next three songs sometimes are instrumental, some are with vocals, but quite slower and much more sensational than those before. Third season is a dark autumn – I always play three parts of different marvelous soundtracks in it. Then – the fourth season… the darkest one… It's the time of the coldest moments, the most emotional songs, the most touching ones. Just hear it for yourselves.

What do you take under consideration when you choose the music for your show? Does it have any personal meaning to you? Do you want maybe to show something to the audience using the sounds, imply definite state of emotions?

The whole show wouldn't have any sense if I didn't want to show anything, if I didn't try to “drive” people into certain state of mind. Of course some of those songs are more unique and personal to me, but not every one. All of them have one particular thing in common. They are beautiful. I choose them with care and attention, I sort them out patiently. Each playlist is prepared not in ten minutes, but very often in ten hours. Sometimes I even wage wars with myself – which song to take, which to postpone or reject.
What do I want to show? That there is an alternative for this commercial crap surrounding us. That when you listen to those songs you can plunge into pure sound. That there could be the world of everlasting winter, where everything is harder and much more sad than in usual life. Maybe I want to show people that they should appreciate what they have around them? This is why I choose music that provokes reflection, that triggers the mind, the thoughts, not only with the lyrics, but also with the sounds.

Why do you play so much of film music in your program ? Please answer exhaustively.

That's a good question – to answer it I have to get back to the past. In my case, film music is the genre that I've listened to for the longest time – 15 years. During that time I have been a fan of music made by German composer, Hans Zimmer. I am always impressed with his compositions. Of course – some are better, other are worse, but the way he arranges the sequences of particular sections, especially the choir, this is the masterpiece of film soundtracks. Besides the film scores I like the films themselves – I always pay attention to film score, because it's a sort of completion of the film.
This is the most unique kind of music, I think. Very often it has no melody, and therefore it's a background for the scenes, other time we hear and memorize a theme which is characteristic for particular movie, for instance the famous Mission: Impossible riff (by the way – in the sequel Hans Zimmer arranged this theme outstandingly). Film music is very variable, sometimes very expanded, sometimes it's very simple. Everything depends on what do we want to illustrate with music . Thanks to the film scores people cry while watching movies, also when they come out of the theater feeling 'charged' after watching a thriller.
I wouldn't say I play "so much " of film music, because the excerpts from film scores are merely 25% of what I present – in every program, the third part is dedicated to soundtracks, and these are only three compositions out of twelve. And why did I take film music to play it in my program? Because sometimes even the most beautiful lyrics cannot express the feelings, which can be expressed by film music.

What are your musical preferences?

Whoa… Do we have enough time to talk about it? (laughs) I can't count out all the genres that I like, because it's hard to remember all those things I've heard. I listen to every kind of music that has some unique values, that is innovative. I don't like chaos in music. I don't get some kinds of music, for instance grindcore or noisecore – why the hell they 'sing' the words that you can't understand no matter what? There is no beauty in such music. The songs I play in "The mourn seasons " are special, but besides the show, I also like much more powerful records… Dream Theater's fast progressive rock, some pop songs, especially eighties, synth- and electropop. But to describe my music preferences widely, we need another interview.

How do you make your broadcasts, from the technical point of view? Can you describe the process of recording?

Everything starts with the idea – whether the show is the regular one, or a special emission (such as TMS #8 – soundtracks only). Then I choose the music. I spend a lot of time on that one. Sometimes I use the records that I already have in my possession, but recently, in most cases I spend a lot of time on exploring the Internet to find some new projects, singers and bands. When the playlist is ready I begin to think what to say on the air during the show, and write it down. I look for some information and details about the songs or band, write them down, which also takes a lot of time. After finishing this I prepare everything to record the whole speech. Then I quickly cut it, paste, normalize and compress, put between the songs. And that's it. Oh, actually it's not… I also spend some time on producing the opening and ending clips, jingles and sweepers. I constantly try to replace the old samples with new ones. You'll hear the changes for sure.

What is the contribution of the audience in making of "The mourn seasons "? What do you expect from them, and what can they expect from you?

Well, as long as I'm alive they can expect everything (laughs). But seriously – indeed I ask the listeners to contribute to make this show. I always remind my e-mail address, people write me, send some suggestions about the music and the way I run the show, they can write critical notices, they can ask me questions, I promise no one will be dismissed. Also if there are some musicians among the audience – I am waiting for your songs and your music, just send it to me – and if I acknowledge your music as appropriate for this program – I will play it, I will call you to make an interview, I will promote what you make. Just feel invited to write to me, it's only for making the show better. Recently, I've noticed that the auditors write to me more willingly, I appreciate that, and thank you all for your opinions. For me, this is the signal that you're interested in what I'm doing for you, and thanks to this I think about making the show more interactive.

Hope so. Thank you.

"The mourn seasons " - special edition - Tomasz Beksiński

Photo by: Agnieszka Der
Translator: Camille
Add date: 2009-01-01 / Interviews

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