Metropool – Hengelo, May 20th
During the soundcheck, where I heard the new song ‘Living in the Past’- brilliant - it was time for our talk. I was glad the photographer stayed with me, because I was more nervous than I thought. The first thing he said to me though was: “Nice pick,” and by that he meant the plectrum I was wearing on my necklace that I’d been given by Piotr Grudzinski (guitar) on a previous occasion. Gotta love that man ;-) After a little disruption and some stupid questions on my part (“Why did you agree to do this interview?!”) we got on to the serious stuff. It turned out there were no other magazines or websites interested in an interview. I found out later they didn’t think there was anything new to talk about. Well, I’d say a new EP with three beautiful songs is plenty enough for me, and we didn’t even talk about that!
When I told Mariusz this interview was about him, he specifically mentioned that the others were important too. But this interview is about him, the songwriter.
He started his career playing music at a young age. He played the piano when he was in the fourth grade of primary school. After that he took on keyboards and played in his first band. Not much later he had his first real rock band, or post-punk anyway, in which he played bass because, according to him, it was easier to carry about!
Since 2006, Mariusz and the other members of
I asked Mariusz how important it was for him to do a solo project, what his motivation was for that. “I wanted to do something more often,” he said. Riverside releases a new album every two years and he wanted to create something himself in the gap between.
Then I couldn’t resist asking the question he’s probably heard a million times before but I asked it anyway. How does he feel about the comparison to Steven Wilson? His first reaction was that it had probably something to do with the hair, the glasses and the fact that he doesn’t look like a guy who goes to the gym! But after that he admitted that it may be connected to the music too, because after all, Porcupine Tree was an inspiration a long time ago. That influence must have remained in some way. He felt happy and honoured, he said. And so he should, if you look at where PT is now!
When I asked him if he had any idea why his
career grew so fast, he laughed out loud. This is
Back to the music then, which is after all what it all boils down to. Riverside has just released the EP ‘Memories In My Head’ with a total length of thirty minutes, containing three long songs. The whole of the album can be listened to as one piece as well. One song flows smoothly into the other, lyric wise and music wise. The title refers to the first EP Riverside released back in 2006, which was called ‘Voices In My Head’. It is the ending of a period in which Mariusz reverted to old themes. Initially, the EP was only available on tour, and now also in stores from June 20th.
Mariusz’s next release will be of a bonus album
from Lunatic Soul. K-Scope has the exclusive rights, and the album is called
‘Impressions’ and will be out in October this year. It’s not the third album of
Lunatic Soul, but a bonus to the black & white albums. After that Mariusz
and the guys will be back working on a new full-length
I asked whether he’d consider touring with Lunatic Soul. He said it was very possible, but not soon. Maybe within two years. He would gather a nice bunch of people to join him, probably the guys who were recording the album. Or maybe their support act ‘Tides from Nebula’. “So there will be a lot of movement on the stage,” he said. (I must admit that I didn’t know here if he was serious or not!)
Anybody who knows Riverside, knows that mental problems are a major theme in the lyrics - from schizophrenia through to ADHD and everything in between. It’s all covered one way or another. I asked Mariusz where his fascination with these kind of problems comes from. He answered: “From the amount of medicine I take!” J But then he explained that he had always liked strange things; he loves to read books about it and watch movies related to the subject. He believes he keeps things at a safe distance though, with room for listeners’ own interpretations: “Maybe next time I will go deeper, more twisted.” He admitted that he finds it hard to write in English – but it’s always easier than writing in Dutch!
He had no idea why Polish people are so prog-minded, but maybe the above explains it all. Mariusz is happy with the progressive rock label, because to him it has two meanings. First of course is the genre of music that spawned the name. But ‘progressive’ to him also means being ‘open-minded’, something new. He doesn’t want to be called the band that does Pink Floyd covers, but rather the band that you listen to for ten seconds, and know straight away it is *that* band. A unique sound. He thinks they are are on the right way to finding that sound.
The audience in
What can we expect from Riverside in the future, apart from deeper lyrics? Mariusz says he’d want to be at the same place in another ten years. That the band still exists and that they still play for the same amount of people. It would be great of course if the crowd was bigger, but it all depends on future records. “Maybe it’s time to make something more commercial?” he said, and there I knew he was just kidding - at least I hope he was!
confused me as well, because my next question was: Will you still be playing
small venues … even though you’ve become big? But I realised that from their
point of view it is absolutely fantastic that they can. This year they will
The best moments in the band’s career so far have been the first shows abroad, the first enthusiastic reviews, the first enthusiastic reactions after gigs … and some even during this tour. “Every week we have one little highlight,” said Mariusz. I loved that answer.
He is not
a big fan of collaboration projects, of the kind we’ve seen so much of
recently. He doesn’t want to lose himself and forget where came from. “I don’t
want to disappear, so it probably stops with
Finally, his motto in life is: Take a risk, from time to time. If you don’t, you’ll never find out. I think it’s a good option for positive vibrations.
Well, he did, and it brought him here, to Hengelo and the next day at a sold out Boerderij, prog temple of the Netherlands. And yet he stays so modest! It was a great experience for me. I still had a thousand questions, wanted to know more about his childhood and about his lyrics and his passions. I wanted to dig deeper into the head of Mariusz Duda and find out about his mental condition. But it was okay. The magic stayed. His mum can be proud J
Pictures by Jorrit van Bennekom.
2011-07-10 Bospop 2011 Bospop Weert, Netherlands Festival
2011-08-05 Woodstock Festival Woodstock Festival Poland Kostrzyn nad Odra, Poland Festival
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