Interview with Mariusz Duda from Riverside.

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lunatic soul Mariusz solo album!

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Chaos, rush and hyperactivity of the common man in the present day.



Interview with Mariusz Duda

By Wil Delissen.


After 20 shows in Poland, Riversideís first ADHD-show outside Poland took place on October 26thin the ďAuw KerkĒ in Bunde (the lovely South of the Netherlands). I was in the opportunity to interview musical centipede Mariusz Duda: front-man, base-player and vocalist of this overwhelming rock-band. During a chat before the official interview the venue was raised as subject.

[Mariusz] After Paradiso last year, this is the second time we play in a church. In Poland you can not imagine, that a church is used as concert hall. My home-country is so Catholic, that people are simply not ready for such a metamorphose.



[Wil] What did the band aim for with the last album Anno Domini High Definition. What was the bands goal during the recording process?

[Mariusz] We wanted to make a different album than the Reality-trilogy: skip the dark colour, change it to red and tell about a story of our time now. Our time: not only whatís happening inside the brain of the main hero, but also inside the mind of the different people who live in the present day. First of all we wanted to change everything including the studio, sound engineer, including the approach, the composition. All that in order to create, I think, the most energetic and the most dynamic record we did so far.


[Wil] Does the end result meet the bandís expectation?

[Mariusz] Yes, more or less yes. For me itís always: something can be better. I just get used to this feeling and, maybe thanks to this, the next album will be better again. But more or less we achieved the result that we wanted from the beginning. We changed all those things we assumed and I think we did it. We recorded a little bit a different album than the trilogy. But important is, that we kept our basic style. That was the main goal for this album.


[Wil] Please explain the title ďAnno Domini High DefinitionĒ.

[Mariusz] My intention was to mark the present time. So I was looking for words which are quit popular these days. I thought that both ĎHigh Definitioní and ĎADHDĎ, referring to this hyper activity disorder, are quit popular these days. I thought that when you combine those two words in one piece and write it down in a four word title, it would contain al little bit of the present day. That is what we wanted to do and why I just choose this title.

First of all, this album is not about the media, it mainly characterizes the rush of the modern days, itís about this train thatís running.

This album tries to explain, that when you get used to a daily routine, all of a sudden something happens and you have to start learning from the beginning. Itís also an album about the people who are so eager to be original sometimes, that they forget that everyone wants to be original in the same way. And in the end they look similar to themselves. This is the album about disorder and about a chaos, about the speed of just the normal day.

Itís not about the rat-race we could see 20 years ago on the highest levels. It refers to the people in the street, all looking hyper-active. Everyone thinks he has to -you know- Ērun as fast as he can to stay at the same placeĒ. So, I mostly focussed on this hyper activity of the present-day, marking the age by using this modern statement: High Definition.


[Wil] Please give a short comment about every song on the new album (music and text).

[Mariusz] ĎHyperactiveí is some kind of opener. I just thought that it would be cool if the album would start with an earthquake. Like -you know- in Hitchcock, aiming at the subject. We did that with ĎHyperactiveí, because ADHD is a more energetic album. It opens with just a normal daily waking up. You know whatís going on, you know what will happen. Itís some kind of routine, but at the same time you donít know what you can expect and you donít know if itís maybe the last day at your work or the last day of something thatís going on in your life. So, big question is: Whatís next?

Then ĎDriven to destructioní. Itís I think the most personal track for me. Cause itís about actually that disorder, and itís about (what is the most important thing for me) that whatever I do, itís not always as I would like to have it. In terms of figures, itís for a 4 or 5, but itís not for a 6 or for a 10. So whatever I do, the Ďfulfilment passes me byí. I just feel that, for fulfilment, I have to wait for the future. Anyway this is the thing of disorder which is very interesting. People think that ADHD or ADD is connected with hyperactivity only, but thatís not the way it is. Because there are people who have this disorder and they are not hyperactive. Sometimes they just have problems with themselves, because they can not put themselves together. They are just tuning out and no one can have contact with them for a while for no reason.

ĎEgoist Hedonistí is a track about looking for some original way, driven by the pursuit of uniqueness. And on the other hand itís also about people who just want to have fun, want to live in the present day. They simply donít care what the future brings.

ĎLeft outí is about people for whom it didnít work out. So they couldnít do several things in the same time. They couldnít run as fast as they can. They just left out. So they are the main heroes of destruction, trying to measure their life to what it could have beeen.

ĎHybrid timesí is I think the most sarcastic lyrics Iíve ever written. Itís about the amazing thing that some people always want to be the best. On their way to reach that, they forget about the most important things in life. And in the end thatís a hard way. Because when at a certain point you evaluate you achievements you might conclude: ďOK, I could have done that in a different wayĒ. But then itís too late.

Those people were simply so focussed about being the best, that they forgot about, for instance, hang around with their friends or family.

The last lines of the song are about returning to the psychiatrist. Thereís a connection at this point with ďDriven to destructionĒ. Itís some kind of dialog between the patient and the psychiatrist. So: ĎHi, itís been a while since last timeí, is also this man thatís returning to his best friend the psychiatrist. Which is quit sad, because in these days we unfortunately have no time to talk to our own family and to our closest friends, but we find time for shrinks. Thatís strange !

Pictures left and right from the Auw Kerk
Picture in the middle from Romijn Leeuwarden
all by Wil Delissen.


[Wil] I want to project this now on you. Have you ever been in this kind of situation?

[Mariusz] Actually this is a very personal album. I just wanted to tell the stories, because I wanted to catch some facts that I was carrying around for some time and I wanted to take some shots. Like photographs, to keep it. And maybe, of course, this is also a side for me to slow down in the future. But this is not an album of (raising his finger): ĎRemember, if you will run to fast, youíll have problems with your healthí. No!!

I like that kind of living: the running, doing something, but of course, during that style of living we canít simply forget about just the normal talk.

We are talking these days by texts, sending texts -you know-. Only few years ago there was a chance to sent a letter, to see how does a written letter look like. And thatís going to simplify all the time, which is not cool for me to be honest.

I just wanted to tell something about it at the end of this decade. Itís 2009 and we did a lot. Next year it will be the beginning of the new decade. Last years, unfortunately, we had a lot of running all the time.


[Wil] Is it possible, that the fall of the wall has anything to do with that. Poland was not in that speed until 1989. The western world was. After í89 people from Eastern Europe from one day to another were sucked into this speed and had to catch up.

[Mariusz] Yeah thereís something like this, you know. On the other hand, I was 14 then, so this time wasnít very important for me and I didnít realize it that much.

I realized it, when I decided to work for a living, do something for a living. Itís not that Iím working for some kind of factory: Riverside now is our job.

Of course this is our passion, but this is also our job, we do this for a living. So we need to work harder.

If Iíd work for some kind of a cooperation probably Iíd just work from 9 to 5, and thatís it. Now Iím working all the time. Even if I have some free days, Iím just thinking about it. You know: getting new ideas, how do we go on tour, which tracks we will play, the new material. So Iím just stuck and I feel good, because thatís me.

I realize that the time flies, but in some parts we should really cool down: not missing any things.


[Wil] With ďAnno Domini High DefinitionĒ you made a musical step-change. Werenít you afraid to loose fans?

[Mariusz] When you make a new album, you loose some part of your fans and also gain new ones. We know that. We realized that after REM, which was a very controversial album for many people, some said we were going to do the same again. Maybe they didnít know that this was a trilogy.

Some of them say, that this new album is not progressive rock anymore. We simplified many things on this album, because we wanted to do this. First of all we changed the approach to the music. What I wanted to do is, create some kind of short intense album. Because I simply canít imagine showing the chaos of the modern days in mellow songs.

It should be energetic, it should be very dynamic. And I think that approach was good. We thought that, if people will just read the lyrics, if people will catch the subject, we wonít loose them. Because they know that this is an album of our time and it should sound like this.

We are not doing anything in order to be a progressive rock band. We donít want that.

Weíll always keep the balance between rock and metal, but everything will depend on the subject. Maybe next album will be Ö.. I donít knowÖ.

On the ADHD album we changed the approach and we wanted to feel free. I just stepped back my vocals a little bit. There are more instrumental parts. Michal is playing more Hammond stuff, we were trying some new things like the trumpets, saxophone (we invited the guys to play the parts) and we use new instruments like the Theremin (a very strange instrument which Michal plays). We wanted to mix all those instruments together, combine it somehow in one peace to create a intense short record. So we werenít afraid to loose fans.


[Wil] Please explain what elements contribute to the fact that the first three albums can be seen as a trilogy.

[Mariuz] Besides these kind of obvious things like the artwork, like the fact that we said that this is a trilogy, like the fact that after Reality Dream part 3 there wouldnít be a Reality Dream part 4 and all albums had a 3-word title and 9 songs; I think the music was a little bit different from the new album. It was still a very darky, very mellowy mood.

Even hard parts on the albums shifts itself like -you know- under the blanket: I mean, everything was save, everything was very clear and very in the same place.

Now we shoved our gloves, we are more open minded. We opened our mind for some kind of pure rock. People like to compare our music with Anathema. Since our new record we are not in the same mood, I think. Now itís more Rush, Led Zeppelin, Mars Volta direction, mixed with our own style.

The first three albums contain music you could listen to at night. This time we didnít want to make an album were you first had to switch of the light, take a glass of wine, switch on the candle. We said, letís do something different. Do some kind of album that you can play from the beginning to the end -you know- daily. Not in the middle of the night but for instance on an open air festival.

I think we noticed that when we played the same stage with Slayer and Motorhead in Spain once. Piotr Grudzinski noticed, that maybe we should start thinking of new material in a different way. Because we simply didnít have the tracks, you know, which are good for the daily shows. Thatís the main difference between ADHD and the trilogy.


[Wil] Are your texts autobiographic?

[Mariusz] As I said ADHD is the most personal album for me, because some things are more personal than on the reality trilogy and -yeah- itís always half and half. All the time when Iím writing lyrics, some things are autobiographic and some things are a fiction, you know. Itís not my dairy! Some times you try to figure out how it should be or how it would be, but Iím not doing only autobiographic stuff. I do not say that thereís is nothing from my own life. This is my inspiration: my life and experiences of my closes friends. I think this is the main influence in the Riversideís music itself: Life and all experiences.


[Wil] The track ďBeforeĒ ends with the question ďIs this what I really wanted?Ē

Itís Ī4 years later now: What is your answer to this question?

[Mariusz] ďYesĒ, definitely. I just always wanted to -you know- do the thinks which I really love and earn money for this. If you can connect your job with your passion, this is how it should be. I simply canít imagine that Iím doing something only for earning money. I really want to do something creative, make something from nothing. And well, itís great when I can live thanks to this.


Mariusz @ de Pul Uden

Mariusz @ Hedon Zwolle

Mariusz @ Patronaat Haarlem

All pictures @ this page from Wil Delissen.

[Wil] What did you do before your music carrier?

[Mariusz] After my study I worked at places were I teached people how to play different instruments: piano, drums. That was a long time ago. Later I worked in a sales-department of a car rental company (Hertz). So I just tried to learn a lot about the advertising. I liked that kind of things connected with marketing: how to survive at times; what to do with a product; what to do to interest people. I also use it during Riverside.


[Wil] Thereís a big difference, thinking commercial and thinking creative or not?

[Mariusz] Yeah, but itís always nice that you can compare those sort of things and have this together. We simply never really wanted to create music for only several fans or some kind of internet forum for some kind of strange music maniacs. Itís always nice when, as a band, we have both, some kind of artistic success Šnd a commercial success. And in the end what means commercial: Commercial is something people think is bad, but itís also nice that your hard work is kind of rewarded.


[Wil] How do you explain the perfect chemistry between the four Riverside-members?

[Mariusz] I donít know, I just think that this is the strength of Riverside. One of the best points of our music. I mean from the beginning we are trying to be a band and we want to look like a band on the stage and on our records. We try to play all instruments on the same level, so maybe this is the most powerful side for our music. I donít know, I think Iím the wrong person to judge it.


[Wil] Do you use any experience from your earlier Xanadu period in Riverside?

[Mariusz] Oh now we are really going back to the beginning, When we started Riverside I had experience with that kind of music. I really knew what we should avoid. What I really donít like was some vague mood, which sometimes was, and still is, popular in that kind of music we also played with Xanadu. We really wanted to avoid this. Thatís why in Riverside, from the first album on, you can hear that we try to be a different band.

The second fact was our age during Xanadu; we were only 17 years old. When we started Riverside, we were adults and we also knew where we should go and were we can just say: ĎNow way!í So it was also some experience of life that helped us with this.


[Wil] Will there be a follow up in your solo project Lunatic Soul?

[Mariusz] Yes, Iím going to the studio in Februari and March next year. Iím going to release the album with K-Scope, where the first album was released also. So there will be a follow up. Iím going to continue this. Definitely this time I think the album cover will be in white colour. With the same title and the same sign but in the ďnegative wayĒ (white instead of black).


[Wil] Do you use the same artists?

[Mariusz] I donít know yet. Probably much of it will be the same guys. The two of us is the main team, but I will tell later. In one track I play the drums. It will be a very experimental album.


[Wil] So, it doesnít conflict with the Riverside plans?

[Mariusz] No! We always make some kind of business plan for next year. Now we have the shows until December. Next year we will have shows again in April - May, so Januari, Februari and March are three month for individual projects. We will have rehearsals probably, but this is the time for me to work on my next solo album.


[Wil] In an earlier interview (01-12-2005 Martien Koolen) you surprised me by saying ďI have to admit that I suffer from the lack of good musicĒ.Please explain what you meant with that.

[Mariusz] Thereís a lot of good music in my life. And after joining Riverside I just started to not listen too much. I was full of many sounds, which started to be not very helpful for me. When you try to create a new album and build your new sounds, itís always nice that you can do it without too big influences. This is also what I heart from Robert Smith (the Cure); when he tried to record a new album, he just stopped listening to other music.

But I think there were times in my life that I lived with the music very much all the time, you know. All the time there was music in my life. Now I have some kind of break and now thereís time for MY music, my own music. Anyway if thereís something interesting which I like very much, Iím buying this of course.


[Wil] Where did you learn to use your voice the way you use it? Calm, scream, grunt, but always in control.

[Mariusz] You know I just wanted to find a good sound of my voice, because I know that Iím not a good vocalist and I never felt like this.

But you are!

[Mariusz] You are very kind thank you.

I mean this is not only my opinion, but thatís what I hear from other people.

[Mariusz] I think I learned how to use my voice by finding some kind of good sound. And I think that I, from the beginning, want to find some kind of experimental style of singing. Just treat the voice like an instrument not only telling stories to the music, the sound to me was always the beginning. The lyrics follow that sound. Iím not saying that lyrics are less important for me, but the music was first. Of course I have a subject: I know it will be about this or that, but at first I need to find some kind of music lines. Later I try to fit some words to the lines. Anyway the using of the voice is like: I grew up on the instrumental music and always I like it very much using the voice as an instrument. Lyrics are not that important, but the melody is very important. I always wanted to have some style of singing. Thatís why, besides of this thing that I wanted to use my vocals in the best way, I also wanted to experiment with the vocals. You know, make some kind of strange breaths, strange noises, scratches whatever.

So, again, I think that is some kind of style, with which I simply want to mask the fact that Iím notÖ as good as I maybe look like. Letís put it that way (smiling).


[Wil] Why did you choose for base-guitar?

[Mariusz] I just love rhythm. I like to play drums, base. Anything thatís connected to the rhythm. I choose the base guitar, because itís not so heavy as drums.


[Wil] Reason for the question: your base sound is very melodic.

[Mariusz] Yeah, I always wanted to play base in a different way. More in a Geddy Lee (Rush) way. I donít like to play it far away in the bottom of the sound, you canít simply find the sound and the tunes always have this kind of ďblum-blum, blum-blumĒ.


[Wil] What can we expect this evening. What was the driver for the set list.

[Mariusz] We would like to play the whole new album from the beginning to the end. And we would like to play the tracks we didnít play so far.

It will be one peace of music together. I would just like to have the music as a main hero on the stage. I hope the people will help me with that with their enthusiastic reactions. Itís a very nice magic place. The mood and atmosphere will catch this.


[Wil] You know The Pineapple Thief guys well?

[Mariusz] Last year we have played together for the first time. We are in the same label. We know each other and I think this will be a good experience for us and maybe the beginning of a new friendship I donít know. Who would say? We play 8 shows during this tour together, so weíll see.


[Wil] You have a quit filled agenda in 2009 the ďyear of the truthĒ?

[Mariusz] I donít know whatís going to happen. During the Polish tour we played 20 shows and about 9000 people saw us, thatís quit a lot. So we will se what will happen during this tour. I hope that it will be OK.


[Wil] Thank you very much for your time and success with the performance this evening.

[Mariusz] Thank you for your interest and enjoy the show.

back to Riverside
lunatic soul Mariusz solo album!
interview may 2011

Riverside @ MySpace.
Wil Delissen @ MySpace
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Updated Nov 2009 by Nick.
Thx to Wil Delissen
@ Wil @ MySpace.