01. Orti - Headbutt to the Wall
02. Cressida - Berlin Grammar
03. Moa Pillar - Melted
04. Zebra Katz - ISH (Code Walk Remix)
05. Giant Swan - Silkworm
06. Cocktail Party Effect - 58bethe7
07. Kashpitzky - I Demand
08. Michele Mausi - Oxymoron (Casual Treatment Remix)
09. Schwefelgelb - Einer Macht Den Twist (Öspiel remix)
10. British Murder Boys - Father Loves Us
11. FULL EFX - Light Bright
12. Son Error - Creeping Spirits
13. Manni Dee - Fear Is The Mother of Man
14. Francesco Devincenti - Out Of It
15. Diversion Group - All Boys / No Girls
16. Annika Wolfe - Things Got Icky
17. Fairground of Tears - Death + Life
18. Syberian98 - Wet of the Roof
19. Francesco Devincenti - Over It
20. Damcase - Inkl Rules (Container Remix)
21. Alessandro Nero - Angel Of Pride
22. 59909 Alliance - Manifest
23. Annika Wolfe - Saudade Dub (Dub Mix)
24. TWR72 - Squid
25. Code Walk - Eighteen A
26. Wheez-ie Fire Drill
27. Ben Reymann - Just a Second
28. Amaliah - Selene's Serenade
29. Guillermo Lucena - Balada Lenta
30. Rhyw - Kirkhusa
31. Karen - Shoes Off
32. Von Riu - Oil Spill
33. Erratic Bhvr - Rethink The Place We Inhabit (Lilith Remix)
34. ALOKA - Digeridoo
35. Syberian98 - 138 healthy packed
36. Nene H - The Hustle
37. Capiuz - Prey Mantis Eating Cicada Alive (Lithe Remix)
38. Nebuchadnezzar - Animal Form
39. ASC - Component
We are having the pleasure to interview Gościńska, DJ and founder/organizer of szlag project and the intimate Sfora festival in Poland. Beautiful conversation taking place in a virtual blog is leading us to our meeting on the 26th of May, Berlin, where a Digital Tsunami party will take place in Arkaoda, together with Gościńska on the decks. She’s a Berliner, thoughtful music enthusiast and music scene innovator, making things happen. Enjoy the talk and pay attention to Kasia’s delightful music recommendations, which she shared very generously. We’re heading to summer warmth!
Hello Kasia. Spring is in Berlin. Tell us, what you're up to these days.
The Berlin winter can be dreadful at times and it is hard to wait for the spring to come. I always try to find time to travel around in search of some sun and new music experiences during those months. This year, I spent the whole of March in India. I am grateful for all the mixes I could deliver, the whole month was a great lesson, both life- and DJ-wise, not to mention all the incredible nature I could witness. I am now back in Europe, ready to hit the Berlin decks. Looking forward to the outdoor event in RSO and the gig in Arkaoda with you guys. I will be back in Tresor in May as well. The thought of it brings me a lot of joy, I had my debut in the basement there in February and now I will get to experience the Globus floor. It is a huge honor for me to be given the opportunity to show different sides of my music selection.
Now in spring time, a significant amount of my energy goes towards Sfora - an intimate festival I am organizing in the Polish lake region on the 2-4.06. That naturally brings us to your next question, I suppose.
Exactly, it is the big question about szlag and the Sfora festival. You're the very heart of these initiatives.
Sfora is a precious brainchild of mine in collaboration with a bunch of artists and promoters from Warsaw, who also happen to be quite cool people to work with. I do recommend checking out their productions, mixes and activities: Internal Explorer, Trick Cyclist, Johannes de Leysen and Margas who is quite a music nerd and a wax enthusiast with huge potential.
We got together to organize an event that we feel is in demand right now. The electronic music scene can get quite business-oriented these days and so can the most attended festivals. As a consequence, underground local artists providing quality sound and art tend to be overlooked by the bookers. In my understanding, the development of the scene and music styles is based on and can progress only when newcomers and innovators are given the chance and space to express themselves freely. Therefore we are putting up a DIY event encompassing music, visual art and engaging workshops, that is bound to grow organically and is based on community values. We aim to create a safe space for expression, propagating respect, togetherness, empathy, care (and self-care) in the process of unwinding, relaxing, consuming music and letting go. The event takes place on the premises of a 90s recreational resort (12 hectares) that we take over in full, including hotel accommodation; a sort of place that people remember from their childhood summer camps in Poland.
This year's theme is unleashing the creative potential of both the artists and our guests. We came up with the concept in order to challenge the society's common beliefs that there is a division between talented people and the ones who should stay away from creative endeavors. We are all intrinsically creative beings and tending to our creative expression is what makes life better, especially in the face of the grim reality. Even though the project is not bringing any material value into my life, it is where my heart resides. Check out the full program here.
My project szlag was born in the pandemic and crystalized from the need of connection in isolation. It took off as an initiative serving as a bridge between the German, Polish, British and Spanish underground scenes, facilitating inspiring collabs and promoting local artists across borders. At the moment I am working on it with Margas. So far, we had an event in Berlin, a summer weekender collab event in the outskirts of Wroclaw, we brought Privacy to the Katowice Cel club and the Sonder collective to Poznan. We had a bi-monthly show on the London Aaja Music radio, where we chatted with inspiring figures of the scene and invited them to showcase their non-club selection. The show always consisted of two guests, the second one would always be a promising local artist. You can listen to the shows here. At the moment, szlag is undergoing a little restructuring, so I will be back with news on this soon.
What is your favorite radio programme? And where do you source your music?
The szlag radio show I mentioned before was a great project for me. I love music curation, but public speaking was never my thing. I thought I should give it a try and treat this project as a little boundary and blockage pushing experience. It’s been a cool challenge and I appreciated all the conversations I had with our guests. We are definitely reviving this soon.
Personally, I listen to a lot of music directly, either on Youtube or via Bandcamp, browsing through albums. I am spending less time on Soundcloud these days and I never use Spotify - yes, they are treating artists in an unfair way, but my absence on this platform is also due to them having somehow blocked my account due to location changing. I never can find enough motivation to retrieve it. Sometimes I listen to online radios, my favorite ones are Hong Kong Community Radio, Refuge Worldwide (shoutout to the SMS show and Sagan for being a walking jukebox with cool concept ideas) and of course the precious NTS which hosts music for literally any mood possible.
Are you still spending some time scrolling through physical record store shelves or digging became a digital activity? What tendencies related with playing physical/digital records you notice between your music colleagues and what do you prefer personally? Could you share the latest finds/releases that excited you or, in other words, what's spinning on your playlist?
Absolutely! I love the ritual of spending a day in a record store digging for tunes casually sipping beer. For me, it is a perfect way to go offline and rest my mind from all the craziness. I am introducing records in my club mixes, blending them in my digital selection. It is quite a vulnerable thing to admit, but since I got into DJing in the digital era, it often makes me feel insecure to put on records in clubs, when I am not sure of the turntables and the technical setup. I know though that it is just a matter of overcoming yet another mental blockage and training my skill, so I try to do so more and more. It is worth it because I love the techno oldies found only on vinyl and it is always exciting to blend them with the newer releases.
As for the music that is dominating my playlists these days, I have to say it is dynamically changing. I have been exploring all sorts of broken beat music across various styles lately: electro, breakbeat techno, 2 Step, DnB, off beat, post-club, jungle influenced tunes, bass and I love to try to blend all that with experimental or classic groovy techno. Labels that are dominating my mixes these days are the long time favorite Pi Electronics, kashev tapes, Northern Electronics, Tripalium Corp, Voam, SVBKVLT, L.I.E.S Records, Bedouin Records, Phormix, Ilian Tape, Cultivated Electronics, Northern Electronics, Nehza Records, Haven, Hospital Productions, Mord, Earwiggle, EarToGround Records, Soil, Jerry Horny, Failed Units, YUKU. I am rediscovering artists like Laksa, Escaflowne and following the rapidly growing Anna Kost or Ben Reymann. I’ve been discovering experimental side of club music by T5UMUT5UMU, Osheyak, Code Walk, Granul, Slikback, Tzusing, AQXDM, Guan, Fausto Mercier, Moa Pillar, Mosca, Ytem, Emma DJ, Cocktail Party Effect or Shiken Hanzo with his moody sounds or Berg-Jaär with his blips and blops. Peder Mannerfelt is a bold visionary in my view, as well as all of the roster on his label. Cannot praise Boris Barksdale enough for the EBM influenced distorted sounds. Love Lag for the rhythmic variety and Resound for the sound design. Aside from what I listed, I like to take on the challenge to mix that with the classic techno & a bit industrial sounds, such as British Murder Boys, Luke Slater, Cari Lekebusch, Ben Sims, Paul Damage Bailey, Blawan, Casper Hastings, Oscar Mulero, Ontal, James Ruskin, Alexander Johansson, Tensal, Tapefeed, J. Tijn, Sorcery, Rebecca Delle Piane and more.
The more I start to enumerate, the more is coming to my mind and I am getting super close to the deadline of this interview. This question actually inspires me to share more of my insights on a daily basis.
Regarding particular releases, there are three things that really caught and kept my attention the past months: Keepsakes’s Haven label released Vague Weight Vol. 1 with a killer set of tracks and artists - I hadn’t heard anything similar to that before. Played all the tunes multiple times in different sets and settings with a lot of joy. Then there is the Crystalline VA from a fresh Polish label Splot, a cross-style set of tunes, ranging from ambient, electro, dub-steppy vibes, through jungle, DnB and moody broken techno rhythms. If you are looking for a solid set of Polish sound design ear-treats, check it out.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been following what Anna Kost has been doing. First I got hooked on her Hades track. Incredible power tune which gives me goosebumps. Since then, her sound has been evolving in an interesting way, coincidentally going hand in hand with my music wanders across styles. I think it is best to check all four EPs of her.
Thank you for such an insightful presentation. Let’s talk about Poland now. It's almost a rule that the other side of the globe can be way more familiar than the closest neighbors. I think you are the right person to ask for an introduction to the Polish club scene. And, out of curiosity, does it correlate with Berlin - as it can be also called the neighborhood?
An introduction to the Polish scene... that is a broad one.
From my experience and explorations, the scene in Poland has been dynamically developing and is a fertile ground to incredible producers and DJs, many of them recognized way outside of the Polish borders. We do have proper underground clubs that are working hard on bringing quality sounds to the crowd, very often going against the popular trends. The thing that breaks my heart sometimes is to see how we, as Polish people, tend to overlook the goodness and talent we have within our borders and we put too much of our energy on bringing foreign influences in, subconsciously labeling them with superior quality. It is a feeling deeply rooted in our national history of oppression and years of looking to the West for an example. Instead of judging it, I prefer to look at any problems in the scene with a big dose of understanding and compassion given that there is enough of rigid opinions, judgements and criticism around the topic already. I am in the process of understanding the dynamics of my motherland and I guess it deserves a separate deep-dive conversation and attention. I have the feeling though that the pandemic and its economic consequences have first forced the scene to pay closer attention to the local artists, but then also triggered an amazing change in this regard, making people realize how much goodness there is in their own backyard.
As for the correlation with the Berlin scene, I find this comparison a bit far-fetched. We might be neighbors, but our experiences have shaped us in a completely different way, throwing distinct challenges at both societies and, in turn, the music scenes. From what I observed, the glorification of the Berlin scene by the eastern communities sometimes leads to mindless copying of patterns, concepts and values which are then implemented without localizing them, reinforcing the "us vs. them" pattern. That just leads to a certain disconnection from the present reality and sadly from the immense in-house potential we have.
The western side of the scene is already moving forward with gender equality issues and are getting better at creating safe spaces for everyone involved in the music scene, both dancefloor and behind the decks. Although, the eastern region is still pretty much masculine, if not between DJ’s, then especially between the people who are owning the venues and doing the programming. What is your experience and, in your opinion, what methods are the most effective in making the scene a friendlier place to participate?
The issue of gender equality is taken more and more seriously in Poland, but I do have the feeling it still has a long way to go. In contrast to what I witnessed in Berlin, the Polish scene does not yet organize itself into many FLINTA collectives that would consistently propagate the idea of equality. We do have the Ciezki Brokat and Oramics collectives doing a great job (check out the recent Same Baby project), but I am missing such initiatives in small local circles which are not in the main lime light. Equality can easily become a "must do" for well established clubs, who follow a more gender balanced line up rule in order to adapt to a trend and avoid public criticism. I feel like when there is no risk of public scrutiny, the equality issues tend to be dismissed. That again refers to what I said about looking up to the West. Copying or adapting to the trends - in that case “having a gender balanced line up” trend which sadly is often discussed behind the scenes as a troublesome Western idea - is not synonymous with true understanding of the value behind them and is not necessarily coming from a natural drive for spreading awareness.
The gender equality discussion is often taking place out of necessity, but still needs more actual action. The controversial “gender balanced line up rule” is one of the tools that we can use to raise awareness. To my knowledge, it has not yet been implemented at any major Polish festivals which are still quite male dominated. Having said all that though, I have to admit that leaving Poland made me a bit disconnected and I suppose I am missing a big chunk of relevant info at the moment. I know that the Generation Z (omg it’s probably such a millennial thing to say haha) is now paving its way to more equal standards in the scene and every event by the Polish fresh blood I took part in was very inclusive, spreading awareness in that regard.
I am looking into this topic more now that I am the organizer of Sfora and the only woman in the core team. I admit that I do miss female energy in the group and wish for more women to be involved. Honestly, I feel like non-masculine leadership can be so much wiser and healthier. I love working in female circles (a big shoutout to New Visions and the Micro Taiga workshops for giving me the tools to tackle conflict-solving and team energy management in non-patriarchal ways).
I am realizing now that our Sfora line up is not filled with as many FLINTA representatives as I would like it to be. This is quite a vulnerable thing to admit that I let it happen, especially being a woman myself, but I try to avoid hypocrisy and I honor honesty, so there it is. I can only draw conclusions for next year and I am doing so. I’ve had a lot of heated debates on the topic with different actors in the scene in order to revise my convictions, to challenge some of them and to generate enough energy to act upon what I concluded. One of the main arguments against gender quotas in lineups is something along the lines: "For me, the most important factor when I book an artist is music, not gender or sexual orientation, and as it happens, most music I find which is good is delivered by men". Well, I call bullshit on that.This kind of reasoning does not justify not making an effort to dig deeper for artistic goodness among FLINTA groups for the sake of bringing them to light and going outside of one’s (booker’s) box/environment. So to answer your question: I think doing more diligent research, digging out as many FLINTA artists as possible and giving them space to shine is the way to go. When research, curation and programming is properly done, there is space for both: dope music quality and equality.
Thank you, Kasia. For the end of our conversation, I would like to ask what the listener will find in your Digital Tsunami podcast?
The mix I have the pleasure to share via your platform is the second half of my Tresor opening in February. I played for 4 hours, so I did the opening, a warm up and gave a taste of some harder hitting tunes. It was special for me, because I could show a wide range of music I am into now.
Expect sounds by Cocktail Party Effect, Giant Swan, Fairground of Tears, Nene H, Forest Drive West, Francesco Devincenti, Damcase, Schwefelgelb, Orti, Kashpitzky, Cressida, Karenn, South London Analogue Material, CAPIUZ and moooore. If you want to start from the beginning, you can find the first half on the Lost in Ether platform. Please do enjoy <3
Published: 19 May 2023