its the curse of the national music press, or just the reputation
one of his former bands fast built up that follows this man around,
but just why this latest incarnation, Polak, are not sitting
on top of the World has to be anyones guess. A talented singer/songwriter
who possesses a natural ability to create infectious tunes
that will fast move themselves into your life, is just one of the positive
sides to this new creation of Piotr Fijalkowski. Or is it
that taste just never happened in the minds and eyes of
the greater record buying public.
So when approached to take a listen to the new album by Polak, Rubbernecking,
Atomicduster simply lept at the chance of talking with this perhaps
most underrated of artists to emerge kicking and screaming from the
late eighties/early nineties indie scene. An artist who quite openly
rejected shoe gazing as any relation. Nick James picks up
AD: In your 14 or so years involved in the music industry, how have
you seen changes affect musicians and young bands especially. And how
do you view these?
PF: The position and status of the kind of music I like has changed,
but then that's the nature of popular music, as trends develop pretty
quickly. In 1995 practically anyone with a guitar and a half-decent
song got into the Top40. Unfortunately this coincided with the one period
of my musical life when I was sitting behind a keyboard trying to be
The Pet Shop Boys! Timing has never been my strong point.
The whole world of 'Indie' labels, that was so precious (and in retrospect,
quite anally so) in the early 90's has totally dissappeared. Increasingly
bands have to strike out on their own, maybe releasing records on their
own label before being picked up by a bigger label.
The emmergence of the internet is a really interesting development in
the last few years. When Adorable were around (1992-4) the idea of having
a website for the band didn't even cross our or Creation's minds. I
think this shows how quickly the medium has developed in such a short
period of time. It's still finding it's place in the market, and for
all the tales of bands who made it just off internet sales/presence
there are probably 10,000 who haven't, so it's not a short-cut to success,
it's just an alternative route.
AD: In your time as a musician do you have any regrets?. Maybe routes
you wish you had taken, or projects that mightve headed skywards.
PF: Regrets? I've had few, but there again too few to mention.
AD: Where do you feel most comfortable, both musically and personally?
PF: Musically - within the womb-like confines of downbeat guitars.
Personally - either in a bath, or with a cork-screw and a chilled bottle
of dry white wine.
AD: Previously the music press described one of your former musical
incarnations, Adorable, as Arrogant Bastards.
A comment perhaps arrived at over no more than a cup of coffee and a
fag! But if over elevenses you were asked to do the same, how would
you describe yourself, both then and now?
PF: Then we were young & eager, we sat around and analysed
things too much. Oh, the follies of youth. I was Icarus - a twat with
I'm now a happy bum.
AD: Who would you most like to be (or be like) and who today do feel
you most relate to?
PF: I'm pretty happy being me, complete with all the faults,
flaws and fuck-ups. I relate most to my daughter.
AD: Against Perfection, Im certain would be considered
among many a music fans top albums (my deputy editor certainly
rates it among his top 5!) Why do you think Adorable, failed
to achieve the success that once seemed inevitable?
PF: I think our cack-handed attempts in a couple of interviews
at distancing ourselves from the shoe-gazing movement, pretty much sealed
our fate early on. By trying to come over as outspoken to counteract
the meekness of a lot of bands who were around at the time, we merely
alienated the press. We subsequently never got an interview in the NME
or Melody Maker after our first single. Our mouths were our achilles
Our 2nd album 'Fake' wasn't exactly an escape route out of the situation
we found ourselves in either.
AD: You described Adorables last album, Fake,
as one produced by four guys who felt like the World was against
them. Is this a lesson youve since learnt from and how
do you keep the angry young man under control when writing
PF: I don't think I was angry, more dejected, small, vulnerable,
and these things came over in the album.
I'm not sure if you can make a true album and distance yourself from
the prevailing mood that you're in. You have to be yourself. I think
by the time we came to make 'Fake' the band were having a collective
breakdown. The main lesson I learnt was to approach each album as if
it's your last (hence Polak's first album title 'Swansongs').
AD: What do you consider as your trademark?
PF: An inability to delegate.
The other Polaks would probably say it's my musical maxim of 'when in
doubt go down a semi-tone'.
AD: Your compositions possess a certain lyrical beauty. Where do
you gain your inspiration and who do you consider your mentor?
PF: I don't really have one. I don't particularly listen that
closely to other people's lyrics.
AD: Would it be fair to say then that its your own experiences
that are your inspiration and that you are your own mentor?
PF: To say 'I am my own mentor' is far too pretentious and conceited,
even for someone as pretentious and conceited as myself, to say!
AD: On a pop-tip, if you were able to return to the time
5 or 6 years ago, when confronted with Casino an A&R
guy likened you to Dollar! What would you have liked to
have done to him and where would have liked to shove your microphone?
PF: Well the truth is, he was probably right, and it was me &
Sian who were deluding ourselves that we were doing some kind of 90's
ironic Lee & Nancy pop thing.
AD: It is obvious where Casino is concerned, but
what do you see as the major difference between Adorable
PF: About 8 years.
AD: What is your presence online and how important a communication
medium do you consider this?
PF: The internet is very important to Polak, as our records are
only released in the UK, and everywhere else they're on import, so it's
the easiest way of us keeping in contact with our fans around the world.
We've got an idea for the next album that would use the medium more
but we'll see...
(and before you ask, it's not an 'internet only release'!).
AD: So with all this talk recently of declining record sales and
companies like HMV deciding to offer music fans the opportunity
to download music for the price of a monthly subscription, do you feel
that the internet is one way to nurture new talent and help smaller
bands survive, or in the case of the former just another way to line
the pockets of the fat-cats? What are your thoughts on this and
exactly how popular are you worldwide?
PF: It's a new frontier for music, and like the ole' American
frontier, everyone is scrambling for a piece of the action. The internet
has opened up a new avenue for new bands, but it isn't some easy ride
into Bigsville. It's just a different route into Bigsville.
The internet does have the advantage of allowing small-ish bands who
already have a little bit of exposure, direct access to their fans,
which in the short-term would provide a better financial return for
the band (as a band could sell direct to fans), but this denies you
record-shop sales which provides all important chart placings, which
in turn informs the press of who is hot and who is not. By selling direct
to existing fans, you're maybe losing out in the long-term on the chances
of converting those who've never heard of you.
However, it's all still finding it's e-feet and this gives opportunities
for new bands to explore new possibilities that have yet to be fully
exploited. I'm certain in another 8 years time the internet/music relationship
will have developed quite substantially from where we're at now, and
that this conversation will seem horrendously antiquated!
AD: What is the future for Polak?
PF: I have no idea what the future holds. There's a fortune-teller
on Brighton seafront, so maybe I should go and ask her, but perhaps
that's the excitement in life - not knowing what will happen.
AD: What do you consider a musical veteran and how will
you celebrate becoming one?
PF: Well a veteran car has to be over 80 years old doesn't it,
so I'm, not sure I qualify!
AD: In closing, if you were given the opportunity of writing your
own epitaph, what would it be?
PF: "He came, he was, he went"
So from his first gig in June 1988, to his next I dont know
when. Certainly this correspondent hopes that Polak will acheive what
the artist himself describes as a Lumbering dinosaur of a band
- the kind people say they should have given up years ago.
But for now discover Rubbernecking for yourself, and in
turn maybe Pete will let us know when we can next expect to see and
hear Polak in the flesh.
Keep up the good work Pete.
Fijalowski web site