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It's been a couple of quiet years since the release of Polish Death/Doom band Painthing's debut full-length - here Comrade Aleks investigates "where are they now...?"

Interview with Painthing.
"The Polish Doom scene is known for a few strong outfits, but most of them didn't stay long on the Doom path, either changing their direction towards different subgenres or (like Neolith) turning to almost opposite genres. Painthing is a Warsaw-based Death/Doom band in the vein of '90s acts like My Dying Bride or even Tiamat, but with a sharper modern sound. Formed as a trio in 2014 - comprising Michał Świdnicki (guitars), Dariusz "Darek" Ojdana (keyboards) and Jakub Grobelny (vocals, guitars) - Painthing became a quintet in 2015 with the addition of brothers Jan (bass) and Jerzy (drums) Rajkow-Krzywicki from Funeral Doom outfit Oktor. That led to the serious work of their debut 'Where Are You Now…?', which saw the light of day in November 2018 through Solitude Productions. Time has passed, so where is Painthing now? Darek and Jan know the answer for sure."

Painthing 2018 line-up: Jakub Grobelny (vocals, guitars), Michał Świdnicki (guitars), Dariusz Ojdana (keyboards), Jerzy Rajkow-Krzywicki (drums), Jan Rajkow-Krzywicki (bass). (Photo: Martyna Ktofoto).

Hi Darek and Jan! What's going on in Painthing camp?

Hello! After releasing our album ...Where Are You Now? we focused on promotion, played some gigs and started composing music for the new album. Unfortunately due to personal reasons, our drummer had to leave the band. Currently we keep playing the material with our new drummer and preparing for new gigs.

Do you mean that Jerzy left? Who's on his post now?

Yes, Jerzy has left due to personal reasons, but we are still in good relationships. Currently we are playing with various drummers. Soon the new line up will be officially released.

Painthing is a new name on the Doom scene, so how was it started? What kind of ideas did you want to fulfill through it?

You're right. Painthing is a quite new name on the scene, however we have been playing doom for more than 20 years. We used to know each other from our previous bands. Years have passed, we have met to play together and when a bunch of doom heads enter the same rehearsal room to play the music they love, the result may be very interesting. This is how the Painthing was founded. And more than on specific ideas we rely on the music we love and emotions we feel.

(Photo: Martyna Ktofoto).

Okay, what kind of emotions do you aim to channel through Painthing? Besides feeling of pain of course? Can you say it's all about classic Death/Doom stories, with mourning, misery and regrets?

It's really personal and I believe that each individual would feel their own emotions, come back to their own experiences and bring their own meaning behind the music. Nevertheless you are right - misery and mourn are the relevant part of Painthing is about. But for every one these words may have different meaning.

The band was formed in 2014, but Jan and Jerzy have joined you two years later. Did you already have some material at the time they arrived?

Actually, most of the material had already been composed. Nevertheless when guys joined the band, they brought their experience and ideas. At the end of the day it turned out that the music has changed. I would say improved. Now, we can sincerely say that the material is the result of our mutual effort.

What's about Oktor? Is it alive?

Yes, Oktor is alive but it's a band that always took its time to write and release new music. Oktor works more as a project rather than an active band. New music is always written and recorded when the time is right, sometimes it takes less sometimes it takes more time. But Oktor didn't split or anything like that.

Painthing - 'Psychosis 4:48' (Lyric, 2018):

It's said that you were inspired by bands like Anathema, My Dying Bride and Katatonia. What attracted you to these bands?

Come on. It's not the matter of particular factors - heavy riffs, melancholy, melodies or specific energy. There's a saying - "Love it or kill it". And indeed, if you feel this vein of music you don't need any further explanation. If you don't - there's nothing which would make you understand.

Well, but each of these bands does/did have different views on the question of how to play Doom Metal…So, you know, it's a slippery thing to tell about "'90s Doom Death" influences in this case, as there were a lot of bands and a lot of them have their unique individuality. How do you see Painthing's individuality?

Even though one may hear the spirit of "90s doom" in our music, Painthing has its specific vibe. We don't suppose to stick to any ideology or "selling point", but in any case our music is original. Clear, but obscure, heavy, but melodic, melancholic, but with razor within. If you need a label, feel free to call it doom/death, but when you hear our music once, you will recognize Painthing any time.

What about old doom bands from Poland? There were a few nice albums during the '90s - the debut of Neolith, things recorded by Cemetery Of Scream, Stonehenge; though a lot of bands changed their style through the years. It's really hard for me to classify the Polish scene - it's diverse, and there were few really pure Doom albums back then.

Yeah, great old days. I remember those times very well, as we were the part of doom metal scene in 90s. We played in doom bands called Eternal Tear and April Ethereal. Doom has always been a niche, but as every niche it has had very devoted fans. I'm not sure what you mean by "pure doom". We played together, each band had their original music, but we were classified as bands of the same genre - doom. I think it was rather the matter of emotions behind the music we played, than labeling based on specific length of riffs or way of singing.

What inspired you during work on 'Where Are You Now...?' What kind of ideas did you want to express through the album?

This album is based on emotions rather than ideas. The lyrics cover the topics related to situations when you face your own feelings and need to make vital decision. How to deal with it? What is the price? Is there any way out? Who am I? Which choice is good and which is wrong? Can we use the category of "good and wrong"? But it's all based on emotions and personal choices. No one will carry your burden for your. Neither God, nor your friend nor family.

The music and the lyrics are the parts of the same piece, complementary to each other.

(Photo: Martyna Ktofoto).

What about the technical side of the album? Where and how was it recorded?

We were lucky, because Jerzy had his own recording studio and great experience in this area. We recorded everything in his "Pineapple Studio", except the female vocals in "So Be It", recorded in "Fajne Studio"

One of the songs was inspired by Sarah Kane's play 4.48 Psychosis. What attracted your attention to this play?

I saw this play few years ago in Warsaw. I haven't seen such emotional and moving piece of drama before. When the performance ended, all the audience was quiet. Imagine, no applause, no whisper - total silence. People started to leave the theatre in complete silence. This inner struggle, when you become aware that there's no way out of the suffering you go through… There're no words to describe it.

What kind of themes were reflected in other songs?

As I mentioned before - we were trying to put ourselves in the situations where the choices are not obvious, sometimes even hardly possible to make. Life is unpredictable and we rarely think about extremely difficult situations. It happens that you make the best choice you could, but you still feel the pain of loss or you weren't able to avoid someone's suffering.

Painthing - 'The Shell I Live In' (Live, 2017):

Can you tell how your environment influences those things you do with Painthing? I'm meaning Poland, Warsaw - how much of it is in your music or attitude…I don't know?

The topics we evoke are more universal, more… human. Poland has evolved through years. We remember the times of communism, grey buildings, poverty and claustrophobic atmosphere. But we were children and our perception was also childlish. The problems of adults remained their problems, but of course we could have feel something in the air. Currently, Poland is in EU, we are a normal country and Warsaw is a city full of tourists and filled with the city life you may know from London, Paris, Prague. It's a beautiful, very specific, but still European capital. Feel invited :)

Do you try to keep Painthing alive with regular gigs and rehearsals? How often do you keep your practices of misery and depression?

We have played some gigs with various bands who share the devotion to depressive sounds, including Cemetery of Scream you mentioned before. We are always open to new opportunities and will be happy to play in your city.

Live, 2018.

Hah, what do Cemetery Of Scream play nowadays? They seem to have a new album after 10 years of staying somewhere in limbo.

It's better to ask guys from CoS for the details, but as far as I know they are about to finish the work and soon the new album should be released.

What's your plan for a next release? Do you have a goal to record it as soon as possible, or are you going just to wait for a moment when the stars are right?

We are fortunate, because music is our passion, not a full time job, so we don't have any pressure from anyone. As you said - when the stars are right and Aldebaran will reach the Capricornus, the great Carcosa will appear again with our new album released.

I guess you should hurry as the last days are upon us. There was barely a handful of snow in Saint Petersburg this winter, some shit again happens in the Middle East according Nostradamus and fat cats tried to re-launch the Terminator movie in 2019...it seems we don't have much time! How pessimistic are you considering humanity's prospects?

I think, and it's my personal opinion, that humankind has already crossed the border leading us to self-extinction. I don't believe we are able to save mother Earth and ourselves from destruction. It's too late. But, what is more important, we are too egocentric and selfish to change the tendency. What we can do is to keep our humanity as long as possible. Although it's not very popular these days. Doom is our fate. We can love, we can mourn and regret. It's crucial for us, but irrelevant for the future of the planet and survival of our species.

Stay Doomed!!! Best regards for all metal listeners \m/\m/

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Visit the Painthing bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-01-24 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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