„I’d like music to be all I do” – an interview with Andrzej Kwiatkowski from XpressivE
Gifted with a powerful voice and scenic charm, Andrzej Kwiatkowski was born to perform onstage and the stage seems to be his element. His devotion is surely proved by the audiences’ response at concerts. Being currently very busy with adding the finishing touches to his band’s latest release, he did however find some time to talk to me in an exclusive interview for Opinia Magazine. I really don’t intend to make banal remarks here, but being unwillingly overwhelmed by irritating, mindless and useless songs generated nowadays by so-called artists, after our chat I reached the conclusion: it’s good for music to have Andrzej Kwiatkowski. There’s still hope…
How did you start your music adventure?
AK: Music has always been with me since my childhood, at home, in school; it’s been a part of my life, so when I started to grow up, I wanted to play music, just like most of my friends. It all begun with the acoustic guitar, but as soon I could afford one, I bought an electric guitar and amplifier set and took guitar lessons. However, my faith seemed to have a different plan for me and completely by chance I came across a mature rock band with an already recorded album, looking for a vocalist. I didn’t hesitate for long and decided to give it a go. Of course, at that time I just couldn’t sing, although I was convinced quite the opposite, but all the band members had faith in me and provided me with plenty of time to master my singing skills and challenge my strength with a microphone. It took me a year before I was ready to perform onstage.
Listening to your so strong, yet melodic voice, it’s almost impossible not to assume you took singing lessons. Am I right?
AK: At the beginning I was learning to sing simply by listening to others and trying to imitate them. I also achieved a lot by working in a studio, but I guess the most significant moment of working on my own voice was the day when I found my way to a professional teacher. Only then did I discover an instrument called “voice” and got rid of most of the errors I had done before. Today I regret I didn’t start learning that way. The knowledge I’ve gained lets me go onstage and enter a studio with great ease.
You worked with the reactivated eL-4 group. Known before as L-4, the band had released a hit single “Super para”, which was sung by the whole of Poland. After the reactivation you achieved success which was manifested in your presence on one the most important top charts in Poland, taking part in Opole Festival and playing many concerts. How do you recall that period?
AK: Right, eL-4 entered my biography for good and the band is very important to me. After all, we made lots of new songs together, we played many successful gigs as well; add to it a live performance on breakfast TV, a concert in Spodek in Katowice, taking part in Wojtek Zamorski’s programme called “Wehikuł Czasu” and recording a song called “Mów do mnie mów” in Izabelin Studio which hit the top of the chart on Polish Radio Three. Quite a few successes and three years of playing together. How do I recall it? Really good, although we missed a little bit of luck to achieve something more. Yet, eL-4 still exists, we’re in touch, the bands has some plans ahead and who knows if we won’t play together again?
You also worked with a group called Baza 1L.
AK: Baza 1L is the band which provided me with the great pleasure of playing. It was Baza 1L where I learned how to make and arrange music, write lyrics; together we started to create something which actually surprised us all. And because there was nobody to impose anything on us, we just carried on with our own ideas, we followed our own path and soon it turned out that we had our audience, won some competitions, got prizes, and that we partied a lot and shared tons of fun and positive energy. Although there were also tough moments, I can only thank the band for all we experienced together. We’re still in touch, sometimes we play together and I hope it’ll stay that way. Having said that, I still work in my spare time with Sylwester Janeczek – he plays the guitar, composes and writes deeply thought out lyrics. We both have ideas that somehow don’t fit with our own bands, yet they mean a lot to us. Perhaps one day those songs are going to be heard…
It’s not a secret that you’ve replaced Tomasz Wiśniewski after his departure from Kruk as a vocalist. How do the audiences react?
AK: I was hugely surprised when I was asked to work with Kruk, but at the same time it was an even bigger challenge to me as the standards in the band have always been set very high. What was supposed to be just an attempt to cooperate suddenly evolved into an almost 6-month season of gigs; I think our achievements were crowned with the concerts supporting Deep Purple at Hala Stulecia in Wrocław and Carlos Santana in Dolina Charlotty. I had never played such big and prestigious concerts before, and I need to point out that our work with Kruk has turned into a friendship and become an extraordinary adventure. I sincerely thank Piotr Brzychcy and the whole Kruk team. I also need to emphasise that a pretty group on fans gave me a very warm reception; they still encourage and support me – not only with their words. Of course I realised I was quite a different vocalist than Tomek Wiśniewski and that my voice wouldn’t meet everyone’s taste, so in that way there was also some negative feedback, but I can fully understand it. Anyway, criticism if taken constructively, may also help you; I’ve already learned a lot in such a short period of time and I’m going to use that knowledge in future. Actually, I already have.