„Our audiences are the reason we want to go on” – an interview with Piotr Brzychcy from Kruk

Kruk [English “raven”] has already become a quality mark. With all their achievements, the band proved good times for hard rock music haven’t passed by, and they showed the audiences still crave for the juicy guitar solos. Kruk have supported such bands like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Carlos Santana, to name a few, but still their humility towards their accomplishments and music they make should definitely serve as an proud example to young and angry, thirsty for fame and applause musicians. In an exclusive Opinia interview, Piotr Brzychcy, the leader of Kruk talks about the stunning flight of the raven.

It’s been a year since you released your latest album “Be3”. Before that one, you had recorded “It Will Not Come Back” which still gets positive reviews from critics. You also play lots of concerts promoting your latest album. What exactly is going on right now in the band?

PB: It’s been two years since we released “It Will Not Come Back” and we still get positive criticism. The album also sells very well, especially taking the fact that 12 months ago we released another album, “Be3”. Usually the latest album decreases sales of the previous ones, but it doesn’t matter in our case. Our fans want to have a whole discography, which really pleases us, especially nowadays. To illustrate it, I’ll give you an example: our first album, “Memories” recorded with the initiative of our friend Grzegorz Kupczyk, became out of sale. It was unavailable in the music shops and the prices the album reached on the Internet auction services were stunning. Our label, completely surprised by this unexpected turn decided to reissue the album and it still arouses quite an interest. 

Anyway, we’re not idle right now; we play concerts and we’re getting ready to record another album, which I hope will happen in spring of next year. There’s lots of energy and it needs to be used. Soon we’re playing another giant concert with a worldwide known rock band, but let’s keep it a secret, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I’m wondering how did it come about that you recorded a bonus DVD to “It Will Not Come Back” album. Concerts added as a bonus to regular CDs are unfortunately still not that popular here in Poland.

Kruk, Krzysztof Nowak and Piotr Brzychcy, photo Przemysław KokotPB: The label suggested we could do it and although I wasn’t initially quite convinced, it turned out to be a good idea in the end. It meant of course double or even triple hard work, but to our fans it’s been a treat. We, however, consider it as a beautiful memoire capturing a certain stage of the band’s history that will never repeat.

Which of your first two albums is dearer to you: the debut, which you described as being recorded with eager, passion and high emotions, or the second one – mature and created with a decent experience on your account? 

PB: It’s a difficult question. These albums are like my children and as time goes by, I know they grow up just like I do. I really can’t point out the one and only album and say surely this one is the best because, honestly, it wouldn’t be true. Each of these albums and every recorded note holds tons of emotions and memories; every time people bring the albums for me to sign them, I look at them and I remember how they came into existence, what kind of man I was and how I perceived people and the world then. It’s sort of a two-seconds film that goes through my head. I like these albums though I always say they could have been better, they could have been better recorded and arranged. All in all, I’m really glad I had my chance to record them with the guys. As far as the maturity is concerned I think we’re getting more and more grown up starting from the first cover album to the fourth, “Be3”. I don’t know if it’s good. One thing I’m sure is that no one has ever forced me to record something I wouldn’t feel the vibe with it and I guess it’s great taking into consideration the recent music market.

From the very beginning of your music road, the only factor that has never changed is constant rotation in the Kruk’s line-up. How would you describe its influence on your music?

PB: Rock music, especially hard rock, is not fashionable these days hence it’s hard to find musicians who entirely feel and love this style. For somebody it’s sort of oldish, for another too little popish, still other says there’s too little metal in it. They play it because it’s fun, but soon their eager starts to fade. It also fades because of my relatively difficult character as the leader of the band. I work bloody hard and I want everybody to work the same… so sometimes I simply lose control over keeping everything in balance. It’s sad that Kruk’s line-up still changes, but there’s no situation for an optimist where he can’t think of any advantages, and be able to squeeze some positive energy out of it. And the energy comes also from people. If it wasn’t for the changes, I presume I would have never befriended our present bassist, Krzysztof Nowak, although I would lie saying I don’t miss the first bass player, Przemek Skrzypiec. Each change brings another shade to the raven’s feathers, which don’t seem monotonous any more. 

The “Memories” album, recorded with Grzegorz Kupczyk, was made of cover songs – the milestones of hard rock. I actually don’t want to ask about the circumstances of making that album, but I’m curious if you decided to record another cover album having already  got your very own space on the music market?

PB: We still want to do this again; every time we see Grzegorz we decide to record it. Anyway, time has no mercy on us and our decisions end up on talking only because our own bands require plenty of that time. I am convinced though we’ll finally bunch up to record “Memories II”. “Memories” was a great stage in our career and a lot of fun – we still play the songs from that album; the audiences have always approved them, and I can’t help thinking they even demand to hear these songs, so we have to deliver and enjoy it at the same time.

Kruk, Piotr Brzychcy, photo Przemysław Kokot

After releasing “Memories”, for a certain period of time you were unjustly labelled as a cover band. When exactly did you feel the label fell off for good?

PB: I never felt that label. Right after releasing “Memories”, we played at Stodoła in Warsaw our first big concert supporting a legendary hard rock band – UFO. People expected a cover-like set list, but we played only two of those – the rest was our own, not already known and released material. The audience received it enthusiastically as much as the press was very generous in their critics after the gig. I am sure that concert made releasing of our debut, authorial “Before He’ll Kill You” album a bit easier.

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