Major Kong interview with Misiek, Bolek and Domel

March 14, 2014

Major Kong interview with Misiek, Bolek and Domel

© Marcin Pawłowski
Major Kong took their name from a man who literally rode the
atomic bomb into the surface of the earth. 
It’s a lofty thing to compare yourself to something as powerful as an
atom bomb, but the name of the movie sums up how I feel about this band; How I
Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

I’ve heard a lot of heavy music, doom and sludge masters alike, but not
many of them can even come close to the apocalypse rattle of brimstone and fire
that is Major Kong.  The apocalyptic wave
of fuzz and distortion they call the guitar, create these unhinged balls-to-the
walls psych lead lines, mingle with the utterly blown out and distorted bass
lines powerhousing an airtight rhythm section built like a brick fallout
shelter and all but level a room when you crank the volume!  More than capable of eight to ten minute
tirades into the stratosphere, Major Kong is also more than able of crafting
their twisted brand of deranged madness into four and five minute mind
pummeling assaults on the psyche!  Poland
is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to find new bands but it’s rare
that they brew up something heady, sludgy and psychedelic enough to compare
with the Swedes or Germans, that’s what they do.  Major Kong is one of those bands though.  Instrumental, stoner, sludge, doom, heavy as
fuck.  Major Kong is one of those
bands!  In 2011 they self-released their
first album, the mind altering metal dirge that is Orogenesis, and quickly followed
that up in 2012 with another masterpiece of devastatingly heavy self-produced
sludge, Doom For The Black Sun.  While
2013 was a slow year for Major Kong release wise, 2014 has already seen the
release of their third full-length album Doom Machine, which is like
thirty-five minutes of the heaviest psychedelic head sludge I’ve ever heard, as
well as the appearance of their song, “Sequoia” on Major Kong’s first vinyl
release, the 4 Way Split on Ulterior Records. 
Major Kong ranks among my favorite instrumental stoner, sludge and doom
that I’ve managed to track down in the past few years and with the release of
Doom Machine I knew it was time to talk some serious shop with the guys.  Somehow I managed to get all three founding
members of the band in one place at one time, to fill in all the blanks, and
then some.  Major Kong’s a band with
everything to prove, and one with the chops to back it all up – we’re sure to
hear a lot more from these psychedelic sludge lords in the future, and I’ll be
while you read: http://majorkong.bandcamp.com/
What is Major
Kong’s current lineup?  I know you all
have been around for a few years releasing material and stuff, has the lineup
of the band changed at all over time or has this always been the band?
Misiek:  I play the
Bolek:  I play the
Domel:  I play
bass.  Nothing’s changed since late 2010,
but the idea evolved from a side project to a regular band.
I am really
starting to get into the Polish scene right now, there’s some amazing stuff
going on over there.  The Stubs and a few
others really grabbed my attention late last year when I picked up a small
package of stuff from Instant Classic Records. 
Unfortunately though I’m kind of operating at a disadvantage when it
comes to researching Polish bands though. 
I haven’t found a good online Polish translator that works so I just
kind of have to click on music and see what I think and it makes it kind of
hard to even tell who’s involved with the bands.  Are any of you in any other active bands
right now?  Have you released any
material with anyone in the past?  If so,
can you talk briefly about that?
Misiek:  You should
ask Domel.
Domel:  No, you
shouldn’t, I’ve become ultra-sceptic recently and I don’t believe in “the
Where are you
originally from? 
Bolek:  Everyone
thinks we’re all from Lublin.  The band
was formed in Lublin, but I’m originally from Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski.
Domel:  We all moved
to Warsaw too, so we don’t do rehearsals in Lublin anymore.
What was the music
scene there like when you were younger? 
Did you see a lot of shows when you were growing up?  Do you feel like the music scene there played
a large or important role in forming your musical tastes or the way that you
perform at this point?

© Marcin Pawłowski
Bolek:  In the town
where I grew up, there were only two bands and one club with rock and metal
music.  It was boring to see the same
band every week.
Misiek:  First of all,
it was harder to do something back then. 
Times were hard, it was hard to get an instrument, to find a place to
play.  I played in such dump holes back
then that it’s just painful to remember.
Domel:  No money to
buy the proper equipment, no riff-worshippers to play with.  These were the bad times.
What was your home
like when you were growing up?  Was it
very musical?  Were either of your
parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved/interested in
Misiek:  My father
used to wake me up at night watching concerts on TV, especially pink
Floyd.  You could say I was sleeping with
headphones on.  It’s hard to understand
if you didn’t live in Poland in the 80’s. 
Listening to music was the only thing people could do.  When it comes to musicians in my family
beside myself, there’s my grandfather, and he’s still active.
Domel:  I’ve had a
proper education thanks to my older brother. 
When I was six years old, he was thirteen and became a metalhead.  I was in the swim with everything from death
metal to grunge.
What was your first
real exposure to music?
Misiek:  I really was
exposed all the time throughout my childhood. 
My father is a music maniac.
If you had to pick
one defining moment ofmusic, a moment that kicked the doors of perception wide
open and allowed you to see the infinite possibilities of music and changed
everything, what would it be?
Bolek:  I was in high
school when my friend showed me Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii.  That was something new and freaking weird to
me.  It totally changed my musical
Misiek:  Same here:
Live At Pompeii.
Domel:  Buying Orange
Goblin’s tape during the last days, of the last record store in Lublin.
When did you
decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and what
brought that decision about?
Misiek:  I’ve always
wanted to make music I think, but I always thought that I’d be a singer.
Bolek:  When I was
Domel:  When I was
learning to play the guitar, I preferred playing my own riffs instead of
learning the standards.  Other people
told me the riffs were good, so there was no other option than forming a band.
What was your
first instrument?  How did you get it and
when was that?
Misiek:  Hands and
feet.  I started learning to play guitar
at eighteen.
Bolek:  I was
seventeen when my father bought me my first drum set, which was destroyed and
completely out of tune.
Domel:  My first bass
had a broken tension rod and it was out of tune from the sixth fret down; told
ya those were the bad times.
When and how did
you all originally meet?
Misiek:  I met Domel
back in the late 90’s.  Pawel came to our
rehearsal for a drummer in Fifty Foot Woman few years ago.
Bolek:  Yeah, one day
my friend told me that some stoner rock band in Lublin was looking for a
drummer.  I knew that my friend liked to
make up stories, but I decided to go for it and see what happened.
What led you all
to form Major Kong and when was that exactly?
Misiek:  I think you
can say Major Kong came to life out of necessity to continue playing while
Fifty Foot’s singer wasn’t present.  I
don’t think we meant to abandon Fifty Foot Woman, it just happened.
Your name is
awesome, for some reason all I can think of is Planet Of The Apes or
something.  What does Major King mean or
refer to?  Who came up with it and how
did you go about choosing it?
Domel:  It’s acharacter from Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick.  Watch it and you’ll find some nuclear
strength in the name.
Is there any
shared creed, code, ideal or mantra that the band shares or lives by?
Domel:  Fuck the
Polish music business, only play good riffs. 
It’s not a code, but it seems to work.
Where’s Major Kong
currently located at?
Misiek:  Warsaw.
Domel:  We just
started doing rehearsals here a couple of weeks ago.
What’s the music
scene where you’re at now like?
Misiek:  Currently, I
think it’s booming all over the place thanks to the internet and changes in our
Domel:  It would die
Are you very
involved in the local scene?  Do you book
or attend a lot of local shows?
Domel:  I don’t
know.  Probably less than we should.
Do you help to
record and or release any local music? 
If so, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Domel:  No, releasing
our own music is all we do.
Do you feel like
the local music scene has played an important role in Mighty Kong’s history or
the way that you all sound?  Or do you
feel like you could be doing what you’re doing regardless of your location or
Domel:  I’d rather say
that the lack of the local music scene pushed me to do something new.  Things are going better now, but a couple of
years ago, you wouldn’t, for example, have been able to form a band influenced
by Saint Vitus or Pentagram.  Because
nobody listened to it.
Misiek:  I think we’re
more influenced by foreign bands.
Whenever I have to
describe a band to our readers I always feel like I’m doing them a grave
disservice.  I guess I’m not awful at it
but I still like to ask, how would you describe Major Kong’s sound in your own
Misiek:  Primordial,
the less the better…
Domel:  A heavy load
of stolen riffs.
Bolek:  Mostly it’s
like the explosion of a nuclear bomb, but sometimes I think it sounds like a
journey through space.
You all have a
really interesting sound, I’m curious who you would cite as your major musical
influences?  What about influences on the
band as a whole rather than just individually?
Domel:  There are some
bands we all worship, like Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard and Church of Misery,
but every one of us has individual influences. 
I’m quite into some 90’s shit, like The Melvins and Unsane recently.
What is Major
King’s songwriting process like?  Is
there a lot of jamming and exchange of ideas between you all as band members,
where you all just get together and try stuff out and work it into a song?  Or is it more of a situation where someone
usually brings in a riff or more finished idea for the and to work out and
compose together?
Misiek:  Both, but
usually jams.  Some things are brought in
as an idea, and then worked into a song.
Bolek:  We like
jamming, we make lots of riffs like that. 
While we do it, Domel tries to make the ideas more “Major”,
and he’s also responsible for putting everything together at the end.  There are also situations where someone
brings in some riffs and we try to build new song from there.  Sometimes forgotten riffs we made a long time
ago fit in new songs, a couple of changes and the work is done.  As you can see, we don’t have one songwriting
process, every time’s different in the details.
Do you all enjoy
recording?  I know that there’s not a lot
in the world that can top that finished product, holding an album in your hands
knowing that you made it and it’s yours is a hard feeling to beat.  Getting to that point though, getting
everything recorded and worked out sounding just the way you want it to can be
a little stressful to say the least. 
What’s it like recording for Major Kong?
Bolek:  The recording
process is one of the most enjoyable moments of having a band.
Misiek:  When we
record, it usually takes us five days, full time.  The way it should be.  In the woods. A zillion takes per song.
Do you all handle
recording in a do-it-yourself approach fashion or do you head into the studio
to do your recording?
Misiek:  Studio.
Domel:  Right, I’m not
into home recording at all.
Bolek:  We owe our
sound to Szymon Swoboda from Vintage Records Studio.  The guy has great knowledge and he
understands our vision.
Is there a lot of
preparation that goes into recording for Major Kong?  Do you all spend a lot of time getting things
worked out and sounding just the way that you want them or is the recording
process more of an organic one where things have room to change and evolve?

Misiek:  We have
something of an idea how it should sound on the record.  Then we get into the studio and change
everything.  Usually it’s something
that’s born there, the sound I mean, not the songs…
Bolek:  Szymon has a
lot of ideas.  For example, he changed my
hi-hats to 16″ and the sound was awesome. 
We like experimenting, it’s one of the best parts of the recording
Your first release
that I’m aware of is 2011’s self-released Orogenesis.  Can you tell me a little bit about the
recording of Orogenesis?  Where and when
was that material recorded?  Who recorded
it?  What kind of equipment was used?
Misiek:  It was
supposed to be a demo, but it came out as an EP.
Domel:  It was
recorded by Grzegorz Kulawiak in our rehearsal room.  One-hundred percent live, of course.
I know that
Orogenesis is still available digitally, but was that ever released
physically?  If so was that a limited
release?  Is that still in print and if
it was limited, do you know how many copies it was limited to?
Bolek:  It was limited
to 100 copies.
You followed up
Orogenesis a year later in 2012 with Doom For The Black Sun which was also
self-released if I understand correctly. 
Was the recording of the material forDoom For The Black Sun very
different than the session(s) for your earlier Orogenesis album?  Where was the material for the Doom For The
Black Sun album recorded?  Who recorded
it and when was that?  What kind of
equipment was used?
Bolek:  To record Doom
For The Black Sun
we went to the Vintage Records Studio.  For the first time we entered a place like
that, full of great equipment, some of which was legendary.  I don’t know exactly what was used, because
there was a lot of stuff around my drum set, maybe even fifteen
microphones.  There’s no comparison to
Orogenesis, which was a rather amateur recording session.
I know that Doom
For The Black Sun is available on CD as well as digitally but I thought that I
read somewhere the CD release a limited one? 
I can’t find any evidence of that to back that up, but I swear I
remember reading it somewhere.  Is that a
limited release and if so, how many copies is Doom For The Black Sun limited
Domel:  You’re right,
it’s limited to 500 copies.
In 2013 you
digitally released the “Sequoia” digital single, it’s labeled as an outtake
from the Doom For The Black Sun session(s). 
Are there any plans to make this available physically in the future or
is it intended to be a digital only release for completists and the like?
Domel:  It’s going to
be released on an LP with some other bands as 4-Way Split by Ulterior
Records.  It should be available in a
couple of days, I think.
You just released
your newest album Doom Machine on CD this month (2014) and I know that there’s
a deluxe package with an awesome new shirt. 
Is the Doom Machine release a limited one?  If so how many copies is the CD going to be
limited to?  Are there any plans to
release the album on vinyl?
Domel:  300
copies.  Of course there are plans to
release it on vinyl, but we’re too broke right now.  The funny thing is that there were a couple
of labels interested and all of them changed their minds.  Looks like a curse.
What can our
readers expect from Doom Machine?  Did
you try anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting or
the recording of the album?  When and
where was it recorded?  
Who recorded
it?  What kind of equipment was used?
Bolek:  We recorded
Doom Machine at the same studio as our previous album, so we didn’t have to
look for a new studio.  This album is
more focused on the riffs themselves, and it’s heavier than Doom For The Black
.  We also changed the sound a little,
it’s dirtier and bolder now.
Does Major Kong
have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?  Maybe a song on a compilation or a single
that I might have missed?
Bolek:  You’ve
mentioned all of our recorded material.
With the release
of Doom Machine earlier this month are there any other releases from Major Kong
in the works or on the horizon at this point?
Bolek:  We don’t have
any material to record at the moment.
Domel:  Well, we’re
not in England and it’s not 1970, so it’s hard to do two albums in one year.
With the
completely insane international postage rate increases I always try and provide
our readers with as many possible options for picking up import releases as I
can.  Where’s the best place for our US
readers to pick up copies of your music?
Domel:  Sorry, it’s
not distributed by any US store.  But we
try to ship from Poland as cheaply as possible. 
Just visit our bigcartel store.
What about our
international and overseas readers?
Domel:  Same here,
And where’s the
best place for fans to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and
album releases at?
Bolek:  Facebook I
Domel:  Yeah, no point
in doing our own site.
Are there any
major goals that Major Kong is looking to accomplish in 2014?
Bolek:  We’d like to
play some tours through Europe and of course more gigs in our own country, to
show people the destroying power of Doom Machine.
Domel:  I wouldn’t be
so optimistic.
Do you remember
what the first song that Major King ever played live was?  Where and when would that have been?
Bolek:  It was
“Witches On My Land”, and we played it at Doom Over Goatville in Tektura,
Lublin in 2011.
Do you all spend a
lot of time out on the road touring?  Do
you enjoy life out on the road?  What’s
it like being out on tour with Major Kong?
Domel:  It means,
eating hot-dogs and laughing at one inside joke for three days, also some heavy
snoring.  Unfortunately, we don’t tour as
much as we’d like to though.
What, if anything,
do you all have planned as far as touring goes for 2014 so far?
Domel:  We have some
gigs booked in March and then we’ll see.
You are some of
your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with?
Bolek:  The best show
I remember we played was with Church of Misery.
Misiek:  …and
In your dreams,
who are you on tour with?
Domel:  Never had such
dreams.  Touring with the MC5 in 1969
would be cool, I think.
Do you have any
funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to
share here with our readers?
Domel:  Stories are
filled with inside-jokes, so I’m not sure if it’s funny or interesting for
anyone besides us.
© Agnieszki Łuksza
Do you all give a
lot of thought to the art aspect of the band, like the artwork on flyers,
posters, covers and that kind of thing? 
Do you have any go-to artist for that kind of thing?  If so, who is that and how did you originally
get hooked up with him or her?
Domel:  Marek Kępiński
has made all of our album covers and some of our t-shirts.  We also have t-shirt designs from Maciek
Kamuda, Kuba Sokólski, Jakub Kijuc and Miodek, Dopelord’s singer.  Everyone we mentioned does their job properly
and are highly recommended.
With all of the
various mediums of release that are available to artists today I’m always
curious why they choose and prefer the methods that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for
your own music?  What about when you’re
listening to and or purchasing music?  If
you do have a preference can you talk briefly why?
Domel:  Ninety-percent
of our listeners don’t bother with anything other than mp3’s.  CD’s and LP’s are for a bunch of
collectors.  But a physical copy is
somehow a tribute to your work, so CD’s are worth releasing and LP’s…  Well they make a listener feel more
Do you have a
music collection at all?  If so can you
tell us a little bit about it?
Domel:  I’m the only
collector here.  Got some heavy stuff
from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s on LP.  The
sound of old vinyl is always perfect.  I
also enjoy limited editions of new albums, but try to avoid reissued and
re-released old stuff.
I grew up around a
pretty big collection of music and when I was at my dad’s house he would always
encourage me to listen to anything that I wanted from him massive
collection.  I would wander up to the
shelves of music and pick something completely at random, pop it into the
player, kick back in the beanie bag, read the liner notes, stare at the artwork
and let the music transport me off to another place.  It was a pretty magical experience back then
and to this day I get a rush every time I listen to an album and get to
experience the rush of something new and different.  It’s something I’m not sure I’ll fully ever
get over and as a result I’ve developed a pretty deep appreciation for
physically released music?  Do you have
any such connection with physical music product?
Misiek:  I have the
same kind of memories from when I was young and listened to vinyl with my
father, who also had a great collection of old music.  I think physical copies of stuff won’t ever
go away because it’s important to experience music this way.  You don’t even have to listen to music to
appreciate it when you look at the artwork. 
Again Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Budgie and King Crimson are bands with
albums I can look at and connect their music with the artwork.  It always brings back memories when you look
at the cover.
As much as I love
my music collection I could never really take it on the go with me before and
portability is a big thing for me.  Even
with the advent of CDs and cassettes I would find myself out on the road
wanting to listen to that one song or album, and it killed me ha-ha!  Digital music has all but eliminated that
problem overnight and when you team it with the internet you have a real game
changer on your hands.  Together they’ve
exposed people to a whole new world of music and for independent bands willing
to promote themselves and really promote a healthy online presence ti seems to
have somewhat levelled the playing field. 
Illegal downloading is running rampant on the other hand and it’s harder
and harder to get noticed in the chocked digital jungle out there.  As an artist during the reign of the digital
era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?
Misiek:  I think
people should be able to listen to your music, even without paying.  Times have changed.  There’re no more global companies doing
anything more than selling CDs.  As you
said, more people can discover what they enjoy, like, love, and even dislike or
hate.  Bands should realize this, and
just write music they like playing, for people who admire their work.  On the other hand, if you like the music, you
should really support your favorite bands for the time and effort they put into
making it.  All of that, with the help of
the internet creates a good vibe and some much needed interaction for bands to
keep going.
Bolek:  It’s great to
share your music with people this way. 
In Poland people are careful about spending money, and they don’t like
to risk buying new albums they haven’t heard before.  Digital music gives us the opportunity to
show more people what we’re doing.  Of
course, there’s more satisfaction if someone buys your CD, but the digital era
has advantages and disadvantages and we just have to accept that.
I try to keep up
with as much music as I possibly can.  I
spend a lot more time than I would like to admit, and way more than my
girlfriend likes, listening to random stuff online and digging through the bins
at the local shop.  There’s just not
enough time in the day to keep up even one-percent of the amazing stuff out
there right now though, is there anyone from your local scene or area that I
should be listening to that I might not have heard of before?
Misiek:  Domel is an
expert and keeps us updated.  I think we
all try to dig deeper and deeper in the community for those precious, or even
simply interesting, bands we’ve never heard of. 
And there are a ton of them.
Domel:  I try not to
be an expert anymore.  I’m back to the
old albums and not digging the new shit as much as I was before.
What about
nationally and internationally?
Domel:  New Slomatics
and The Wounded Kings albums are great.
Thanks so much for
taking the time to do this interview, I know it wasn’t short but it was cool
learning so much about the band and I hope it was at least a little fun looking
back on everything that you’ve managed to accomplish as a band.  Before we sign off, is there anything that I
might have missed or that you’d just like to take this time to talk here with
our readers about?
Major Kong: That’s all, thank you!
(2011)  Major Kong –
Orogenesis – digital, CD – Self-Released
(2012)  Major Kong –
Doom For The Black Sun– digital, CD – Self-Released
(2013)  Major Kong –
“Sequoia” – digital – Self-Released (Unused track from the Doom For The Black
Sun sessions featured on 4 Way Split 12” by Ulterior Records)
(2014)  Major Kong –
Doom Machine – digital, CD – Self-Released
(2014)  Major
Kong/Keef Mountain/The Ruiner/Helminto – 4 Way Split – digital, 12” – Ulterior
Records (Limited to 248 copies)
© Paweł Wygoda
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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