Lastryko | Interview
Lastryko can be placed somewhere between psychedelic rock, post rock and ‘krautrock’.
“It always starts from improvisation”
How are you doing in this difficult time?
Wojciech Lacki: Not bad, to be honest. We’ve had some shows canceled, which sucks, but people are dying, losing jobs, etc. so I would say that we are pretty lucky and in no position to complain.
We’ve been able to record our latest album, ‘Limbo,’ right before the lockdown. If we had hesitated a bit longer, there is a good chance we wouldn’t have recorded the album this year. Aside from that, we’ve played several streamed live shows, including a show in Desdemona, a show at Radio Gdańsk, and a set for Garage Show- a really cool series showcasing a lot of
independent bands from Poland- worth checking out.
Tell us about the formation of Lastryko?
Artur Bieszke – vocals, guitar
Maciej Szkudlarek – keys
Wojciech Lacki – bass
Jacek Rezner – drums
Each one of us has been playing in different bands for quite some time, but as Lastryko we started making music in late 2016. We started as a trio jamming, getting to know each other, and building our own style. Since that time, I guess that our main goal was starting with improvisation and going towards what we understand as a song.
Our first season was very kind to us as we had the opportunity to open shows for Föllakzoid, Toe, and Tortoise. Each of those bands is in our top favourites, so that was a really good time. Around September 2017, we released our self-titled debut album with Music Is The Weapon label which by that time was home for many interesting bands from Poland (Lonker See, Królestwo and maaaany more).
What does the name “Lastryko” refer to in the context of the band name?
It’s a composite material other called terrazzo. Not very popular worldwide, I guess, but in Poland, for some reason, it was a most common material for floors in staircases, tombstones and many other things. There’s no deeper meaning behind that, to be honest. We just liked the sound of the word.
“A space where each of us has their own niche”
How would you describe your sound?
It always starts from improvisation, so I guess that our thing is maintaining something raw even within a song structure. It’s not about being noisy or loud, but each song we play is a reflection of a very honest, collective moment. When it comes to style, we are listening to just too much different music to pin this down. I think we like to create a space where each of us has their own
niche, so we rarely rely on a heavy guitar riff which normally doesn’t leave too much space for interpretation for other instruments. We try not to hustle too much so that everyone can fit into the mix.
Your self-released your debut album on CD back in 2017. This year you have two new releases. One is on The Weird Beard label and the latest one on Necio Records. Would you like to discuss the similarities and differences between these recordings?
The first one is pretty much what we’ve been able to create in the initial phase. We didn’t have a plan for that. We wanted to go a little old-school with sound and composition but not going full
retro with clothes etc. and doing a sort of historical reenactment. Some bands did that well, but I don’t think it’s our thing. The album was recorded during two days session mixed and mastered by our good friend Mateusz Danek. I still really like this record as I appreciate that we did a thing of our own.
In winter 2018 we’ve started thinking about exploring motorik, beat oriented and kraut influenced improv stuff. We invited Maciek Szkudlarek to join us on synth. We played several shows like
that and decided to record some of that music, and possibly have that released. The recording session took two evenings and it was a great experience. Jamming live is fun and you can always make bold bets with where to go next, which is not as easy when the red light is on. Finally the album is as it was recorded with no overdubs etc. Just like the previous one, it was mixed by Mateusz Danek and mastered by John McBain. After some time we sent the material to guys from The Weird Bear and they liked it much enough to put it on vinyl. The cooperation was really great, Al and Dai helped us a lot. They are great, passionate people who release a lot of great music. We strongly recommend checking their catalog out. The pressing was relatively small scale – 250 or 300 pcs. But it was well received and sold quite well all around the world which was a great feeling.
After the experience with ‘Tętno Pulsu’ we wanted to do something more planned, song oriented and formal. After writing all the drafts we took roughly 6 months to work on arrangements, details and our performance as we wanted to do a set recording, playing the material together at the same time to maintain live performance energy. This time around we spent 4 days in the studio, so I would say our last record was prepared and created with more thought. We invited The Norman Conquest to mix our album and once again John McBain took care of mastering. Some time ago, Jacek started talking to Arturo of Necio Records from Peru. He was interested in releasing our next album. From our perspective being released by a label from Lima, Peru, seemed like a possibility you don’t want to miss. Cooperation with Arturo is going great. Necio releases a lot of great psychedelic music from around the world, so it’s great to be there in such company. The vinyl that is going to be released via Necio Records is available on our Bandcamp page, and is on sale via our Bandcamp and Necio Records page.
One thing in common for all of those albums is that Adam Bejnarowicz helped us with the design and the layout (and to project itself in case of the debut). Check out his works here.
How do you usually approach music-making?
We improvise and record rehearsals as much as we can. Our tactic is to immerse in what we are playing currently, test all the possible things, and get into the very core of what we’re playing. I guess that thanks to that, we really feel connected to what we play. Time we spend on jamming is also letting us find the right amount of notes so that we can play a lot without overdoing it.
We always listen to those jams later and pick the tasty pieces, and then approach to make a form out of that. Sometimes we take just one bit and rearrange the rest, and sometimes it’s just about removing unnecessary parts.
Can you share some further details on how your latest album “Limbo” was recorded?
In February, we went to Vintage Records in Porażyn. It’s a remote place in the middle of a forest, which really lets you focus on the process. Szymon Swoboda, who is running the place, helped us to capture what we had in mind. We were recording all together, and vocals were overdubbed. Szymon also helped us with mics and outboard selection, so he had quite an input on what you can hear on the album. The session took 4 days which occurred exactly as much time as we needed. Recording sometimes might be stressful or frustrating, but this time around – it was pure fun.
We’ve also used really cool equipment that is in the studio, including Rhodes, Space Echo, a Japanese copy of Vibrolux. Aside from that, we’ve used mostly our trusty gear.
Studio time was so comfortable that when all the songs were fully recorded, we decided to take some time to jam. This is how ‘8 kropel’ (one of the songs on the album) was created. I think that this song was the act of us being fully immersed in the process and just playing what felt right at the moment. By the time we started improvising, it felt really natural. Like as if we’ve established a spiritual connection through the cables right into the mixing console, haha.
Aside from ‘8 kropel’ we went full force on some motorik improv stuff, which we hope to publish as well. We are thinking about creating another alias just for our improvised stuff and focus just on structures as Lastryko, but that’s yet to be decided.
What are some bands/musicians that have a big influence on you?
Listening to music is a big part of our lives, and it would be really hard to point out just a few examples. For us as a band, the most relevant and common inspirations would be Can, Dungen, Thee Oh Sees, Boogarins, Fela Kuti, Beak, Hurtmold, Tortoise or Grizzly Bear.
What are some future plans?
Surviving the pandemic would be the first and most important plan—both as human beings and as a band. We’re working fairly fast, so we’ve decided not to postpone the release of the album. This means we have some unfinished business in terms of promoting our music on live shows. I hope that we’ll be able to play live soon, but who knows when? We don’t want to jeopardize anybody so we are not planning to go on tour until it’s safe.
We are constantly rehearsing, so there is a good chance that we will come up with something new sooner than later. We would like to go further and expand our horizons a bit. I would say that most probably we’ll try our best to do something more song-oriented with more vocals. Still, our starting point will always be instrumental improv, so we’ll see how this one plays out.
What’s the scene in Poland? What are some other bands you would like to mention?
The scene is actually very interesting. We’re doing our best to keep track of what our homies are doing, but it’s quite difficult. I guess it is best to just randomly place names of some bands we like for you to check out on your own, not sorted by genre or anything:
Tentent, Lonker see, Kwiaty, Popsysze, Krzta, Dynasonic, Patryk Zieliniewicz, Kristen, LiN, Królestwo, Love Glove, Stay Nowhere, Izzy and the Black Trees, the saturday tea, Alameda, Godot, drewnofromlas, Syny, Dopelord, Sunnata, Moaft, The Stubs, Rara, Quantum Trio, Jad, Ksas, MIR, Ścianka, Mało miejsca, 3moonboys, Jesień, Święto zmarłych, Rozwód, Lasy, SKY, Javva, Alfah Femmes, Kristen, Wczasy, Good Night Chicken, Ave Caesar, D I D, Ślina, Fang Akompaniament and many, many more.
Let’s end this interview with some of your favorite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?
I tend to listen to the music in the most chaotic way possible, so I keep exploring stuff that is new to me, but was released a while ago. Lately, I got into Preoccupations (earlier Viet Cong). My friends were into this album since forever but I thought I didn’t like post-punk stuff and then “Bam”.
Doing my best to keep up with Thee Oh Sees, OCS, Osees, and so forth. You won’t get bored with those guys.
Still coming back to older stuff I used to listen to long ago. Recently I got back to ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic’ by King Crimson, ‘Curtains’ by John Frusciante.
I also like to go down the rabbit hole of a particular record label or creative groups of people. For example, music from Chicago based label International Anthem (and other stuff related to Rob Mazurek, Tortoise etc.). Lately, I’ve discovered Jamie Branch, and it blew me away.
Also, Svart Records, El Paraiso Records, SmalltownSupersound and the list goes on.
Another case like that is the underground scene of São Paulo, which always delivers. Meta Meta, Hurtmold, Rakta, Deaf Kids etc. Amazing stuff that just stands out.
Also, I’m a huge The Mars Volta fanboy, so I tend to explore as many side projects of related people as possible. Zechs Marquise is a great one I tend to go back to. Another one I didn’t know about until two months ago is Anywhere.
Thank you. Last word is yours
Thank you so much for the interview. It’s a great pleasure to be featured on It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Wojciech Lacki
Lastryko would like to give a discount code to followers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Go to their Bandcamp page and use code: its_psychedelic_baby and it’s working for all the merch and digital downloads. It’s 20% off and it will remain active until 24/12.