Rozhovor Coldair (English)

Last year he released his second solo album, so he can now show it to Europe. Tobiasz Biliński aka Coldair, an unusual Polish musician, shares both the good and the bad of what it's like to be a musician in and outside of Poland.

_Tobiasz isn’t a common polish name, is it?_Tobiasz isn’t a common polish name, is it?

Yes, I’m Polish, but I was born in Norway, where my parents moved and where they though they would stay, so I got a Norwegian name. But then the Norwegian government kicked them out, so we came back to Poland where I grew up. It’s a really uncommon name in Poland, I only met one other Tobiasz in my life.

_Can you speak Norwegian?_Can you speak Norwegian?

A little bit. I'm a translator from Norwegian and Danish, it’s my part-time job. I was living in Norway for a year during second grade of high school, so I learned the language and sometimes, when I’m low on money, I translate.

_You are a multi-instrumentalist now, but you were a drummer in your previous band Kyst. Which instrument did you start with?_You are a multi-instrumentalist now, but you were a drummer in your previous band Kyst. Which instrument did you start with?

My parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was six, my mom wanted me to be a cliché gentleman piano player. Then I started listening to independent music and wanted to try something else, so when I was about thirteen I started to play the guitar, then the drums, then I started singing and playing bass. Recently I started to play the trumpet. But my main instrument is still piano.

_Do you prefer to play alone?_Do you prefer to play alone?

Depends. I prefer to write songs alone - I’m not really easy to work with, I have very strong opinions and I usually prefer to do things exactly my way. So I usually do everything myself and then add some other musicians.

_Just for records or also for live shows?_Just for records or also for live shows?

Also for shows, I played some shows with the band. But when you’re touring for a longer time, it just gets impossible. People have jobs and families, don’t have time and they need to get paid for doing concerts. If I’m not getting paid thousands of euros, I can’t pay them. That’s why I play alone.
_You've been playing at large US festivals like South by Southwest with Kyst and also with your solo project. What did that give to you?_You've been playing at large US festivals like South by Southwest with Kyst and also with your solo project. What did that give to you?

Actually I think SXSW is really, really overrated. There are over two thousand bands playing and at the same time, there is like a hundred other shows going on. Probably around fifteen to twenty people will come to your show. It’s a really nice trip and a great festival, but getting something out of it, that‘s really difficult. Lots of bands think that only going there will give them international success, fame and money. But it’s not a golden ticket, and in the end - they just spend huge amount money on plane tickets. 

_You covered Justin Timberlake’s song, do you like him?_You covered Justin Timberlake’s song, do you like him?

I used to hate Justin Timberlake, I used to think he‘s a totally lame pop clown and I still don’t like songs like Cry Me a River or all the boy-band shit, but he surprised me with the new album. I listened to it just out of curiosity, because everybody said that it‘s great. I think he just finally grew up and started making some valuable music. I love Strawberry Bubblegum so much, I had to cover it.

_Is your new video for In The Nether your first one?_Is your new video for In The Nether your first one?

Yes, it’s my first music video ever. I decided to do a music video, but I had absolutely no budget, so I asked my friend Jarek Tokarski, who is director and a cinematographer. We made it in four hours. It was very spontaneous and I’m very happy with it.
​_What would you say is your biggest success?_What would you say is your biggest success?

I would say my biggest success is the number of shows I played outside of Poland. I’m not very typical for a Polish musician, so I’m quite proud of that. I’m happy that I’ve been doing it, that I am doing it and that I will continue to do it. Recently, I played a Polish tour to promote my record and I got really depressed after that. I’m slowly thinking of stopping playing in Poland, because every time I do that, I’m very sad and disappointed. Also, Polish people are full of hatred. You know this Internet hating thing? It’s really popular in Poland. Doesn’t matter what kind of success you have. It’s really horrible.

_Do you know why?_Do you know why?

I don’t know, it’s in the Polish mentality, I guess. Whenever you read an article about some Polish artists playing abroad or getting some international success, the comments like: ‚Good, hope you stay there forever!‘ are quite shocking. I’ve never seen something like that in Germany or in the Netherlands or any other countries. Of course Internet hating is a worldwide thing, but it’s really a Polish thing to hate people for their success and it’s really sad. It’s difficult to stay creative.

_What music do people in Poland listen to?_What music do people in Poland listen to?

I don’t know if it’s because of communism, but the problem with Poland is that people stopped like ten years ago. The huge indie bands for „cool people“ are Sigur Rós or Radiohead. And normal people just love Metallica. They usually just compare me to Sigur Rós or Radiohead, because those are the only bands they know. I don’t know what’s wrong with Poland, maybe they just need some time, few years maybe. I mean, obviously there's some people that know good, interesting music – it's just a very, very small percentage.

_Our countries are neighbours, but we don’t know much Polish music, I guess you also don’t know any Czech bands…_Our countries are neighbours, but we don’t know much Polish music, I guess you also don’t know any Czech bands…

I know some Czech music. I know Iva Bittová, Vladimír Václavek, Už jsme doma and Dva. Those are bands I know and I like. But it’s true, because Polish artists don’t promote themselves abroad. Some of them do, like Kamp!, but most of them choose just Poland. It’s cool for them to be cool and famous in Poland, but it is not enough for me.
ČTĚTE DÁL: