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Grzegorz Mazur

Tell us about your musical background

I soaked up different kinds of music from my very early years – music was everywhere in my home. A big part of my family has a musical background, there were always some instruments hidden here or there – so that’s how it started. It intrigued me how these different objects could make different sounds. At first, I was mostly imagining myself having a band and playing some shows as a kid. Later when I got my brother’s old acoustic guitar I started to learn how to play it. I was learning mostly by ear – there were not that many lessons or tutorials on the internet in those days. A natural byproduct of these experiments was also my first compositions – nothing good if I remember correctly. 😉 Playing was fun but I had a dream to be a rockstar with an electric guitar in my hands! I hadn’t any money to buy a new guitar so I had to move forward with what I had – I invited my school buddy to play acoustic guitars together – and together we assembled our first simple fuzz effects – a couple steps closer to an electric guitar sound and forming a band! Later he got his first bass guitar (he called it “taboret” (a stool) because of its weird shape) and I persuaded my parents to buy me my first electric guitar! Finally! From that point it started to go quite fast – soon I bought my first multi effects guitar processor, connected it to my father’s old “Regent” amplifier and I finally started to sound how I had always wanted! After that I was lucky to meet more people playing rock/metal in our hometown, Biała Podlaska. After two or three spontaneous middle/high school “bands” we finally managed to create our first real band – Drapery! We were playing a mixture of rock and metal using Polish poems as lyrics. We were playing our first shows, we were giving our first interviews, and even made a record! We recorded everything besides drums in my parents’ flat! It’s crazy how much we achieved with so little resources and knowledge. We were dreaming big but the band ended like most typical high school bands – as most of us went to study at universities in different cities (including me moving to Warsaw) so we were not able to continue playing together. However, once you start playing regular rehearsals and live shows there’s no going back! Fortunately, after a year or two my Drapery bandmates ended up in Warsaw so we decided to form a new band – that’s how Dogmat came to be about. While Drapery was poetic, Dogmat ended up as an aggressive, headbanging beast. We played something between thrash and death metal with some progressive touches – that was also the moment when I learned to growl – inspired by my all-time idol, Mikael Akerfeldt. We recorded two demos and played tons of shows across Poland, we even won some competitions along the way. After one of the shows one dude asked about my contact details and that’s how I was invited to growl (and later play guitar) in another death metal band – Dead Space! That cooperation was quite short but things I lived through there… is material for another “bio” ;))) One cool thing is that I met Tomek Izdebski there! I was even trying to invite Tomek to Dogmat once our first guitar player decided to resign and go back to Biała Podlaska… but it didn’t work out. After some great times Dogmat’s journey also came to an end – our drummer decided to move away from playing metal as he was already tired of that genre and I was having less and less time to be fully involved in it all, so the band went on a hiatus. At that moment I thought it was my last band and it was time to fully focus on other aspects of my life – but as I said earlier, once you start… you can’t get away. After months (or years?) of inactivity I realised that my new work-buddy Mateusz played acoustic guitar – we both loved Clannad, Dead Can Dance and music from the Diablo series so we decided we should jam after work – and it went so well! Somehow I returned to my roots and early beginnings. We composed quite a lot of acoustic material and even started to learn to sing to expand our little dark acoustic project. We even played some tiny shows. But still at the back of my head it wasn’t enough – I wanted to go back to the energy of playing electric guitar with drums, bass and all that rock`n`roll stuff. And then all of a sudden, after years of not having any contact – Tomek Izdebski contact me – and asked if I wanted to play in his new prog rock project – I listened to some tracks and fell in love with it… and now I’m here, writing my short profile for the Pale Mannequin website. 🙂

What are your musical inspirations?

LOADS. Besides being a “true pure metalist” douchebag for a while around my middle and high school years, I was lucky to explore all genres I had ever heard. As a kid I was surrounded by great music that my family listened to – such as folk music from different parts of the world – the earliest music memories from my childhood include the first Dead Can Dance record. Then, of course, I got hooked on rock and metal music but after years I really liked to explore everything. For me, music is divided not into genres but into good and bad music – actually every genre I have ever checked out has something good to offer. I`m also a live gig freak – one week I’m able to go to some extreme death metal show, then to see some niche dark folk dudes playing for an audience of 5 say, later see some famous hip-hop star, and end up at a techno party in some dirty club (cheers, Luzztro! ;)). Different genres use different ways to induce emotions. Since I was listening to very different types of music, I have the biggest admiration for artists that are able to use this vast range of “musical tools” in their music, even in a single track. I’m thinking about musicians like Mikael Akerfeldt, Devin Townsend, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, Mariusz Duda, Steven Wilson, Jon Oliva and so on.
When it comes to inspiration in general, it can actually come from anywhere – besides the obvious of listening to music – it can be a memory from the past, a book, a movie, or a drunk conversation at a party. Sometimes I try to tell an emotion or a story I have in my head through the music itself – not the lyrics.

Who are your favourite artists and records?

Let’s try:

Opeth – Blackwater Park
Burial – Untrue
Dead Can Dance – Spiritchaser
Riverside – Second Life Syndrome
Matt Uelmen – soundtrack for Diablo II
Katatonia – The Great Cold Distance
Nile – Those Whom the Gods Detest
Type O Negative – Slow, Deep and Hard
Taco Hemingway – Trójkąt Warszawski
Nero – Welcome Reality
Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials
Blindead – Affliction XXIX II MXMVI
Lech Janerka – Ur
King Dude – Sex
In Twilight’s Embrace – Lawa

Why did you pick your instrument?

I always wanted to be a rockstar – and a rockstar has an electric guitar and sings. 😉 But on a serious note… I love electric guitar for its range of different sounds. It’s a very flexible and somehow sexy instrument. 

And vocals… I think that singing is the most intimate, personal and direct way of expressing emotions. I find it a very powerful yet very difficult tool – especially being such an introvert as myself. 😉 

How do you spend your spare time?

Besides music, my time is mostly consumed by my number one passion – video games. I have been developing video games professionally for 10+ years, and I have been running my own studio for a couple of years. I never became a music rock star so instead I became one through doing video games 😉 It’s surprising how many things there are in common in these two media. When there is still some time left after video games and music, I mostly read books, a lot of books – but in general I love to try and explore new things so I would say that in my spare time I just try to get as much uniqueness from my life as possible.

What is your favourite alcoholic beverage?

Single malt whisky, craft beers. I also love to offer moonshine to other band members ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)