We just finished having breakfast with our friends from Don’t Panic! We’re From Poland, an awesome organization that promotes Polish culture across the world, who assisted KEXP in coming to and broadcasting from the OFF Festival. Just as an aside, the Polish people do not mess around when it comes to breakfast. The buffet at the hotel has a crazy amount of food and drinks with an army of staff constantly replenishing and refreshing the plates. And it’s not just me -- I had a full conversation about it with a member of the Bubu Gang the other day in the van on the way back to the hotel. It’s a thing! But I digress.
Yesterday we wrapped up the third and final day at the OFF Festival and got to mix things up a little by doing two field recordings of two great Polish bands. We ventured out of the festival grounds a little ways and set up in a beautifully pastoral green field with lovely trees in the background. It was the perfect setting for the two bands we filmed.
The first group to set up was Lor out of Krakow, which is just an hour away from the festival in Katowice. They are four young ladies ages ranging from 15 to 17 years old, talented beyond their years playing indie folk (think Daughter, Lemolo). The vocalist has such a strong and beautiful voice and the violinist at just 15 is such a virtuoso that she is attending music school in Vienna for violin. They don’t have an album released yet, but when they do, I cannot wait to hear it. We’ll be posting video of the field recording soon, but in the meantime listen to their single “Keaton”.
Next was established Polish band L.Stadt from Łódź, who have been releasing records since 2003, exploring a variety of genres including indie rock, country, surf, and now with their newest record called L.Story going into more indie folk territory with the addition of a full choir and frontman Łukasz Lach trading his usual guitar for keyboards. When we spoke about the making of the record, he explained that he has recently dealt with personal loss in his life and didn’t want to have to write his own lyrics and put his story down on an album, so he composed songs with lyrics by Konrad Dworakowski, director of the Pinocchio Theater in Łódź, and enlisted the talents of the “Wielki Chór Młodej Chorei” Choir. This is also the first time he has done an album fully in the Polish language rather than English. They set up the full band and choir in the middle of a field, using power from a nearby playground. Make sure to check out the session when we post it.
We called it a day after these recordings, packed up our gear, and enjoyed the last couple hours of the festival with some new friends we had made over the weekend, toasting with a cup of Lemon Vodka (like you do when you’re in Poland). We headed back to the hotel, and actually ended up in the same van as Scottish band Arab Strap, who had just finished their set earlier that evening. We talked about their coming out of a long hiatus as a band since 2008 on their 20th anniversary in 2016. They are currently doing a run of festival dates and talked about putting out new music sometime in the near future. That was a very cool way to end the fest.
We’re about to head to the airport now for our long journey back to Seattle. We had such a great time at the festival this year and cannot thank our hosts Jarek Szubrycht for coordinating our entire trip, fest creator and all around awesome person Artur Rojek for having us back for the third year, Don’t Panic! We’re From Poland, and everyone else at the OFF Festival enough. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my time here and already can’t wait to see the lineup for next year! Check back on the KEXP website as we post videos of the interviews and sessions we recorded. Dzięki!
More Festival Shots:
For our third year, KEXP returned to Katowice, Poland for OFF Music Festival, a weekend of music after our own hearts. "The OFF line-up neither favors nor discriminates against any specific genres," explained founder (and musician himself), Artur Rojek. "What matters is the music and the quality ...
We wrapped up day two of the OFF Festival in Katowice, Poland in the wee hours of the morning, tired but very happy and with the desire to reflect on the many positive aspects of the festival. We have been so impressed with OFF Festival, not just because of the high caliber of the lineup but also...