Warsaw, Poland’s Weird Tales are a hard band to pin down. Are they a doom metal band? Maybe, but there’s much more going on in the mix, resulting in a pretty unique sound. With their latest release Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die just recently released, I caught up with Dima, Smoku and Kriss to find out more about the band. Read on…
Thanks for agreeing to this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. Firstly, who is Weird Tales and what does each member contribute to the band?
Dima: Hi, WEIRD TALES is Kriss – bass and wicked vocals, Smoku – battery, assault and drugs, and I’m Dima, pretty vocals and guitar.
Smoku: We are nobody and everybody… your best friend, and your worst foe… your last grip of hope, and your most terrifying nightmare…
You’ve recently put out a new release Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die. Can you tell us a bit about how this came together, and what does GG Allin mean to the band?
Dima: Our main focus while entering the studio was to do our first live video for ZZ – track that came to life after I decided to change the groove in the main riff of our older song, Easy Riding. After some jamming we changed a couple more riffs, removed some, added some more… and it evolved into what you can hear now. We were calling the new version ZZ riding, which soon got abbreviated to just ZZ. And as we booked the whole day in the studio, and got some time left, we decided to do GG cover as a bonus. We like GG, who doesn’t? GG is Rock n Roll god, the quintessence of punk rock.
Kriss: We wanted to make the video, so people could get used to our faces and not be so scared when they see us performing (laughs).
Smoku: Dima you’re actually a bit wrong here – Lemmy is in fact the God of Rock’n’Roll. But yes, GG was definitely the personification of all that’s punk. And that’s the thing that drew me to playing with guys – most stoner/doom bands these days don’t get the punk spirit, they think that it’s all about drugs and satan. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for drugs and satan, but not as the core values, but rather as a consequence of being punk, which for me stands for “not giving a fuck”.
The band gets referred to as doom metal, but I might even describe your music as something like a heavier Butthole Surfers. In any case it sounds like you draw from many sources. Are there any particular records or bands that have been a major influence on you?
Dima: I remember when I discovered Butthole Surfers I thought it’s cool and I have to come back and listen to their albums. Never really done this. Maybe now it’s a good time to do so. Can you recommend which albums I should start with?
[absolutely! Locust Abortion Technician for the win. After that go to Hairway to Steven and/or work backwards through their earlier records]
Kriss: IMO the whole point of making music in general is to marry different genres and influences into something new or something You would like to hear yourself… . We’re no
different here. But to pinpoint a specific band or riff or even a hint from a whole of our inspiration would take me weeks or even longer.
My introduction to Weird Tales was the Y’all Motherfuckers Forgot ‘Bout Good Ol’ Son of a Bitchin’ Blues EP, which has its own very unique sound. I then went back to listen to your earlier releases and I was surprised by the variety. Has it been a conscious decision to experiment with different styles or is this just how things worked out?
Dima: No man, we just do whatever we want, that’s all. But for me it’s easy to get bored even with the things I like, so I don’t like to repeat stuff.
Kriss: We are at a very comfy point of our career (rarely known to a wide audience tbh) where we can do whatever we want and don’t get backlash from our diehard fans and get them to turn their backs on us when they don’t gety what they’d expect. And by making another record different from one before I guess we stay true to our band name. Weirder and weirder…
How did the band first come together and how do you think you’ve evolved since your first recordings?
Dima: We have a fresh line up now. Smoku joined us early this year. So we just learned how to play with each other. We played dozens of gigs already here in Poland since restrictions were loosened, recorded two tracks and now we’re working on new material for the next LP. So now things are different. Listening to ZZ and comparing it to Easy Riding will show the best how the band evolved.
Kriss: We’ve evolved and what’s the most important, we’ve learned a lot since we started. And with that knowledge acquired we can push our “boundaries” even further. It’s a constant evolution, you know… .
What’s the music scene like in Warsaw and how much opportunity have you had to travel with the band?
Kriss: The scene in Warsaw is pretty huge (the biggest in Poland?) and it’s still growing. So we have opportunities to play with the best in here and even play with some big guys from outside of our country… . Of course due to pandemic restrictions we were unable to do some previously planned expansion of our music to the west but we instead had an awesome time playing in Ukraine that year. It’s all about using as many opportunities to play as you can get You know…
Smoku: You ask about pre-covid or current status? Before we actually had a pretty nice scene here. A lot of organizers, most bigger names coming every other tour, drawing solid crowds, and a lot of smaller bands, with the same 50 people coming to their shows. Now things are different, as everywhere I suppose – no tours from overseas, mostly our polish bands and smaller european acts. But there is some upside to that – fortunately there are still people hungry for live music, after months without shows, and I think It’s a pretty good time for smaller acts like us, to have some solid crowds on local gigs – because before all these pandemic shit, people where sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of gigs happening, or just plain lazy, and the gigs where more hit-or-miss I think.
In this digital age where a lot of people listen to music on Spotify or other streaming sites, how important do you think physical artefacts like vinyl and cassette are? Does it make a difference to you what format you release or listen to music on?
Dima: I just have counted how much money I spent on vinyls for the past 3 years… It’s bad. I’m going to buy a new turntable. Just after payday.
Kriss: I’m also a slave to vinyl discs. It’s my listening way of choice but I’m not walking around with a turntable on my back everywhere of course… . Imo as an artist you have to make sure people can reach your music wherever they prefer. But in a post apocalyptic world you’ll still be able to put some rusty nail with paper tube and spin your favourite tunes just for one last time when all that “cloud uploaded music” will be gone with some mushroom cloud (an EMP that comes with nuclear blast to be specific).
Smoku: Personally I am the streaming guy – I do understand why people like vinyls and CDs, but for me It’s just too much hassle, and these days as a musician you make almost no money selling your music anyway, so…
What other music are you enjoying listening to these days?
Dima: Now I’m exploring early electric guitar jazz players. Charlie Christian and Eddie Durham. Durham was also a great arranger and trombonist, so the tracks that he arranged or where he doesn’t play guitar are worth listening too. He played a lot with Count Basie, a classic early jazz pianist. Great dude. Returning to electric guitar also George Barnes and Grant Green who is from later era, from the 60’s and he plays a cool mix of blues and jazz. So if you dig blues but can’t get into jazz, try this dude, great transition point. Also early industrial music now is spinning, so early single examples of making music from weird sounds, and early works of Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende. And also glam. One WASP album is playing everyday, ‘cause glam is the best for autumn vibes. So that’s how my autumn goes currently.
Kriss: These days (autumn aura days) are reserved mostly for 70’s/80’s heavy metal in my listening schedule. But I’m breaking it down with some sludge and grunge from time to time. It’s getting darker out there you know… .
Smoku: To be honest I’ve been listening mostly to electronic music lately – techno, dub, noisy/experimental/industrial hip-hop… latest The Bug album is absolutely brilliant! But when it comes to metal – I really can’t wait for the Blood Moon album (Converge joining forces with Chelsea Wolfe) – both singles are awesome so far!
Aside from music, are there any books, movies or shows that have had a big impact on you recently?
Dima: I don’t know man, I never have an impact from movies or books. I mean if a book is super cool I would talk about it with friends, but it never influenced me to write a music based on it. What a lame thing to do. But I will recommend two super cool movies to you – Shock ‘Em Dead (1991) and Trick or Treat (1986). Those are brilliant and will fill your glam autumn desire. Just make sure you’re stocked with cold beers and popcorn.
Kriss: Naaah, instead of just watching a movie or reading a book (if I had enough time) I’d rather like to write a book or make a movie based on what I wrote… .
Smoku: The final installment of Rebuild of Evangelion hit me hard. I grew emotionally attached to NGE during the first lockdown, and I find the way in which the whole story resolved very soothing in some wicked way.
And finally, is there anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Dima: Don’t you ever take a mortgage. Take drugs instead, work in a bar and have fun. And kill yourself when you get bored.
Kriss: Now if I may… . I’d like to promote to you some ways of healthy eating, drinking less and exercising so you guys will live longer, even long enough to get so bored or upset about your life, that you’ll kill yourself eventually… . We all die in the end and whatever you do makes no sense. Have a good time anyway!
Smoku: Don’t listen to them! Go to your 9 to 5 jobs, and spend your slave wages on merch and concert tickets, so we – the professionals! – can take care of drugs and make weird music.
interview by Tom Boatman
Thanks a lot to Dima, Kriss and Smoku for their time, and indeed, for the weirdness. Check out the band, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die and their other releases on the links below and follow them on social media to keep up to date.
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