Wilcze Jagody is a Polish all-female band formed in 2015. They follow the DIY logic and create vintage sounds based on their love in alternative shoegaze and synth-pop from the 80s. On December 1st they perform at SpaceFest! at B90 in Gdańsk, Poland.
Can you share with us a mini bio of the band?
WJ: Wilcze Jagody (polish for Belladonna) arises from the forest mist. The band was formed in late 2015 by three good friends: Nela Gzowska, Ania Wlodarczyk and Zosia Holubowska. In 2016 they recorded their first demo in Zosia’s sunny living room and played well received gigs in Warsaw. Wilcze Jagody is inspired by synth pop, shoegaze and 80’s east block music scene. Their music captures the energy of girl queer bands and relates to DIY ethic. Wilcze Jagody consists of three different elements: throbbing bass lines, dreamlike guitar and tender keys. They sing about heartbreaks, falling in love and erotic liberation. The band released their debut EP in 2017 and played at OFF Festival the same year alongside PJ Harvey, Anna von Hausswolff and Swans among others.
You released in August your first EP. How has the reception been until now? Do you feel satisfied?
N: It was very well received and we feel really happy about it. I can’t wait to record more,
A: The material was recorded at the beginning of 2017, both in the studio and at home. And the mixing process was a little bit complicated because Zosia’s friend who mixed our songs lives in Australia. We were communicating via email and when he was awake and working on our tracks, we were sleeping and so on… But we were very determined to have our cassettes ready for the OFF Festival. For me the outcome is very satisfying and it is sort of a reflection of 1,5 year together as a band. Although it is different from my initial vision, more foggy, dreamy. I had great fun creating guitar tracks for the recordings (they are there, even though you might not hear them and I’d love to do it once again in more professional setting.
I don’t speak Polish, but I could distinguish the word “feminism” in the description of your music. How do you incorporate feminism in your music?
N: Simply by being female and doing our own thing.
Is it more difficult for a woman to move into the music business?
A: For me, it is simply not easy to move into the music business, like into every creative business and social circles where your ego, skills, and charisma should go along with your passion to play the music, and to have creative moments with other people, especially those from your band. I know the terms like sexism, discrimination and patriarchy, and as in every area of social life on this earth, music industry is not an exception. But I know, probably as well as you know, many great female instrumentalists, composers, band leaders, singers, dancers. I like to talk about them, discover their music, affirm this female musician’s heritage. Similarly I like to affirm the fact, that it was my father who taught me how to play E, G, C chords, and listened to Led Zeppelin and Tina Turner with me, and the fact that I have met many great supporting guys on my way, many great musicians and music lovers, and I am glad that they are strong part of my community
Which are your musical influences?
N: I listen to music all the time and it’s hard for me to pick favorite artists, so I’ll just name a few: PJ Harvey, Joan As Police Woman (best live performer ever!), Connan Mockasin, Beak>, Portishead and the polish band Maanam. But in our band my main songwriting influences are Zosia and Ania. I love developing music ideas together.
A: I love, and love to sing soul and blues music. I like soul vocal melodies and this tender and sexy, but sometimes heartbreaking style of singing. My favourite performers of all time are: Jeff Buckley, Heart (with this super amazing guitarist Nancy Wilson!), Mira Kubasińska i Breakout, Kate Bush, Billie Holiday, Chris Cornell, Ariel Pink. My new loves are: Anna Von Hauswollf, Weyes Blood, and Circuit des Yeux. I also love “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack.
On December 1st you will perform at the SpaceFest! in Gdansk. Are you new considering live shows and what do you expect from such a festival which hosts so many bands?
WJ: We’re big fans of small indie festivals, so we expect nothing but the best.
Do you have plans to play also abroad?
N: Yes, Zosia has travelled the world with her other band Prison, so I wish to follow her footsteps. My biggest dream is to play at SXSW Festival and in KEXP Radio Show.
A: I am not sure if at this moment travelling the world as a touring musician is my actual dream. My dream is to come back to the USA with my love and make a long ‘dark country’ road trip J. But when it comes to Wilcze Jagody I would love to work on new material, play, develop, experiment and have fun. And I think it is possible in Poland as well.
Although you have just released your new EP, do you work on new material for maybe a full-length album in the future?
WJ: Yes, we are currently working on our debut LP, but we can’t give you exact release date. Making music is not something that gives us a lot of money and we don’t want to compromise the quality of our recordings. Hopefully, we’ll be able release our LP sooner than later.
Photo credits: Dawid Halimoniuk (1st one), Agata Kubis (2nd one)