Teraz Rock "Stefan interview", Jan'10

Translation by marii

You’re about to go on stage. Are you nervous? or after so many years this feeling is no longer familiar for you?

No, today I’m not nervous at all. In the past there were times when I was getting nervous before concerts, but in the course of years it disappeared. I couldn’t focus on stage so I had to learn to control my nerves. 

At the beginning of November you got MTV EMA for best alternative. How important was it for you? 

This award made us really happy. Of course it was a big surprise for us because we are the band that doesn’t get as much media support as other bands (esp. in England). This award showed that we have a big group of fans who voted for us. 

Why English media underestimate you?

I really have no idea. Sometimes I no longer have willingness or energy to try to convince to us people who just do not like me for unknown reasons.

Why did you call your album Battle for the sun?

This title was sth. That we came up with at the end of recordings. We do not think about it when we discuss concepts for future album. It just happens by itself. When album is complete we decide which song suits it’s style the most. We chose this one because it suited perfectly to iconography that we decided to use on cover. To this whole play with lights. I think that many people have read this title as very optimistic and it’s what we wanted to achieve. Technology makes our world a dark place but you can fight with it, create more light all around us. And that’s what we really wanted to say with it.

Last time I saw you it was just before release of BFTS. Few months have passed since the album is out, what do you think about it today?

To be honest I haven’t heard it since then. 


Because we play those songs every night. I’m glad that those songs work perfectly live. It’s very important for as cause we had a long break in playing concerts. 

How do you feel after few months on the road with Steve Forrest? Do you still treat him as freshman and make jokes of him?

Oh yes all the time. He’s like our younger brother who has to go through process of becoming a drummer of a band. But he’s still very enthusiastic. He knows that at 21 he was given an excellent job. I think that thx to him our concerts are much more pleasant experience. 

Why did you decide to record Wouldn’t it be good during BFTS sessions?

I really like contrast between music and lyrics in that song. Music is rather light, pop while lyrics are really dark. Besides it’s one of songs that accompanied our adolescence so we had a big sentiment for it. 
So we decided to record it as a bside for one of our singles. We made it mostly for fun. Recording session was really enjoyable. 

At the beginning of this year in Berlin we talked a lot about BFTS, that’s why now I’d like to ask you sth. About past. You started from playing in school orchestra in 1987. Do you think that it had any impact on the kind of musician you are today?

I’ve learned theory which is very useful while writing new music. I’m really grateful for it. I’ve learned that some things put together sound good. I’ve learned language that helps me in communicating through music. And I’ve also tried my hand at different instruments – I played bass, drums, guitar and piano. It made it easier for me to write songs, made me understand each of those instruments. 

I know that history of Placebo started from your meeting with Brian Molko at South Kensington station in London?

True. Brian was standing there with someone and they called me. I came to them, not to Brian cause I didn’t know him, but to guy who was with him. It was someone we both knew. We started talking and Brian asked me to come to his concert. I said that I’ll come with pleasure. So we went together. It’s how it was. After the gig he asked me to play bass with him.

But before it you and Brian were in the same school. How do you remember him from school times in American International School in Luxemburg?

Back then we belonged to totally different groups. I was interested in sports, mostly basketball. He was interested in acting. We didn’t know each other.

Basketball? Is that why we are now sitting in this basketball hall?

Yes of course. After this interview I’m going to grab a ball and play. A short game, one on one.

Before concert? Aren’t you afraid for your fingers?

Don’t worry, they’re insured (laughter)

It surprised me that your idol was Steve Harris from Iron Maiden…

He’s the reason I became a bassist. Besides he’s a great composer and his bass suits perfectly to his creations. I loved the idea that bass can be a leading instrument like it’s in Iron Maiden.

Music of Placebo changed a lot after first album when Steve Hewitt took place of Robert Schultzberg. Was the change of drummer the only reason behind it?

They are two completely different people and two completely different drummers. But you know, Placebo was developing between Placebo and Without you I’m nothing. We like to press ourselves, to develop and that’s how it was back then too. 

I’d like to ask you about your friendship with D.Bowie who played important role in your early carrier. You played at this 50 b.day in Madison Square Garden in 1997, recorded new version of WYIN with him and performed 20 century boy during Brit Awards in 1999. How it all started?

He proposed us to open his concerts from Outside Tour after Morrissey had resigned. David had our demo and liked it so much that he decided to invite us.

I’ve talked with Maciek – music producer who worked with Bowie and he told me that David intimidated him in studio. How was it with you?

He was terrifying (laughter)
No kidding, there’s sth. true in Maciek’s opinion.

I’d like to ask you also about your other project – Hotel Persona. Why did you decide to create it?

When new millennium was coming, we decided, together with my friends, that we do not like music played at parties. So we started to search for good party music and after all we decided to create it by ourselves. It’s something I do when I’m not working with Placebo. It’s kind of music that wouldn’t suit this band.

What’s behind name Hotel Persona?

It’s one of those names that appear without any reason. But I think that everyone has a place where he goes when he’s terrified by surrounding world. And I think that it’s a name of this place.

When I listened to HP In the clouds album I thought that main source of inspiration was music from 80s. Am I right?

I’m sure you can find on this CD influences of 80s music but there’s also a lot of classic rock impacts. We are trying to treat music as entertainment, there’s sth to dance and sth to cradle (eww I’m not sure if it’s the right word here)

Why Samantha Fox on this album?

When I was a kid she had a hit – Touch me. And I thought that it would be fun to make another version of it and to invite her to do backing vocals.

As HP you not only create your own music but also remix songs of other artists. Which is more fun?

It depends. Sometimes we remix a lot and sometimes we do DJ stuff. When BFTS came out we had a videoblog and band asked me to do short remixes of our songs for those short movies, it was really enjoyable. 

Is there a chance that one day you’ll leave Placebo for hotel Persona?

No! The problem is how long Placebo will exist. Because I can’t really answer this question now. But today Placebo is my main course (eww can I say sth like this in English?)

It sounded really disturbingly. Is future of Placebo in danger?

Who knows?

Placebo played in Poland many times. Do you have any particular memories from my country?

Memories? It’s sad but I must say that today for the first time I had time to leave hotel and go for a walk. And it’s definitely not enough. I’d like to come back here at least for a weekend and do dome sightseeing in Warsaw. In Gdańsk we were busy too. I must make up for it. It’s not our first visit in Warsaw though. I think we already played here during Black Market Music tour in… Stodoła Club? I remember it, it was the most squeezed crowd I’ve ever seen. But it was wonderful audience. But if there was a fire probably everyone would die. There was no way to evacuate so crowded building. But contact with that crowd was just amazing.