||In the early 80's there
was a rather heavy and crushing Heavy/Thrash Metal scene in the European
Eastern countries. Unfortunately the lack of financial means, the Iron Curtain
and the popularity of Western Thrash combos such as Sodom, Destruction,
Living Death, Kreator, Assassin and so on completely eclipsed this Eastern
scene. I wanted to pay tribute to one of them that released two awesome
Thrash Metal releases in the 80's, "Metal And Hell" and "666".
Thence welcome in KAT's world. Strangely enough the manager answered some
questions, that is rather cool from him. Read on Piotr Luczyk's (guitar)
and Slawek (band manager)
|Could you remind us the
early steps of the band ? Is KAT a Polish name or is it the English word
for this small pet ?
Piotr Luczyk - KAT is the Polish equivalent of the English Executioner.
KAT was founded in 1979, but only found a vocalist in 1981.
Was it difficult to find a singer or did you choose to be an instrumental
band at the beginning ?
Piotr Luczyk - Originally, KAT was an instrumental band and it played
the type of music our idols such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple performed.
Playing instrumental music was only a temporary call and from the very
beginning of KAT we were looking for the right guy as a vocalist. After
one of the festivals a vocalist joined the band.
Which were the activities of the band between 1981 and 1984 ?
Did you focus on rehearsing and playing small gigs to forge the style
of KAT ?
Piotr Luczyk - We were constantly rehearsing, consciously creating the
music with the vocalist. We tried to play every big concert. We struggled
to enter Jarocin Festival, which was the most important Polish music festival
at the time.
I would like to know what were your early influences when
starting the band as some songs are rather pure Thrash Metal while other
or much Rock and Hard…
Piotr Luczyk - Richie Blackmoore has always been my idol and the band
grew up listening to the bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led
Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc. KAT's music is some kind of combination of both
tradition and contemporary trends in Metal music.
I guess you know there's another band with nearly the same
name than you, The Great Kat, lead by a sexy woman. Did you get contact
from her ? Do you enjoy her music ?
Piotr Luczyk – That's the band we have heard of but have never gotten
in touch with.
Did you get a good response for the 1984 "Noce Szatana"
7EP ? And how did the deal with Ambush Records come in the picture ?
Piotr Luczyk - The Ambush Records producer, Jos Cloek, got our promo materials
and decided to release our first album. Unfortunately, as far as I remember,
Ambush Records broke up after our first album release so there was no
album promotion. There were also some conflicts between our manager and
Ambush Records we didn't know much of and that is how our presence at
the Western market came to the bitter end.
|1985 was the year for "Metal And
Hell" (and "666" for the Polish version). Even if I don’t
understand a single Polish word, I prefer the Polish version of this masterpiece
album because Roman Kostrzewski is more killer when singing in his language.
Was the English version due to the contract with the label ? Are you still
proud of this album ?Piotr Luczyk - Of course, I'm proud of it. I was only
19 years old while I was recording the album, which I had been composing
since I had turned 16. There is another re-edition of the album available
on the market and it's still popular.
though you were from Poland some of the lyrics were written in English
to reach a larger public, was it difficult to use English ? When listening
to Roman Kostrzewski I feel like he didn't get that much trouble with
English as he pronunciation is rather good….
Piotr Luczyk - As regards its English version, it was the basic version
of the album for Ambush Records. The vocalist's command of the English
language appears to be quite another story... cha, cha, cha... Having
played the concerts with Metallica, James Hetfield, commenting on the
English version, asked me why our vocalist sang in Japanese at the record...
Therefore I would like to comment on the lyrics in English sung by Kostrzewski
no more !!!
I've to admit "Metal And Hell"
LP is fucking awesome, it was a kind of fresh and original way of playing
Thrash Metal, sometimes inspired from Running Wild such as in "Killer"
do you remind how you wrote the tunes from this release ?
Piotr Luczyk - At that time I certainly didn't listen to Running Wild.
I was fascinated with Motorhead, which perhaps doesn't have much to do
with that record.
When looking to the back cover picture,
the band had much more a kind of Glam look than anything else (lipstick,
large sunglass, eyeliners). But when listening to the release, you seriously
kicked asses with a pounding Heavy Metal melted with Thrash influences,
how does it come you had such a different look from for instance Thrash
bands such as Destruction, Kreator, Slayer and so on ?
Piotr Luczyk - The band's appearance was constantly evolving. As for the
way we dressed, we didn't quite know where we were heading for. There
were neither records nor publications showing the images of the Western
bands available in Poland then. Perhaps the way we looked like has always
been a little late compared with our more progressive and advanced music.
I guess the present image of the band, which is hardly associated with
the music, seems to be no exception to the rule. But that is because of
other reasons than those mentioned above.
I have the Pronil vinyl edition of "Metal And Hell"
that has a really cheap quality, with thin cardboard, no info sheet and
so on. Was it so expensive in the early 80's to release a Heavy Metal
Piotr Luczyk - The albums like that were the only achievable products
on the music market of communist Poland in the early 80`s.
Guitarist Wojciech Mrowiec joined the
band in ’84 and was out in ’85 or ’86. What was the
reason of his departure ? Was it easy to find Jacek Regulski ?
Piotr Luczyk - Mrowiec was kicked out of the band because just before
entering the studio to record the tracks for “Metal and Hell“
LP he decided to go on vacation. His lack of dedication influenced his
dismissal. Despite the fact that I had know Jacek Regulski for many years
and his accession to the band was a mere formality, I recorded "Oddech
wymarlych swiatów" and "38 minutes of life" by myself.
Which are your memories
opening for Metallica in ’87 ?
Piotr Luczyk - It was one of the most profound experience in the history
of the band. It was then when I grasped the rules of live performance.
I do remember very warm treatment we received as a support act, the parties
we had together with Metallica as well as boozing with James Hetfield
in the cloakroom before the gig.
The same year, you released two albums.
First, it was the "38 Minutes Of Life". Wasn’t it too
soon for a live LP ? Second was the "Oddech Wymarlych Swiatow"
LP. Was it received as well as the first LP ?
Piotr Luczyk - The time the album was released depended entirely on the
record company. Those days it was extremely difficult to put out any record
in Poland. As to "Oddech..." it has been considered to be one
of the best albums of ours to this day. As far as I'm concerned , "Mind
Cannibals" is the best.
I'd like you to explain how was the
scene in Poland back in the early 80's ? Did you had trouble with Polish
Police, and was it hard to organise gig in you country ?
Piotr Luczyk - Metal music was in the underground. It didn't formally
exist. While concerts always attracted a lot of Metal music fans. In the
old days everything was a problem: an instrument purchase, strings, not
to mention obtaining the official permit to organize a gig. Concert tours
were handled only by national companies, like Pagart, and Western stars
visiting Poland were their only participants. Record traffic was purely
Let's keep on this topic, was there a unity between Polish
bands from the 80's such as Turbo, Hammer, Open Fire ? Any were you also
into other Eastern bands such as Törr, Root, Tudor from Czech Republic
for instance or other Russian Heavy Metal bands ?
Piotr Luczyk - Turbo, Hammer, Open Fire were our competitors. The fact
is that we gigging together but KAT was rather the individual among those
What was your view on the Western German
Metal scene and bands such as Running Wild, Grave Digger, Scorpions, Kreator,
Destruction, Assassin and so on ? Was it difficult to get releases from
those bands ? Was there a black market for Metal in Poland in the 80's
Piotr Luczyk - Among the bands listed, Running Wild, Scorpions and Grave
Digger were the most appealing to us.
According to me, and when looking through Western fanzine
and magazines, KAT wasn't that much known in the Western Europe both in
the 80's and now. So, did you get support from countries like Scandinavia,
France, Spain in your early days ? And will you tour in Western part of
Europe now to increase your notoriety ?
Piotr Luczyk - We never got any support and the only ones we could count
on were ourselves. As concerns concerts, in 2005 we toured Europe playing
KAT broke up a first time in 1988. Can you explain which were the events
leading to this split ?
Piotr Luczyk - KAT didn't split up. It was just the vocalist who got fired.
The above-mentioned situation repeated itself a few times. The reason
for hanging up the band's activity was always the same: the clash between
the vocalist and me.
The band was reborn in 1990. But
it took two years to listen to a new album, still preceding by a live
album. Which are your thoughts for the "Bastard" album ?
Slawek manager – After the band was reborn they were huge changes
in the band. They first had to get used to playing together and then start
working on a new album as a team .
In the early 90's Lech Walesa brought
many changes in the Poland, turning back to Russian point of view, and
giving a bit more democracy in Poland, that's according to the "official"
biography. What is your views about that period now ?
Slawek manager –It was an amazing period in Polish history. We were
all together in spirit at the time. Everybody believed that it could be
normal in Poland as well even in music .
How came the idea to release in ’94
the "Ballady" CD, containing KAT’s ballades and four unreleased
Piotr Luczyk - One the crucial things to me is the skill at composing
and playing a ballad. The approach was instilled into me through listening
to Hard Rock for many years. That's why I put the pressure on incorporating
that type of song at every single record. Our manager's contribution also
let us show the romantic side to KAT. That kind of album gave us a chance
to place instrumental pieces of music originating from the early stages
of the band's formation. The record has been the bestseller so far.
As "Ballady" is the last
record of KAT that I know, can you tell how are the ’96 "Roze
Milosci Najchetniej Przyjmuja Sie Na Groback" CD and ’97 "Szydercze
Zwierciadlo" CD ?
Piotr Luczyk - Personally, I prefer "Róze milosci..."
marked with an interesting climate and the edge. The compositions are
slightly slower but at that point the band could venture to depart from
the metal music standards. "Szydercze zwierciadlo" is the LP
I don't particularly like to comment on. It was conceived in the midst
of the conflict in the band and I'm not proud of it. The best album we've
ever recorded is the recent album – "Mind Cannibals",
which brings the listeners back to the times of "Oddech wymarlych
swiatów". After the vocalist replacement our music evidently
shone with different colors. It has become far more mature.
The band broke up a second time in
1999 because of the death of Jacek Regulski. At this time, did you think
that the band was dead and buried too ?
Piotr Luczyk - After "Szydercze zwierciadlo" release, the band
ceased its activities but the reason for it was not Jacek Regulski's death
but my absence from the tour promoting the album. The atmosphere in the
band was so tense that it was no use gigging together. Nonetheless, there
were some concepts of new tracks running through my head. So you can't
say that the band has ever been dead.
KAT did a comeback in 2002. Was it
because of still having the fire to play metal ?
Piotr Luczyk - My main target was to document the band's 20-year-long
enterprise. The tours we went on enhanced our position and were the great
base to release our DVD. As it turned out later, I reached my target,
playing together with Iron Maiden and put out "Somewhere in Poland
Why did you fire original drummer Iremeusz
Loth and original vocalist Roman Kostrewski in 2004 ?
Piotr Luczyk - Musically, we were poles apart and any attempt at creating
a good album together seemed futile. I'm not disclosing a secret by saying
that there was a constant difference of opinions between Kostrzewski and
me and Loth was outside the band even before recording "Somewhere
in Poland". We already selected a new drummer to take his place.
I think that the ultimate answer to the question why Kostrzewski is no
longer with us will be his new solo record, provided that it is ever completed.
You played a tour in Germany with Helloween
and Six Feet Under. How was this tour ? Don’t you think it was a
strange bill ?
Piotr Luczyk - It was definitely a strange bill because of stylistic and
textural differences between Six Feet Under and KAT's music but for us
it was mainly the opportunity to put ourselves to the test at the European
market. Generally speaking, we are very satisfied with the way the concerts
went. We have gained some experience, we are sure, to prove useful in
our next enterprises. Personally, I must admit that we got in close contact
with those bands' members and, what certainly surprised me, we were listening
to the same music genres while in private. Moreover, our perception of
the music genres was very much alike.
|Your last album "Mind Cannibals"
was recorded in 2005, with lyrics written in English. How does it sound
? How would you describe it ?
Piotr Luczyk - It is KAT's best album combining the musical roots with modern
sound, which resulted in 10 tracks that, out of all the songs this band
has ever recorded, I listen to most often. For the first time the instrumental
and vocal textures are interrelated, creating coherent and expressive unity
of the record. I incorporated the elements of Indian, African and classical
music. The last of those was performed by an orchestra. The album is a mature
product of the band's musical experience lasting more than twenty years.
Let's talk about the future
of the band, how will KAT evolve in the near future and what are the next
Piotr Luczyk - The future is unknown. Nobody knows it and you can't seriously
answer the question like that (mmmhhh I was talking about band future
and not life future, I know you don't have a crystal ball to tell me what
the future will be hehehe-ed). Of course, we are going to play some concerts
and record new songs. I think, with the passage of time, we will keep
you informed on what is going on in the band. For the time being, we are
having the negotiations regarding "Mind Cannibals" license as
well as organizing new concerts.
Thank you for taking time to answer. If you have a last comment…
Slawek manager – Thanks a lot for being interested in our music.
We’ve only played twice in France in 2005 during our quite long
band history and so we're positively surprised that we're known there.
We would also like to thank everybody for being interested even though
there is no distribution of our albums in the West, so it probably takes
time and effort to get to know us. We're very pleased and impressed. Visit
our website (http://www.kat.com.pl) for more info and fresh news. We’re
planning to open an international online shop, so that fans from outside
of Poland could also enjoy the albums. Stay Metal and rock on !