The interview with Ostry is a real challenge. First of all, you can immediately throw away a sheet of paper with previously prepared questions, because the conversation with the rapper and producer goes into such surprising topics that it is hard to predict them. And secondly, asking Ostri a question is an art in itself – it’s hard to interrupt his verbosity, especially since the artist raises extremely interesting topics.
However, Artur Wróblewski managed to ask Ostry at least a few questions and get a few answers from him, including his collaboration with Emade as part of the POE project, his highly successful solo album “7,” and his peculiar attitude toward journalists. Apart from that, a whole spectrum of topics was discussed: from jazz, through politics, to soccer.
You took to the album “7” after completing recordings with Emade for the album “Szum rodzi hałas”. How did this experience influence your latest album?
Every record teaches you something. No matter if I record it alone or with someone else. When it came to Emade’s collaboration, the lesson was that he didn’t interfere with my part at all and I didn’t interfere with his. We just had to trust each other. With our artistic and stage experience, we were able to do something together, not sitting on it together, but working separately. He handled the beats and I handled the lyrics.
However, experience working on records isn’t measured in the same way as, say, a football or teaching internship. In the case of POE, it was my first time working with someone who does the backing tracks for my lyrics, because I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with a producer other than myself before. That’s why it was important and crucial for me. I had to trust Piotr and just as I had little to say in the sphere of beats, he had little to say in the sphere of lyrics. But the other thing is that even if I had something to say, I still wouldn’t change anything. Because I liked everything (laughs).
Piotrek is one of the best producers we have now and that taught me a lot. And also concerts. Adapting to stage improvisation, we showed something live which people could expect at the concerts of Ninja Tune performers. A total jazz and hip-hop departure in the musical and harmonic sense. Also in the vocal sense.
I could talk a lot about it. We managed to climb, both with concerts and the album, to the level we had dreamed of. For ourselves. It was about reaching a certain level of skill.
Inaccessible to most Polish hip-hop artists.
Unfortunately, there are not so many people in Poland who are into hip-hop that would appreciate it. There are no enthusiasts who would sit and wonder where to get the records from. We are still members of the old school that had little equipment and used 150 percent of it. We were betting on invention, we were developing new patents and we wanted them to be heard.
You talked about a jazz departure. There’s not much jazz on “7”, at least in the classical sense of the term.
And I think there is more jazz there than on any of my previous records (laughs). The question is, what is jazz? This concept is hard to define. But it is following the rhythm of a certain harmony. Hip hop harmony can’t be different from jazz, because great jazz artists, like Michał Urbaniak or – I’ll go even higher – Miles Davis, claimed that hip hop is the future of jazz. And it’s not right for me to say otherwise.
On “7” the instrumentation may be poorer, there may not be as many instruments as on my previous records. But all this does not mean that this record is less jazz-like than the previous ones. Because there is more jazz in it than on the earlier albums, despite their titles. All the beats were played by hand, I created melodies and then I put drums under it.
I will emphasize that on the album there is a very important cooperation between vocals and beats and nothing happens there without a reason. A lot of the numbers show jazz harmonics. They are all derivatives of jazz chords. But maybe you had that feeling because the sound is very modern and the drums are massive. It’s such an illusion that this album is hip-hop to the max. But it is jazz. I’m glad that people who don’t deal with music the way I do, i.e. notes, sounds and instruments, won’t notice that and will take “7” for a very hip-hop album.