In Poland we are not used to calling things by their proper names. Curses are offensive. We decorate everything with flowers and butterflies,” say Paulina Przybysz and Marek Piotrowski from the band Sistars.
Good morning: You have launched your new album. What will “A.E.I.O.U.” bring us?
Paulina Przybysz: – We didn’t try to make any reference to the previous album, nor to the requirements of the European Union or the critics’ expectations (laughs). This is a completely new chapter in our lives. We are more mature.
Marek Piotrowski: – Natalia came up with the title. A, E, I, O, U are vowels, the first and most important vibrations.
The first album “The Power of Sisters” turned out to be a revelation. But then you were debutants, now the expectations are higher.
M.P.: It’s a difficult moment. But let’s remember that we don’t make music in terms of people or criticism.
P.P.: The most important thing is the sincerity of our music.
It’s easy for you to say that, because everyone admired you: listeners, critics and stars such as Kayah, Ewa Bem, Zbigniew Holdys.
M.P.: And all my friends thought it wouldn’t sell (laughs). But let’s not exaggerate! We still don’t have the Golden Record.
The music you play has its roots in the USA. But the performance in front of the American audience is yet to come.
M.P.: American friends say that our music is interesting, peculiar, but it’s not very American! Others say that we bring wood into the forest. We’ll see. Maybe now, after the release of the next album, we can go there.
P.P.: It won’t work out because I don’t have a valid passport (laughs).
You are singing more and more in English.
P.P.: It’s just easier for us to sing and write lyrics in this language. Maybe because we listen to a lot of English language music and it is easier for us to get inspired.
Are you familiar enough with the language?
P.P.: Natalia has spent some time in the US. That’s our mainstay in English. I also write in English, although I only learned the language in school. We often ask friends, who study it intensively, about idioms and various phrases.
Critics say that your Polish texts are naive.
P.P.: Many well-known songs have very simple words, and they are treated as ambitious lyrics. Let’s translate the first song in English: “baby, what you give me, I’ll give you” and so on.
M.P.: The Polish lyrics from our previous album were received differently. Some people liked them, while others thought they were a bit cliché. Because we use the words “get lost” or “slut”.
P.P.: Whereas in English such expressions as “shit”, “bitch” or “mother fucker” don’t have a particularly big meaning. They simply express something bluntly and unambiguously. But in Poland, after the period of censorship, we are still careful with words. If we call a thing by its name, we decorate it with flowers and butterflies (laughs).
You got into show business early. Is that why you seem more mature than your peers?
P.P.: Maybe it’s due to cool parents? But I don’t feel particularly grown up.
Siblings often compete with each other, you play in one team. Is the power of sisters a marketing ploy?
P.P.: It was never that my sister and I sat down and came up with the idea that we wanted to convey feminist or some other content in our lyrics. We sing about what happens to us in life and what we feel. If we feel a sisterly bond, we sing about it.
Ladies from good homes sing music that comes from poor black suburbs. No one accuses you of being out of tune?
P.P.: Everybody experiences their story differently. Everyone has different feelings. Some people like to sing about their childhood, how bad it was for them, that they were inferior. Others sing about how much they want peace for the world or how much they love their boyfriend. Also, we’re not saying we’re from a poor house or that we’re hip.
But not from a rich one either.
P.P.: We grew up in Warsaw’s Bródno district in an old block of flats. But our parents sent us to music schools, we spent a lot of time in the theater and we were “unintentionally” infected with art.
M.P.: I am a blockhead from a small town and from a poor family. But I’m proud of myself because I got out of it and can earn ten times more than my father. I didn’t stay there and do things that don’t satisfy me.
You are fashionable now. Do you perform in cottage industries – at banquets and festivals?
P.P.: We take every proposal under a magnifying glass. I don’t think it’s disgusting that if you perform at a party, you are an uncool artist. You play for people and if the boss of the company invites you to a banquet, you have to be professional.
M.P.: There has to be the right amount of equipment. We require it to be as professional at Carnegie Hall as it is in Pszczyna.
Or in Sopot. Did you enjoy the artists’ performances at the festival?
M.P.: As for Mandarin, I’m embarrassed by how the media beat the lying man. She has feelings, too.
P.P.: It’s like the presidential election. First we vote for someone by buying their records, and then we resent them! And it is our own choice. We create our own idols and then we oppress them.
Joanna Rokicka interviewed
Who? Paulina Przybysz and her sister Natalia are the vocalists of Sistars. Marek Piotrowski is the keyboard player in the band, which also includes Bartek Królik, Przemek Maciołek and Marcin Ułanowski.
What have they done? Sistars is a musical revelation of recent years. The band has released two albums: “Sisters’ Strength” and “A.E.I.O.U.”. They won, among others, two Fryderyks for 2004 (Debut of the Year and Hip-Hop Album of the Year), I Prize at the Opole Festival, MTV Europe Music Awards. This year he received a Fryderyk in the Group of the Year and Music Video of the Year categories. He is also nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Polish Artist.
What do they like? Paulina loves eating popcorn in the cinema, Marek loves flying.