On July the 15th Sexy Suicide played the concert at ‘Księgarnia’ Pub in Sosnowiec, promoting the debut album, Intruder, released in June 2016. Intruder.
Where Do We Come From?
England, beginning of 1980s. Punk rock in its original form had burnt out or gone back to the underground long before, and its most interesting offshoots disappeared with the death of Ian Curtis (Joy Division). The abandoned music stage slowly got filled with new people holding synthesizers rather than guitars in their hands. Soon the world of music began to spin right round to the rhythm of the songs by Depeche Mode, OMD or Soft Cell. More than three decades later, those days are stylishly evoked by Sexy Suicide. To check how they do it, we went to their concert at ‘Księgarnia’ in Sosnowiec, promoting the debut album, Intruder, released in June 2016.
Who Are We?
‘There was some stress’, says Bartłomiej ‘Poldek’ Salamon, half of the synthpop duo, born and bred in Sosnowiec, ‘When you play for your family and friends, you want everything to go down really well’.
‘Księgarnia’ is a small space, but that’s apparently even better for the disturbing atmosphere of music performed by Sexy Suicide. In any case, it’s easier for me to imagine them playing in a smoky little club in Hamburg during mid 1980s than at a big festival, although they’ve already played at a couple of festivals, too. We wait a bit for all technical issues to be solved and finally Marika Tomczyk, lead singer, and Poldek come on stage. Now there’s actually Kein Zurück.
Marika is the link between the band and the audience; Poldek, on the other hand, is focused on reproducing the sound as faithfully as it gets. Before Sexy Suicide reach your ears, they attract the eyes first: their distinct ‘gothic’ image is further enhanced by the fragments of old movies displayed on the screen that go well with the duo’s music: dancey and catchy on the surface, easily meeting expectations of the audience spinning to the rhythm of subsequent songs. After all, it’s Friday evening, and we all wanna take things easy. Friday I’m in Love. The songs of the duo, though, never hide their gloomy face too deep, and never let us forget about the dark roots of synthpop music. Such dualism: for we are dealing with…
… Sexy Suicide, which translates to Polish as seksowne samobójstwo. It is uncommon for a name of a band to match the atmosphere of music as well as it is in the case of Intruder. The word ‘sexy’ undoubtedly fits the lively rhythms, catchy pop tunes (in fact every chorus sticks in your mind) and strong, clear voice of Marika Tomczyk. Darker ‘suicidal’ ingredients include the obsessively pulsating synth bass and extended, disturbing keyboard sounds, reminiscent, for example, of Clan of Xymox, like on the album intro, the stretchy Kiss of Winter.
A characteristic element of many songs (Shame of Device, Afterlife) are ‘industrial’ interludes, imitating machine sounds.
‘When it comes to technical issues, to the sound layer’, comments Poldek, ‘the industrial region where I live favours finding interesting solutions. If you remember the cracks and thumps in songs such as People Are People or Master and Servant by Depeche Mode (the band which is another clear inspiration for Sexy Suicide), you will know what I mean.
Most songs on the album are vigorous invitations to half-dark dancefloors (Afterlife, Dangerproof), the exception being the reflective ballad 4 You, sung by Marika together with Jakub Radomski from the band Keira Is You. However, the overall sound of the album is dark but lively, and obviously classic, very 1980s-like. Sexy Suicide do not discover unknown musical horizons, but what they achieve is done with class and charm.
Where Are We Going?
Thirty years ago, songs like Never Forget or Shame of Device could easily dominate the charts. Do they still have a chance these days? Well, listening to the songs presented in major TV and radio stations, it’s hard to be an optimist. It would be good, though, to find a place on the market for the music offered by Sexy Suicide, which is interesting and stylistically coherent.
What comes next? Poldek reveals a little:
‘Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of things that are less accessible for an average listener, industrial/darkwave stuff whose style is close to what is currently going on in my brain, in connection with the material that I’m going to start working on in the autumn.
At this point, though, it’s worth getting familiar with the album Intruder and see the duo live. The next opportunity in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie is on 15 October 2016, when the band plays at Latawiec in Będzin, during Depeche Mode ULTRA Party.
Which places in Sosnowiec are important for Poldek?
I’m afraid that half of them no longer exist. I’m very nostalgic and everything related to Sosnowiec is important for me. I could definitely mention Osiedle Piastów, the place where I spent my childhood, my youth, where I grew up; Stawiki and the alley with the ‘second bench on the left’; the pier that no longer exists; Park Kruczkowskiego that we used to call ‘Leon’; the area near Egzotarium; the non-existent tennis courts near training pitches next to the Stadium – these are the places where I’d sit with my friends and do everything for the first time; also the defunct club U Desmonda at ul. Dekerta where we were Szczepan’s guests :).
Speaking of creative inspiration, important are the spots that I visit to get sounds when working on music: park in Sosnowiec-Kazimierz; surroundings of the old railway station Sosnowiec Południowy at the end of ul. Koscielna, near ul. Naftowa; and many others. There are also areas where I simply like to take a walk or sit down, for they have some impact on me. These would be the remains of Sosnowieckie Odlewnie Staliwa, established a long time ago by the Woźniak family, where my grandmother used to work back in 1970s and 1980s; four cemetries adjacent to them, between Pogoń and Rudna, where I have my favourite alleys, or even grave statues that I like sitting next to. When I was a student, I’d often come to take photos of these places.
Marika Tomczyk (vocal), Bartłomiej Salamon (synthesizers, sampling, programming)
Venue: Księgarnia Sosnowiec
Date: 15 July 2016
Photos: Paweł Matyjaszczyk, Fotografia Rafał Opalski, Radek Struzik Fotografika – rstruzik.com
Photo editing: Fotografia Rafał Opalski
Text: Tomasz Grząślewicz