Coals is not another typical ‘electronic duo from Poland’ or the next band the journalists have great hopes in. Even before their album was released, Kasia and Łukasz had caught the attention of a big group of fans, organisers of the most important Polish festivals, and professionals from the British magazine The Quietus and the American radio station KEXP.
After one of their festival performances, The Quietus described their music as ‘dreamy ethereal pop, drawing both from electronic music and elements of folk’. This is a surprising combination, yet clearly detectable in their songs. In interviews, the artists pointed to Dean Blunt as an inspiring artist representing the former genre, and to Kapela Maliszów as representatives of the latter. When it comes to pop, they even listed Miley Cyrus as an inspiration. Their own music is much milder, yet not devoid of emotion.
The vocalist and lyricist, who also authored some of the compositions, Katarzyna Kowalczyk, was born in 1994 in Gliwice. Encouraged by her music teacher, she started singing when she was fifteen. She also plays guitar (Kowalczyk looks up to the American vocalist, Cat Power), paints, and photographs. Coals is the first serious band she has been in.
The composer, keyboardist, guitarist, and producer Łukasz Rozmysłowski was born in 1995 in Mysłowice; currently he lives in Lędziny. The first instrument he learned to play was the piano and later, fascinated by folk music and YouTube covers of famous songs, he took up acoustic guitar, ukulele, and harmonica. Already before Coals was established, he was making his own music (as Coast Range) and he makes his living creating music and sound effects for computer games.
The two young musicians met during admissions tests to Katowice Film School. The band was established in June 2014, when Kowalczyk contacted Rozmysłowski with the intention of recording one song together. When they published their first recordings – the oldest one was Night Train – they were compared to The Dumplings, whose debut album came out in spring 2014. They’re similar to Coals as they also come from the Silesian agglomeration and – acording to the journalists – create melancholic electronic songs.
From that time on, Kowalczyk managed to sing at Daniel Spanielak’s album. She and Łukasz say they’re inspired by Sigur Ros, Maanam, but also Spooky Black and other soul and hip hop artists. The band Księżyc, also mentioned by Kowalczyk, seems to be a surprising reference point.
Four remastered song recorded by Coals in 2014 can be found on music websites. The band was to release an EP in the beginning of the year, but in the end they decided to go for an LP – in the summer of 2016, the band was still adding final touches to the material. As Katarzyna announced:
We don’t know when we are going to be done with the album, but we’re surely going to go for different vibes (we’re strongly inspired by Spooky Black, Dean Blunt, and Yung Lean), a lot of ambient, and piano. The album is going to present an image, hopefully an ambiguous one, of childhood. There’s going to be a bit about the times when everybody listened to Ich Troje, watched Rower Błażeja, and ate Lay’s crisps.
The band has been giving concerts since October 2014. Already in the spring of 2015 they performed at Alter Fest in Mysłowice and Spring Break in Poznań. The concerts were successful, as the band soon played at Open’er Festival in Gdynia, OFF Festival in Katowice, and Soundrive in Gdańsk. Their foreign debut took place in September 2015 at Fantoche Festival in Baden, Switzerland. In July 2016 they went to Positivus Festival in Latvia. They also took part in a session for the Seattle radio KEXP – its journalists compared Coal’s music to The xx and the bands representing the golden era of 4AD record label in the 80s.
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