Music of the 60s is their element. Energetic rock and roll and psychedelia in the style of The Beatles or the early Pink Floyd's music is seasoned with amazing vocal harmonies.
The young Trójmiasto-based band also pulls from contemporary influences, such as Australian psychedelic rock bands – Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – or Chicago-based group Wilco, whose sound blends rock, alt-country and experimental music. At the beginning of their career, The Fruitcakes often searched for inspiration among the first Polish artists of rock and roll from the 60s and 70s.
The band was founded in 2011. Kuba Zwolan (born 23 September 1990) is the vocalist and lead guitarist. Lukas Tymanski (born 7 November 1991), who was raised in Switzerland and Germany and is the oldest son of Ryszard 'Tymon' Tymański, one of the most versatile artists in Trójmiasto, is the drummer. Przemek Bartoś (born 27 October 1988), who also played in Tymon Tymański's band Tymon & The Transistors, is the bass player.
Since 2013 Tomasz Ziętek (born 28 June 1989), who has also got his solo project The Ape Man Tales, has been playing the rhythm guitar. Ziętek is a famous actor. He played the roles of Jan Bytnar 'Rudy' in Robert Gliński's film Stones for the Rampart, Ronaldo in Marcin Wrona's Demon, and Paweł, the brother of Dawid Ogrodnik's character, in Silent Night by Piotr Domalewski.
After the debut album was recorded, the band was joined by the jazzman Szymon Burnos (born 4 February 1991), a pianist known from such bands as Tymon & The Transistors, Tomasz Chyła Quintet and AlgoRhythm. He is Włodzimierz Nahorny's student at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk and a proud graduate of the New York's School for Improvisational Music.
How did they meet? Lukas answered in the interview for the magazine 'Teraz Rock' (10/2017):
Marcin Gałązka [the guitarist of Tymon & The Transistors] does a good job in Słupsk. He helps the new bands, many of them owe him their formation. Przemek and Kuba started with him. I had a band in Germany, where I lived for 8 years and graduated from secondary school. I wanted to make music, but my friends treated it like a hobby and were planning to go to the university. Marcin told me that in Poland there were guys who also wanted to dedicate their lives to music and play. I thought that was my chance. I met Przemek and Zwolan and said 'Hey guys, do you want to form a band?'. They said yes. We played two songs and it was great.
In the same interview Ziętek added that the idea of creating a band occurred to him when he accidentally saw some well-known faces from Słupsk during a concert on Długa Street in Gdańsk.
In July 2017 the debut album of The Fruitcakes – 2 – was released by the Belgian label Play It Again Sam (PIAS). It was two years after the recordings were made. Their engineer and producer was Maciej Cieślak, the guitarist and vocalist of the band Ścianka. He is famous for using original, analogue equipment from the 60s and the 70s, and an elaborate sound. For the songs of The Fruitcakes he recorded quite a few piano parts. The mastering was made by Marcin Cichy from the duo Skalpel. All lyrics were in English.
What draws attention on the record is not only the sound, but also beautiful vocal harmonies and the melodies themselves. From the beginning of their career it was important for the musicians to ensure that each of them could sing. The effect of their work is excellent. One time they sound as sweetly as The Beach Boys, other times the sound is more gloomy, as in the early Pink Floyd music, with Syd Barrett still among the members. Bartoś explained in the interview for Fine Tune TV:
Each of us experienced longer or shorter episodes in music schools or, for example, school choirs. We also all participated in some instrumental lessons and different vocal workshops – some of them conducted by hermits from the borderland, others – by well-known figures from the music show business.).
The first official album of the band is called 2, because earlier, in April 2015, they unofficially self-published the record Cukier, ciastka, miłość. It was more attractive for the enthusiasts of such great bands of the Polish big beat as Skaldowie or Trzy Korony. The producer was also Maciej Cieślak. On 2 the band focused more on Anglo-Saxon inspirations.
Ziętek, when asked in 'Gazeta Wyborcza' about how he juggles acting with making music, said:
Now I'm more focused on music than on acting and this is a conscious decision. We worked a lot on the album and the time has come for intensive promotion. I can't let go now. I am a film actor, which requires dedication only for some time, while being a musician requires everyday work: I need to improve my skills, compose, write lyrics.
The band appeared in the film Polish Shit by Grzegorz Jankowski and Tymon Tymański. They played under the name Księgowi. The film was being created for many years and premiered in September 2014.
In November 2017 The Fruitcakes appeared in the programme 'Pegaz' in TVP Kultura. A few days later the whole concert of the band was broadcast in the programme 'Scena Alternatywna'.
The band played at OFF Festival in Katowice, Spring Break in Poznań, Slot Art in Wrocław, European Music Fair 'Co Jest Grane 24' in Warsaw and AlterFest in Mysłowice.
Written by Jacek Świąder, translated by MW, February 2018
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