Interview with Muzozoic – modern jazz-funk sonorities from Poland
di Giovanni Panetta
Interview with Łukasz Świderski and Tomasz Maryniak about the Polish trio Muzozoic, a part of discography and next news. New jazz sound from Eastern Europe.

Fuzock cover. Artwork by Martyna Maryniak.

Muzozoic is a Polish trio from Łódź which explores jazz-funk sonorities following their past experience in a grunge band. The band is formed by: Tomasz Maryniak (bass guitar, warr guitar, fretless, trombones, voice), Konrad Maryniak (guitar, guitar synth) and Łukasz Świderski (drums, vibraphone, voice). In July 2023 the second album, called Fuzock:, was released by the national label Oskar, where Przemek Pogocki collaborated at guitar.

Fuzock is characterized by a variability where and jazz and funk creativity is combined with a jingle-form sound which recall classical music from Eastern Europe, like peculiar compositions by Igor Stravinskij and Petr Tchaikovsky. A typical example is Telegram from Palermo from Fuzock, where a day-to-day living field recording acts as prologue previous to a bright and warm musical expression in the sign of Eastern-European represented by the Polish composer Henryk Debich or the Polish Radio Orchestra.

Following the interview with Łukasz Świderski and Tomasz Maryniak about their Muzozoic project, a part of discography and next news.

So, let’s start to talk about you beginning. How did the ideas behind your project and your fusion sound?

Łukasz Świderski: “Before we started to play as a Muzozoic, we had more „rocky”, „grunge” sound with some progressive elements. We recorded and performed as a band „Helikopter” with two guitars (Konrad Maryniak and Bartosz Stępień) and three vocals (Marek Kowalczuk – lead vocal, Tomasz Maryniak and Lukas Swiderski backing vocals). Our „Helicopter” lended after one longplay, one EP and hundreds of gigs in Poland.
“Then, as a trio Konrad, Lukasz and Tomasz, we opened our drawers, found some „jazzy”, „fusy” (fusion) ideas and we started to play music we love more, which requires from us more musical, technical and filling skills development, which open our familiar musical spaces and lead to new areas and corners.”

Your second album Jazock?, which is previous to Fuzock, your last work, is in the sign of a jazz sound influenced by much recent poetry which taps into math rock and post-rock. In the firstly cited record high tones and a certain brightness domain with an energy which is typical to your writing and performing execution. So, can you talk about this aspect and the passage between the second and third work?

Łukasz Świderski: “Yes, you’re right. Jazock as our first LP (after EP Telepatologika) is more „bright” because of two reasons: first you can find immediately – it is a sound production, witch is a Tomasz’s domain. His production skills between our first EP and first LP simply… skyrockets. On the other side, I supposed, you can hear Jazock’s brightness in other aspects, for example compositional and arrangemental. Also, you can hear more transparency and precision – maybe because of Tomasz’s fascination of contemporary music styles and techniques, as a punctualism or serialism… On album “Jazock?” Tomasz is a composer of Metropolis, Mastodont and Counting-out Rhyme, so you can hear straight influence of contemporary music styles in his songs.
“Probably on Telepatologika and Jazock you can hear more math-rock and post-rock because of our Helikopter’s rock history. On Fuzock, our last album, we are definitely more jazzy.”

Fuzock is interesting for a more old-fashioned approach, a living groove, and exciting writing. Can you talk about these elements that happened in this work?

Łukasz Świderski: “Thank you very much for your positive opinion. I think Fuzock is our the most “integrated” and mature work… Still it is our most recent album.
“At the beginning of our “jazzy” way, we asked our audience about our style… Then we get very motivating and uplifting answers. So, I supposed, the reason of artistic success of Fuzock lies in an accomplishment our previous works and very good reception and opinion of Jazock. It gave us self confidence as a jazzmen and bravery to write our songs more free, freed and perky – we stopped being afraid to come in and become part of jazz world.”

Muzozoic. From left to right: Tomasz Maryniak, Łukasz Świderski and Konrad Maryniak.

The first track called Oberek Goes Dakar taps into Dave Brubeck’s poetry for its main riff (which is evident at the beginning), evolving itself into a jazz-funk sound with modern, organic tonalities. The funk sound has a diversified character, which gives an important added value in terms of a heterodox contribution in the sign of much-dilated music. So how did these elements happen in your music and Fuzock?

Tomasz Maryniak: “Indeed, the main motif may be associated with Brubeck’s “Take-Five”, it is similar there – a syncopated rhythm. The main war guitar part is constructed in such a way that the left hand – playing the lower bass part – and the right hand – playing the upper part, strike alternately, which gives it a piano-like texture. Synthesizers provide an enriched sound. I use imitation hammond organs and rhodes pianos. I do it so that the original sound of the warr guitar can be heard simultaneously with the sound of the synthesizer, which gives the impression of a large space. In Oberek, next to dynamic fragments, there is lyricism, next to traditional tonality, there is a whole-tone scale, and next to traditional music there is free jazz. It is quite obvious that a piece so formally complex requires the use of a wide palette of timbre. Our Oberek is similar to an opera overture where the composer presents themes, sounds and melodies that will appear later in the work. That’s why we put this song at the beginning of the album. It is also worth mentioning the inspiration from folk music – Oberek is a lively Polish folk dance.”

Red Cat Samba has an involving South American sound influenced by jazz creativity. Everything is focused on rhythmic moves by instruments combined with a melodic energy with vivid colors. This track represents one of your hits for its peculiar writing, underlining a certain writing, between pop and intelligent sound. Can talk about how this song was born?

Tomasz Maryniak: “It’s a big compliment when someone says our music is intelligent – thank you! Creating “Redcat” was great fun and was shared by all team members. At the beginning there were fretless passages, then a humorous dialogue with Konrad’s guitar in a country style. In the chorus, the overlapping parts create a polyphony that is pleasant and transparent to the listener. The song contains a motif from a popular children’s song in Poland.
“This is our joke and a nod to the youngest listeners. The rhythm of our samba is unusual – it is performed in fives, which is thanks to Lukas. “Red Cat Samba” is our most cheerful song. Each of us left a lot of personal positive energy in it, so when we perform it live we have as much fun as the audience.”

Fogs and Hazes and Follow My Way Again have an oblique, odd rhythmic part in addition to a more dilated jazz writing. They are surely two surprising outliers in this last part of your record, giving everything a certain broadly speaking plastic touch. Talking about these dilations, how did happened this element in your music?

Łukasz Świderski: Very often composing is like picking fruits. We don’t create them. We just collect them as they are, exactly what fell from the tree. So, you get the feeling, that the song already exists, you just have to write it down… Thats why, for some songs, it is hard to explain and find the precise answer… Sometimes certain part is about a burst of energy, sometimes about calming down, sometimes, while writing a song, you can see in your imagination a kind of quick bicycle trip into the unknown, so you want to translate that “movie” into music language. Sometimes you come up with a piece as if you were painting, composing a picture. Sometimes you need few moments of trance or nice background for the guitar solo part…”

Conversations is the final track in Fuzock, between jingle-jangle, angular riffs, and similarity to the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Moreover, progressive sound is dominant in this track because of its diversification and complexity in the writing. So, how did this attitude on several characters happen in this piece?

Tomasz Maryniak: “This is one of our early compositions. It consists of three motifs worked in different ways. The first theme is funky in nature and is played backwards and in inversion, just like in serial music. These modifications overlap, creating an impression of anxiety and chaos. At this stage it is not a conversation, but rather an argument. The theme of “Mahavishnu” is an extensive progression. The sounds harmonize with each other, but build tension by climbing higher and higher registers until the culmination. The third theme brings calm, but then it develops, grows and ends with improvisation. “The idea was for these three different conversations to meet in the finale. The progressive sound is due to the synthesizers connected to the warr guitar – it fits the extensive form of the song. In Conversations, we managed to combine different musical styles into a coherent whole and this is a very good summary of Fuzock.”

Finally, can you talk about the next news about the live set or following records?

Łukasz Świderski: “We have a lots of ideas written down. I’m sure, It will be enough for few albums. So, what you can expect? Maybe you noticed two “postal songs” on Jazock and Fuzock: first is a “Postcard From Paris”, second is a “Telegram From Palermo”. Third, on our next album, will be “Answer From Warsaw”, which is done alredy. At the end of “Answer” will be a “party-part” with sounscape recordings from… Let’s leave it as a secret!”

Tomasz Maryniak: “I have an idea for a series of pieces whose common feature is “symmetry”. This means continuing to play with sounds, emotions and musical colors and styles. The song sketches are successful, so the idea is worth continuing.”

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