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Błażej Malinowski – The greatest reward for me is that I can make a living from music

Błażej Malinowski b2b Claudio PRC @ Audioriver Festival (29.07.2023)
Błażej Malinowski b2b Claudio PRC at Audioriver Festival 2023. Photo: Underton

It doesn’t matter what your inspiration is or what instruments you use. What matters is truthfulness, consistency and knowing your audience. Błażej Malinowski, a long-time DJ and producer, talks about his approach to creating music and the values he has adhered to for years.

Dominic: Tell me something about today’s performance. This was your fifth time at Audioriver. How would you compare it to the others?

Błażej: I never compare performances, especially those with Claudio, because with him we have our own bubble in which we feel very comfortable. I must admit that I was a bit surprised today, because Claudio played the strongest selection since we have known each other, and almost a decade has passed since our first meeting. So we played quite hard and groovy for us. I try to make each performance unique and that’s how I approach all sets.

Dominic: How did you and Claudio PRC meet?

Błażej: I invited Claudio to Warsaw in 2014 for his first performance in Poland. I lost a lot of money on this booking, but that’s how we met. After the first meeting, our paths diverged for a short time, because he returned to Sardinia and I stayed in Warsaw. Two years later I moved to Berlin and Claudio was already there. From that moment on, we started meeting quite often. After some time (along with Ness) they released my music on The Gods Planet. I have gained a lot of support from Claudio over the years and we are still friends.

Dominic: Do you feel better at festivals or in clubs? Do you have any favorite spots?

Błażej: But I think I like clubs the most. Such intimate places, where there is no big stage and I am close to people. For me, this unwritten energy between the artist and the audience is important, so clubs allow me to feel it in a very intense way. At festivals, I don’t always see if people are having as much fun as I am:)

Dominic: Do you prefer to play sets or live acts? Have there been any transformations in your approach to performing over the course of your career?

Błażej: I’ve been through everything. I started 19 years ago as a vinyl DJ. Later I started playing live with hardware, but it turned out that I wanted to do slightly different things than what my instruments allowed me to do at the time, so I switched to Ableton. Sometimes I use synthesizers in live acts, but ultimately the core of my live acts is Ableton. In the studio, I work in the digital sphere as well as on external instruments, but I do not focus on where the sound begins. What is important is the sound itself and where it comes from is of no importance to me. This transformation has been quite natural over the years and has allowed me to learn and discover a lot. Coming back to the question – after several years of playing only live acts, I also returned to sets and now I am very happy to perform in two versions. The sets gave me a lot of breathing space and pure joy after playing only my music for a long time. I simply needed balance and hence the return to my DJ roots.

In the context of the hardware vs. digital discussion, I believe that I am in a safe middle and both worlds are equally important to me.

Dominic: What hardware do you use in the studio?

Błażej: Synthesizers help me relax and come up with a sound that I couldn’t “click”, so hardware helps me when I don’t know where I’m going. This is where I start to come up with an idea for a song or album. Sometimes I make a piece in a completely digital space and sometimes on hardware. It is a matter of the day and the feeling of what a given instrument can give me at a given moment. I don’t want to think that it has to be just hardware or digital.

Dominic: Are today’s software synthesizers able to match physical machines?

Błażej: Of course. I know a lot of people who only work on computers and make such amazing music that at this point it doesn’t matter anymore. I admire people who are able to go deep into physical instruments. I am a producer who works very emotionally, so I don’t always have time to read instructions and figure out how to get something on the hardware. In the context of the hardware vs. digital discussion, I believe that I am in a safe middle and both worlds are equally important to me.

Dominic: Are there any artists who particularly inspire you? Do you ever think, “OK, this is something that aligns with my vision”?

I never had an idol. People who stick to their vision even though the scene and taste are evolving are my role models. If these artists can stick to their own no matter what, then for me this is an artistic path that I would like to follow and that has always inspired me. I don’t mean that a producer/DJ has to play the same thing all his life or stick to one sound, but rather about attitude, vision and development. This approach allows me to say that after almost 20 years, I did everything my way and did not make any artistic compromises. In music and art it’s a risky approach, but any other path doesn’t make sense to me.

My goal has always been to spend as much time in the studio as I can. Even if I feel like I have no inspiration, it is important for me to be in a place that is an enclave for me, where something creative can happen at any time. That’s why I don’t make music while traveling or in a café. I have always wanted to have this place that is mine, where I have everything I need to create. When inspiration comes, I am happy, I can be in my own space at that time.

Dominic: What would you consider your special achievement? Is it a specific release or maybe a performance?

Błażej: There were a few moments that I remember particularly well, but for me the most important thing in all this is constant work and coming up with new albums or projects. There are many people who start and end after the first obstacles that are an inherent part of this life. Continuity and almost maniacal, blind moving forward is very important to me and allows me to constantly develop without looking around. I sacrificed everything I could from the very beginning of my musical adventure. It turned out that after many years I can now make a living from my music. My days revolve around music, family and friends, which is the greatest reward for me. I hope I can do this until the end.

I don’t want to do events just for the sake of events, I want to do events with a specific line-up. I don’t want to make music, I want to make specific music.

Dominic: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

Błażej: If you don’t have anywhere to play, you have to try to throw a party somewhere, even in a bar, and invite people you value. This scene is dynamic and everything changes quickly. For me, the most important thing is consistency. The fact is that you have to put a lot of energy into it. What is also important is the idea, the idea for yourself and where this personal contribution will complement our scene. My approach hasn’t changed since the very beginning, so I still don’t want to do events just for the sake of it, I want to do events with a specific line-up. I don’t want to make music, I want to make specific music. I want to feel that I am fair to myself and fair to others. These are things that are important to me, but everyone has the right to choose their own path.

Dominic: Thanks Błażej, I wish you, as well as all more or less experienced DJs and producers, further challenges and successes, and above all, consistency in implementing them.


Instagram: @blazejmalinowski

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