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Kajetan Wolas – It’s never too late

Kajetan Wolas is one of those artists of the younger generation you can’t pass by indifferently. Lyrically, he would touch even the toughest, while vocally, he gives the impression of craving ever-new solutions. I invite you to the transcript of the conversation we had the opportunity to conduct on the occasion of the release of the EP “SAD,” created in collaboration with the producer Magiera.

In your lyrics, you address topics related to self-acceptance. Is authenticity an important part of your work?

In general, I like everything natural the most. For example, recently I decided to start doing sports training, and here too I have such an approach that I prefer to exercise harder than to pump myself with supplements. Such naturalness also helps me a lot mentally because when I think about our ancestors, they definitely had their problems too. For instance, they used to walk 100 kilometers a day, everything hurt them, but they still lived on. When I had a recurrence of panic attacks this year, I would go back in my thoughts to the fact that people once had worse living conditions, yet they coped. I had to find a switch in my head that would bring me back down to earth. I realized that it’s just me convincing myself of how many things need to be done, when in reality everything is okay.

I think, generally, as humans, we tend to exaggerate our overwork.

There is something to it, because when I worked in a restaurant kitchen during the summer, I know that in more intense moments, I could convince myself that I couldn’t cope with anything and I was completely exhausted. In reality, all I needed to do was to do my job, and everything was fine. Such more intense days actually happened once in a while, and yet in many places or corporations, people work at such a high pace day in and day out. You just need to break through this barrier, experience those moments, and simply survive them. With each barrier broken, we become better, but it requires an awareness of our own abilities. It’s also worth definitely looking for things we are good at.

Such an approach is more of a sign of our generation, which is not afraid, for example, to change jobs that do not suit them.

I try to make my friends aware of the same thing, those who complain about their jobs. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Talk to your boss or change jobs. It’s nothing strange not to know what you want to do by your 30s or even 40s. There are so many possibilities, it’s worth just looking around. You can quit your job, find a new one in a completely different industry, move abroad, come back after a few years, and no one will look down on you for it.

Supposedly, it’s better to regret trying than not trying at all.

Exactly. Unfortunately, this is something that has only now penetrated the awareness of many people. My parents’ generation often says in hindsight that they could have done this, that, and the other. And I say to that, “then do it.” There’s always a right time. It’s never too late.

I see that you have a great awareness of many topics. I guess I understand where the lyrics in your tracks come from now.

Thank you very much. The material on this EP is actually my first attempt at writing lyrics in Polish. I don’t hide that to some extent I draw inspiration from Vito Bambino’s lyrics. Previously, I only wrote in English, but I’m glad I finally broke through. Collaboration with Bartek Dziedzic also gave me a lot, for which I am extremely grateful. I remember that when I came to him, I tried to write overly complicated lyrics, using only difficult words, and so on. Bartek then told me that I’m a young, simple guy, and that’s how my lyrics should be too. It gave me a lot. Additionally, I started writing about topics that I didn’t live through initially. They were in my head, but it was some part of me that I had already worked through some time ago. It was always hard for me, for example, to communicate with my friends, because on one hand I was educated in private schools, and on the other hand, I lived in an ordinary neighborhood where kids didn’t consider more difficult topics. Looking back on it now, I think it’s probably the best mix in the end, because thanks to the private school, I became a more emotional person, and thanks to living in a typical neighborhood and seeing my parents, who worked hard every day, I now know how much work it takes to achieve something.

It’s interesting how different environments have different cultures and ways of being. However, it seems to me that expressing emotions is a big problem in both. In wealthy families, many things are replaced by money. Neighborhood environments, on the other hand, teach more about being tough than sensitive, and parents often don’t have time for their children because they work to make ends meet.

That’s true. Therefore, in my opinion, money is still somewhat important in this world. It just depends on how you use it. For me, the most important thing is for it to provide me with mental comfort so that I can focus on things I really want to do. Currently, I’m in a state where I want to do everything I can to ensure this comfort. Every day, I come up with many ideas, so I’m very motivated to do as much as possible. I also know how hard my parents worked to earn something. How hard my grandfather worked, or how hard my friends work currently. I also want to get into this mode because I believe it teaches discipline, or even respect for other people.

Being in the “work mode” generally allows you to finish things more quickly because there’s no time for unnecessary pondering.

Yes, and I even had the opportunity to experience it myself. When I worked during the summer, things just went incredibly well for me. I’d come back home, fire up the recording software on my computer, grab my guitar or sit at the piano, and just record. I felt then that music was indeed what I wanted to do. It was most evident when, tired after work, I would sit down and come up with songs. I was very productive in that regard. However, during periods when I stayed more at home, such as during my panic attacks, I couldn’t write a single thing because my mind was overwhelmed with a hundred ideas at once. When I focused on something else and used that energy to do other things, music started flowing out of me effortlessly. When one has less time, they become more motivated, although I haven’t had a situation yet where someone imposed a deadline on me. It’s usually me who sets it because I wanted to make the most of the time when I was working with Bartek Dziedzic or Magiera. I remember when Magiera and I made some previews, we got the green light from the label for them. Magiera expanded the beat and sent it to me, and I wrote the lyrics to it. When I came to his studio, I decided that the track was just awful. So, I went back to the hotel, thought about it for a while, and went to some bookstore-café, played the beat, and just started reading a book. I wrote new lyrics in one go, and today that track is called “What Will Time Show?” It was indeed tough at times, but I always have in mind that I’ve been given a great opportunity and I want to make the most of it.

Your approach doesn’t surprise me, as many big names are intertwined with your music. Mentioned are Bartek Dziedzic and Magiera, but also there was Kuba Karaś, Patrick The Pan, and Majlo.

My encounter with Majlo is actually the foundation of where I am right now. During the pandemic, I was learning to sing in online classes with a brilliant singing teacher, Mrs. Kasia. It was she who sent me links to online singing contests with really attractive prizes. Because they were available online, I could sign up for a contest in any city in Poland. In the end, I won a contest in Elbląg, where the prize was a studio session with Majlo. So I went to Gdańsk, and we worked so well together that Majlo asked if I would like to be part of Sony. It was really nice of him. We even made a track together called “Disappointment,” which you can find on my SoundCloud.

(…) the next step towards success is self-awareness. (…)

And when you work so much with people who have been in the industry much longer than you, do you feel pressure to deliver something good with them, or rather do you feel that you’re in good hands, so you’ll definitely create something better than if you were doing it alone?

I don’t really feel pressure, but I aim to showcase myself in the best light possible. Regardless of who I’m working with, I strive to give it my all. Music is my main focus, it’s what I know best. Other things like TikTok are important to me, but music is my passion. Working with such experienced individuals makes me feel taken care of, because I know they are people who have achieved a lot in this industry. I learn a lot from them. During meetings with Bartek Dziedzic, 90% of the time was spent on conversations. Bartek shared his life lessons with me, and I felt like his student. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such experienced individuals. I came into the scene at the right time, when these experienced individuals were looking for young talents worth investing their time in. I believe this is also the key to staying at the top in this country. Additionally, when such people believe in you, as a young artist, you start to believe even more in your abilities. Of course, there are moments of doubt, but when I see feedback from people who listen to my music and say that it helps them, it gives me a lot of motivation to keep going. I believe that if I work very hard, in the future I will only work with the biggest artists. For example, someone like Magiera has already established his brand, with dozens of albums and many gold and platinum awards to his name, so at this point he can do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants, and no one will question his authority. At the moment, where I am now, I often have to compromise for the “greater good.”

Listening to your music and talking to you now, I feel that you are a really sensitive guy. Unfortunately, our world is constructed in a way that makes it a bit harder for such people because they are easier to hurt.

There is something to it, but I think I’ve been toughened up enough by my childhood that no hate scares me. My peers at school didn’t cut me any slack, they laughed at me and teased me. Thankfully, things were always fine at home, but every time I left the house or went to sports camps, I faced ridicule from my friends. That was the case throughout all stages of my education. Over time, it stopped hurting me, and now I even appreciate it when someone criticizes me in an original way. I just feel sorry for people who need to vent their frustrations on others to feel better.

The fact that your work evokes such extreme emotions in someone that they feel the need to express them online, I think that’s a considerable success. I guess the worst thing is to be simply mediocre.

Yeah, any controversy always holds up pretty well. I remember some time ago I recorded a video on TikTok where I sang in the subway at 1:00 PM. I got a lot of comments then, people saying they were coming back tired from work and some guy was screaming in the subway. They were not entirely right because it was noon, but I didn’t reply to any of them. The important thing was that they were writing at all.

I see that talking about your past and about hate doesn’t seem to cause much agitation in you. I guess you’ve worked through those issues quite well.

I think so. In reality, the EP “SAD” is my settlement with the emotional part of my childhood, where I depict that boy who would come home and cry into his pillow. He would go to camps where others would laugh at him. He didn’t really have anyone except his family; everyone turned away from him, no one wanted to invite him out after school. He had a kind of FOMO because he fought for recognition from his peers. That’s what this EP is about—the younger version of me, Kajtek. I’ll definitely revisit this in the future when I realize more things. There’s a track on it, “Będzie lepiej, będzie gorzej” where I, a bit older, notice how messed up the world is. How people lie to each other, then shake hands when they go out with friends, only to gossip about you behind your back later. You see that and you think you don’t want to live like that. There’s also the track “To miejsce” where I come to terms with concepts like derealization or depersonalization. And there’s “SAD” where I appreciate my relationships with my friends but start to become an individual entity. If you still want to be friends with me, I’ll treat you with the same respect you give me. However, if something doesn’t suit you, then our paths must diverge. I always prefer clarity over having many friends who gossip about me behind my back. With this EP, I’m simply leaving behind a stage that I’ve already worked through, and currently, there’s no need for me to revisit it.

I’ll touch on the track “To miejsce” here then. In it, you throw a verse about fear being your main theme. So, on one hand, you’re confident about what you want to do, but on the other hand, are you afraid of tomorrow?

Yes, I was scared, and I still am, although now it has transformed more into curiosity about what might happen. Fear used to live within me, and even last year, I experienced a recurrence of depression and panic attacks. I thought I would never overcome it, but running came to my rescue. Ironically, I started running only because I made a bet with my buddy. Currently, I have the attitude that even if I were to be left alone, I would fully accept it because I know it could be my only path. Running allows me to contemplate many things. I’m left alone with myself, and that’s the hardest part. However, I started to treat it as a game. Today, I know I will never give up. By delving into what I have in my head, I’ve learned discipline, and by talking to many experienced people in this industry, I’ve understood that the next step to success is self-awareness and the realization that a lot can be achieved with just one’s mind. The fact that last year I managed to overcome my problems for the first time made me feel satisfaction and I was happy that I worked through it all on my own.

So, one final question. Do you feel, being where you are, that you’ve already achieved something significant?

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve felt like I’m where I want to be yet. When I see my peers in this industry, I see how much I still have ahead of me. I don’t see it as a race, and I don’t wish ill upon anyone. I think I actually support all the young artists around me because we’re all in this together. However, there’s that healthy sense of competition that drives me forward. The successes of others motivate me to keep working. I do my thing, and I don’t want to waste time being envious. It’s true, people weren’t kind to me when I was a kid, but that’s why now I don’t want to be like them to others. However, if there’s ever someone who tries to give me a hard time, I have enough resilience in me now that I definitely won’t back down.

IG: @kajetan.wolas

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