Tomasz Frankiewicz, the one-man band from Poland
Tomasz Frankiewicz is a one-man band who plays the guitar, bass, drums, piano and sings. We always love the chance to talk to a multi-instrumentalist who’s dedicated to their craft. Tomasz is very inspired and listens to a variety of music, producing clever tunes on a simple setup. However, he eschews playing live in favor of staying in the studio up to the late hours of the day, harnessing technology to turn its potential into compelling musical compositions. Read our interview with Tomasz to enter his mind and catch a glimpse of his creative process.
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?
Hello! My name is Tomasz Frankiewicz. I started piano lessons at age 9 and quickly developed my interest in the 80s heavy metal boom. Growing up in the golden era of metal music had a great impact in my future production as a musician and multi-instrumentalist, but it was not the only inspiration, as studying music gave me a chance to fall in love first with classical and then blues, jazz, and electronic music. I think I just react to music, the whole body and mind absorb it and contract with emotions. Music, in my opinion, is a special emotional communication channel between the composer and the listener.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
I am very unstable in my work. Having so many sources of inspiration, listening to very different music genres, I am trying to connect them in something that belongs only to me. It is true to say I had no intention to publish my work at first. One could say it was a coincident. I started playing in a band as a teenager in the 90’s trying different instruments. With my band, we got a few gigs and really enjoyed making music, but there were no good times to record it. We were poorly equipped. You must know it was Poland just after the big political and social transformation and people were very poor.
Anyway, I left my home town and started university – this was the end of my early musician stage and for some time there were different things that I had to do. But I always play some instruments and practice a bit. The real change happened just recently when I settled up in a small village in south England. I could go back to my instruments and started playing again. I was not looking for a band to join. I just wanted to play for fun for myself, but I had to find a way to record it, so I could enjoy playing along. With very simple equipment and a laptop I managed to start recording and quickly realised the great potential within all the new technology.
Soon after that I had a small home studio and started recording on my own. At the beginning it was just for fun and experimenting with software and midi keyboard, together with a simple electronic drum set and guitar was all I needed. I shared the early records with some of my friends and to my surprise, they liked it. One of them encourage me to publish it on Youtube, so I did and got lots of support from people who found my music online. That was how the demo album has been made. I called it later Dark Matter, and it’s still the purest and most natural of my compositions, without any subconscious pressure and free from any thinking about how my music would be taken by potential listener.
This was also the time I didn’t care much about mistakes and didn’t even bother to correct anything. Music just happened to me and compositions were improvised one after another. Lyrics and vocals came naturally to me as well. I really like this album, even with all the mistakes I am aware of now and being very far from perfection. Next album was made in a very similar way, but music was inspired by dark ambient mostly. Still, you can listen to the early version available on YouTube. The problem struck me from the point I wasn’t expecting it. When you create music, you should label it with some genre. I wasn’t sure what I play and I am still not sure!
You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?
Well, it’s harder now, when I know people will be listening to my music. I know my fans are waiting and I don’t want to disappoint them, but it also has it’s negative effect in creativity as I now have to consider how good my music is technically, too. This can be a serious problem and affect many people whose expectations are higher than their actual skills. This is a big problem for a one man band like myself. Now I have to think about recording guitars, bass guitar, drums, piano, and do vocals.
To keep it all on a good technical level is a big challenge. I didn’t think about it at all when starting recording, but it also became the only way I can fully express myself, without anybody else interfering. I just have to accept the compromise as my music will never be technically as good as if I specialise in one instrument. In return I get full control of the whole composition.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
Not at all. I play music that is difficult to fall into any specific genre. I like to create without any frame and I don’t know what my next album would be like. It does mean I can’t belong to any community and feel very loose connected with the main inspiring music genres. I don’t know if it’s good or not. It is what it is and I am accepting all negative and positive consequences of this situation. I love to be multi-genre, not being strictly categorised and free in making music I feel at the moment. The next album is a lot heavier and much more metal than anything I reordered before, but what I will do in the future I don’t really know yet.
What is your all-time favourite record and how did it change you as an artist?
There is no such a thing, In my lifetime I had moments I only listened to classical music or only metal. In every genre, I can find pieces that I consider equally important in shaping what I am doing as an musician, composer and instrumentalist now. Music is a journey in a lifetime. We go through and music is a good companion, but music can not be considered as a single note played separately. It makes sense only when notes comes and goes with time. That means it has to become a past, a history one day and there would be another one for the time being.
What are your favourite software and hardware tools for music production?
I love discovering new things. Making and recording music can be done relatively inexpensive now, compared to just a few decades back in time. I think I have now all I need to produce good quality mixes. I am using Focusrite USB interface, I love my Boss GT8 guitar processor and Ibanez SD bass guitar. I also tried lots of software, but really like recording with Reaper. The most important are headphones and studio monitors. I use AKG and Beyerdynamic as well as KRK Rokit. The most expensive is my drum set. I upgraded my basic Roland kit to a 2Box set with extra pads and double pedal. I don’t like typing midi. I want to play all notes by myself. I wish to buy a new guitar one day, but I think I have no urgent need to upgrade now.
What is your songwriting process like?
Very different. It usually starts with some general inspiration of what I wish to do and then I sit on the keyboard looking for a melody or main line. Recently, more songs start with guitar riffs or bass lines. I just allow music to come to me if it wants, if not I am patiently waiting. Lyrics and vocals are the last things I consider. They are not the most important to me. I think music can speak for itself. Vocals are just a part of it, another instrument, one could say. My lyric inspirations are also very different — from science and philosophy to religion and history. I think playing metal requires a level of anger or rebel. I can feel more into admiration of nature and acceptance of whatever comes, so I can’t be a proper metalhead I guess.
Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
I used to play live as a member of a band in the 90’s and it was always a big stress to me. Now I don’t do live shows and I don’t know if I would enjoy it. Maybe someone would invite me, but it is not a great show of one man on the stage, playing on a computer.
What is your biggest musical goal?
As I mentioned earlier, to me making music is a goal for itself. I am free in my productions, I do official releases and I promote my music, but I don’t have any big expectations or plans. I just enjoy what I am doing, having fun building my home studio and learning a lot about playing, composing, mixing and mastering.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
I found Drooble on Facebook and thought it is just another platform for musicians to promote their music. I thought I should be there too, but didn’t realise how quickly I will switch my online time to Drooble exclusively. I am new here though. Just joined a month ago, but I really enjoy it and I am predicting a great success for this platform in the future. It is very different and unique, has a fantastic team which responds to inquiries and private messages, showing interest in making this place very special and user-friendly.