Poland has been experiencing a musical renaissance of sorts in recent years: a variety of new up and coming labels have helped pioneer a talented wave of musicians on the international circuit. Amongst them is the Transatlantyk record label which has been responsible for releasing music by the likes of Ptaki, Selvy and Lutto Lento amongst many others.
The sound of the label is prominently rooted in house music but often meanders through alternate landscapes in the form of dub, balearic and ambient. Formed in 2014 it has become an imprint with a distinct identity and a prominent sense of self amidst a country which is still very much finding its feet musically.
Formed three years ago by Zambon he describes the inspiration behind the label as the "sound of a washing machine on an early morning in July 2014." Naphta was the first artist to grace the label, a Polish musician who has also been affiliated with the likes of Studio Barnhus and Omena. Zambon describes a new wave of Polish musicians and disc jockeys striving to make their name heard amidst an international crowd.
"Poland has two faces, the community has never seen so much talent. There are lots of gifted people like Universo, Lutto Lento, Tamten, Das Komplex, Poly Chain, Freux, Aheloy!, Dj Szy, Random Code,Yamaha Freeride, K-Hole etc. However, on the other hand most of these people barely have a chance to play or show off their skills because good clubs are in very short supply these days. Clubs with good soundsystems with thorough booking policies and regular audiences are almost non existent. There isn't even one place that I would say i'm excited to play at.
Every time I try to run a party i’m mostly fearfully hoping somebody will show up. On top of this there is only a very small audience that listens to this kind of music in Poland. "Techno” is doing great but all the “soft” stuff which leans more towards house/ disco/ ambient/ cosmic/ balearic is and never was hyped. Add to this that there is almost no media in Poland which writes or reports on electronic music and the whole equation becomes pretty sad."
From the outside looking in you might not be familiar with the current climate within Polish electronic music. Transatlantyk as a label for example appears to be very succesful. However, Zambon insists that there is far more work necessary.
"We need good clubs and some fresh media outlets in Poland. Second of all we should try harder to “advertise” ourselves in the west. A big problem with the scene is that everybody wants to make it big abroad. I don't blame them but lots of people don’t know how the “industry” works. It’s not enough to simply release something on vinyl. Lots of the producers think that if they get an EP out everybody will book them. They don’t understand that coming from Poland you need to be three times as active as lets say a producer from the UK to gain anything… We have like 40 years to catch up + the market is more saturated with releases then ever..."
Zambon speaks honestly and with humble grace. His label is arguably one of the most interesting amidst the Polish electronic community yet he brings with him a great deal of modesty. He describes the roots of the imprint and his own personal aspirations for the label.
"Music constantly changes and my tastes change too - especially when it comes to club music. In the present I maybe wouldn't have put out some of the records that I have already. I'm definetly proud of all 3 albums I released with Ptaki, Naphta and Poly Chain. When it comes to EP’s I love Freux’s "Delfshaven EP" and also Lutto Lento’s “Mondo Hehe EP”. I still play both of them a lot.
There are no role models but I must say I like how Sex Tags runs things. Without any social media and all that shit. I’m just to afraid not to do it even though I really hate it."
The last point we touch upon is the visual identity of the record label. The aesthetic of each release is distinctive and cohesive, something which can be difficult to achieve as a label with varied personalities present on each project.
Aesthetic is important. Bartosz Szymkiewicz is the man who designed the logo and most of the releases for Transatlantyk. He is also responsible for the design of the record label The Very Polish Cuts. Now I also work with other artists like Zbiok and plan to do something with other people in the future."
Follow Transatlantyk on Facebook HERE.