Polish, Fryderyk-Nominated Four-Piece BOKKA Discuss the Advantages of Being a Faceless Band
The masked faces of Poland’s BOKKA are just an introduction to the extraordinary story of a band that did not need to present individual names to create an identity. Having released three well-lauded albums and receiving two Fryderyk Award nominations, BOKKA returned in 2022 in a new form – all the while keeping those enigmatic identities disguised, of course – presenting their fourth album, a mysterious and apocalyptic collection titled Blood Moon. Inspired by the work of director, screenwriter, and friend of the band, Dorota Piskor, Blood Moon transported the four-piece on an imaginary journey to the day of the end of the world, which according to many legends and beliefs was to happen during an event known as the “Blood Moon”.
“So, nobody knows the identity of any of the band members?!” Yep. “And they intend to keep it that way?!” Yes – in fact, they particularly love being a faceless band.
2. Music comes first. It doesn’t matter who you are or how you look. Music is powerful, it does something to your brain and heart. It doesn’t need any additions. It’s enough in itself.
3. The unknown is thrilling. When something is covered, your imagination goes wild. We like to think that our fans have a great collection of beautiful images of us in their minds.
4. No one bothers you. If you experienced fame, you'd find out that it can be exhausting and distracting. Being faceless you rarely give interviews and don’t have to be in places just to be seen. You have much more time, and there are just so many things to watch online, right?
5. It looks cool. Our masks are small pieces of art. We could write about the inconveniences of playing in them, but we would come to the same conclusion: we just look so cool that it doesn’t matter that we can barely see and that getting onto the stage we probably look like a bunch of geriatrics...
Appearing almost out of nowhere thanks to 2013’s ‘Town Of Strangers’, which subsequently found its way onto the band’s full-length debut album, BOKKA has become a bright new spot on the map of emerging Polish bands. An unconventional approach to both their image and music-making, best proved by the use of unconventional instrumentation often consisting of random objects, quickly became a hallmark of BOKKA – a group whose potential was quickly recognized outside their home country. After a sold-out tour and playing at the biggest national festivals, the band performed on stages at multiple and significant events across Europe, including the Czech Republic’s Colours of Ostrava, Germany’s Reeperbahn, the Netherlands’ Eurosonic, as well as the UK’s The Great Escape.
In 2015, BOKKA presented their second album, Don’t Kiss And Tell, which went on to receive a Fryderyk nomination in the Album of the Year (Electronic and Alternative) category – the Fryderyk Awards being one of the most important events within the Polish music industry (think what the BRITs are to the UK, what the GRAMMYs are to the US).
Life On Planet B (2018) is the band’s third album. The material was created in collaboration with Daniel Walczak, who became the co-producer of the release having previously worked on the recording of albums by Curly Heads, Dawid Podsiadło, and Grzegorz Hyży. The album was recorded in Little Studio in Konstancin and Custom 34 Studio in Gdansk, and was also nominated for a Fryderyk Award in the Alternative Album of the Year category. The following year brought a digital release of a remixed EP, Satellites of Planet B, for which BOKKA invited Dave Pen (Archive), Yasuaki Kato, NOËP, and The KVB to share their unique visions of the band’s songs.
On their latest offering, the cinematic Blood Moon released via [PIAS] Poland & Eastern Europe, the band commented: “Blood Moon has different melodics to anything previously created by BOKKA, a leisurely tempo, and narration. The heroes of our story, in the wake of the impending cataclysm, become overwhelmed by their private emotions, dilemmas, vain decisions, as well as considerations on the meaning of life. The sense of guilt is so strong that the prospect of the end of the world appears to be the only hope of rescue from the self-inflicted torment.” On the music, they continue: “We reached for previously not considered instruments and sounds, including, among others, orchestral strings. We became close not only with the sounds of strings, but also those of flutes, oboes, and bassoons. Vocals are no longer only in the forefront, they also weave complicated structures in the instrumental track. This was achieved thanks to many hours spent sampling the vast array of sounds that can be created by the human voice, mouth, and cords.”
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