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Polak - Interview with Pete Fijalowski

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 16 / 11 / 2004

Polak - Interview with Pete Fijalowski


Best known as the front man of Creation guitar band Adorable, Pete Fijalkowski has fronted Polak for the last few years and released two albums with them. He talks Dixie Ernill through his musical history and chats about his forthcoming solo album

Pete Fijalkowski is best known as the front man of Creation guitar band Adorable, but he has fronted the band Polak for the last few years with is brother Krys and is about to unlease his solo debut album sometime soon…    PB: Adorable disbanded back in 1995 and much has been written about the band then and since, so I don’t really want to go over old ground, but looking back on the songs now which half dozen would you suggest a new listener should hear as a perfect introduction to the band? (For the record, I’d go for 'Road Movie Song', 'A To Fade In', 'Homeboy', 'Favourite Fallen Idol', 'Feed Me' and 'Summerside') PF: I don't mind old ground. It's kind of homely and familiar. Like a worn pair of slippers. 'Sunshine Smile', 'Homeboy', 'Sistine Chapel Ceiling', 'A To Fade In', 'Breathless', 'Submarine' would maybe be my calling card. PB: Interesting that the tracks you chose are from the first LP, 'Against Perferfection' (1992) or before (with the exception of 'Submarine'). 'Fake' (the second and final Adorable LP, 1994 ) is, in my opinion, at least the equal of the debut,. Has the chaos of the band’s break up at the end of the Fake tour left a cloud over the later songs for you?  PF : It's true that I'm always more critical of the second album. I don't think it's bad. It's just not great, and a lot of what we were doing was possibly just going over old ground. Maybe if everything was going fabulously at the time, then I would have a more positive reaction to the Fake album. You only go for one more than me from the second album, so maybe I'm not alone!  PB: Polak appeared sometime afterwards. How did it all come about ? PF : I always wanted to get together with my brother Krzys and do something musical. I'd been doing some pop recordings with a friend of mine (me doing programming and keyboards, and generally taking the role of that bloke from Sparks who stands at the back, only I didn't have the moustache), and had some major label interest for that, but it just wasn't quite working for me and I scurried back into the more familiar arms of guitar-y stuff. A US label funded some early demos, and it kind of mutated into a full blown band and the rest is...well not exactly history, but a footnote in history. PB: How come Polak hardly ever toured? (I only managed to see one gig in Manchester supporting Ether) PF : The main reason was that we all had day jobs, and although we were signed to One Little Indian, we weren't getting a wage from them, so we had to do more mundane things like teach, sort letters, sit at computers, sell books and answer telephones, rather than the full blown rock n roll van experience. PB: Commitments – the drain on Rock n Roll – did you miss the touring/playing live aspect of being in a band? PF : To a certain extent, one tends to glamorise it in your head, and one forgets the long journeys listening to each others inane babble & the interminable soundcheck sound of the drums.  We still did 60+ gigs in Polak so we weren't gig-shy. PB: Where you disappointed with the lack of music press support for Polak, when the quality of product was at least on a par with Adorable’s output? PF : The first album , 'Swansongs' (2000), got pretty good reviews. I was disappointed that the second, 'Rubbernecking' (2002), just didn't get reviewed at all as I thought it was one of the best things I've ever done. Part of the problem with the press, is that I brought with me the baggage of my past, so we were never going to be seen as a new band. The words 'ex-Adorable' would always crop up. C'est La Guerre. PB: The press are incredibly fickle – Adorable had practically all of their singles rated as Single Of The Week, but they turned on you because you had the balls to say things. I remember your record label, Creation, ran a series of promotional adverts in the press showing the four members of Adorable with the word arrogant written across you. Perhaps this antagonised the press even more?  PF : I think we were past the point of no-return with the press by that point. It was more of us & Creation sticking two fingers up to the press (like they ever read adverts anyway!). It was frustrating that we had several singles of the weeks, yet were never interviewed or featured after our debut single release,'Sunshine Smile'. There is a perception with some people that we were in the music press all the time, but it wasn't really the case. PB: Was there a conscious effort to make Polak sound more laid-back than Adorable or did it just reflect the time the records were made/mood of the band? '2.45', for example, was a very poppy track, but the follow up singles' I’m Sick' and 'Impossible' were not. PF : It wasn't a conscious thing. Most of our songs were written in the studio, so maybe that explains why we didn't go for more of a rocky, thrashed out in a rehearsal studio vibe, which is where Adorable's songs took shape. The last Adorable album came out 6 years after the debut Polak album', so it's maybe not surprising that things had mellowed and slowed down. I suspect that Adorable may well have done the same given time. PB: How did the One Little Indian record deal come about and has it now ended? PF : We funded and recorded 'Swansongs' ourselves and were looking for someone to put it out, as we had run out of money, and One Little Indian heard it and liked it. I think they liked the fact they had a completed album - they knew what they were getting. They offered us a chance to record a 3rd album with them after 'Rubbernecking', but we turned it down, as the budgets were very small, and we couldn't really see what we could hope to achieve. PB: Do you think that one single per LP was insufficient to promote them, or were things out of your hands? There were certainly a number of candidates on each LP.    PF : I was a 7"single junkie in my youth, so I've always loved singles. I would have preferred more singles to have been pulled from each album to try and promote the album with radio stations, but it's all down to simple vulgar financial constraints. PB: There’s certainly something magical, almost romantic, about 7” singles. What are your favourite genuine (i.e. not cds) 7” singles? PF I used to be a sucker for gatefold double-pack 7". Jesus & Mary Chain's 'Some Candy Talking' had some great acoustic B-sides. I used to go into town every Saturday and buy 3 or 4 7" singles every week for several years. I was always buying stuff by new indie artists who I'd read about but never heard. My album buying was far more slow-paced, and it took quite a few years before my album collection caught up with my singles. I never liked 12". A ridiculous pointless extended mix, and a crap extra track for double the money, plus as an object it never really felt right. These days of course, being a 30-something, I only buy albums. PB: Your website is a little vague (probably deliberately so) on the future of Polak. Would it be fair to say that there are no plans for future activity at the moment, but a return could be possible? PF : I think it's fair to say that Polak are more of a memory, and an idea than a working band. PB: You are currently working on a solo record. What can we expect in terms of style/feel of the songs? PF : Acoustic & miserable. The working title is 'Broken Heart Surgery'. PB: When will the record hit the shops and will there be some dates to support it? PF : No idea and no idea. PB: What music currently rattles your cage and are you envious when bands of lesser quality than Adorable or Polak seem to grab all the plaudits? PF : I don't really mind about other bands. There's loads of great bands who never get signed up, so I should count myself lucky that I've managed it not once, but twice! I've really enjoyed listening to this French guy called Vincent Delerm who's done a great album called 'Kensington Square'. Very Gainsbourg-y PB: Any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with? PF: I sound a bit depressing in this interview don't I? I don't think I'm like that.... PB : Thanks.

Picture Gallery:-
Polak - Interview with Pete Fijalowski

Polak - Interview with Pete Fijalowski

Polak - Interview with Pete Fijalowski

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