QUO VADIS (for RITES OF ZYGADENA Zine #3/2011)

The morning was dawning….and that rising sun together with joy of having the record cover was just unforgettable.



When Piotrek, aka Kreator asked me to write a few words about one of most important for me albums of Polish Metal, at the first moment several titles occurred in my head. Among them was QUO VADIS from Szczecin with their debut “Quo Vadis”. For me this material has been something exceptional thru all these years. Bunch of hits played with bravado – and even if it may sound strange after all those years, I still see the disc in this way.
LP  “Quo Vadis” in my opinion is a classic of Polish Thrash. Numbers played with a kick, relax and power. This record for me is Polish through and through, first of all because of the lyrics which masters from QUO VADIS sang. These lyrics (mostly by the band founder Mariusz B№czkiewicz) dealt with problems with which young people had to battle against at the turning point of political transformation in Poland (compulsory enlistment into the fucking army among the others). Lyrics – we have to stress – in a daring voice setting of Tomek Skaya. Up to this day I’ve had a goosebumps on my neck listening to such numbers as “MONofobia”, “Trzy szуsteczki” (“666”), “Albo nie byc” (“Or Not To Be”). It proves the power which this music possesses. Smashing, powerful sound drum sound and sensational, Thrash and melodic at the same time ear slaughtering guitars and bass. Everything here is without a slightest flaw. No weak points.
 First vinyl LP QUO VADIS , which dazzled with power landed in my hands perhaps in 1992 via mail from Tomasz Jaсczak, who used to lead QUO VADIS Fan Club. The album was released in edition of 1500 copies and since there was a possibility I had ordered it with autographs, but the guys fucked up something while signing and I’ve got one with a dedication “for Artur and Jarek”, heh, heh! Never mind…it’s just a detail. After all, the most important thing was music itself and a form of release, which have compensated for that trivial mistake.
And I thought to myself (I hope, you won’t kill me Kreator, huh, huh!) that because of this so special for me album I’ll conduct a short intie with Tomek Skaya – a guy who has been playing in QUO VADIS since the very beginning of the band.

 Interview was prepared by Wojtas Lis - NAJSWIETSZY NAPLETEK CHRYSTUSA' zine (RIP)
Answering: Tom Skaya (QUO VADIS)

1) What kind of feelings accompanied you before recording the debut album of QUO VADIS? Was it joy that after several years of existence you were finally doing it? Maybe some irrational anxiety that something will go wrong? Or maybe some other emotions about which you’d like to write?
Recording of your band’s album is always exciting, but recording of the first one especially! It was first time that we were registering stuff on a 8 tracks, which was at that time pretty unusual phenomenon. I have to remind that at that time bands used to record “rehs” in a way that all the guys played together and it was registered at the same time. I remember that we recorded our demos on two tape-players/recorders “Mechlabor”.  It worked like that: firstly we played all together and recorded it and then we played what we had registered from one tape-player and recorded on the other one while adding vocals and solos at the same time.
I had to sing without any mistakes from beginning to the end. Baczek had to do his solo right, and on top of that the volume proportions had had to be set correctly, because after the recording it was impossible to change anything (laugh). Now, when I reach back in my memory to the time of recording our first album, when I think about possibility of using an eight-track recorder…that was something!

2) Had you felt a pressure before recording the first album? I’m asking because the expectations were huge after a brilliant demo “MONofobia”.
Absolutelly not. Between upeіnie nie. Between the “MONofobia” and the first one, in so called meantime we registered two numbers (“NKWD” [NKVD – Soviet Secret Police] and “Bуl Istnienia” [“Pain of Existence”] which we have been playing since then) and they also got a very good reception, so we felt that the material is OK. The only part we had feared was the sound. Unfortunately, at that time, domestic productions sounded pretty weak comparing to what was being recorded in the world.
 
3) The line-up at that time seamed to be a perfectly cooperating collective. How it was in the reality? Did you like each another? Drunk together? Was there space for friendship outside the rehearsal room?
Sure! We even had a routine to go to Wojtek’s for tea after every rehearsal. We used to talk there, listen to music and everything when sober!!! Of course all parties we also attended together!

4) Did you also score the same chicks? He, he…Could you attempt to shortly describe each of the friends with whom you played at that time? When have you seen them last time?
Wojtek Sіabicki – mine of ideas, all craziest and weird tricks are of his authorship. On top of that he’s the one who got an idea to play cover of MAANAM and “Pretty Woman”, our two motor forces of that period of time.
Jacek Gnieciecki – good, diligent and certain guitarist. He joined us a little bit later, but it didn’t prevent him to harden off and build indissoluble ties of friendship with the rest of the gang.
Mariusz B?czkiewicz – the founder member of QUO VADIS, kind of a father in the band (he was the oldest), wrote lyrics and music. Together we formed kind of a leading duet; the oldest with the youngest, which also from organizational point of view was quite active.

5) In that period of time your Fan Club led by T. Jaсczak was thriving. How do you recall that cooperation? How did you guys meet?
The cooperation with Tomek was superb. Everything that was happening was based on friendly, youthful verve, enthusiasm. We have met by mail (laughs). In the old days whole correspondence was happening traditionally, but there was something special in it – waiting for a replay and checking whether or not there is a letter in the mailbox.

6) The artwork of the album… those copulating rats’ skeletons on a news kiosk and good, old “chuj” [dick] on the garbage can… he, he… Who was the author of the cover art?
…I must put you right here; these copulating skeletons were actually cats (laughs). The idea of skeletons carrying a controversial flag with images of Hitler, Stalin and Jaruzelski and request for plethora of details on the cover art was ours, whereas workmanship and enrichment by his own visions was an act of Maciej “Kosa” Kosiсski (these cats). And the inscription “chuj” of course the author is Wojtek (laughs).

7) The first album came out as an analog. Why vinyl?
At that time there were only two carriers: cassette and vinyl. Cassette was only a cassette – but you couldn’t release any album that was only in cassette version (laughs). Record had to be a record! Besides it raised prestige! Even though it was the declining years of the vinyl records, we’re very happy that the record has come out. And the greatest experience of the whole process, which I have printed in my memory, was printing of the cover! It had to be done on the side in some state owned printing house. On the side meant at night. B№czek and I were there to see the process.
It looked like that; first they printed yellow and it was okay. Next in line was magenta, and here the cover began to have a look, but a funny two-colored. Only after the cyan came, suddenly from two bland colors appeared the whole thing and black has sharpened the details! Describing of the print process is taking me here like two minutes, but then each stage (preps and run thru the press) took an hour and a half.  I remember when after that cyan B№czek and I were so overexcited. We went outside. The morning was dawning….and that rising sun together with joy of having the record cover was just unforgettable.

8) Who has pressed the vinyl itself? Was it easy to find a place that would do it? What was the edition of the first album?
It was ARSTON. And there as well we had to arrange it under the counter. The edition was pretty small – only 1500 pieces. We had to go through some troubles to get it done.

9) In my opinion the debut material sounds phenomenal. How much time did you spend in ARP studio? I’m asking, because there is no info about it on the cover of the vinyl record…
It was some two weeks of recording and a week of mixing. Maybe for those times it had a good sound, but from the perspective of time we have developed an expression for it: mosquitoes in a tin can (laughs).

10) How was the cooperation with Marek Szukaіo over the production of the first album?
What that poor guy had to endure with us… (laughs). We were displeased most of the time. As it is with youngsters – they come in to the studio of not the highest quality and want to sound like MACHINE HEAD. We wanted to have sound like EXODUS on “Bonded by Blood” (laughs). Once Wojtek said a sentence that has still functions among us: “you know what? This is a TV theatre play and you make a feature film out of it”. This statement pissed Majуwa off so much that he had to get out the studio for an hour... (laughs). We have milked the studio…and Majуwa all it was worth (laughs).

11) Do you remember how fans – those whom you were meeting then – received you debut?
You know what….It was time when everybody was hungry for music, and reactions were very positive! It’s nice to encounter people who with pride show me our first long play (laughs).


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