Trupa Trupa hail from Poland, where for over a decade they’ve been using serrated post-punk to draw connections between their country’s fascist past and the present day. According to singer Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, their new B FLAT A is about “the wasteland of human nature where hatred and genocide are not just distant reverberations of Central European history but still resonate in contemporary reality.” Out today, it’s a tense and explosive listen brimming with heady ideas, occasionally branching off in surprising directions like the psych-pop-tinged single “Uniforms.” Perhaps appropriately, the album’s baseline sound calls back to the Cold War era, the bridge between that old uncomfortable history and now.
It’s not often you open a poetry chapbook and in the “Foreword” are greeted with such a chilling anecdote:
“In the summer of 2015, Grzegorz Kwiatkowski and his friend Rafal Wojczal made a gruesome discovery. Walking through the forest outside the Stutthof Concentration Camp where Kwiatkowski’s grandfather had been interned during the Second World War, the two young men came upon several thousand old shoes. These shoes once belonged to those the Nazis brought here and then brutally murdered.”
Die polnische Band Trupa Trupa kommt auf Deutschland-Tour und verströmt in ihrer Musik eine rastlose Energie, die an das kompromisslose Punk-Ethos von Fugazi erinnert. Ein Gespräch mit dem Sänger Grzegorz Kwiatkowski über seine Gedichte, seine Musik und den Pessimismus in der Welt.
Grzegorz Kwiatkowski is a new and dynamic poetic voice from Poland, with six volumes of poetry and several translations on the way, as well as the vocalist of the psychedelic postpunk band Trupa Trupa. His newest collection, Crops, translated into English by Peter Constantine, was published by Rain Taxi in November 2021. In this interview, Constantine and Kwiatkowski discuss the themes of his poetry and his endeavors as a musician and activist.
If you’re looking for somebody to adequately explain to you what Trupa Trupa does, I’m not that person. All I can do is try to provide some impressions because I really don’t have anything to compare it with. It’s bits and pieces. It seems chaotic but you always feel a structure. It can be aggressive. It can float and dream. It can do both in the same song. There really aren’t any rules going on here. It’s kind of like trying to define what Syd Barrett was doing with Pink Floyd before he went off the deep end.
Philosopher-poet Grzegorz Kwiatkowski’s lyrics deal with fundamental questions of fighting evil, in a homeland that has experienced more than its share. This hardcore moral stance is matched by the baleful, seething rock of opener “Moving”. But respite is offered by the scratchily pretty, Sonic Youth-like psychedelic ballad “Lines” and Floydian acid-folk of “All And All”, as Trupa Trupa’s sixth album favours often lovely, mysteriously ritualistic sounds. The dreamy vocal and abrasively chiming guitar on “Sick” are also narcotically dislocating. Kwiatkowski’s words stay sunk deep in the title track’s mix, the submerged poetry of an underground band who carry a courageous subculture with them.
Nick Hasted, Uncut
Cold water in the face is too mild a description for the effect of Grzegorz Kwiatkowski’s poems. What they present is simultaneously so human and so barbaric that nausea may be the truest response—coupled with, for me anyway, a contradictory compulsion to keep reading, a desire not to look away.
Coming to the capital after the worst storm in 30 years, Trupa Trupa appeared to take the challenges of being on tour in the midst of such meteorological mayhem in their stride. “So good to be in London after two years of hell,” said Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, the singer of the band, from Gdansk in Poland, which took elements of progressive rock, punk and the avant-garde and infused them with a sense of humour.