Polish duo MIIST brings us an intriguing fusion of psychedelia and progressive rock shrouded among the misty backdrop of delightful atmospheric melodies.
The duo of Michal Koczor (guitars, synth, bass, production) and Robert ‘Falon’ Kułakowski (drums) bring elements of stoner and desert rock and metal into their intoxicating instrumental offering.
Our latest taste of this is the epic seven-track – but near one-hour-long – album All The Useless Spinning, which was released back in March. It opens up with the 12-minute-long Philosophy of Pessimism, which starts slowly, builds up gradually and develops into a stunning prolonged section of looping riffs with a bit of darkness in the atmospheric background.
Equally superb is third track Raindrops Lie, which opens up with synthesizers that drop into a big heavy guitar riff and loads of cymbals in the background. It soon settles into a light guitar lick over an atmospheric background, before the more abrasive big riff returns. It concludes with a more expansive guitar line developing from the opening riff.
That’s followed by Reappear, in which the highlight is a fun low-tuned repeating riff that gives way to a light riff under atmospheric synth sounds then a twinkling synth section.
Penultimate track Painful Period of Adjustment comes in at close to ten minutes in length. Repeating stabbing guitar notes persist over light cymbals, then drawn-out guitar, rolling drums and synth sounds build a prolonged tense atmosphere. Soon it all drops out bar the drums then a plodding guitar riff eventually increases in intensity as the drums pick up a level – all of which builds up to a huge guitar solo through the last minute of the track.
It’s an impressive EP that we’ve loved listening to. So we had a chat with Michal to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are MIIST?
MK: “We’re an instrumental duo from Warsaw, in Poland, bringing together psychedelic and progressive rock. The band was formed somewhere around 2016/2017 but back then we were playing as a trio. In 2018 we split and I stayed in my studio and came across Falon on the Internet. In that time he was looking for a band to play and change the genre a little bit. He’s a great drummer with metal roots but he ended up playing in Belzebong (Polish Doom) and then Weedpecker (PolishStoner). We clicked immediately, started jamming and writing some songs.”
GR: You released All the Useless Spinning recently. It’s a bit of an epic! What should people be expecting from the album?
MK: “First of all – it’s a concept album and the songs create a story for the listener. We were trying to connect a lot of aspects that are wrong with this world and society, asking questions like: How to be authentic? Are we living in an illusionary world or a simulation? What is real? Can you be invisible in this world? How would people react if you’d be truly you? Why is everyone pretending to be perfect or somebody else?
“Things like that were inspiring to us during the making of this album as they are still today. I wouldn’t say they influenced the sound but the feeling of this record. I’d say it’s very emotional and very intimate.”
GR: Sounds cool! How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
MK: “It’s always a hard question for us because we don’t live in any particular musical genre. I’d say we’re somewhere in between prog and psych. We are playing as a duo so the drums are very melodic and they are living their own life. The guitars are trippy and have vintage, space and delayed vibe. We use a lot of old synthesizers to layer warm keys, organs and bass sounds. Our compositions are quite long, they build up and can hypnotize a bit.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
MK: “This is not happy or funny music. We are influenced by the state of the world, societies, our beautiful planet and how we’re destroying it, history, psychology and religion. This is a really weird time to live and I’d say our favourite topic is complete disinformation and living in an illusion. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a good musical topic but that’s what’s inside our heads when we enter our studio.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
MK: “I’m a child of psych and alternative rock so my whole life I’ve listened to a lot of Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Doors, Black Sabbath and Zeppelin. The last couple of years my strongest influences were Queens of the Stone Age and the whole California Desert scene, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, Black Angels and Film Scores (old Carpenter movies, Twin Peaks, Stranger Things etc).
“Falon is way different in his musical taste. He loves Death Metal, bands like Bloodbath, Entombed, At the Gates – you know, the Swedish sound – but also a lot of experimental and industrial metal like Anaal Nathrakh. Thanks to him I’ve started to drift to the heavier bands and during the making of our album we listened to a lot of Opeth, Intronaut, Shining. We listen to music constantly and I collect records so this is a topic without end.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
MK: “We are starting to work on new songs, sounds and buying some instruments and studio gear. We like to invest in our space cause it’s a home to us and the other thing is – we are simply addicted to the vintage analogue gear. We have some gigs and other interesting things planned but some of that is a little secret.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
MK: “That everybody will find something different in it and it will be hard to compare that to any other bands people are listening to.”