Mikołaj Trybulec: „I feel an appetite for more Eurovision experience”
There is no doubt that for the second year in a row we will find a Polish accent in the Grand Final! I talked to Mikołaj Trybulec about everything that led to it, adventure with producing music and setting the bar even higher for the future. I invite you to read this interview!
Fun fact ► If you already read other interviews with Mikołaj and found him saying <<someone has already asked me this question>> or << you are the other person who tells me this >> there is a great probability that he was referring to this telephone conversation!
Hi Mikołaj! In the beginning, I would like to tell you birthday wishes because I know that this important moment took place a few days before our conversation. May this coming year be for you a period of fulfillment of both private and professional goals and dreams. All the best!
This is a fact, thank you very much (laughs), it’s very kind of you!
While preparing for this interview, I reviewed the set of information about you and the most intriguing note was the one published on the Sirens Music website. To quote fragment <<He deliberately did not graduate from any music school, but he was educated under the supervision of private teachers since he was a child>> Was it really such a conscious action on your part?
You know what, being a child, I came to auditions at a music school. From the beginning, however, I had a wide list of various activities that really adored. So I suspect that it was my parents who more consciously than me came to the conclusion that if I got there my time would be fully occupied by these school activities. As a young boy, I already liked sport a lot, often went out and enjoyed what I had… so making such a binding decision when I was only 7 would change my life a lot. Actually, up to the age of 16, I wasn’t entirely convinced of what attracted me more, so I divided my time into music and volleyball. I was even in the team of Mazovia, and then together with my club, we took third place in the national championship. So I made a specific decision at the stage of choosing a high school. Why music? I noticed that my growth will not be optimal for further volleyball career, I am not an as good player as I would like to be and the future does not have to be so sure. However, when I was developing in playing the bass guitar, I found a lot of confidence which made me felt that I had a lot of talent, so later on, thinking about starting to produce music came.
The beginnings have been somewhat complicated, isn’t it?
Definitely! To this day, there are no such schools in Poland where you can learn songwriting techniques from scratch. Abroad 15 years ago, you could find places offering the fields of study connected with music production, where people explained from the start how to record and produce music. So actually the only way to broaden my knowledge was the internet, especially YouTube. This portal is very well developed when it comes to the availability of content useful for people like me! So if someone feels motivated, there they can find a lot of useful information. That’s how I learned everything about.
I am very happy that you mentioned this stage of gathering knowledge from the Internet and a multitude of materials available on YouTube. Do you have any advice that you would give anyone interested in starting the adventure of creating own songs?
I think it’s cool to surround yourself with people who already produce music! The learning process is usually a long way, so such people give you a chance to ask them what may be a mystery. Of course, in the long run, this can prove to be tedious, so it’s worth reserving this to unravel the general concepts. Technical issues like how to export a file in Ableton is better known by entering a password in the Google search engine. I consider the ability to search for such content to be crucial because all the answers can already be found on YouTube and it is not too difficult to reach them. There is another portal that helped me a lot and is called Coursera. Once I wanted to learn additional theories about sound synthesis, i.e. more complex information about the shape of sound waves, their frequency, how synthesizers are built and how they sound. It was there that I found a free course prepared by Boston University of Berklee entitled Creating Sounds for Electronic Music. It turned out to be a super-prepared material that helped me understand things in the field of physics and techniques which are very important in the process of creating music. So if you have time, it is worth to go through these lessons and I can recommend them!
Fully agree with you and I can join people recommending this site because I used it myself searching for all sorts of ordered knowledge. It’s time, however, to slowly head to those topics that most stimulate the Polish community of Eurovision fans! Being so young, you have already achieved and can do a lot. So please tell me how you mention your cooperation with Lake Malawi in creating the song Friend of a Friend? As the producer of this entry, you are proud of the final effect and how was all this received and presented in Tel Aviv?
I’m very happy! The guys did a great job, I also really like this song and Albert made a big impression on me. I mean not only artistic issues but also how he took care of PR and the promotion of this song. I enjoyed watching all the interviews he gave because he was a really honest and decent guy. It was visible and felt during these recordings. I also saw the whole process of creating a song: from putting the first touches until it was presented in Tel Aviv and this road was full of surprises. At first, no one expected that this song would be submitted to the Czech preselection, it would win it and finally advanced to the final of the competition, so I’m very happy and I remember it very well!
It is hardly surprising, because in the end, also thanks to you, our southern neighbors continue the good trend regarding their performances at Eurovision… when Poland unfortunately, for two years has not been successful in this matter. However, remaining on the topic of Albert, as you have probably already heard, he became one of the participants of this year’s preselection format, i.e. „Szansa na Sukces”…
I’ve heard about this many times!
Could not be different! (laughs) We will see him soon, because in the third semifinal broadcast on TV on February 16th. Did you have any information from Albert that he was going to Poland for this purpose? What do you actually think about it?
No, Albert hasn’t told me anything about this before (laughs) I think this is a great opportunity for him, especially if this is his next dream to come true! However, the program has a lot of competition… it is worth mentioning here, for example, Alicja Szemplińska or Kasia Dereń. If it turned out that the final would consist of them and Albert, we would have three great singers on one stage and there would be something to watch. Of course, I keep my fingers crossed for him and support Albert very much, but even if he didn’t win the preselection, getting to the finals would be a great promotion in Poland for him! It all depends, of course, on what song he draws in his episode and what song will be potentially prepared for him in the final… but I know he is half Polish because he lives on the border (laughs) and probably has some aspirations create something in our country. So maybe he can achieve success in line with what Ewa Farna does. It would be great!
I also don’t mind, especially since Ewa is such a musical export good in both of these countries and it works great in her case. May Albert be once the same! I also agree with you that he has a good chance of winning because next to Kasia Dereń is the only participant already associated with Eurovision and his participation in the competition is still a very fresh matter…
Absolutely, but I was very surprised when I found out about it for the first time. You know, I’m not a big Eurovision fan so I didn’t think it was possible (laughs) Anyway, it’s cool that he’s part of it!
I think that the topic of your cooperation with the Czech Republic can now be considered fully discussed. However, when it seemed that your current adventure with Eurovision was over at least for some time… the Internet was circulated with photos from Spain and information that you had the opportunity to meet this year’s representative of this country Blas Cantó! Please tell me how did it come about that Mikołaj Trybulec met RTVE representatives? When did you come to the common conclusion that your ideas and talent will be the added value of this year’s composition entitled Universo?
It is impossible to mention one situation that led me to this point! It all started with a friend… who was a friend of a friend of a friend (laughs). At the same song camp where Albert and I created his Eurovision song – I also met my current manager, friend, and great songwriter Ashley Hicklin. In the past, he had duets with DJ Tiesto and one of their joint songs On My Way was and is very popular in Poland. He composed it and also sang in it! So in addition to being a great songwriter, he’s also a great manager. He helped me solve several matters around my cooperation with the Czech Republic and negotiate appropriate conditions so that all the details were well understood. Ashley also organizes songwriting camps and the last one took place in Scotland. There we created songs for Belgian artists, including Sean Dhondt juror of The Voice Kids or Stan van Samang, i.e. Bruce Springsteen of this latitude. Such events are a great opportunity to get acquainted with foreign markets, so I had a great time working there. On one of them, we have just met Dan Hammond, who is the third author of Universo and also a representative of this Spanish site. It was he who proposed creating something together and from these 50 submitted compositions, they chose our proposal.
It seems that competition was quite big!
Without a doubt! I was in Scotland once again to pre-write this song with Blas, and later in Barcelona to finish it and it’s worked out well!
Perfect! So it’s safe to say that the natural network of contacts you’ve accumulated as part of your first contacts with Eurovision has paid off! How do you assess cooperation with Blas himself and purely human aspects, which will undoubtedly also have significance when he gonna represent whole Spain in Rotterdam?
He is a very hard-working guy, so the whole period of our cooperation went without any problems! He also has an idea for himself and from the beginning, we knew his preferences based on what music he recorded so far. Thanks to this, we knew that his song would not be in the atmosphere of what Spain showed in Tel Aviv, because Blas does not like this style. It was, moreover, the main theme of all 50 songs that were strictly matched to what he enjoyed in music. I must admit, however, that probably for us Poles and for me, the first shock was that their proposal for Eurovision… will not be so Spanish or Latin on the musical side. It will lack all these lively elements. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Blas is a great man and I have worked well with him. What’s more, he cares about us very much, maintains constant contact and makes sure that everything related to his presence at the competition works out as well as possible!
Great to hear that! It is interesting that you also mentioned the Polish perspective for this song, because I noticed, among many of us fans, who reacted with sincere surprise at how this song sounds…
(laughs) That’s how our Polish point of view has done its job here!
We were expecting something different, especially when we remember the sound of La Venda sung by Miki. It was lively and crazy! Do you still associate this song?
I had to Google it some time ago, but you are right about this description! For me it was a bit too cheerful… though still cool, but there are also songs kept in these Latin climates, but much less tempo, something what Camila Cabello or Rosalía does. This is also a cool trend, but Blas dislikes it completely and I respect it to the fullest, because it makes him stand out. I am not surprised that he achieves that much with such a good voice and presenting himself so well.
Thanks to the reputation he built – news about his involvement as a representative was widely heard in the local media. It also bring huge Blas fanbase, which a large number of previous contestants from this country could not boast of. Talking about Universo for a moment… was it your intention or Blas’s one to keep the text in Spanish, or were you considering translating it into English to any extent?
We were thinking about different options! However, we decided to use Spanish for several reasons. First of all, it is not as unpopular a language as one might think. Of course, there is no comparison here to English, especially in Europe and when we talk about Eurovision. However, on a global scale, many people understand it and in a large number of countries, it is the option of first or second choice in schools. Secondly, the boys tried to write such a text – especially in the chorus, so that despite the lack of knowledge of Spanish everyone could know what he meant. Hence the perdóname universo, and when it comes to this aspect, it was intentional to achieve such a result. I hope that this goal will be achieved and the text will be understandable even if somebody does not speak this language.
Here I think you can be completely calm! As Blas pointed out – the song is to be centered around one keyword that has universal strength and will be understood by everyone regardless of origin, and in my opinion, this goal has been achieved. Do you like how the song sounds in the final version and did you like it in the package with the official music video?
I love it!
So you feel proud that you have added a significant amount of work to what we can observe now?
Of course, I’m so delighted! In general, we wrote a few songs at this earlier mentioned song camp, but interestingly RTVE put this proposal among 50 others and that’s a reason for joy. A great clip was recorded for this and I am sure that Blas will be great on stage. So I have high hopes! (laugh)
Let’s hope that Spain will not once again take one of the last places because they are actually under a certain curse…
How it look last year?
Well weak, because they took fifth place from the end. Staging and the song itself gave some hope but it came out this way…
The United Kingdom has done similar, right?
Oh yes, they came last in Tel Aviv… (laughs)
Oh, Jesus! For this reason, I am already very happy with what has happened so far and I do not have great expectations regarding the result in Rotterdam. Of course, I believe in Blas 100% and I count on his good result, but I am grateful for what has been achieved so far. I appreciate this adventure and the opportunity to meet cool people in Spain. Maybe thanks to this we can do something interesting in the future!
Considering how great the results of your work are, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next professional stages related to Eurovision were opened for you! This is also connected with my next question… a year ago you had such thoughts that it could all happen so soon? Cooperation with the Spaniards was surprising to you in any way or on the contrary, because you already have the right attitude and belief that the Eurovision Song Contest is a remarkable project that you want to co-create with your songs?
To be honest, until I find out that Friend of a Friend is being considered in the Eurovision context, I didn’t have a clue about the existence of producers devoted entirely to this competition. I did not think that there are people who associate their main source of income with it, the competition is so much fun for them and they create songs all year long so that they hit this particular stage. So when Lake Malawi won the preselection, I thought, <<damn cool it all came out… maybe it is worth trying to produce something in a year>> but I would never have thought that Spain will be next (laughs). I imagine maybe I would deal with something in Poland or in this region because there is a huge leap between the Czech Republic and Spain. The second country has a guaranteed slot in the finals, and their music market is huge, as exemplified by Rosalía (laughs). So it was a huge shock and I didn’t think it would work. However, when I realized how big success is to get an opportunity of re-writing a Eurovision song, this situation aroused my appetite for more! So next year I will also try to produce something for other competing countries.
It is great to hear that, as you have rightly noticed, we have serious deficiencies in Poland in terms of this type of education. We do not have a wide range of producers who can boast of the experience that you have. So it’s great to hear that you still have that hunger and want to keep saving your Eurovision card…
Yeah, I’m absolutely ready to do more!
Just hooking up Poland and slowly heading to the end of our conversation, I understand that you remain open as to potential cooperation with Polish Television in a year? Regardless of the preselection format chosen, though probably the open one would give you more room for maneuver as to cooperation with artists…
Yes, I am very open to any projects, although I know from experience that cooperation is better for me abroad than in Poland (laughs) but if anyone would be willing everyone has my number so just call (laughs).
Do you have such an artist from our home market, with whom you dream to join forces and create something new together, not even in terms of Eurovision?
Give me a moment, because it’s a very good question and I have to think about it (laughs). I would like to emphasize that I have already fulfilled a lot of such dreams because I worked e.g. with Margaret, which has always been a nice plan for me in the future. I do not want to speak here about the obvious, because I, like everyone else, would like to do something with David Podsiadło and it sits somewhere in my head. However, I have this conviction that while it is fun to cooperate with great stars – it is even more satisfaction to create a new one. Starting cooperation with an artist without musical achievements, creating a beautiful song for him and watching how he climbs to the top from the bottom is an amazing feeling, which probably will not replace even creating a hit with a name that is very recognizable on the Polish market. The unique feeling that you have earned this success and what you have created was of great importance to someone and fit for something. So newcomers are always welcomed by me! (laugh)
I have to admit that the thoughts of such a duo of two talented people in the context of Eurovision sounds like a real explosive mix! Asking so in spite of course… isn’t Monika feeling lonely now? After all, your shared child, band Linia Nocna and it’s a phenomenon appreciated by many fans and critics, but now you can go ahead solo and probably lack a little time. Do you have her support and have you both ever considered even at ease, at lunch, about creating something together for the biggest music show in the world?
Monika supports me a lot and has never had the slightest remark that I works with other artists… because she also does it! Great lyrics come out of her hand and although it is only just beginning to pass them on to other musicians, they are already reaching the more famous names of our music market. Together, we also write songs in pop style and some of them will soon be available to listen to by specific people (including one of the participants of The Voice of Poland). Generally speaking, if any of our compositions differ significantly from our climate or are too pop, we often give them away. So when it comes to Linia Ncocna appearing on Eurovision… I doubt it will ever happen considering the purpose of our existence and what message we want to convey (laughs). The music we create comes straight from our heart, is very chillout and unsuitable for any competition. It is unforced, it does not have the highest sounds of the world, strong harmony or a very complex composition structure, so it would be hard to judge anyone (laughs). So, from the beginning, we both aimed at achieving the feeling that if everyone likes what we create: it’s not because of the artistic level, but because of the text or specific climate we’ve created.
I feel that some of the Linia Nocna fans reading this interview felt quite sad right now… but I hope they will understand your point of view! I appreciate that you have such a specific approach to it and this is a topic that you think about. I would also like to thank you for the time spent together, because we were supposed to talk for a quarter of an hour, and with a light hand we get over 30 minutes of conversation! Finally, I would like to remind you of the interview you gave almost a year ago to Timur from INFE Poland. You mentioned there that you had no idea that the co-producers of the songs have the opportunity to be part of the country delegation to Eurovision. Now you probably know it, so was there any suggestion from the Spanish side that you will go with Blas to Rotterdam and see it all from the inside?
It is not certain, although I would like to and I think that there are much more chances to implement such a plan than a season ago. The trip would be much shorter compared to last year, moreover I have a lot of friends in the Netherlands so it would not be a complicated logistics mission. Perhaps, if such a proposal from RTVE will come… then we will have the opportunity to meet in Rotterdam as long as you are there and talk face to face! (laugh)
Of course, without shadow of a doubt we will come to the Press Center!
Yes? That’s great! Then we’ll definitely talk! (laugh)
Sure and I assume that many people will be very eager to meet you there, so be ready for the feeling of being besieged (laugh)
Wonderful, I can’t wait for this! (laugh)
So once again, thank you very much for the opportunity to talk and see you soon!
Also, thank you, see you and send greetings to all readers of Destination Eurovision!