With young trendsetters across Europe searching for a new Berlin, Warsaw stands out among the other contenders for the continent’s hipster crown, not only for its low prices and blooming creative sphere but also for its impressive electronic music scene.
Electronic music from unfamiliar places around the world — Suriname and Romania rather than the UK or Germany — is having a moment right now. Eastern Europe, where the genre lacks a heritage at least in the mainstream, is an appealing destination for listeners eager to unearth new, underground sounds. And its communist past means that the trend towards Polish electronica is part of a larger wave of Eastern Bloc cool sweeping fashion and culture.
Read on to acquaint yourself with the best electronic musicians Poland has to offer, from techno and house to electro-pop and drum’n’bass: some are already well-known among the hip crowds of Warsaw and Berlin, and others will be soon.
This electro-pop post-coolwave duo was founded in 2010, and has since released two LPs and two EPs. Singer Ania’s dreamy vocals are laid over nervous electronic sounds produced by her bandmate Stefan. The band themselves describe their sound as “dark and uneven bits, overdrives and a dirty electronic sound”, and explain that their lyrics — all in English — are largely inspired by futuristic poetry, Mannerist paintings, and the barbarian invasions of Europe.
An On Bast, real name Anna, describes her sound as tech-house as it’s not rough enough for techno and too measured and orderly for house, and says that she prefers to play open-air venues and parties to let the sound travel around nature and the audience. Her other work includes an electro-pop project and various sound design works. Anna says she’s inspired by things like motorcycle design, which gives her ideas on ways to connect her hardware together — but never by other music, which she claims she barely even listens to outside of work.
Bejnar has been playing across clubs, parties, and festivals for over 10 years now, and has recently founded Otake Records. Despite being just over a year old, the record label has already gained popularity and respect among music lovers in Poland, as well as various collaborations with musicians from all over Europe. This Warsaw-based DJ and producer, who lists Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat among his inspirations, is often described as the most eccentric person in the Polish dance scene, and not for nothing: on occasion Bejnar plays his music from amongst the audience, setting up his booth on the dancefloor, or coming down to dance in the crowd, remotely controlling his MIDI from his iPhone.
Siasia, real name Lukasz, is a DJ, producer and promoter from Katowice, often described as “a legend” and “the most important person on the techno map of Poland”. Lukasz began his career in 1996 at the age of 13, and has played at parties and festivals all over the country through the years. He is also the founder and owner of Dirty Stuff Records, an independent label focusing on non-commercial electronic music. Siasia has put out countless records, including Londoff EP, where different tracks are dedicated to various locations in London.
Selvy is the project of 23-year-old Wojciech Grynko from Poznań. Already playing major Polish festivals like Opener and Audioriver, as well as parties all over Europe, he’s gathering crowds of young techno fans with neon-painted faces who refuse to leave before his set is done. Grynko says he got into producing his own tracks very young because of his parents, who were also music enthusiasts. With more records coming out later this year, Selvy’s Gotta Have It Ep has garnered great reviews from dance music bloggers.
Jarek Czechowski, known on the music scene as Angelo Mike, comes originally from the small town of Nowy Sącz, and is now based in Warsaw. He is another legend of the Polish techno scene, playing various parties and festivals since the mid-90s. His profiles on Resident Advisor and Soundcloud feature long lists of accolades: awards, residencies, radio shows, parties and festivals. His varied list of influences includes some surprises, such as Public Enemy and Dire Straits.
Langner began his career in his small home town of Częstochowa over 15 years ago, organising parties and club nights in the late 90s. Since moving to Kraków, the house DJ has been gaining popularity, booking parties and radio shows all over Europe, and collaborating with other musicians and record labels.
Nervy is a supergroup of sorts, led by Agim Dzeljilji, a composer and producer who – together with Igor Boxx – is responsible for the band’s electronic sound. The other members are eight classical musicians, a micro-orchestra of trumpets and saxophones, who join Dzeljilji on stage wearing tuxedos. The band’s formal style never stands in the way of them dancing to their own beats on stage, creating a truly eclectic experience for the audience.
Kamill, the man behind the Ginee project, came from a musical family and studied several instruments as a child. From the age of 14 he organised raves at his school in his small home town of Bełchatów, slowly but surely becoming an essential part of the country’s drum’n’bass scene. Now, as well as DJing, he also does promotional work: organising parties and club events in Warsaw and other cities.
The Warsaw-based DJs Bert and Igor, better known as Last Robots, have performed as a duo for over 10 years. They began their careers separately in the 90s, when the Warsaw club scene was just emerging, and became established in their own right before deciding to play together. As Last Robots they have participated in other projects and collaborations, and have written music for commercials. Now they are an essential part of Poland’s electronic festivals, gathering sizeable crowds on hazy 4am dancefloors.