FILIP KAROL: "In essence, "Pink Cow" is like a movie that unfolds within the listener's imagination"
In 2021, Filip Karol made waves with the release of his groundbreaking debut album, "Pink Cow," which completely revolutionized traditional music genres. "Pink Cow" is far more than just a collection of songs; it transcends boundaries by incorporating elements of poetry, thought-provoking dialogues, mesmerizing flights into space, and even daring dives into the mysterious depths of a black hole. With "Pink Cow," Filip took a bold step in reshaping the landscape of music, challenging the conventional norms and inviting listeners on a captivating journey. Through "Pink Cow," he has established himself as a true trailblazer, inspiring a new generation of artists to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. So, when we see the stunning visuals accompanying Filip's music, it comes as no surprise that they reflect the same level of innovation and artistic brilliance. His choice of images for promotional photo shoots and profile pictures is a testament to his meticulous attention to detail and his desire to create a visual experience that resonates with the essence of his music. It is evident that Filip draws inspiration from various sources, ranging from futuristic aesthetics to abstract concepts, resulting in visuals that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also thought-provoking. The high quality and stylish nature of these images are a testament to Filip's dedication to his craft and his commitment to creating a cohesive artistic identity.
And now, he's back with a brand new single titled "White Swan." Following the groundbreaking success of "Pink Cow," Filip Karol continues to push artistic boundaries and captivate audiences with his latest musical offering. Indie Boulevard was honored to have the opportunity to sit down with Filip, to talk about debut album, what inspires him, and the new single 'White Swan'.
IB: Hi Filip! We're delighted that you took the time to chat with us on Indie Boulevard! Your music seems to be paving the way for a new genre in the industry, and honestly, you've succeeded. We'll delve into that later, but first, could you please share where you find inspiration when selecting images for promotional photo shoots or profile pictures? Everything looks incredibly high-quality and stylish.
FILIP: Hi, thank you for inviting me. I'm thrilled to be here, as I'm a huge fan of Indie Boulevard. I genuinely believe that your platform and magazine are the best in the indie music industry, and it's an absolute honor to join you. When it comes to inspiration, I strive to avoid repetition. I'm constantly seeking ways to reimagine my image before the release of new material. Whether it's experimenting with a hairstyle, sporting a new mustache or beard, these choices help me steer clear of creative monotony. As for my Instagram profile, it primarily features photographs taken by my talented wife. She has an incredible eye for capturing moments, and I wholeheartedly trust her taste and ideas. While my posts may be infrequent, I believe it's better to have quality content rather than inundating followers with unnecessary information.
IB: I have studied your music videos, and I can say for sure that they resemble short films; they contain an incredible amount of symbols and meaning. My favorite is Mass Satellites, and in Radiation, I was utterly devastated - but it was still cool! Do you have a personal favorite among your clips, and is there one that caused you the most pain and disappointment?
FILIP: Incredible work has been done on all the clips, requiring a significant amount of effort and time. However, the outcome was truly worth it. Even after multiple revisions, they now possess a stunning vintage quality that we intentionally added. It's difficult for me to choose a favorite video because they are all exceptional and hold a special place in my heart. Nevertheless, if I had to pick one, it would probably be "Radiation." This particular video spans 15 minutes in length and took approximately a year to edit. Some scenes were even filmed years later, resulting in significant time jumps throughout the footage. Despite these challenges, I am extremely pleased with the final result.
Of course, as time goes by, there are moments that could have been replaced or reshot, and certain sections that could have been reedited. Due to our limited resources, we filmed everything using a camera that only worked during daylight hours. Undoubtedly, there are many "buts" and potential improvements. However, ultimately, it's better to leave everything as it is, as I wouldn't be able to move forward otherwise. I must emphasize that I could never have accomplished this project alone; it was made possible with the help of my supportive relatives and friends who helped bring all my ideas to life.
IB: I want to know everything about you! It's incredibly interesting. For instance, I'm certain that music has been a significant part of your life from an early age. Could you recall and share the moment when the idea for a particular video first arose? What was the concept, and which song was it intended for?
FILIP: All of the ideas I had for the music videos were somehow connected to space, black holes, or parallel universes. I constantly sought to incorporate this theme into each video, considering that the entire "Pink Cow" album revolves around space to some extent. Naturally, I wanted to reflect this in the music videos as well. Some ideas worked out, while others didn't quite make it. For instance, I initially intended to include space elements in the "Rock in Blue" and "Mass Satellites" videos, but they didn't materialize. Instead, I decided to infuse them with mysticism, which, in retrospect, made the videos much better, more authentic, and more intriguing than if I had included space elements. The first video we embarked on was for the song "Rock in Blue," and to be honest, we had no clear concept in mind. We simply started shooting and improvising, allowing the story and plot to gradually take shape. This process is what I cherish the most. If you delve into the plot, you'll uncover a profound narrative reminiscent of Shakespearean stories.
IB: Are there any projects and songs in your creative vault that have yet to see the light of day? If so, how many of them are there, and perhaps you have hidden a potential hit among them?
FILIP: Oh, absolutely! In my opinion, the director's cut of the Pink Cow album was originally over two hours long. There were several songs that didn't make the final cut, along with some ambient instrumental tracks featuring dialogue. Additionally, there is an unfinished music video for the song "Planets Bleed," but due to ethical reasons, it had to be abandoned. However, there are still those unreleased songs and perhaps, on the anniversary of the album, it might be possible to create a remake and release a two-hour version, including those previously unreleased tracks and dialogues. It would be a special treat for fans and a chance to fully explore the artistic vision behind the album.
IB: Creating such large and complex projects like the Pink Cow is extremely challenging. How long did it take you to create the album? Did you encounter any difficulties during the process, and how did you manage the stress?
FILIP: Putting it mildly, it was indeed a difficult and challenging experience for me. The Pink Cow album, in essence, was an experiment, a test. When I first ventured into music, production, and vocal work, I had no understanding of how things operated in the music industry. I needed a starting point, but I was hesitant to reveal my best work. That's when the idea of releasing a 3-4 song EP emerged. However, I never had much affinity for EPs. To me, they felt incomplete, like a partially eaten apple. Picture a round, ripe apple on a table, next to a bitten apple. That a bitten apple represents what is known as an EP in music. My preference, however, was for a complete, fresh, and rounded apple—an album.
With this in mind, I set out to create a full-fledged album. The only challenge was that I lacked enough songs to accomplish that. Being a huge fan of ambient music, specifically dark ambient and noise, I composed several tracks in that genre, which found their place in the initial version of the album. There were about seven songs, and they all sounded like ass. The album cover looked like shit. Yet, at the time, I genuinely believed it sounded and looked remarkable, and so I uploaded it to Bandcamp.
To my astonishment, a miracle occurred! Within a day, this album was bought by about 3 people whom I do not know, and within a couple of hours, I earned around $20. This encouraged me to believe that Pink Cow had potential, and I concluded that this album deserved more than just seven tracks. However, little did I know that the following five years would turn into a nightmare. Despite doing everything according to my own desires and vision, but the expectations from this album, to my regret, did not materialize.
IB: How did you feel after releasing your debut album?
FILIP: I was completely shattered. The album received minimal plays, and I hadn't made any sales on Bandcamp. I was completely destroyed by indifference to my music, or rather not even by indifference, but by people's ignorance of the existence of my music.Following the release of "Pink Cow," I questioned whether it was even worth continuing to make music if nobody wanted it besides myself. Many things didn't go as expected.
I had aspirations to release the album on physical media, including vinyl. However, due to its length of almost an hour and a half, it couldn't fit on a single disc, necessitating the creation of a double discs, which would be even more expensive. As for vinyl, well, it's a whole different story. In our time, producing a vinyl run is far from affordable, and considering the length of Pink Cow, it would require a whopping four records. The combination of these disappointments and setbacks left me disheartened and broken. It seemed as though my music was deemed irrelevant, and I questioned whether there was a place for it in the world. However, despite the hardships, the passion for creating music still burned within me, even if it felt like no one else cared.
IB: Did you have any thoughts or regrets while working on your first album? Is there anything you wouldn't repeat or perhaps something you would like to revisit?
FILIP: Doubts plagued me constantly, with eternal questions like, "Is my work good enough?" or "Am I a genius or just a fool?" I often wondered if even the seemingly successful individuals on TV, the ones with sold-out shows, had experienced the same struggles as me. These doubts and questions were all part of the creative process. Yes, I admit that I made numerous mistakes and set my expectations high for the album. I also devoted significant attention to the technical aspects of the songs, meticulously polishing them to an abnormal extent. Looking back, I believe I may have gone overboard. If I could turn back time, I would approach it differently and avoid excessive technical perfectionism.
IB: Could you share everything we need to know about the album? And in general, who is the Pink Cow and what is her strength?
FILIP: The uniqueness of my music lies in its fusion of music, cinema, and poetry, all intertwined into a cohesive experience. I am confident that nothing quite like this has ever been created before. When listening to this album, you undergo a profound sense of immersion. It encompasses not only music and ambient sounds but also poetry, live interviews in the studio, a 7-minute car ride, dialogues, a dinner in a café, time travel, black holes, and event horizont. All of these elements come together to form the essence of Pink Cow. It represents an entire universe, a parallel world, and a planet of its own. It transcends traditional genres, offering a musical experience beyond expectations.
IB: Which track from the debut album is the most significant to you, and why?
FILIP: That's a tough question, but I would say "Thousand Of Different Moons" holds the most significance for me on the album. It captures the exact sound I envision for my music. The song carries a melancholic and slightly sad tone, evoking a desire to gaze out of a rain-soaked window and think about something of your own. This style and mood of music resonate deeply with me. I'm not particularly fond of funny songs, as they don't align with my own personality. So, my music reflects who I am as an individual.
IB: Could you explain the symbolism behind the album? The planets, the pink color, the cubes, and the peculiar situations in the music videos... I've tried to comprehend it all, but it's been challenging. Can you help me by sharing the secrets of the Pink Cow's world?
FILIP: Indeed, at first glance, the album may appear enigmatic, but attentive listeners will quickly discern the underlying secret. Clues such as the cube, the pink planet, and the triplets are intricately woven throughout all four music videos and the hour and a half album. Personally, I dislike when creativity is explained to me as if I were an idiot, with clear demarcations of what is deemed good or bad. I find the allure of uncertainty captivating, where answers to questions remain elusive. It is this sense of unresolved mystery that draws me most to various forms of art.
IB: It has been two years since the release of your debut album, and now you're back with a new single called 'White Swan.' Can you tell us more about your new single? It sounds different from Pink Cow, and you've also changed the color scheme. Does this mean that we can expect more releases from you in the future, perhaps even a new album?
FILIP: Yes, you're absolutely right. Since 2022, I have been working on a new album that takes a different direction because I have no intention of replicating what was done on the Pink Cow. The new material has a grittier sound, deliberately unfinished, with songs that feel like demos, and that's the direction I want to pursue. I enjoy paying closer attention to the visual aspects while keeping the songs themselves raw. The new album will be in the jazz genre, and it is the yellow color that, in my opinion, is best suited as a shade of this genre. I have already recorded approximately four songs for the album, and I'm genuinely excited about the creative direction it is taking.
IB: Now your track is in yellow. What does this color mean to you, and why did you choose yellow for the new releases?
FILIP: It's all about jazz. As I mentioned before, the new album will predominantly feature the jazz genre. It's an entirely new territory for me, as I've never worked in this style before. Jazz is a complex and incredibly fascinating genre that offers a level of artistic freedom that I highly value. As an artist, it's crucial for me to avoid feeling restricted by limits and boundaries, and jazz provides the perfect platform for that. Similar to ambient music, jazz goes beyond preconceived notions. While some may perceive ambient music as solely long pads lasting 10 minutes, it encompasses much more. It's a genre that can be explored in three dimensions, akin to working with clay. The possibilities are endless, allowing for the sculpting of various musical expressions and forms.
IB: Did you have a break between the release of your debut album and the new singles? What were you doing during that time? I can imagine how exhausted you must have been. Maybe you were just relaxing under a palm tree, sipping a cocktail? You truly deserve it, as the album sounds amazing!
FILIP: Thanks again! I'm glad you enjoyed it. After the release of Pink Cow, I took a short break from music, but soon found myself writing again. In 2022, I released two albums under my ambient project, Mosedo. This project continues to develop the ideas I started with Pink Cow, focusing on dialogue, total immersion, and plot. Moving forward, I want to explore this direction further.
Mosedo's first album delved into adventures in Africa, creating a sense of mystical horror. It predominantly features dark ambient compositions, with minimal instrumental tracks and a haunting atmosphere. The second album, titled "Atlantis," is primarily composed of electronic music. Both albums are currently available on Bandcamp, and I believe there may be an option to listen to them for free, though I'm not certain. I'm truly passionate about this project, and I have plans to release a few more albums, fully immersing myself in the realm of dark ambient. The upcoming works will be intense, scary, and devoid of jump scares.
"IT'S ALL ABOUT JAZZ"
IB: Tell us about your new single White Swan.
FILIP: It just so happens that "White Swan" is currently the only song on my list that isn't entirely my own creation. It's a half-cover, based on a very old and popular song from the country where I was born. My grandmother has a deep fondness for this song and often requests it on her birthday, accompanied by my guitar playing. One day, while strumming chords on my guitar, I found myself humming the melody of this song and attempting to sing the chorus in English. I liked how it sounded, and the idea lingered in my mind for a while. Eventually, I decided to give it a try and bring the song to life. Inspiration flowed, and I made some adjustments to the song's structure and mood. When the time came to choose a song for the single, "White Swan" emerged as the clear choice. Although I must admit, I'm not particularly fond of covers in general. It's like borrowing someone else's clothes. I'm primarily driven to create my own original music. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and "White Swan" is one such exception.
IB: Tell me, how can you describe the process of music appearing in the mind? Is it a gift or a curse? What can it be compared to? I've never experienced this myself, but I'm terribly interested in understanding how it happens.
FILIP: Melodies have a way of appearing unexpectedly, anywhere and at any time, even in the bathroom. It's an uncontrollable phenomenon that arises spontaneously. I can spend hours sitting with my guitar, and nothing of value seems to come out. But as soon as I step into the shower or go to the store, a chorus pops into my head, and that's it—the melody is there. I believe this is undoubtedly a gift, but it can also feel like a curse. After spending months in the studio, meticulously crafting every piece of that melody, pouring my heart and soul into those four minutes, the song is released only to get lost in the endless stream of music. It's not that something is inherently wrong with the song; it's just that no one knows about it. You find yourself questioning why you went through all that effort, for what purpose, and for whom it was all intended. This is perhaps the most unbearable aspect of the creative process.
IB: What musical genres or bands have had the strongest influence on you as a musician and producer?
FILIP: Cinema has had a profound influence on me. I'm a passionate film enthusiast. As a result, my music is often inspired by films. In essence, "Pink Cow" is like a movie that unfolds within the listener's headphones and imagination. It's akin to reading a book and visualizing everything in your mind. When listening to "Pink Cow," you can imagine characters, scenes, and more. During my childhood, I watched every film that appeared on TV and recorded many of them on cassette tapes. Initially, these were Hollywood films, but as I grew older, I gravitated toward European cinema and art house films. Directors such as David Lynch, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Terrence Malick have greatly influenced me. "Mulholland Drive" is one of my all-time favorite movies. I've watched it numerous times, and it continues to captivate me. Tarkovsky's works have also had a significant impact on me. His films are challenging and thought-provoking, and in the music video for "Radiation," there are clear references to "Stalker," starting with the cap. Additionally, Terrence Malick stands as one of the most important contemporary directors. His distinct style and artistic vision are unmistakable. It's incredible to observe how he developed his unique style, beginning with "The Thin Red Line".
Apart from movies, I also have a fondness for video games, particularly "Mass Effect: Andromeda." Personally, I believe that "Mass Effect: Andromeda" surpasses the original trilogy, and I'm so enthralled by this installment that I'm willing to engage in debates defending its merits hahaha I'm truly passionate about the game!
IB: What projects can we expect in the future, and what should we prepare for?
FILIP: I'm considering creating a music video for "White Swan." Additionally, I plan to make the Pink Cow album available on Spotify again. Currently, it's only accessible on Bandcamp due to certain issues with Distrokid's policy, which required the album to be removed. However, I hope to resolve this and have it back on all platforms in the near future. In the meantime, my focus remains on working diligently on my second album. From what I've already glimpsed, the upcoming release sounds absolutely incredible. It will also feature dialogues and a captivating plot, but everything will be elevated to a whole new level. I assure you, it will be an extraordinary experience.
IB: How do you think the emergence of smart technologies affects the music industry? Also, are concerts important for artists, and what is your dream concert?
FILIP: Exceptionally positive. Ten years ago, I could not think that I could record an album at homeIt used to require renting a studio and investing significant amounts of money in hiring a producer. However, times have changed. Studios, producers, and labels are becoming less prevalent. While I may not be well-versed in all the technical intricacies, I have compared my music extensively with studio-produced tracks, and I'm delighted to say that it sounds just as good, if not better, than some tracks that cost thousands of dollars to produce. The rise of neural networks and their rapid development is another factor reshaping the music industry. I believe they represent the future of humanity — a new race, a new religion. With the continued advancement of neural networks, studios and producers may find it even more challenging.
Speaking of concerts, they don't hold as much significance for me as an independent artist. Concerts tend to be crucial for popular bands and artists whose main job is to perform live. They alternate between touring, resting, and recording new albums. And yes, I think these people are lucky, because making money with music these days, especially original music, is a lot of luck. Talent alone is not enough. For an independent musician, even selling a few T-shirts and a handful of CDs is already an incredible achievement.
IB: And the last question: If you were stranded on a desert island without any musical instruments. What would be the first musical instrument you would create and why? Additionally, what song from your repertoire would you choose to play first on it?
FILIP: Ahaha, that's a fantastic question! If I were stranded on a desert island and had to choose one instrument for a concert, I would definitely go with an acoustic guitar. It's versatile enough to create a captivating performance in such a setting. I would have waited for the night to make a big fire, and would have begun to sing my own around the fire. I would start my concert with the song "Rock In Blue". The song has very simple chords, and it is sung quite easily and melodicly. So yes, the first song I choose is "Rock In Blue."