Music producer and psychotherapist hailing from Warsaw, Poland, Bartosz Samitowski takes center stage as our ToneGym Hero this month!
My name is Bartosz and I’m from Warsaw, Poland. I have two jobs: a music producer and a Jungian oriented psychotherapist.
I started making music around 1991 when I was 11 years old.
I had been fascinated by music since my mother played Ravel’s Bolero when I was three or four.That’s my first conscious memory of listening to music. Another one I remember is when I recorded an incredible song played on a radio station on a tape recorder when I was around four. That was an unforgettable experience, however, my father didn’t like the song so he erased the tape. It took me 15 years to find it again. It turned out to be a less-known Metallica song.
I was always fascinated by instruments and played them whenever I could. When I was 11, my computerized mates showed me the Soundtracker. I installed it on my early PC - probably IBM XT and that was the day when I started producing music. In a few years, I switched to Fast Tracker and used it until around 1998, when I was introduced to Cubase SX 3.I switched to Logic last year and it’s bliss.
I have fully self-taught and for a long time all I knew about both music theory and working with sound in general came from my own experimentations. It was in my 30ties that my music got noticed by successful and more experienced musicians and that’s when I started going beyond solo projects under various names - cooperating, playing in bands, and producing for myself and others.
I joined the Swedish band Cotton Ferox between 2013-2015, then established a band called Audio Spirits with my friend Thomas Tibert, one of the CF members. Then I was invited to play guitars and electronics together with Kasai, a brilliant composer, producer, and singer/songwriter. We got nominated for the major Polish music award „Fryderyk” for the Best Alternative Album of 2021 for the album “Kattegat Session”. I also cooperated, as a producer, mixed, musician or writer of lyrics, with other great musicians in Poland, such as the composer/singer Małgorzata Bańka, the virtuoso jazz pianist Leszek Możdżer, Bokka, Julia Marcell, Muniek Staszczyk and others.
I love traveling, hiking, reading books, getting to know other lands and their strangenesses, getting involved in all kinds of new adventures, being in nature, and contemplating. All of this has to do, I guess, with wanting to experience the mysteries of life both being very much inside of the world, but also a little bit outside, to have a better view and not to get too much affected by its many spells. I’m an intuitive introvert, so I must always take care of good inner rooting. The best thing, however, aside and inside music, is friendship.
I’m a very good and talented self-critic and it has stopped me from being creative way too many times.
Nothing, really. There’s an inner necessity to create music in me and I’m unhappy when I don’t, so I have to. Many times all I have to do is simply to attend: to sit down to work and allow whatever happens. This is when inspiration comes, I don’t really know how, when and where from.
In fact, I’m already blessed to have the best people to work with I can imagine to have. However, if I were granted a wish and had more time, I would evoke Jónsi from Sigur Rós. Why? Because what he does is charged with sensitivity from another world, and knows how to tap into beauty in a unique way. His art is a generous and tender, yet ecstatic massage of some fragile tissues of the soul.
I’m also thinking of Rick Rubin because whatever he touches turns into gold and he’s a teacher I want. I would also work with the bassist Keanu Reeves, simply because he seems to be a great guy.
I would also invite Yves Tumor for his unsurpassed aesthetic hedonism and because he’s some true rock n’roll. I would also work with Hope Sandoval for the emotional gems of her voice. I could go on but I’m wondering if anyone still keeps reading.
Negotiating with my resistance. I almost never want to work, but when I do, things happen and I get happy. So my “ritual” before work is to take myself by hand and say to myself “Come and see, you’ll love it”. And then most of the time I love what happens and thank myself for dragging me into work.
I’ve been working on a electro nu jazz album „Poświaty” together with my good friend and a wonderful and inspired to-the-bones composer and singer Małgorzata Bańka and the genius, world-class jazz pianist Leszek Możdżer. The lyrics for the album were written by a Polish female poet Halina Poświatowska (1935-1967), who wrote magnificent tomes and unfortunately died early of heart failure. Bańka has been a sort of an artistic „avatar” of Poświatowska and she infused the project with soul and inspiration and Leszek provided the first version of the electronic arrangement and wrote great piano solos and accompaniments.
I entered the project as a producer, rearranged parts, added guitars and electronics, and FX, and mixed the whole. This project has been fantastic and I learned a lot from this rare musical feast where I feel fully satisfied and happy with others and myself.
The first single “Właśnie kocham” will appear on September 15th on digital platforms.
We’re also working on a duo with Bańka. Also, working on a soundtrack for a Swedish oneiric movie “Masken” and I keep cooperating with Kasai, who is wonderfully evolving from a successful mainstream musician into a full-blown visionary and composer on her own, not looking back while exploring her inner call.
To assist such people is a privilege and bliss. I also opened the Polish chapter of Erototox Decodings, an American-Swedish “No Label Record Label” with HQ run by Chandra Shukla in North Carolina with a “musicians for musicians” work ethic. I’m now figuring out how and with whom we can transform the local status quo of music in my “hood”.
The only one I can think of is 4’33 by John Cage. Why? Because I like the numbers 4 and 33. Four is the number of completion (sides of the world, divisions of the mandala, seasons, etc.), and three times eleven, the number that always haunted me. Three, according to Pythagoras, is on turn the number of the dynamic aspect of creation. And Cage gave the best musical expression of those essences. This song is where I am always.
Here’s an epic performance of the piece:
Out of all the instruments I don’t really play (it’s them who play me) it’s the guitar because it always keeps surprising me with how it utilizes my fingers to create things I like.
Piano, because it took over the universality of songwriting, and hulusi, because it’s so silk.
I also love the computer as an instrument because it gives me a mysterious illusion of control over creation and because it creates so many sounds.
The iPad, with how its seemingly cold glass touch allows an organic performance.
It’s the daily gym. I always do it first thing with the morning coffee. It’s the first ever ear training tool that got me addicted and thus regular. It shows me how much I still have to learn and surprises me by seeing there’s consistent improvement when doing the work. Sometimes I fail all the exercises and sometimes I suddenly give all the right answers without failure. It frustrates me and then it satisfies me. Then I discover suddenly I hear more.
It has a true effect on what I do in music. My hearing and playing slowly get better and for that, I’m grateful to whoever made this thing. The community aspect is also great - people tend to have a cool attitude and are often helpful to each other.
Holiday in Crete, and after (and while) that more work and light.