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The Interview with Piotr Wawrzeniuk, Jan. 2006 Posted by Thor on October 26 2007
I supposse there's nobody among Therion fans who wouldn't know who Piotr Wawrzeniuk is. In the past he was a drummer of The Beast, he also was its vocalist. He was present during many tours, his voice may be heard on bonus tracks on SOTR and also on the latest Therion records. It was quite impossible to find many information about this musician, so I decided to change it. Enjoy your reading!


Hello! A standard question for the beginning: How did your adventure with Therion start? How did you meet Christofer?

Piotr: Christofer was brought to a rehearsal of Carbonized by Lars Rosemberg. Together with Christofer, he worked in a printing house. Some time earlier, he had kicked out our guitar player Jonas Derouche and we booked a time for a recording in Sunlight Studio and we also had the contract to finish. After 3 weeks and 12 rehearsals we had to be ready, and I think we were indeed, looking back at our technical skills at that times.

How do you remember those early years, that period of time when Therion wasn't as popular as now?

It wasn't always funny. When Christofer was complaining that Oskar - the drummer - wanted to leave the band to become a chimney sweeper (fact of life!), I offered myself to replace him as the drummer. Christofer was concerned that I didn't have a "double kick", but I bought one after few days, and one week later somehow I learned how to use it correctly. It was a little bit strange to play stuff belonging to "the others". On the third album our new crew started to cooperate quite well, making something our own, something we could finally say it was only ours. We've been torturing ourselves traveling by microbuses, sleeping not enough, and smoking and drinking definitely too much. What's worst, during those some years, this traveling-circus gave us very little things in the artistic matter and gave us very little financially (I mean rent, food, that kind of stuff), but socially we met a lot of nice people.

How did you react seeing the huge success of Theli? Did you expect it while recording the material for this album?

No, I didn't expect it. We decided to make this record, spend all money we got, and make Nuclear Blast bankrupts. But it didn't work out that way. Clearly instrumentally (or how to explain it), as for a drummer, this session, aside from the session of Carbonized "Screaming Machines", gave me the most happiness and enjoyment. Having recorded these albums, now my only ambition is to drum well and in a simple way.

Why did you quit when everything started to go in the right direction?

Together with Chris, six months before the recording session, we decided that I would quit when it's done. I promised to participate in the recording session, finish playing on stage on the "Lepacca Kliffoth" tour, and then leave. I wanted to learn, to study. Since that time, I've still been studying. I couldn't know that the record would achieve such positive reactions from people. Anyway, I got something from those early years. During those few years, I sang on small tours and festivals. I could play and finally enjoy my work that was completely different from long-distance journeys by microbus.

How big of an influence you had during recording and composing records from these "old times", during the period of "Symphony Masses", "Lepaca" and "Theli"?

Christofer's attitude toward others taking part is simple: if you write a song in the spirit of Therion, there's always a possibility that it will be placed on CD. Except of doom, I'm not good in writing metal songs. I'm glad that he finally found good mates - the work they did on the last records is really amazing. Talking about recording, I had a free hand to drum and sing, but other matters I could only suggest. In some critical moments I had a great influence on the band, and that's all. Someday, Christofer and I, being sad, we were drinking in some bar, and more or less one year after we had released "Ho Drakon", Christofer was disheartened and he wanted to disband Therion due to the lack of results. Besides, some ideas he had could be used in some other combinations. He asked whether it was worthy to still be doing it and I proposed him to record one more disc and then to see what happens next. Why shouldn't we take a risk? So, we started the work on "Lepaca Kliffoth".

What do you think about the latest record of Therion?

SOTR is a really big step back in a comparison to the record before it - I forgot what was its name was (Deggial - Thor). As for my taste, it was too "inner". Personally, I prefer playing in the baroque style. One can find whatever you want on the new CDs, but the songs I like most are the songs on which I can hear my work. However, my voice, after a few years of being in a coma, was awakening really slowly. Maybe that's way I can listen to it all the time.

And which Therion record do you like most?

Because of sentimental matters, Theli. Talking about artistic matters, the newest ones.

Do you often listen to Therion?

Mostly when there are people drinking beer at my house and I want to boast. For the shock I force them to hear Carbonized, to make beer taste better and The Robots. For the admiration and slapping on the back, Therion. I know, I'm a vain and conceited man...

The question which allows you to answer in many ways, haha, is Therion for you still Therion?

I will answer in this way: Therion is Therion as long as Christofer thinks so. He changes the style of his records in versatile and dynamic ways ever so softly.

What do you think about the people who replaced you in Therion?

The German drumming on Vovin screw up a little, but this producer, Slezak, is a hard guy to cooperate with. Sami liked to boast, too. The drummer on the last CDs seems to be a good musician. Everything is logical in his playing.

With Christofer you were also in Carbonized. Can you say something more about this project?

We released 3 records, and none of them were sold in the number bigger than seven thousand. It was caused by the music (but lack of will to promote it too) which, on the third CD "Screaming Machines" was so close to grind or death or something else. It was quite an ambitious project, a trial to reach boundaries of good and bad taste, technical possibilities, patience of labels and sound engineers. At the beginning, when Chris and I weren't in the band (end of the 80's) it was only quite an ordinary death metal band.

Not a long time ago Christofer was involved in similar project, Demonoid, consisting of the Niemann brothers (guitarists in Therion) and the drummer playing on the latest Therion albums. Have you heard their album?

No, I haven't, but they have to do something with their energy - they had to do something else than taking care of Therion, just like me and The Robots.

What would you say about Christofer? What is he like everyday? What about during recording sessions? How did he change during the years of your friendship?

During recording sessions he is the same like everyday.

How have you changed since the time the world heard your voice on Therion records for the first time?

I grew fat, I went bald, and I grew wise. Therion helped me in all these categories of changes. I think that performing with Therion opened my eyes and helped them to see possibilities and their lack. Recording gave me a routine for the future, for similar projects.

You're not in Therion Society...
1. Why? 2. What do you think about it?

I've never heard about this phenomenon. I don't know how much it costs, or to what it gives access. I have no idea.

At the present time, mostly thanks to the internet, many people in Poland can hear two records of Serpent on which you sang - Autumn Ride and In The Garden Of Serpent. Could you say something about them? Compare them? Encourage people to hear it?

I think it's not for Therion fans unless they aren't people with wide music interests and if they aren't happy listening to the music deliberately made to be primitive and simple. The band existed from 1993 to 1997. Clear doom, guitars, bass, Piotr's wailing. Similar to St.Vitus, Obsessed, early Cathedral.

If I'm right, there is a third album but I haven't heard that it's been released.

It was an accident; its victims are buried in anonymous, not described graves on the cemetery of oblivion. Seriously speaking, this album - even if it had a few good songs - never will be released because its level was below criticism.

Well, does Serpent still exist?

We had the third recording session in summer 1999, and since autumn, we haven't seen each other too often. I don't know whether Serpent will rise again. I have some ideas and the will, but the man I want to play with, bass player from Serpent's "Autumn Ride" and Therion's "Ho Drakon" lives far away from me - 900 km north from Stockholm. I don't want to play with people who lack technique and talent and try to replace it with enthusiasm and they think it's enough. Maybe we will release something as a project. I'd like to.

Now you're in The Robots. What's interesting, this band recorded its first record in Poland, and you were involved in this recording session.

I've been playing in the Robots for 15 years. It's my music mainstay. People from this band are somehow the mainstay of my life, and we are very good friends. I met Mariusz from Carnage/Thrash'em All when Lars Rosenberg got a pack with demo of Vader, a long time before they signed a contract with Earache. Later, they were living at my house recording the first version of their record. Mariusz heard The Robots and it intrigued him. In the same year we went to Olsztyn to make a record.

Not a long time earlier, "the known system" had collapsed. What impression did the freedom of Poland have on the guys?

Some of them were in Poland in 1990 when the political changes had been made. But, so to speak, there were no supplies-outlook changes. They were happy seeing our inflationary currency, zloty - they had to pay 10.000 for one beer, while they had only 50 zloty banknotes.

Looking at the bands you used to play in, you always gave away drumming to someone else, and you focused only on singing (with the exception of The Robots). Why?

In Serpent, nobody could sing. In the beginning I only had to sing, but we had to kick out our drummer, Patrick, 'cause he was too good in technique matters and he liked to show it. He didn't fit to our vision of music. In performing on stage, I had to stand up from the chair and grab the microphone, but there were not too many performances where I had to do that.

Not only did you sing and play drums, but also you wrote the lyrics...

They always concerned some claustrophobic topics and walking on the walls. It was a deformed reality of suburban living among block of flats. It was the escape from the land of intoxicants.

The Robots playing punk, Serpent played doom. Hard to describe Carbonized and Therion. Which of these bands is closest to you in the matters of music?

The Robots, for sure.

Talking about non-music topics, why don't you live in Poland? How did it happen that you live in Scandinavia?

My father worked here, I followed him in the middle of the 80's.

If you had to compare Sweden to Poland, what differences would you mention?

Landscape, politics, less dirty tricks and giving a shit, less of unhealthy religion.

Talking about interpersonal relationships - who do you like to work with most?

I think The Robots. After 15 years of playing, not always without quarrels, finally we found common understanding and artistic agreement.

Who do you like to drink with most?

I don't have some personal liking. Maybe it depends on my mood - whether I want to complain, or just to drink and say some stupid things.

You've finished historical studies - do you work as a teacher, professor?

I'm finishing doctorate, and the exam is in December.

What music do you listen every day?

Mostly punk and something close to it (Ramones, Dictators, Vibrators, Turbonegro, Nomads) or country music (Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Flying Burrito Brothers).

Can I ask you about religious preferences?


Is there any philosopher, man, some work which influenced your philosophy of life, the way of looking at the world?

Jaroslaw Haszek - The Good Soldier Svejk.

Favourite movie, director, actor or actress?

I don't know. I've never been thinking about it. It's easier to say what one doesn't like. For example: "Sound of Music", Geena Davis, youth acne.

Which books have rooted in your mind?

"Emancypatki" by Prus... (A Polish novel - Thor) I'm kidding. "Rivine-Rovno" by Irvaners - it is a black vision of future of the Ukraine divided into two parts: the west under the wings of UN and the post-communistic east. I don't know whether it's been released in Polish.

Some time ago, Karol Wojtyla had died. What would you say about this pope? How did you receive his death and what do you think about all this history of Poles?


Ah, ok. Will we see you in Poland someday, for example, with Therion?

Not with Therion, I think. Maybe someday with The Robots.

We could hear you on the bonus tracks attached to SOTR and also on the newest records. Will you sing on the next Therion record?

Probably not, but I don't know what artistic concept Chris has. When I was recording vocals for the new CDs, it wasn't easy for me because I had not been singing for a long time.

What plans for the future do you have?

To work scientifically, spend free time with my daughter, release a new CD with The Robots in 2007.

Do you have a few words for the readers?

I have nothing interesting to say. I suggest silence, which together with thinking, has the future.


The itnerview made by Thor
8th of January 2006
Error correction by irreplaceable Diane (thanks!)

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