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Interview with the leader of band OCN

During the Friendship Festival, the Wrocław band OCN will be celebrating its anniversary, along with Raz, dwa, trzy, Lech Janerka and other stars of the Polish stage. They’ve shared the stage with the greatest music stars, recorded seven albums, changed the name at the peak of their popularity, and attempted to win over stages abroad. OCN (known as Ocean prior to 2013) is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Its members have changed many times, its permanent nexus being Maciej Wasio, who Bartosz Synowiec (Radio Wrocław Kultura) talked to on the occasion of the coming anniversary – the Friendship Festival, co-organized by the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016.

Joe Cocker told us in Wrocław: ”Have fun, lads.”

Is OCN a one-person project?
It’s an authoritarian democracy. These are the voting elements that rotate. They can always contribute a lot, but it’s me that decides, and I’m not afraid to take responsibility for my choices.

The group was supposed to be a temporary project at the beginning. You wouldn’t probably have expected then that you would celebrate such anniversary?
I assumed that everything would last 15 minutes, not 15 years. It was to be a garage project which wasn’t supposed to go outside our cubbyhole, then outside of Wrocław’s clubs, and then those in Poland. Despite the number of years which have passed, only now do I have the feeling that we start for real, that everything assumes a definite shape and maturity.

You start for real, being experienced musicians. In that case, what can an experienced musician communicate to a beginner?
As a young musician, I treated such slogans as piffle, but there’s nothing more important in music than truth and emotions. Paradoxically, no matter how much you try to hide it, the listener will always sense sincerity or the lack of it.

What was the most important memory for you in the group’s career?
The moment when we arrived to soundcheck at the National Stadium in Warsaw. We we supporting Byonce, among others. When I saw the enormity of the concert production and the place we were to play, my jaw dropped to the ground. I thought to myself: “It was worth knocking about from hole to hole.” Still, in art there are no best or worst things, because there can always be something even better or worse still to come.

You’ve shared the stage with a lot of world class stars, like Kings of Leon recently in Kraków. You’ve had the opportunity to meet all these musicians in person. Which one of them - regarding their personality - has made the greatest impression on you?
My best memory is that of meeting the late Joe Cocker, who invited us to the opening of the concert in the Centennial Hall (then People’s Hall). We had a booked rehearsal, but Joe informed his team that he wanted to play a song he hadn’t played for years, and everything fell behind schedule considerably. We hadn’t been let on the stage before the opening of the gates of the hall and didn’t have time for a rehearsal anymore; we had to start playing. Joe Cocker, passing by, just told us:  "Have fun, lads." He probably liked our concert: afterwards we got a very kind hand written letter and a fridge filled with the bottles of very expensive alcohol from him.

How come you open for so many stars so often?
Everything depends on the references one receives. We have some from the very prestigious Sziget Festival. Its organizers praised the production of our concert a lot. The management of each star analyses very thoroughly the bands that might perform as the one opening of their concert. It’s not connected with the popularity of an artist at all. We know that a couple of big Polish stars of considerable stature laid money on the table to play before Kings of Leon. The management, however, put more emphasis on organizational effectiveness. We are lucky to have an incredible technical team.

A while ago your record company announced that you were setting off to conquer the West. How did it come to that?
At a certain moment we recorded three songs in English and sent them to a competition organized by Sziget Festival. We won Polish eliminations and went to the festival. Then the song "Waterfall" reached the European Warner Music Group, we got the response with a proposition of a contract. The record got a great reception, we sold around 160 thousand records. On the record "Demon i karzeł" (Demon and Dwarf), I came back to Polish language; I felt that I could express my recent emotions only in my mother tongue. However, I don’t think it impossible for us to come back to the foreign path.

To celebrate your anniversary, you organize the Friendship Festival. As the name suggests, you friends will appear at it…
And friends with capital  "F"! Raz Dwa Trzy band, which mainly operates in Wrocław, and Jamal, also strongly connected with our city. We also invited Happysad group; we’ve roamed the country up and down with them this year. Muchy, with an ingenious – I think – lyric writer  Michał Wiraszko, will come from Poznań. I’m proud to be honoured by the presence of Lech Janerka and a fantastic vocalist Monika Borzym. The stage will also host the man who is someone between my spiritual father and brother - Olaf Deriglasoff. Please, come on 15 December to Hala Orbita.

Do you have any anniversary wishes?
For us to want to go on and have the same shivers playing concerts. So that our activity won’t ever become routine.

Bartosz Synowiec
Bartosz works as a journalist for Radio RAM, Radio Wrocław and Radio Wrocław Kultura, where he hosts shows and interviews musicians. 


I Friendship Festival
15 December 2016, Hala Orbita
”When celebrating, always have your friends along!” - this is the motto of the first edition of Friendship Festival. 15th anniversary of Wrocław’s band OCN (known for years as OCEAN), became the opportunity to gather on one stage performers, who, regardless of separate musical worlds, struck close personal relationships. On 15 December 2016 in HALA ORBITA in Wrocław, we will see the formations which don’t have to be especially recommended. Alongside jubilees, HAPPYSAD, RAZ DWA TRZY and MUCHY will play. Additionally, their active participation in the event was confirmed by the renowned artists, such as LECH JANERKA, MONIKA BORZYM, OLAF DERIGLASOFF and the leader of the group JAMAL - TOMASZ “MIODU” MIODUSZEWSKI. These are not the only surprises and unique interactions planned for this evening. The Friendship Festival is part of EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE WROCŁAW 2016.

More information about festival: H E R E

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Maciej Wasio OCN

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