Sam O’Black: The purpose of this interview is to present the Polish band Access Denied on the global arena. The band was founded in 2003, it has recorded three studio albums, performed many concerts on the Polish stage as well as abroad. Why, in your opinion, the music of Access Denied deserves the interest of listeners from other countries? What’s unique about Access Denied?
Agnieszka Sulich: We find it hard to talk about our ‘uniqueness’, as we’re not unique. It doesn’t, however, change the fact that we love music, we record albums, play concerts, and, though it’s hard to gain the media support, we do what we enjoy. We always do our best, regardless of the fact we play for five or 5 thousand people.
“So many people I want to know
So many places I want to go
Life is too short to stay at home
It’s perfect time to rock’n’roll”
Access Denied “Go Go Go”
Side note: I was an Access Denied fan even before they released debut longplay in 2009. Since then, I am pleased to receive directly from the band their following albums, each much better than previous. They definitely don’t buy their songs on fiverr for 5 USD. On the contrary, Access Denied’s music is a handmade artwork, heavy metal with genuine feelings. Perhaps this is nothing unique in the Universe, well they are keen to action, not keen to sit at home and write poems about own extraordinariness… But Access Denied is Access Denied, excellent band with own remarkable tone, nobody play exactly like them!
Access Denied “Go go go” official video clip:
According to the information inside the box of your latest album “Access Denied”, currently the band consists of: vocalist Agnieszka Sulich, guitarist Jack Kolankiewicz, guitarist Mateusz Krauze, bassist Adrian Jegorow and drummer Dariusz Brzozowski. What role in the music process does each musician play?
All correct, except for Darek 😉 Darek is our dear friend. On a day-to-day basis he plays, among others, in Dimmu Borgir, and on our newest album he’s been a session musician. After our old drummer Michael Lysejko had left and joined Decapitated, we needed someone with a new approach. We rehearsed and arranged the songs. I must admit, we’ve learnt a lot from Darek. He’s an experienced musician and knows the ropes – many years in Dimmu or Vader can prove it.
And so, I’m in charge of vocal, lyrics, etc., while music is down to Mateusz and Jack. And the song arrangements are made mainly by Darek and Mateusz. Some ideas born at the music studio with the producer.
What’s the role of each musician of Access Denied? Who’s the leader? Who’s engaging most with the audience at the concerts? Is Dariusz Brzozowski your regular drummer at the moment? Or are you looking for a new one?
A tough question (mmm)… we don’t have a typical leader in the band. We make all decisions mutually, at rehearsals we’re discussing what’s best for us and then we strike a balance. We always get on well. Darek isn’t our official band member, but he’s always ready to help 🙂 Lukasz Raczkowski has been with us for more than two years and he has to face Daray’s compositions. When it comes to contact with the audience during our concerts, it’s my part.
You’ve recorded three great albums: “The Memorial” (2009), “Touch of Evil” (2011), “Access Denied” (2018). I’ve listened to them many times. I am especially fond of the two features. The first is how you operate the contrasts. Have there been any moments when you had some contrary ideas and music techniques?
Have you ever composed something that you liked, but it didn’t appeal to the other members? How do you deal with such situations?
Yes, generally, we happen to have different point of views, and, as I mentioned earlier, we’re sitting down and discussing it together. We’re playing different variants, listening, and picking up what’s best for us. Let me give you an example: for instance, the song “Lies” from the latest album, we play it at 200bpm and its music climate reminds of Testament – it’s the idea of Mariusz and Michael Lysiejko. Jack wanted to keep it at 165bpm in the atmosphere of Iron Maiden, he found it hard to get used to our vision and didn’t like it at all in the beginning. Now he can’t imagine this song be played differently 🙂 This is how we work, we can easily talk to each other.
The other feature I’d like to mention is your vocal technique development. You keep singing better and better with every next album! Seriously, I can hear the difference between now and then. How did you learn to sing? How do you improve your voice? What’s your ambition as a vocalist?
Thank you very much for the compliment on my singing. I still think there’s a lot of training ahead of me, though. Nevertheless, I try to do my best in what I do, as much as I can. Now I’m more open to more experienced people’s advices. I eagerly listen to comments and I try taking as much as possible from my music idols. It’s not, though, about copying, it’s rather about the way of thinking and creating beautiful melody or lyrics. I think of, among others, Rob Halford from Judas Priest, or Ivan Moody from Five Finger Death Punch. I’ve had the opportunity to meet these two men and they’re not only excellent vocalists but also very kind and great people. Rob even got our album :).
Rob Halford holding the second Access Denied album “Touch of Evil”
You come from Poland, the country of original history and unique values and beliefs. I often hear from Icelanders they’re planning to visit Poland: go to Cracow or to a wonderful (and cheap) dentist (haha) someone else was in Warsaw for a whole month and didn’t have enough. What would you advise the Icelander on holidaying in Poland?
Well, no wonder here, Poland is a beautiful and interesting country. Especially when you earn money abroad and spend it in Poland. I recommend to start from Gdynia. And, of course, come to one of the Access Denied concerts.
Is there much interest in your music among the Poles living abroad? Do you also get foreign fans coming to your concerts? What feedback does Access Denied receive from the media abroad?
Well, frankly speaking, it’s not the Polish people, but the general audience of a certain country where we perform.
What are your memories of the Access Denied concerts abroad so far (e.g. In Finland)?
Very good. We’ve always had fun together. Whether we play in Finland, Sweden or anywhere else. Only journeys are troublesome, you know airports, check-ins, buses etc., but there’s a way for dealing with it 😉
It often happens in heavy metal music that the melody of vocal lines doesn’t correspond with the pessimistic rendering of lyrics. In the case of Access Denied, I mean the song “Fool of Love”. If I didn’t know the English language, I’d think of it as a melodic, nice, even cheerful piece whereas the lyrics concern “the biggest failure in life”. Tell me if my interpretation is wrong.
This is a very good question. As a matter of fact, the songs atmosphere in the album in 99% corresponds with the theme. For instance, “Lies” is a powerful metal song with a substantial dose of anger expressed on instruments and in vocal, and, e.g., “Last Breath” is very nostalgic, telling about the loss of someone important. On the other hand, in “Fool of Love”, I tried a certain literary trick, and the song is more about that we make mistakes and have to make up for them, but the “happy” tune, sort of Volbeat, is supposed to refer to the fact that it’s never too late for a change in our lives. The idea behind this song is to give hope and faith in oneself.
You’ve claimed in various interviews that the latest Access Denied album is not 100% metal and wasn’t intended to be such. I can confirm that it’s obvious. But we can notice that Judas Priest has also recorded many non-metal songs in his best albums (especially in the 70s). What inspired you to create this rich and contrast content of “Access Denied”? Was it a natural result of your broad inspirations (what inspirations?), or did you want to reach a similar effect to your idols (Judas Priest or others?)
You hit the bull’s eye. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m a huge fan of Judas Priest and 5FDP. Two different music schools. The classic European heavy and the modern American metal. Two different planets, so distant from each other, but at the same time both are my inspiration. We can hear it in the song “Lift Me Up” where Rob sang as guest with 5FDP, it was outstanding. And as I’ve already said, I’ve met Rob and Ivan, I’ve also been at Kevin Churko’s studio in Las Vegas, where for many years 5FDP has been recording. I was delighted when Kevin emailed us after he’d got our album to let us know what he thought about the Access Denied melodies and songs. His words of recognition mean a lot to me and motivate to further work. Kevin is a great producer and a very nice man, he recorded with Ozzy, Disturbed, 5FDP, and many other recognised artists.
To be honest, I’d really like to meet and talk to Andy Sneap too. Both Kevin in the U.S. and Andy in Europe are interesting protagonists in the world of music. I love Andy’s works such as the recent Judas Priest, Accept or Arch Enemy. It’s my dream to meet him in person, and possibly record something together. Who knows, dreams tend to come true.
Why so much anger and pain in “Access Denied”?
That’s what life is 🙁
On a different note, I’d like to congratulate you on conveying the strong emotions in “Pain”. It’s a moving song, strongly affecting the listener. Is it a universal song or you had something specific on your mind?
Thank you. I can see you’ve listened to the album carefully. I really like such interviews and interesting questions. “Pain” is a very personal piece. Some time ago my father passed away. Everyone realizes such a day will come and we’re going to lose somebody. We seem to know it, but we can’t prepare for it. The song concerns that there’re moments in life we can’t do anything about, we can’t control, and the only certain thing is death 🙁
source: Access Denied – Topic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi3atudMu8k
What do you think about the idea of recording the metal version of Polish carols, as Rob Halford did it in “Celestial” (the premiere on 18.10.19)?
I know this album, but I don’t see myself in such a repertoire. I prefer to listen to Rob 🙂
Many times, you’ve played with the best Polish rock band TSA. I find it sad the way TSA ended. I saw video on YouTube from their performance with the vocalist who wanted to replace Marek Piekarczyk. It shouldn’t have happened. TSA is the legend and the heritage of the Polish rock music. There was a time they played without Piekarczyk but it was a long time ago (and forgotten). Did you witness those events ‘offstage’? What’s your view on this?
Yes, we performed with TSA and we witnessed the events… Nothing nice at all, but I don’t think I should talk about it publicly. People are different and should deal with their issues between each other. For me TSA was, is and will be the legend of the Polish music scene. HEAVY METAL WORLD!!!
source: trzezwyjakswinia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgAF27UjyNk
What are your ambitions and plans in terms of the Access Denied presence globally? Would you like to tour internationally, Europe and USA?
Obviously we’ll play anytime and anywhere with great pleasure. Our ambitions and plans are to meet new more experienced people, learn from them and record interesting songs. For example with the mentioned Andy.
I wish you and Access Denied lots of successes in your further musical career. The internet and social media enable contact with the fans all over the world, so go ahead and conquer the world!
Do you want to say something to your fans abroad?
Thank you very much for your interest in Access Denied and the superb interview. All the best to the people who will read it and see you at our concerts. Maybe we’ll perform in Iceland as well!
written by: Sam O’Black and Agnieszka Sulich