Majo Polyak Music store


About Majo Polyak Music Project

s Robertom Hercegom | December, 2023

The Slovak electronic music scene may be fairly small, but of a high quality, the EBM scene even reaches an international parameter. However, the same names are still being rotated...but then, a person emerges. A person, who up until now, has not yet been introduced to the industry and is neither bound nor influenced by anything – a pike in a pond. Try to introduce yourself in your own words!

Who is Majo Polyak?

I am a graphic designer, who, after many years of prioritizing everything else, has decided to embark on production of electronic music full time. A pike in a pond – I am not sure if that really applies to me considering the number of years it took me. A more precise description would probably be „an old carp“ :-)

I and many other people have noticed your collaborations with Radmila Svensson. She is quite a well-known figure in the Slovak music scene as she used to be a member of an indie girl group YouCoco. How did the two of you get together? YouCoco and electronical music could not be more different.

I do not even remember exactly how I came across YouCoco and their album, but when I gave it a listen, it piqued my interest. Radka's overall expression fascinated me – her image, her vocal delivery, and the compositional potential that emanated from her songs, as well as a certain inner restlessness that she projected. She was exactly what I was looking for with my relatively grounded nature. I made a remix of their song "Deal", and later sent Radka two demos. To my delight, she agreed to the proposed collaboration. That is how it all started. Around the same time, I started collaborating with Paulína Feriancová on the track "Ego."

It is hard not to notice that the songs you have released so far sound quite different from the typical synth-pop. There is a lot of influence from Alan Wilder and Recoil. Do you see the parallels too?

I grew up listening to electronic music from the 80s, so bands like Depeche Mode or Nitzer Ebb really struck a chord with me. Alan Wilder's album "Bloodline" is my all-time favourite; I have probably listened to it a million times already, and yes, this exact album is still a strong inspiration for me to this day. Another big idol of mine is Neil Davidge from the group Massive Attack; specifically, his soundtracks for "Halo" and "Britannia." From the Czech-Slovak scene, I enjoy Dušan Vozáry's album "Déva." So, if someone compares my debut to any of these giants, that would be a big “wow” moment for me. But I certainly do not even hold a candle to them.

In my work, I tried to establish my own, slightly darkened sound, which would be a combination of simple pop melodies, rhythm, and a multilayered (relatively easily digestible) atmosphere. If the listener concludes this after listening to "Neverending Story," then I consider it a success.

Among the HPO fans, there are quite a few musicians. And maybe they would be interested in how you create your music. Do you use any machines, and if so, what kind, or does it all come together in the computer?

I use Logic Pro as a sequencer. When creating, I combine literally everything at my disposal - from real vintage machines, such as Emulator III or Moog Voyager, to super modern virtual ones. I also borrow various samplers from sample libraries, as well as subprograms that I use, and so on. I sample myself as well, but I do not want to spend as much time on it as I did when I was younger :-)

Based on your music videos, many people have asked if they will be able to see everything live as well.

I would love to, but there are certain obstacles limiting us. For starters, we are a studio project. In our case, preparing a live version is a much more complex process. I create multilayered compositions, and for live production purposes, they need to be simplified, cleaned up and I need to decide, which sounds will stay and which will be removed, and then remix everything anew. This takes relatively much time and feels like creating a whole new album. Another issue at hand - the distance between me and Radmila, as the frontwoman. I live in Bratislava; she lives in Stockholm. If we were to play live, we would need to plan out our logistics properly...Hopefully, it will work out someday...

Your debut album "Neverending Story" is coming out in December. Vinyl records are quite popular nowadays. Can your fans expect this kind of release, or will it be a purely digital release?

Yes, the 2xLP vinyls are already in production. A CD version will also be released, but the digital release will come out first on all streaming platforms on December 10, 2023.

There is also a Depeche Mode cover on the album. Why did you choose this particular song, and what did it entail to officially release it? Were there any copyright issues?

I really like "Waiting for the Night." It has its charm and poetry, which I wanted to bring back to the light of day via our cover version. Originally, I used to play that song on the piano at home, but then I decided to rework it into a more rhythmic track. I started processing sounds and the first sequences, and it quickly gained momentum, turning into a pleasant composition, which I also consider as a tribute and a thank you to DM for everything they have created for us.
There were actually no problems – it is a cover version, which has its strict rules that need to be followed - you can play the song in your interpretation, but everything from the original must be preserved - chords, lyrics, song structure, approximate overall duration. You must not change, cut, rearrange anything - the original must be easily identifiable. If you follow all the rules and, where necessary, provide the supplied copyright info, you do not need the author's explicit consent. Otherwise, it would be considered a remix - for that, you do need the explicit permission from the song's author. And according to my information, in the case of DM, no one officially holds that right except for those chosen by the group itself for remixing.

Is there anything or anyone from the Czech or Slovak scene that has recently caught your attention?

Well, that is quite a problem for me, since I mostly listen to foreign productions, moreover, older stuff. I do have a few contenders from our regions, however. Berlin Manson is great, I enjoy listening to This is Kevin, I appreciate the long-term conceptual work of the Autumnist project, and Nylon Union is always a pleasant listen. It would really please me if Dušan Vozáry created something interesting again, perhaps a "Déva II."

Your debut album comes out on December 10th... Do you have any ideas on what's the next step?

There are two possibilities: either we'll start preparing live versions, or we'll start working on album number two. Some ideas are already out there, and the desire to create is gaining intensity... I guess we will have to wait and see, which direction it will ultimately take.