By Peter Calak
Łona & Webber, a hip-hop duo from Szczecin, Poland consists of MC (and lawyer by profession) Adam Zieliński (Łona) and musician-producer Andrzej Mikosz (Webber).
Characterized by jazzy beats and often humorous lyrics, the duo’s music provides an intelligent and satirical perspective on life in contemporary Poland.
YouNxt’s Peter Calak recently spoke with the artists about their musical style, North American influences and their new album “Cztery i pół”.
WEBBER: The main difference is the language. English is so widespread that it is easier to reach an audience. American hip-hop is a highly commercialized industry whereas in Poland, hip-hop is just now gaining commercial ground. Although, I’m happy about the fact that Polish hip-hop has become more independent than mainstream music. Another positive is that there is a growing pool of young talent.
ŁONA: The language thing is a curse and a blessing. Because of the language, its worldwide impact is rather poor. There are only 40 million potential listeners. But this non-mainstream character is also its greatest advantage.
What North American hip hop artists influenced your work?
WEBBER: DJ Shadow, DJ Premier, RJD2 and Pete Rock. Their work provided me with a foundation for the development of my own career and helped shape the direction in which I wanted to go in with my music.
ŁONA: I was heavily influence by KRS-ONE, A Tribe Called Quest and J Dilla. They helped shape who I am today.
You utilize a lot of multimedia to promote your work. Which one is your favourite?
WEBBER: Lately, music videos are our favorite tool. It all began with concert announcements and developed into the music video for “To nic nie znaczy”. We’d like to continue on this route.
ŁONA: True, we both got into making our own videos and we’re about to release a new one.
How does Adam’s background as a lawyer influence his work as a hip hop artist?
ŁONA: Negotiations on contracts are much easier.
If you were a Polish parent living abroad who wanted to give your child a single Polish book, music album and film to give them a taste of Polish culture what would it be?
BOOK – Although it’s not a single book, Stanisław Grzesiuk’s trilogy forms a cohesive story – “Boso, ale w ostrogach”, “5 lat kacetu”, “Na marginesie życia”
MUSIC ALBUM – Afro Kolektyw’s “Czarno widzę”
FILM – “Nie lubię poniedziałku” by Tadeusz Chmielewski from 1977.
I would rather give my child Mrożek’s “Emigrants” so he can find his way, “Brat Juzef” LP by Nagły Atak Spawacza so he can lose it and “Co mi zrobisz jak mnie złapiesz”, a film by Stanisław Bareja so he can get the whole picture.