To listen to audio on Rock Paper Scissors you'll need to Get the Flash Player

log in to access downloads
Sample Track 1:
"Vision Fiberoptics ft. Sean Haefeli" from Pushing Through the Pavement
Sample Track 2:
"Lost & Found ft. Mr. Lif & Ayla Nereo" from Pushing Through the Pavement
Sample Track 3:
"Nobody's Alone ft. Yarah Bravo" from Pushing Through the Pavement
Layer 2

Click Here to go back., Interview >>

The Polish Ambassador, aka David Sugalski, is a genre-bending pioneer, weaving irresistible melodies through waves of deep, harmonically-rich intricacies. His soundscapes span across “warm, analogue dreamwave, mind-altering glitch, world-infused groove, bass-fueled breaks, electric lullabies, and psy-fi funk.” Every one of his albums is a departure from the previous. Each is a novel, innovative experiment as he fuses the modern tides in music with classic, established grooves and exotic sounds from around the world. The Polish Ambassador’s entire discography, including his latest albumPushing Through the Pavement, is available on his Interview by John d’Alemeida. Congratulations on all your success, both personally and with your new record label. Was there a moment you realized your career was really taking off? Thanks! One of the moments that struck me as an important moment or a moment where I saw things coming together was Electric Forest last summer. Just to see how many people showed up for that set–to knowthat many people were interested in this project. By the end of the set, to have 10,000 people there–a good portion of them knowing the music, either singing along or erupting in a massive cheer when they heard their favorite song–was a You-Have-Arrived moment, an explosive moment, that I’ll never forget. Your music has a very unique range of sounds and operates within a lot of different genres. Did you have mentors or inspirations growing up that had an affect on this style? Yeah, I was born in 1980, and my parents listened to a lot of 80s music growing up. I’d say that’s the root of it. My music isn’t quite pop music, but there’s a distinct catchiness to the melodies and harmonies I create. I think that’s due to me listening to a lot of 80s music as a kid. When I got into high school and college, I was interested in the more obscure underground hip-hop movement that was happening in the mid-late 90s and early 2000s. A combination of that 80s rich melodic content mixed with good underground hip-hop were the two bullet points of inspiration for this project early on. You’ve just released a new album. Tell us about it. It’s called Pushing Through the Pavement, and it was released June 10th. It’s my first big collaboration album, so almost every track on the record has a featured artist on it, whether it be a vocalist or instrumentalist. It’s a very rich album pulling from all sorts of genres like world music, soul music, and reggie. It’s very diverse, and I’m super stoked about it. What’s your creative process when collaborating with other musicians? Everyone has their own idiosyncrasies, as do I. There are a lot of colorful people out there that like to do things a certain way, so finding ways to meet each other halfway can be challenging. However, it’s also a very rich process of evolution and growth. Embarking on a creative project with somebody is one of the coolest ways to go. You’ve started another project called Wildlight. How did that come about and what should we expect for the future of that project? Wildlight is a collaboration with my partner, Ayla. We’re in a relationship, so it’s really easy to collaborate because we spend a lot of time together. It’s a very rich area to explore creatively when you’re actually in love with the person that you’re creating art with, so expect more of that in the music. Expect more of Ayla and I exploring our love for one another and putting that out in musical form. There’s more coming. It’s influencing my solo music as well. All this collaboration, with Ayla and all these other artists is fueling further inspiration that I wouldn’t have explored otherwise. All you music is donation based. Will this also be the case for Wildlight and future artists on your label? Yeah, that’s the model we’re going by. I dont want to say it will always be like that, but it’s working really well. It feels really good as an artist to be able to just share something. Art in its essence is not a commodity. It’s not something that should be purchased, otherwise it becomes more of a product. While I do acknowledge that an artist needs to be paid to survive, I think it’s nice to have a bit of a dichotomy there. Having an element of art that’s free: ‘here, take this, have it, love it, listen to it, pass it around, share it.’ But also the other side: ‘I need to survive, I need to pay my bills, I need to pay for transportation to these festivals and shows.’ There’s a more pragmatic side that needs to be acknowledged. Giving it away for free maintains the art while other elements like people coming to a live show, buying a t-shirt, or donating helps take care of the economic side of it. Thanks for using your music and reach to bring attention to environmentalism. Besides being a conscientious inhabitant of Earth, what sparked your pursuit of sustainable living and touring? Just a realization that nature and the Earth itself is the most intelligent thing on this planet. We look at our computers and vehicles, and on paper they look really smart and are created by all these brilliant people. However, I feel like we’ve forgotten how intelligent nature truly is. Trees have been there for 1800 years and your car is going to last maybe 20. What’s the more intelligent thing? Looking beyond technology, what are the things that truly sustain us as a species? We need to revere and have gratitude for the Earth, the water, the fire–the things that are are really basic but are essentially our lifelines. I wanted to weave that into my music, and people are flocking to this project not only because the music is speaking to them, but also from the message behind it. Your music and ecological principles are a perfect match for Lightning in a Bottle, where you performed as The Polish Ambassador and Wildlight. How did that come about? I played LIB last year and work with The Do Lab when I perform in Los Angeles. We have a relationship that’s 3 or 4 years old now. I imagine I’ll be at LIB again, maybe not next year, but sometime in the future–we’ll see. It’s a really beautiful festival. I live on the west coast, so when I go to LIB, I’m hanging out with my crew. I have lots of friends there, and it’s really fun to be at a festival where you have all your fam right around you. The Do Lab does it right, too. As far as transformational festivals, they were one of the first. They’ve been doing it for a long time, and while there’s always room for evolution, it seems to me they’re paving the way. They’re one of the festivals that is pushing boundaries in the realms of sustainability and progressive learning. You can go to the Village and learn about anything from gray water systems to primitive skills workshops. This is your second year at LIB. Last year you played the Bamboo Stage, and this year you were on the Main Stage. How did you prepare for these sets? The main stage set was pretty epic! I use Ableton Live for performance, and I never prepare anything for any set. There is some pre-production that has happened years ago. Whenever I bounce a track, I bounce it into all of its stems–drums, bass, synths, percussion, and vocals. So basically I’ll have five tracks running at once and I’m weaving in and out of the different stems and blending it into different songs to make the track feel live and unique every night. It’s a really cool way to never have anything planned essentially, and be able to offer a unique experience every time I open my computer. It’s adding a bit of artistry to the DJ world which can be hard to do when you’re limited to a technical machine. What’s your favorite part about the LIB atmosphere? When I’m at a festival with all my friends, I get to meet their friends and they meet mine. All of a sudden, you have twenty new friends you didn’t realize lived in your area that you get to link up with. A festival like Lightning in a Bottle is rich, fertile ground for creating new friendships and creative collaborations. A lot of that happened for me this weekend. I definitely met some people that I’m going to be collaborating with in the future. Did you have time to explore LIB and see other sets? Yeah! Some of my favorites were Climbing PoeTree, these two ladies from Brooklyn who do spoken word. Also, Saki as well as The Human Experience–I love him. I also really like SORNE, who played at the Empire of Love art installation stage. Those were my top four. When you aren’t making music and saving the world, what else might you be doing? Do you have time for hobbies? I have a little piece of land in the Sierra Foothills, and I’m really getting into permaculture and exploring how to be a good steward of a piece of land. I was just piling up some sheet mulch to enliven this area of soil where I’m planning to plant a fruit tree garden. I also built a compost toilet last week. I’m excited about exploring my green thumb and more handy side where I get to build some things in real life rather than in a computer. What’s the biggest challenge you face as a producer? The biggest challenge for a composer or producer is to constantly reinvent yourself. There are lots of people out there that are awesome at making one type of sound. They’re amazing at producing this one thread of energy or style that’s really rich, but it’s not covering too many emotional channels. It’s covering just one, really well. My opinion on those composers is that they won’t have much of a shelf life. They not going to last the test of time because people want evolution. If you look at quintessential artists that everyone can agree on–Radiohead or Bjork, for example–the one thing they have in common is their exploration of a vast sonic range. They’re not rehashing the same album over and over. In the electronic music realm, there’s so much room for experimentation and variety, so reinventing your sound from album to album is the probably the smartest thing you could do as a composer if you want to make a long term career out of it. What advice would you give to your younger self or producers just starting out? I would say have patience and solicit feedback from people that aren’t your friends and family. The people that are close to you are going to want you to shine and tell you your art is great. That works to a certain extent because people need to be inspired and feel their art is loved to continue doing it. However, at a certain point, you have to start putting it out to an audience that isn’t your community. Gauge the response of people that aren’t your friends and family, and make decisions based on that. If you want to be a musician as a career, but after five years you haven’t gotten to a level where you can pay your bills, you might want to look at another artform. Don’t take it as something is wrong with you or your music. The world only has so many spots for a certain artform. The thing about making music with computers is that the barrier to entry is nothing–it’s basically owning a computer. You don’t need any orchestral trumpet training that takes 20 years to master. You can figure these programs out in a couple months and everybody’s doing it, so it’s a really hard field to penetrate. Be sensible, and if the universe is not responding, try some other artforms out. Hopefully, it’s music, but if it’s not, maybe it’s the visual arts or performance art. All of them are beautiful and very enriching. I think there’s a spot for everybody.

 07/02/14 >> go there
Click Here to go back.