Steady Social Club was founded in 2019 in Szczecin, but the band’s members live not only in the capital of West Pomerania, but also in Warsaw and Berlin. You can read more about the band in our article announcing their debut.
We have the pleasure to present you to the entire “Take One” album ahead of its official release. We also asked Maciek Januchowski, the guitarist of the group, to talk about how he recruited vocalists for this project.
I know Ania from her performances with Real Cool Sound, who played a beautiful all-nighter after Vespa’s concert in Olsztyn in 2010. If you have ever heard her voice, you know that you’ll remember it forever. If I recall correctly, a few years later I asked her to sing in Vespa after the departure of our singer. Although she said at the time that it was impossible, we determined that she was open to working on one or two songs together. I brazenly reminded her of this proposal as soon as the Steady Social Club came into being. Actually, I had quietly assumed that she would agree before I even asked her, so I wrote “Those Are Fools” and “Have To Tell It” with her in mind. The duo with Boris (“My Biggest Mistake”) and “Slow Down” were added last to the repertoire. I sent her demos with a soul on my shoulder, because I thought that due to lack of time, she wouldn’t record two additional songs. Ha! Not only she agreed, but she also did something beautiful with “Slow Down”, even though it was a dangerous trip to areas close to pure reggae.
In this case, we have to go back another year, because I saw him for the first time at the Potsdamer Ska Festival in 2009. It wasn’t easy to shine then, because The Aggrolites were playing on that day, in their absolutely top form. But when this Berlin’s George Clooney got on stage in a suit and sang with wonderful sand in his voice, that was it! Of course, it wouldn’t cross my mind that we would ever record something together. The case began to sprout after my move to Berlin. I circled his Spartan Allstars like a vulture, and finally managed to bring them to Gdańsk Ska Jamboree last year. I talked to Boris there, and since he is a very nice and open man, he simply said: “Natürlich”. But the real surprise was waiting in Berlin – it turned out that he has an analog studio and cooperates with an experienced producer, Olaf Wilms, who has more than one syncopated record under his belt. I think that mainly because of the repertoire of Spartan Allstars, Boris got to sing the two songs that are closest to early reggae, “You Kept Me Waiting” and “Friend Or Foe”. He actually saved the latter because we wanted to throw it out, and he insisted that the riddim was good and we must finish it. He also undertook to perform romantic tunes and shows his lyrical side in “My Biggest Mistake” and “Day By Day”.
Wioletta is a very famous person in the Szczecin’s musical underworld. Her defunct funk band Big Fat Mama even played a gig at the Polish Woodstock festival (now Pol’And’Rock). But we are connected closer by a secret project codenamed Los Chałturos. Together with the Vespa’s rhythm section and saxophonist, we wanted to do covers of old jump blues, soul, Patsy Cline song and the like, and play it for hard cash for fat businessmen. It was like getting blood out of a stone and during one of the rehearsals we were bursting with laughter because of how bad it was, and we played a cover of a rocksteady tune to relax. Suddenly everything worked out properly and it was clear that we are fated with Jamaican rather than American music. Wioletta got three completely different songs, because “Magic Feeling” is a quiet dreamy track with a very strange structure, “There’s The Door” is a piece in Marcia Griffiths’ style, and “Set Me Free” draws quite a lot from lovers rock. She wasn’t discouraged by this, and because she’s the only vocalist living in Szczecin, we were able to work on these pieces a lot, which resulted in some changes in their construction and arrangement.
“Take One” will premiere on May 11. You can buy the record in advance on Bandcamp, by e-mail or via Jimmy Jazz Records.