- 72 tracks and nearly four hours of club music perfection from a powerhouse of the Polish scene.
- We're not in the habit of quoting press materials all the time, but in Kajetan Lukomski's case, it feels appropriate. The first sentence of his bio is "Avtomat is a person with way too many interests." If you know any artists from Poland's wide-ranging, always-growing electronic music scene, chances are he's one of them. He's a DJ, producer, organiser and activist, once a member of the queer feminist collective Oramics, and is endlessly passionate about supporting, spreading and playing music from the Central European and Eastern European regions.
With roots in metal, goth and electroclash, there's a certain spikiness to Lukomski's style, but also a polyglot knowledge and a hunger for new sounds. Lately he's been trying to mix club music with Polish folk traditions, which is the mission of Lukomski's RA Podcast, but it's also just the jumping off point. In these almost four hours of expert blending, genre-jumping and incredible pacing, Lukomski touches on almost every style of dance music you could think of, with aplomb and occasionally surprise (like that irresistible Bloc Party edit). If you can, it's worth digesting all in one sitting, so you can truly appreciate the ground he covers.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been rebuilding my whole life after a terrible 2022. I'm super grateful to antidepressants, my friends, my family, my therapist and my wonderful boyfriend, Pawel Olszczynski, who motivated me to go all-out with this mix and took amazing pictures of me for the cover. I've also been lucky enough to have toured a lot around Europe recently, even including the infamous Berghain and a couple of gigs in London and Berlin, which are notoriously very hermetic and hard to get your foot in the door at.
Even so, overcoming the rough patch in 2022 was a bit of a catharsis. I went through a creative block as a producer, lost a partner and my cat and had a bad relapse of a chronic joint disease which is partially why I had to quit two initiatives that were quite dear to my heart. On top of all that, I've been cancelled by the majority of big clubs and festivals in Poland for publicly criticising and naming Covid-19 rave organisers back in 2021, so you might imagine how hard it was to overcome THAT depression ;) I'm coming back stronger than ever, though!
How and where was the mix recorded, and can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
I've recorded this mix in Instytut Dzwieku, a music school I teach DJing at on a bimonthly basis, all thanks to my boss, Manoid, a super-talented producer as well. I used a four-deck setup with two CDJ-3000s, two Technics SL-1200 MK2 and a DJM-900 NXS2. I mix quite fast and love finger-drumming with the eight available hot-cues, so I like keeping my options open.
The idea of the mix is actually quite contrived. Firstly, I've been researching the relationship between club music and folk/traditional music and dances since 2012 and this mix has a lot of those influences embedded in it. Secondly, I really wanted to spotlight producers from outside of the usual "promo zone" of UK, Western Europe and the US, so more than half of the tracks are either Polish, Eastern- and Central-European or some other country that doesn't necessarily count as a priority for the global electronic music media. To turn the listener's attention to this I've included the producers' countries of origin in the tracklist.
It turned out to be a behemoth of a mix. It's over three-and-a-half hours long! I also made sure a similar proportion of the tracks were produced by women, queer people and people of colour. It's a practical solution for those bookers who claim they can't achieve balanced lineups because "there is not enough quality music"' made and played by these communities. I call bullshit.
What's one club or party that had a major impact on you as an artist?
I'm having trouble naming just one. First there was NRD, a club in my hometown in Torun, which I stumbled upon by mistake. I was into metal, industrial and gothic culture and music when I was a teenager and I used to attend these dark electro nights at the Leaning Tower of Torun (yes, the dance floor was also crooked) and upon seeing a poster for an electroclash party in 2005 I reckoned it must be similar. This is how I got into electro and DJing.
Ten years later serendipity yet again intervened and led me to Chmury (one of the coolest anti-fascist spots in Warsaw) to witness the birth of Intruder Alert, a now-defunct club night that turned into a label (IA), which lifted me from boredom of stylistically homogenic club experiences into a world of global club, a rebirth of industrial, breakcore and the first deconstructed club party I ever went to. This resonated with my ADD-driven instincts as a DJ so much, that it reassured me in pursuing a path of my own.
Tell us a bit about your larger mission to not only reach and support marginalised people in electronic music, but specifically Central/Eastern European artists.
For the first couple years of my DJing "career," if you will, I've mostly played anti-fascist venues and squats, which was very much in line with my political affiliations. Ever since Aldona Relax and me established Ciezki Brokat (a Warsaw-based queer collective responsible for the official afterparty for the Warsaw Pride) in 2017, we've made it a point to create mostly queer lineups and foster a newly emerging queer electronic music scene in Poland. I joined Oramics in 2019 (a feminist and queer collective I left last year) and together we released three successful charity compilations, combining the clout of recognisable international artists with the talents of locals.
It was then that we started realising that in the global scene it seems like the Iron Curtain never lifted and my focus broadened into equalising the scene for underrepresented artists from Central and Eastern Europe, which is very much reflected in my mix. Later on I connected with an informal group that formed based on this idea, the Eastbloc Antifascist Sound Alliance and contributed a track in Ukrainian with my side-project, Plesni, to the charity compilation aiming at helping Ukrainian war efforts.
You mentioned researching the relationship between dance music and traditional folk dancing/music. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Plesni (which translates as an amalgamation of the word "chants" and "moulds" in Polish) is actually the first outcome of my long-time fascination with traditional music. I'd been a part of traditional dancing groups since I returned to Poland after university in 2010 and, in 2012, fascinated by traditional Slavic polyphonic chants, I started this side project with a group of singing friends. We learned Ukrainian, Polesian, Belarussian, Syberian, Georgian and Serbian songs through old masters and mistresses in the trade and then I built bassy, frequently odd-numbered rhythms around them. We toured for eight years, but never released a full album.
My comeback to club releases, Gusla (Human Rites), again was driven by my research into how traditional local dances could be used as rituals or means to induce altered states of mind (much like in a contemporary club). It stemmed partly from an art residency we were invited to with Oramics at the Contemporary Arts Centre Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw, (which was actually the last "free" art project there before the right-wing government forcefully switched the director) and partly from my experience of being wrongfully arrested during a queer protest in Warsaw the day before we opened the exhibition. So yeah, traditional and folk music inspirations have been a part of my artistic practice for 13 years now.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
Poland has been a pretty shitty place to live in for the queers since the rise and the continuing chokehold neo-nazi and far-right parties have had over the country, so I would strongly encourage any Westerner with a full-enough wallet to donate some funds to queer NGOs in Poland, who have been keeping us safe and (relatively) sane, like Trans-Fuzja, KPH, MNW, Fundusz dla Odmiany or Grupa Stonewall. Some of the links might need to be translated into English via an online translator—don't let that discourage you!
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
Releasing some new music I've been cooking up (some previews may be found in the mix), finishing a couple of club edits, collaborating with Spalarnia on an EP, making music for an amazing feminist theatre play and restarting my DJ and live tours around Europe. I also have another exciting theatre project in the pipeline and an exhibition of my visual project in a really cool gallery space. It's been a crazy year, but I stereotypically overcame a lot of adversity and came out stronger on the other side! So much for being an interesting interviewee! :)
Naphta & Mala Herba - Chodz tu do mnie [PL]
Tibasko - Traces (Extended Mix) [UK]
Ifi Ude - Intro (Avtomat Remix) [PL, upcoming]
Endless Mow - spellcasters [UK]
INVT - NAGUARA [US]
2115 & Bedoes - BEDOESIARA (Avtomat Bootleg) [PL, upcoming]
Octoptic - Underdog [MX]
Gora & Eloy - Melting Alien [DE]
Miss Jay - Shoulda Let You Go [RO]
Liar - Ritmo [RO, upcoming]
lym. - CARACOL (XXIII) [BR]
Eynka - Shadow Dance [UK]
Ancestral Vision - Plasma Twins (feat. Krabs) [CZ, upcoming]
wristboi - U POLO [US]
Blu Terra - Oooze [PL, upcoming]
Chandé & yourboykiran - Pani Puri Pirates [UK]
Avtomat - Nieludzie (Ignorance Ha) [PL]
Dehousy - Manda Le (Liar Optimix) [FR/RO]
Drippin - Waterfall [NO]
Slick Shoota - Dragonfly [NO/CA]
Miss Jay - Soma Club Tool [RO, unreleased]
Stolen Velour - Bacardi [UK]
WE ROB RAVE - IN ANOTHER WORLD WE ARE DANCING TOGETHER [PL]
Fracture - Latee Killer [UK]
Particle - Fall 2 Fast [UK]
John B - Up All Night (Epic Mix) [UK]
Nikki Nair - Mango [US]
Sully - Scram [UK]
Flume - Go (Otik Remix) [AU/UK]
Kray - Ghost In The Shell [UK, unreleased]
Bloc Party x Kray - Stay On The Prayer (Avtomat Bootleg) [PL, upcoming]
Andriy Kostyukov - lower ground [UA, unreleased]
Evius - Pure ADHD Music [PL, unreleased]
Belk - Request Denied [UK]
Opus III - Fine Day (DSF Remix) [UK/GR]
Krenz - ROLLER WIADOMO O CO CHODZI [PL]
Danny L Harle - KESHA REMIX F3 [UK/US, unreleased]
Korma - ZGMF-X19A [US]
Two Shell x Sugababes - [round] [UK, unreleased]
Stolen Velour - Nia [UK]
Re:drum - Payne [UA]
Re:drum - Tabor [UA]
Grzegorz Z Ciechowa - Piejo Kury Piejo [PL]
Dark Sky - Neon [UK]
Small Car NRG - Overkill [UK]
Naaah - Ta Me Duck (KSITO Remix) [US/JP]
Danny L Harle - Me4U (A. G. Cook Remix) [UK]
SONIKKU - A Thousand Plateaus [UK]
Dua Lipa x Le Dom - Dodge Him (Avtomat Bootleg) [US/PL, upcoming]
Semprey - Cala [PL]
Avtomat - Dzwoni Doopsko [PL]
Baasch - Jezyk (Avtomat Re-Pisk) [PL]
Breaka - Mass Gathering [UK]
MYSTXRIVL x Sokos - Spark [PL]
bl?nc - Kanda [DE]
Hamdi - Skanka [DE/MA]
Egoless - Empire of Dirt [HR]
D-JAHSTA - Slug Bass (SHVA Flip) [GR/UK]
szkoda - ra-tings bonanza [PL]
Plastician - The Search (Kahn & Neek Remix) [UK]
Lil Yachty - Poland (Semprey Edit) [US/PL]
alptrack x sepha - POP THAT [US]
ISNT - Good morning, Dave [PL]
gosha savage - tecna train [PL, upcoming]
Octoptic - Cuarta [MX, unreleased]
RYTERSKI - Malambo No. 69 [PL]
ABADIR - Mutate [EG]
Fokus - A.L.a.R.M [PL, unreleased]
DJ smiechawa - Smiechawa Theme [PL]
cadeu - LANGUAGE [DE]
Caroline Polachek - The Gate (Extended Mix) [UK]
Naphta & Mala Herba - Chodz tu do mnie [PL]