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Alongside internationally known acts like Charlie XCX and FKA Twigs, Aleksandra Grünholtz – the mind behind We Will Fail – takes to Sala Apolo and Primavera Pro in Barcelona with her experimental sound that deigns attendees to stop and listen to the music. Don’t Panic! We’re from Poland collective secured her set, which could say something about tokenism of Eastern artists in Western art scenes. Producing frenetic, industrial, dissonant melodies, We Will Fail questions the pace of our society, what we expect from club music, and like METAL 41, repetition.

You create melancholic or even frantic sounding tracks under the seemingly pessimistic alter ego We Will Fail. What inspired you to work under this name?
When I was younger, I was often afraid of what others thought of me, embarrassed of what I was talking, thinking and doing. I didn’t want to be perceived as someone stupid and naïve. In one moment in my life, it occurred to me that this fear is pointless. Mistakes are inevitable, the mind has its limitations, and there is nothing more to do than embrace imperfection and treat it as part of me. I wouldn’t say that now I don’t get embarrassed by myself, but it doesn’t stop me in, for example, releasing music and sharing with ideas.
Dancing, your latest album, rejects just that – you use tempos that don’t lend themselves to conventional movement. Do you want the club to stand still?
Mostly, I want the club to listen, to feel the sound. I like that rhythm can build tension, anxiety. It doesn’t have to move you in a conventional way but still it can transfer energy. I wanted the title to be a kind of disappointment. Like there are expectations that you will have fun, but when you come to the club, someone wants you to think.
We are looking forward to seeing you play at Primavera Sound; they say you “deconstruct hedonism with a clinical eye”. Can you tell me more about the purpose of your music?
I think the music that I make is an attempt to show how it is to think differently about one topic in the same moment. Like looking from different sides at one object. Being rude and shy in one moment. I’m trying to construct tracks like they were tangled thoughts. The main purpose of my music is to tell stories that can’t be told in any other way.
You create all your own artwork, including some mesmerising music videos – troubling and repetitive compositions of flowers, eyeballs and creatures, which contrast with the industrial sounding tracks. It makes me think that industry is just a troubling reconstruction of nature, since everything originates in raw materials. Did you have an intention?
It was interesting to use images connotated to nature as an illustration for electronic music. I wanted to contrast cold, electronic music with vital, beautiful botanic forms. It was an attempt to change the atmosphere of music. What would it all sound like if all artwork was geometric, black and white?

Part of your album artwork for Dancing seems to feature a visual reference to Goya’s Saturn Devouring his Son. How does classical art influence you?
I like classical art, its beauty and harmony. But in the first place, I like that it’s a freeze-frame of a different mentality. Thinking that someone spent months creating one image makes me think about presence, today’s speed and how often all ‘I want to do’ is mixed with ‘I have no time’. It saddens me and reminds me that there is something wrong with ‘now’ and that I’m trapped.
Last year’s mix for i-D references drug-use at electro nights – “he died of an overdose, your son is dead”. Why did you include this sample?
I felt a bit like a detective noticing that so many tracks use the same sample! Mr Kirk's Nightmare by 4 Hero, Mr Wobble’s Nightmare by Kid 606 and Overdose Stomp by Dance Overdose feature the same audio. When I was creating this mix, I wanted it to sound a bit like a bad trip. I liked the idea that some phases were repeated a few times in the mix, like unwanted thought you want to avoid.

Speaking to Inverted Audio, you said, “I don’t need to follow expectations or trends to construct the best art I can make”. Do you find your inspiration through introspection rather than ‘following’ what is around you?
All that is around me of course influences me and is a part of what I do. The world is intense and makes a huge impact on me. I feel overwhelmed by our political situation, ecological crisis and relations between people. Using only introspection would be a lie I guess. ‘I’ is just a processor of what is happening around. In that interview, I was just referring to trends in electronic music. Trying to follow what is on the top right now would result in always being a step behind someone else.
Don't panic! We’re from Poland collective helped book you for Primavera. Would you describe artists coming out of Eastern Europe as having a unique sound?
No, I don’t think so. Neither would I say that artists from Western Europe have a unique voice. I think it’s too big a group of people doing totally different things that there is no point in generalisation.

“Trying to follow what is on the top right now would result in always being a step behind someone else.”
Tokenism and being booked based on the ‘trend’ of outsider artists, for example, due to national identity, seems problematic to me. Do you feel like Don't panic! We’re from Poland helps us work towards a fairer system?
I wouldn’t be at Primavera this year without the program, as Don't panic! We’re from Poland, so I’m happy that such programme exists. I think it gives a chance to listen to someone who you wouldn’t find. Does it help to make the system fairer? I don’t know.
What is the most important thing to change in the world of electronic music?
I really don’t know. The first thing that comes to my mind is that there is a huge gap between payments when you are an ultra-famous big fish and when you are a small producer. If I wanted to live from my music, I would live in constant stress to make up for my living.

Bella Spratley
Olga Ozieranska

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