Łódź based Singer-songwriter Daniel Spaleniak released his debut record Dreamers in 2014. It was a record he had made for himself and thought no one would ever hear it.

Dreamers turned into a breakthrough that would bring him to the attention of the alternative scene in Poland. He followed this up with Back Home the following year, a record that further cemented the artist's vision.

Recently his work has been picked up for shows including The Path and Elementary as well as a feature with KEXP, which have all helped to export his music outside of Poland.

I sat down with Daniel Spaleniak to talk SXSW soundtracks and Aaron Paul.


You recently played a few shows at SXSW, how did it go?

I've played a showcase before so I knew what it would look like and what I had to do. It was okay; I had a good time there.

I also played a solo show using a looper. I was practicing a lot before then, and I think it went well.

How did these shows differ from playing in Poland?

When I play here people actually know me. They come to hear what I have to say and listen. Over there you are playing for a few people, some of them might know you, others might be in the music industry, but most of the people are just random and don't really care about you.

Your song 'Dear Love of Mine' was featured on The Path, did that help with recognition?

Oh yeah, not at SXSW but a lot of people write to me from all over the world especially the States. A lot of people watch the show there, and it's been really helpful.

Do you watch the show yourself?

I've only seen the episodes with my music in. I really need to watch the show from the beginning and see the build up to that point.

It's quite a powerful scene, how does it feel seeing your music as part of that?

When I first saw that scene it was unbelievable. I'm a huge fan of Aaron Paul. I really love him as an actor. So for me, it was like a dream. It's a really beautiful scene and a great use of the song.

I've read that you watch a lot of movies and cinema inspired your second album Back Home?

Yeah, a lot. I actually spend more time watching films than listening to music. It was a big influence. I started to think differently about music. Now, music is an image for me, so I have to create an image in my head, and then I will make the music. It's a different kind of thinking, and it's a different kind of experience.

This all started with the second album, I started to be more aware of the things put into movies, and I started to pay attention to a lot of the details in music, so for me, it's about creating an atmosphere.

Right now I'm working on a project that I'm thinking of calling 'Soundtracks from movies that were never made'. I'm actually visualising them in my head, but there's no image to put them in. I don't know yet what I'm going to do with the soundtracks, but I have a lot of them.

What inspires you lyrically?

Sometimes it's a story I hear from my family or my friends. For example, the track 'Take A Walk And Never Come Back' was inspired by a story my dad told me about a guy who was really depressed. He just went to the forest and never came back, he broke his leg and died there, and that's what moved me.

It's a really tragic story, and it touched me, so I decided to write about it and tried to put myself in his skin and tried to create an image.

How do you approach making music?

I have to do it every day because I'm not really a good musician. I'm a lousy guitar player, and I don't play the piano well. I have to put a lot of effort to write something. I'm really picky, so it has to be right.

When I start the process I have to keep going and make a lot of ideas, and from the hundreds of ideas, I take five or six. So I have to do it every day just to increase the chances of getting something right.

You worked with Katarzyna Kowalczyk from Coals on the track 'Back Home' and with Hailo on 'Voice In Your Head' are you open to more collaborations?

I'm trying to make a thing of it. Every album I make will have a collaboration on it; I don't know yet who will be on the next album though.

Those two I think were really great songs and the collaboration makes a lot of difference in those songs. They wouldn't be the same without the collaboration.

Back Home was recently released on vinyl are there also plans to release Dreamers as well?

I would love that, but there are no plans for Dreamers right now, but who knows maybe in the future. For me, I really liked that album but I was very young back then, and now I'm not really into that kind of music anymore, I've moved on.

How does it feel revisiting that record?

For me it's like reading a diary from the past. I really put all my emotions and feelings into it. I like to go back because I remember all the stuff I was doing back then and the people I was with. But musically I would do it differently now.

Is writing music therapeutic for you?

Yeah, I like to laugh a lot, but my music is not really happy, it's very melancholic, and that's because I express all my good emotions daily, but I hide those unpleasant ones, and the only way I can get rid of them is through music.

Is there a new record on the horizon?

I have those soundtracks I told you about, I'm thinking of doing a project with those soundtracks and putting a story into them, with chapters and all but I don't know how it's going to work. Maybe it won't work, maybe I will just keep working and mix all the new stuff with the old soundtracks and make one CD. At this point, I'm thinking of separating the soundtracks and the new music I'm working on and making two CDs.