This site might use cookies. Check our privacy policy. OK

The aesthetics of We Will Fail

Published December, 2014
by Easterndaze

The deep, bassy echo chamber emits sound into uncanny and slightly disquieting stillness, cloaked in serene atmospherics, designed to lull its listener into a state of bromazepam trance. Aleksandra Grünholz is a Warsaw-based musician and graphic designer, whose project We Will Fail, has slowly carved its mark onto the post/dance scene of Poland and beyond. Her releases employ the aesthetics of techno in terms of tempo and rhythm, but rise above pure utilitarianism. They are immersed in noise, fragile gentleness of drone and experimentation. “It has a rhythm that doesn’t oblige you to dance. It just seduces you,” she described Autechre’s seminal record Incunabula as her choice of inspiration. A perfect description of her own music then, too.

You mention on your blog that WE WILL FAIL is a project focused on the pleasures of wandering. Is it a flaneuresque kind of thing? A sonic visual bricoleur? Drifter?

When I mention the wandering, I’m thinking about searching for interesting stories. Listening to something that doesn’t occur to be a musical inspiration at first sight. It’s about trying out combinations of sounds that are not so good, not proper, not obvious. There are no right or wrong ways of doing something. Just trials, exploration and a search for different points of view.

You are a graphic designer as well. How does the visual side of your work interact with the auditory? Especially considering phenomena such as synaesthesia. 

Working on visual material gives knowledge and awareness about the influence of an image. You can add another meaning to music, add specific associations, affect the viewer’s imagination. During live performances I choose not to do so. Image and movement attract attention. I want to put emphasis on the listening itself. I feel a little bit stubborn with this decision, being constantly persuaded to incorporate visuals into the show. But I’m not so sure if I want my performances to be perceived as ‘the show’. Is listening not enough nowadays?

The other thing is graphic design of physical releases. I want them to be a consistent set of objects. Synaesthesia is a rare phenomenon, I don’t know if I can say anything new or interesting about it.

You are referring to a “peculiar techno aesthetic”. What is it, in your opinion and in your work, specifically?

Techno has an ability to mesmerize. A rhythm that gives order. An energy that causes movement. I’m interested in these aspects.

Your sound bank incorporates tape samples, field recordings and synthesized sounds, how do you weave these together?

Each piece is a different story. Sometimes one specific sound is the core and I’m searching for a beat that would work well with it. Other times it’s just improvisation and, in a fitting moment, sounds just start to fit with each other.

Where are you based and could you describe your environment?

Right now I live in Warsaw. I run a little graphic design studio and I work in the editorial of „M/I” – a quarterly magazine about music. I cooperate with the label MonotypeRec. My environment consists of a bunch of creative, action-oriented people, cultural event organizers, initiators of cultural activities.

Which 3 sounds/tracks have shaped your work?

It is rather albums, than tracks.

Xerrox vol.1 by Alva Noto.

Crude and subtle at the same time. The most beautiful use of noise I’ve ever heard.

Incunabula by Autechre

It has a rhythm that doesn’t oblige you to dance. It just seduces you.

Rothko Chapel by Morton Feldman

It may seem distant from the music that I make, but it has an emotional charge I would like to place into my compositions.