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DJ / Morgiana Hz Interviewed

In the last few years, Polish-born DJ / Morgiana Hz aka Karolina Karnacewicz has altered from bass and grime vital sound to unsetting, light and vibrant, hybrid formulas of hir performances. Beside the turntable, zither and organic objects, mainly minerals, ze uses sensors, accelerometers, crystals scanning and more to enrich hir sonic patterns. DJ / Morgiana Hz is a concept of infinite diversity of the creative process that allows to make everything musically without limiting to one genre. About music, personal mythology and constant rebellion, the artist talks to Kasia Jaroch for the interview that launches Subter Magazine.

In dusty rooms of old, seashore cottage houses Karnacewicz with friends soaked up tapes and CDs of post-rock and Polish experimental bands. Although ze was hardly a big fan of metal, ze co-founded “Post-Spirit”, a rebellious garage-punk girl band. Along with opening to possibilities to broaden music interests, the paths of youthful group diverged. Several times during the weekends soirees in grandparents basements ze tried to share hir tracks but was swiftly disallowed to play the not-even-music. Soon ze moved away from the mocking society and found hirself in Poznań – city which was just beginning its activist, culturally and musically involved course. In 2013 Karnacewicz started Polly Týkk, fast and repetitive, 140+ BMP dance project of restless fun as well as a political statement of blossoming desire to emancipate girls in music industry. Finally ze started to breathe openly and deliberately, in fact ze began to suffocate with air. Unhealed wounds, reminiscence of hir overbearing father, forced hir to start a therapy whilst doctors prescribed hir drugs that dispelled the independent mind. Big dreams suppressed for a moment.

“With DJ / Morgiana Hz I started to blend everything.”

After a few years of therapy something broke and Karnacewicz refused ruinous pharmacological treatment, loosing hirself into quantum methods of self-healing. It felt right to start with something new. Back then ze was playing shows with 3 decks, an equalizer, computer and contact microphones. Ze was also using extended vocal techniques, producing unconventional sounds with hir oral cavity and larynx. “I remember exactly when it shifted. It was my debut with improvised set in Las – notorious club in Poznań. ‘Morgiana’ of Juraj Hertz was the inspiration for this evening but I was really surprised when after the show some people started to greet me per Morgiana. It seemed like a good time to change the alias and give it a new direction. With DJ / Morgiana Hz I started to blend everything, fairy tales like Moomins in Finnish with sounds of birds and animals in their natural surroundings.”

During hir live performances, Karnacewicz investigates the sound of vibration and improvisation in relation to the public and space. Hir tracks resonate with heart and are based on pythagorean tuning, that was ousted by Bach’s angular 440 Hz. While the first transitions of hir shows are planned, the rest remains unknown even for the artist hirself; it all depends on the surroundings as, according to Morgiana Hz, everyone and everything in the room create the final product. “I don’t go on stage with the final product. I get there with skills and equipment, I channel and transfer using gramophones and vocal as instruments.” Instead of waiting for the reaction, Morgiana Hz interacts with the energy of the collective, connects with hir own and the higher selfs of others and shares with everyone the moment of togetherness. “I emphasize the importance of the word togetherness, as much as I highlight terms like nakedness, queerness, happiness or sadness. All this states are connected with the suffix ‘ness’ which means ‘miracle’ in hebrew. Sadness, just like happiness, lets us understand ourselves better. Every phenomenon created by nature is special. Unique and miraculous. If music is strong enough and I believe it’s stronger than any art now, its meaning must be crucial.”

“With my performances I want people to experience the pure momentum of togetherness. I would also prefer to give to the audience strength and power and I want them to encounter the multiplication of the good energy. The feedback is very positive, it’s sort of music therapy and it’s often significant for the public.”

DJ / Morgiana Hz is more than just music. Recently ze experiments with geometrical dance figures in addition to hir natural synthesizers and performative installations. They are expanded with elements related to ecosexuality, the movement that owes a lot to the couple of artists and activists, Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stevens. As a result of the global environmental crisis, they published their ecosex manifesto, wrote and toured with the theatre piece ‘Dirty Sexecology: 25 Ways to Make Love to the Earth’, through which they carried out wedding ceremonies where ecosexuals marry the earth, the moon, and other natural entities. “I lived in a remote area in the mountains for half a year, only with a few people around. The longing for connection and closeness to someone or something made me feel a great bond with nature”. Drawing from this experience, the future performances of Morgiana Hz would provide the space for pulsating sensuality. “With my performances I want everyone to experience the pure momentum of togetherness. I would prefer also to give to the audience strength and power and I want them to encounter the multiplication of the good energy that I receive, process and give away through vibrations and noises. The feedback is very positive, it’s sort of music therapy and it’s often significant for the public.”

At the time ze began touring across CEE region, running into other musicians who helped hir to have more confidence in hirself. For a long time ze was hesitant to admit that ze creates the special energy through enchanting the space before the performances. When in 2015 ze smoke bathed in white sage the rooms of Center of Modern Art in Warsaw, friend and artist, Cindytalk, confided to hir about the ways to calm down and collect good thoughts before the shows. The colors, scents and intentions, ze uses it all to program the interiors of clubs, houses and buildings, where the performances are held. For exemple, with white sage, the aromatic herb, ze exonerates and cleanses all energy of the place in order to fill it afterwards with palo santo, other scents and oils, as well as music and vibes. “We are not only physical bodies. I feel it, that’s why I’m inspired by shamanic alchemy – it’s about working with different substances, looking around and following your senses, not the theories we were taught in school.” 

“It does not work well for me with the system, I guess. I’m really excited to learn more about myself as I keep breaking the rules.” – ze predicts.

Hir clipped wings started to sprout again and the phobias associated with being in the spotlight became sort of addiction; An emotional ping – pong of excitement and fear. “When I was in therapy I started to write letters to myself. I wrote about my fears, the feeling on stage, when everyone’s watching, you’re putting yourself out there and are susceptible to judgement, oftentimes critical. For me, writing was a smooth transition, my maturation process as an artist.” Connection with the Earth and spiritual world grew into Morgiana Hz performances through geopoetry, which is fundamentally concerned with opening to the knowledge that has its source in whatever is under your feet. Ze combines poetic language and dynamic soundtracks that reflect the mood of people in the surrounding area. “As a part of ecosystem, I’m trying to believe in my intuition and it tells me to do what I love no matter what” – Morgiana Hz says.

 Ecosexual manifesto – performance @ Nadmar  Photos: Elżbieta Suchecka

 The middle one by Maja Sadel

Morgiana Hz, in music as in live, often goes against the flow and pushes it hard forward. Sometimes out of boredom, sometimes in the name of a higher purpose. Growing up in ultra catholic setting provided fertile ground for a fast developing riot. All saved money ze spent on festivals, hir first flirt with the world. “The freedom I felt came from people, not their music. For me, performing under Polly Týkk alias was a way to protest the lack of diversity. At present, the scene is more egalitarian, more heterogenic but when I started I needed to organize everything myself.” – ze confesses.

Teamed up with DJ 2 Lewe Ręce aka Selecta Piotr Tkacz, they launched ‘za duszno’, described as “series of introductory evenings with unclassical music”, one of those events where everyone is an insider. Through the years they’ve been inviting artists like Cindytalk, Moro, Kondaktor and ANFS, Józef van Wissen, Helena Hauff, Moopie, Beam Splitter, Lorenzo Senni, RSS B0YS, James K, Lucio Capece, Pussykrew, We will fail, Run Dust, F ingers, Cured Pink, gamut inc [among others] and exposing the public to modern, abstract sound. Time by time za duszno loaded the beat battery of Poznań to the max. This duo ensured total confusion by accidentally slotting [prime time most likely] into full danceable line up, one full conceptual set. They attracted like-minded people, who wanted to create a new audience for a new phenomenon. Za duszno moved the music meetings from clubs and squats to home based concerts, which meant that they were responsible for putting the whole event together. The DYI spirit was like an adrenaline rush, they blurred the boundaries between artists and organizers.

There was a strong belief that bounded Karnacewicz since early childhood. Something ze could accomplish when ze started to make first success in the industry. Evenings spent on watching bands and artists performing in the far past, made hir think that it’s essential to graduate from an academic institution, because producing music looked too enigmatic. After couple of years of DIY, freeform musical adventures, the artist got accepted to Music Institute in Poznań, where ze struggled to overcome long-established, outdated order which ended up with smoke. Instead of providing support when ze was developing as a DJ and help to reconcile touring and exams, they kept babbling that everything that was created after the nineteenth century, which is devoid of harmony, is not music. “It does not work well for me with the system, I guess.” It became clear that no school can give you that passion to find the niche and just to throw yourself in a deep end. “I’m really excited to learn more about myself as I keep breaking the rules.” – ze predicts.

“To confront the status quo, sexism and lack of equality in the music industry I started Sound Emancipation”. The project, launched in 2016, is a total of workshops with building electronic instruments, DJ-ing sessions, parties and introductory talks about minorities in music and embodies the idea of creating a safer space, where unprivileged artists would never feel neglected.

“I want to act for the sake of woman because people take me as one.” – Morgiana Hz says. “But since I can remember I had problems with finding a relationship between the biological markers of femininity and I. I was kind of raised as non-gender being. One day, during my adolescence, I watched documentary on sex reassignment surgery and it made me question my sexuality, but in fact I felt neither girl nor boy.” So, as much as we would hate modern society, we’re thankful for the artist who doesn’t need to decide. Now ze takes pleasure in exploring hir both feminine and masculine side. And ze points out those mindsets, within which some people are still trapped. Layer by layer the brave ones abolish stereotypes and expose themselves to laughter and criticism. Hoping for total openness. “Your body and mind is revolution.” – ze tells me.

Upcoming material from Morgiana Hz recent collaboration with Slikback were played during hir fleshly flower set at Nyege Nyege festival and many described it as ‘unlike anything they had ever heard.’

Year 2018 certainly is a breakthrough for Polish DJ / Morgiana Hz. Earlier this year, alongsite Caterina Barbieri, Tomoko Sauvage and Jass, ze was added to the list of artist supported by Shape, a renown platform for innovative music. Throughout August and September ze partook the residency program at Nyege Nyege studio in Kampala, that preceded hir ‘freshly flower’ performance at Ugandan festival.

On the journey ze met hir most up to date collaborator, Kenyan producer and DJ, Slikback, with whom ze currently works on a new music material, that will go on to be released on Hakuna Kulala, a sub-label of Nyege tapes. The upcoming material of the duo named ‘ogniki’ (eng. flames) is a combination of Morgiana Hz organic and sensual practice, atypical beats and hir revolutionary spoken word parts with Slikback’s rough club, futuristic sound. Their tracks were played during hir set at Nyege Nyege, which many described as “unlike anything they had ever heard.”

Recent work of Dj Morgiana Hz will be presented on 8th December as a part of performance and VR installation ‘EXCRESCENCE’ in Warsaw and on 21st December at Rozkwit: Święto Tysiąca Płci i Wolności Maszyn.

 

Every two months DJ Morgiana Hz performs at Acud Macht Neu, Berlin as a part of hir residency alongside DJ Marcelle.

Text: Kasia Jaroch

Photos: Lola Banet @lolabanet

Costumes: Zuzanna Kot @kotzuza

 

7 / 11 / 2018

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