Music in 2020 Interview Series: Talking New Music Discovery, Favorite Artists, International Music Scene and More with CSGMBLOG
TODAY WE FEATURE CSGMBLOG AS PART OF OUR 'MUSIC IN 2020 INTERVIEW SERIES.' CSGMBLOG HAS BEEN ONE OF SEVERAL BLOGS THAT ALWAYS SEEMS TO FEATURE MUSIC THAT RESONATES WITH US. WE GET A CHANCE TO TALK TO CREATOR MACEIK ABOUT HIS FAVORITE MUSIC AND THE BIG PLANS AHEAD FOR HIS SITE. BE SURE TO VISIT CSGMBLOG AT WWW.CSGM.PL.
Talk about your connection to music. Did it have a certain impact on you growing up? Who were some of your favorite artists as a child and teenager?
I can’t imagine the world without music – it means everything to me. I’m always saying that I couldn’t live without two M’s – music & mountains. Music certainly did a huge impact on me when I was growing up – both of my parents love music. My dad was listening to such legends as Dire Straits, Aerosmith, Queen, or INXS, at the same time my mom showed me the history of Polish rock. But when I was a child, my heart belongs to only one artist and it was Michael Jackson. I still remember how angry I was when my father hasn’t taken me on MJ’s show in Poland in 1996 – I was 6 years old then and I was thinking that I’m old enough to last several hours in the middle of a hysterical crowd of fans. When I was a teenager I was listening to a lot of different genres but I think it was mainly hip-hop (2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem) and pop (from Backstreet Boys & Spice Girls, through Britney & Christina, to Nelly Furtado & Timbaland).
We love your featured music and can relate to your passion for blogging and helping new artists. Tell us how CSGMBLOG came to be and what you favorite part of being a blogger is. Has being a blogger exceeded your expectations?
When I went to study, I was totally sick of mainstream music. It was at that time I started searching for fresh songs on my own. I discovered a lot of interesting YouTube channels and also blogs such as IndieShuffle or HillyDilly – these were two main sources of new music for me back then. I was sharing the songs that I’ve found on my Facebook wall very often and some friends started asking me where I found it. When I would reposting it “on foreign music blogs” they were asking me “why don’t you create your own blog?” That’s how it all began – I created CSGM and started sharing new songs on it – at first, I was writing in Polish but it turned out that most of the visits on my blog were from English-language countries so I switched to English.
I love a lot of things about being a blogger but definitely the most exciting thing for me is being one of the first people in the world to listen to a new song. Receiving a private link to a new single from an artist you love is such an amazing feeling! It definitely exceeded my expectations because when I created CSGM, I haven’t even expected that someone will ever send me a song to share. I was thinking that it’ll be only my own collection of good songs that I’ve found by myself. When I received the first music submission to my e-mail I was really surprised. I was so excited that I instantly shared the song on CSGM, even though it wasn’t so good, to be honest. Right now I’m receiving tons of new music every day, which still surprises me.
I also love that I’m mixing two values by running CSGM. On the one hand, I can help the unknown artists reach some new listeners and on the other – my blog is also personal so it’s a kind of like my own music diary. In every post, I’m always writing only one “Why” sentence that is always a part of the lyrics of the song. It’s always related to my personal life – sometimes it’s directed to a particular person, sometimes it’s just my thought about the world around us. In that way, I’m able to check some posts that I’ve shared some time ago and reminded my feelings and the exact part of life I was in at that moment.
MUSIC IN 2020 INTERVIEW SERIES
When searching for new music to feature, what characteristics do you look for in a song? Is there a certain genre or type of music you love the most?
I don’t limit myself to one genre – I think that it’d be easier for me to write a list of genres that I definitely don’t like. But I can say that most of the songs I’m sharing are based on synth/electronic sounds – acoustic songs are only a small percentage. The second thing is that I have to feel some emotions in the song – I don’t like slow ballads or songs with a mellow vocal line or melody. When artists know how to share their feelings, with me – doesn’t matter if it’s sadness, joy, love, or hate – that’s definitely a perfect thing. One of the CSGM rules is also that the song has to have lyrics – they’re extremely important for me, so I’m not sharing instrumentals on my blog. The last thing is that I prefer natural vocals – there are some exceptions because Autotune is an amazing tool, but I like it only when I hear that someone is rather playing with it instead of trying to cover the fact that he/she’s not able to sing specific parts of the song.
Who are some of your favorite artists that you’ve covered early on as a blogger? Have any artists you’ve feature early in their career gone on to have notable success? If so how does it feel to witness their path to success knowing you knew who they were when they had a minimal fanbase?
That’s an amazing feeling and it’s definitely one of the things I love most in running CSGM. There were a couple of artists like this – I was writing about The Chainsmokers when they were doing their first remixes. I shared “Habits” by Tove Lo shortly after its premiere, it becomes a massive hit year later. The same thing was with “Riptide” by Vance Joy. Right now I’m extremely happy that K.Flay is gaining more attention every day – I wrote about her on 2nd March of 2013, so I was observing her career path from the beginning. I also found “River” by Bishop Briggs a couple of days after its release and I was sending it to all of my friends typing something like “IT WILL BE A HIT, YOU’LL SEE!.” On the other side – there were some artists and bands that I loved but they ended their careers before becoming well-known and it always hurts to hear that, so there are two sides of that coin.
Talk about the growth of CSGMBLOG in recent years and what it all means to you and your goal as a music blogger. We understand you have big plans ahead. Can you give us any hints at what we can expect and when to expect it?
To be honest – until the middle of last year, it was still a hobby for me. There were some long breaks in sharing songs because I was doing it mainly for myself. But there were new things happening to me every day – the first request to do the premiere on CSGM, the first request for writing a sponsored article, etc. I also found out that’s definitely easier when I’m searching for the new music on SubmitHub – it started to help my daily budget too, so I understood that it’s about time to change my way of running CSGM into something more professional. Right now the most important goal for me is to launch the new version of CSGM at the end of 2020 – I’m still using the old Blogger theme that I’ve created by myself in 2013 and I know that it looks totally shitty. The new version will look definitely more modern and it also will be responsive, something I can’t say about the current version of CSGM. Dedicated CMS will help me create the standard posts faster so I’ll be finally able to write EP/album reviews and do interviews, for which I don’t have time right now. I’m thinking about recording my own podcasts too, but that’s a plan for a more distant future.
We’re familiar with a lot of different International music scene like in Australia, UK, and Sweden but we don’t know too much about Poland. How would you describe the music scene in your country and what do you love most about it? Any favorite events and concerts you’ve loved attending? Any Polish-based artists that we should know about?
The first thing I have to say is that I don’t like our mainstream scene so much. I have to admit that I haven’t been listening to radio stations for a couple of years now but I remembered it as a place when you can hear some shallow pop about nothing, mixed with club-vibes, Latin-vibes, and worldwide hits. Maybe it changed right now but I’m avoiding the radio as much as I can, so I can’t say for sure. We have an amazing alternative pop scene and I know that some of those artists who were alternative a couple of years ago, right now are in the mainstream, so it’s an amazing thing. We also have an enormous hip-hop scene – I read somewhere that it’s one of the biggest and most varied scenes in the world. To show you how important it is in our country – two years ago two of the most notable modern hip-hop artists in Poland – Taco Hemingway and Quebonafide – launched a duo project called Taconafide. Their first single “Tamagotchi” became a massive hit – right now it has more than 87 million views on YouTube and believe me that is a huge number for a song with Polish lyrics. When it comes to events – my favorite is Męskie Granie which is an annual concert tour, initiated by one of the Polish breweries. In every edition a lot of really great Polish artists participate in – every edition has its own single that’s composed especially for it (here’s the one from 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRxH-II0OsA) – for a couple of years, they’re becoming massive hits in Poland even though they’re definitely closer to alternative vibes than pop. They’re also preparing a lot of unexpected remixes, covers, and experiments such as jazz musicians playing with rappers so it’s an event that you just have to love.
When it comes to Polish-based artists that people should know about – there’s a lot of them. I’m still waiting for the day when some Polish artists make it on the Billboard chart. If I’d have to mention everyone, it’d be an essay, so I’ll just mention a few that came to my mind at the moment.
Brodka – she won one of the Polish editions of Idol and after two mainstream pop albums she released “Granda” and become a queen of the Polish alt-pop scene. Dawid Podsiadło – for a couple of years one of the biggest names in our scene, this guy is amazing and he’s great in every genre. The Dumplings, Daria Zawiałow, Bass Astral x Igo, Natalia Nykiel, Quya. I could do that for hours, so you just gave me an idea to create a Polish Corner on CSGM.
Being music bloggers ourselves, we’ve noticed a big change over the years in how we discover music with much to do with the arrival of big streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. From you experience, how has music discovery changed over the years? Has it created more challenges as a blogger?
It definitely changed a lot – even though I’m still buying CDs ‘cause I’m the type of collector, I can’t remember when I used any of them last time. They usually stand unpacked on the shelf. Even when I buy a CD, I’m listening to the digital version of the album on some streaming service. It’s just easier and I can go with my favorite music everywhere – I still can remember how careful you had to be to listen to music on a discman. Now I can ride my bike through the forest and enjoy the sounds of my favorite songs – it’s great.
For me as a blogger it’s also an amazing thing – right now every person with a connection to the Internet is able to share their music with the world. It means that I’m receiving more songs so that’s a perfect situation for me. I’ve heard the stories from my parents from times when Poland was still a communistic country. The few radio stations were playing only songs that were accepted by the censorship, so they were doing everything trying to receive the signal Radio Free Europe and record some new songs to cassettes. For me, it sounds like some other world but when I think it was only 30 years ago, I’m definitely happy that I live in the times of streaming services.
As we’re fresh into a new decade, looking back to music of the 2010’s what did you love most from that era? Which artists defined that decade for you and did you have any favorite moments? Favorite albums?
The 2010s are the years when I was running CSGM so I was mainly looking for unknown music. I think it’s still too early to rate the 2nd part of the decade, but when I’m looking at the 1st part of it, the first band that comes to my mind is Florence & The Machine. I discovered them in 2009 and they were with me through the whole decade. “Ceremonials” is definitely one of the best albums of the decade for me. I was also listening to Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” – for a couple of years I wasn’t able to delete it from my playlist. I can’t forget about “21” by Adele – I think that we can already call it a classic. “Born To Die” by Lana del Rey is another iconic thing of this decade. When it comes to the last years – I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Twenty One Pilots and Billie Eilish.
Looking ahead to the next 6-12 months, who are some artists you’ve recently come across that deserve to have a breakout year?
I have two in my mind. The first is Grant Knoche – this guy has literally everything to become a huge star. He’ll be releasing his first EP this Friday and I’m pretty sure that this is one of his last steps before he’ll become a worldwide known artist. The second one is TATUM – her ‘Bloodsport’ EP EP is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her.
CSGMBLOG's Top 10 songs this summer:
- TATUM “Bloodsport”
- Saint Nomad “Nothing To Lose”
- Laura Hyde “Bliss”
- Genevieve Stokes “Running Away”
- Juno Francis “Queen’s Anthem”
- Apricot Ink “Lucky Rainbow”
- Motorbike James “me Roll”
- Coyote Island “Golden Rule”
- ANNNA “Silver Spoons”
- Cat Ryan “Blessed Through The TV”
Listen to all of our Music in 2020 tastemakers favorite songs on our special Spotify playlist.
CSGMBLOG’s ’ ‘Firsts and Favorites’
First concert: I believe it was a festival in 1996 called “Inwazja Mocy” – it was organized by the biggest Polish radio station in a lot of cities throughout the whole country. My dad took me there and I remember that I was watching the concert of the legendary Polish rock group Budka Suflera while sitting on his shoulders.
Favorite Music App: Apple Music – only because I’m usually able to find lyrics there, even for the totally fresh songs.
First song you fell in love with: As my grandma tells me every time, it was Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga”. I didn’t even know how to speak yet but when I was hearing the song I was starting to dance every time.
Favorite thing to do outside of music: Hiking through the mountains.
First Album purchased: “Tragic Kingdom” by No Doubt and I’m still in love with it.
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MUSIC IN 2020 INTERVIEW SERIES
WE INTERVIEWED MUSIC PROS AND TASTEMAKERS TO GET THEIR PERSPECTIVE ON WHERE MUSIC IS HEADED AND TO DISCOVER WHAT NEW MUSIC THEY'RE LISTENING TO.
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THE ‘NEXT IN MUSIC’ PLAYLIST
Discover a wide range of new music we’ve recently added including our featured songs of the summer. Follow the ‘NEXT in Music’ playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.