From a quiet university city in Western Poland, Izzy and the Black Trees bring raw punk energy, noisy psych guitar riffs, strong beats, and feisty melodies. After spending some time in London developing her songwriting skills, Izabela Izzy Rekowska founded Izzy and the Black Trees in 2018.

Izzy and the Black Trees are also known for their incredible live shows filled with feminine, punk, and rock’n’roll energy, and they have played various festivals throughout Europe.

In light of the release of the EP ‘Go On, Test The System,’ we had the opportunity to catch up with Izzy about it, its creative process, and so much more.

Hello! Thanks for sitting down with us to talk about music, inspiration, and more! For starters, when did you get the music bug? Can you recall your first-ever musical experience?

Hey, this is Izzy here, the band’s frontwoman, singer, and songwriter of Izzy and the Black Trees.

This must have been way back in High School when I started to play acoustic guitar, learning chords, and strumming along to songs from Nirvana and Radiohead. Gradually I started to write my own songs and organized concerts for close friends in my parent’s basement. Yes, I was spending quite a lot of time in the basement back then. During my first year of uni, I founded my first band named Orchid, we started to play shows but it didn’t last long as I decided to move out from Poznan (where I actually live now) and study abroad in London and Paris.

When creating a musical project, the name is usually more essential than everything else. Was the name “Izzy and The Black Trees” already on your mind, or did you have to sift through a number of possibilities before settling on the best one?! Does it have any hidden meaning?

The name of our band was invented during one of our first recording sessions at Vintage Records (in Western Poland) by our friend and the studio owner Szymon Swoboda. Izzy is short for Izabela and the Black Trees just sounded cool…as simple as that..or actually maybe because the studio was in the middle of a park with quite tall trees.

Given the state of mainstream culture that permeates how we consume media, how would you introduce your music to a stranger?

It’s basically a mixed bag of alt-rock, punk, and noise. It can make you feel quite rebellious.

When listeners make their way through your band, what do you want them to feel?

First of all, we hope that people who listen to our songs do actually feel something. It’s easy these days to consume music without any reflection, consume it on the go, not paying much attention to the lyrics for example. I hope that our listeners are attentive enough to spend some more focused time with our music. When it comes to live shows we want them to feel free. Some of our fans say that after our shows they feel like all the troubles go away, they experience some sort of sonic katharsis.

Take me through your sound design process. Does the conception come first or do the songs evolve naturally – do you have a clear idea of what it will be before you start to make it?

Lately we tend to compose the songs at our home (Izzy’s and Mario’s). Mario (lead guitarist) composes most of the music, which is then taken to the rehearsal room where things can still change. So yeah some songs can evolve quite a bit unless we feel like the initial idea, the draft of the song is 100% perfect – which is quite rare.

How do you know when a track is ready? Does it ever become difficult to refine ideas or stop perfecting?

A track is ready when we have it recorded and mixed then we know it’s done. When we were recording our EP as well as the previous album Revolution Comes In Waves our producer Marcin Bors helped us with this process, sometimes helping us to make final decisions.

“Go on, Test The System” is the latest EP you’ve released. Can you introduce us to its creative process? What were your influences on this track?

The EP was recorded at the same time as our second album Revolution Comes In Waves during which we recorded 15 songs. We picked 10 for the LP as we knew we wanted to fit the vinyl format so ideally max 33 minutes. The rest of the songs were put aside and we decided to release them as an EP.
Our influences are broad from Gang of Four, and Sonic Youth to modern bands such as Idles or Fontaines D.C. You can also find David Bowie especially when you listen to Dive of a Broken Heart.

How do you feel the band has grown in the time since ‘Izzy and The Black Trees’ EP, both personally and musically?

Oh, it certainly feels like we’ve crossed a long way! Musically we are in a different place since 2018 when the band started, our sounds and compositions have become much more powerful. If you listen to the very first song of Izzy and the Black Trees ‘Hay on Fire’ it is an alt-folk ballad. We have changed a lot and that’s for sure mostly because we started to play many live shows and then our sound and vibe has become much more punk.

It’s quite interesting as it’s usually the opposite of how bands and artists progress. They start off with a much heavier sound and then calm down – yeah we’re the exception here. For me as the vocalist and songwriter, those six years were really amazing and I developed to a great extent especially as a live performer. I like to use my voice in many different ways, it’s great to play around with it and try different ways of expression.

There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

For me, creativity is connected with traveling, discovering new places, going to shows and exhibitions, and experiencing other art. Going somewhere where I haven’t been before, speaking to people in a different language than my mother tongue is what opens my mind and helps to start the creative process which can be then finished at home while writing song lyrics. And the distractions? Social media, information overdose.

An album/EP is considered successful when:

It hits the Billboard list (haha) it’s actually a very subjective matter, what is success after all? Is it the praise of the music critics, your fans, or the amount of Spotify plays and the attention you receive? For me, I guess it’s a mix of it all but also I would add that it’s important to be happy with what you’re creating – so yes you can be your own most demanding critic.

What do you hope to do with your art in the future? I mean, do you have any crazy goals?

We would love to tour with our music all over the world and play festivals and club shows. I would love to play in Mexico one day, heard there is a pretty good rock’n’roll vibe going on.

Follow Izzy and The Black Trees on:
Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp

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