With the Faderhead debut “FH1”, the well known German label, Accession Records, released in times of download piracy and bad sales a debut of a north German solo act hailing from Hamburg. For a long time there was a real mystery behind this, because the website didn’t offer anything informative for awhile and the inlay of the debut “FH1” is sparse regarding this point. So here we offer our readership a complete interview of new refreshing blood out of the Electro/Industrial scene of Germany, which departs from what some might think of as “typical” in the scene.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi guys, could you at first introduce your band to our readers? The artwork of your debut CD “FH1” doesn’t give to much information, so how, when and where did you meet and decide to build a music project?
Faderhead: Faderhead is not really a band, but a solo project that has constant live musicians. I will not perform on stage without real musicians, but all the tracks are written, produced and performed by me only. So there is some sort of separation: studio is Faderhead and live is Faderhead, Alex Montana and Christine LaGivrée. I’ve known Alex for years because we played in the same bands together and he was always my studio drummer for other productions. He’s also my best friend and an amazing drummer, so when I needed a drummer for live gigs he was naturally the first choice. I met Christine at a club and I was dancing next to her. But since I am such an insanely bad dancer, she laughed all the time and that’s how we met. Only months later did she mention that she plays keyboards and so I invited her over to the studio and when I asked her if she wanted to play during my live gigs, she said yes.
Chain D.L.K.: You are hailing from Hamburg, as far as I could tell from the inlay of your CD. Please describe for us the “testing procedure” of your stuff on the Electro/Gothic scene there to get feedback about your material.
Faderhead: The testing procedure was simply playing the tracks during the local parties at prime time to see how they sound and to observe the audience reaction. For example: “O/H Scavenger”, which is now getting great reviews and which always gets positive comments on the fat bass sounds, sounded like mud when played for the first time. You couldn’t separate the bass from the kick drum and it was just one big “WOOOSH!” so obviously I had to work on that some more. On the other hand: the demo version of “The Protagonist” was always one of the loudest and fattest tracks of the evening, so every time it got played it got a really good reaction because the heavy sound was just pushing people onto the dancefloor.
Chain D.L.K.: How does a newcomer get an appearance on a well promoted compilation like “Advanced Electronics Vol. 3”? Did it help you a lot that this comp series is always compiled by the Hardbeat Promotion crew, which is also based in Hamburg?
Faderhead: Some people who play in EBM-bands for years without ever getting a deal might kill me for this, but: “The Protagonist” was the first fully electronic song I ever wrote. I composed and recorded it in about 4h. That was on a Wednesday night. I sent it to my friend René who is producing a couple of EBM/Electro/Gothic parties in Hamburg and he liked it a lot. He played “The Protagonist” on Saturday night at one of the “Return Of The Living Dead” parties. Inga Uphoff of Hardbeat Propaganda was there and liked the song a lot, so she asked me if they could put it on the compilation. And that’s how it went, it took 3 days. So, to answer your question, yes it had something to do with Hardbeat being from Hamburg, because otherwise they wouldn’t have heard it that quickly. But it also had a lot to do with the song being really strong because otherwise it wouldn’t have stuck out in between all the other tracks.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you come in contact with the people behind your label, Accession-Records? Please describe for us how and when they decided to offer you a contract…
Faderhead: I met the guys at a concert here in Hamburg and Eric of Catastrophe Ballet introduced us. He had made them kinda curious by telling about me and they already knew “The Protagonist”. So I agreed to send them a CD with 4 tracks (which I had not even composed back then). So I quickly wrote 3 more tracks and sent them off. They played the tracks at different clubs, parties and festivals to see how the audience reaction was and apparently it was always good. That’s why they offered me a deal. Interestingly word spread at the same time which is why 3 other labels also contacted me, but Accession made the most interesting offer.
Chain D.L.K.: The info sheet of your debut “FH1” says, that you play your music live. How much content is really being played “live”? You are also under the wings of Contribe, a known concert agency in Germany. How important are live actions under professional conditions for you?
Faderhead: We will have a laptop running background tracks live. That means that beats and bass will be coming from the laptop. Alex will drum over those beats, Christine will play all the synth melodies and I will be adding electric guitar and doing the vocals. It was a conscious decision to have the original beats and bass present so the songs have some similarity to the record, although we changed some parts to make them nicer for live playing – mostly endings and breaks. I think we achieved a very nice balance of the original sounds and songs and a new live feel. Professional conditions are very important and that’s why we went with Contribe. So far the cooperation is very good with the first gig being at Dark Dance Treffen in Lahr (July 15th 2006) and then opening up for VNV Nation at Summer Darkness in Utrecht!
Chain D.L.K.: I am wondering a bit that “FH1” deals in several lyrics with almost banal things like pursuit of love relationships or the club culture of today. No Splatter/Horror impressions, no robot wars, no sci-fi related themes, and also no political messages. Can this be considered an effort to make your project clearly different from other genre acts?
Faderhead: Well, sorta yes and no. I don’t write about bullshit like splatter, sci-fi and vampires because I don’t watch horror movies, I am not a sci-fi role playing geek and I am surely no vampire. So what basis do I have to write about that? None! And I am surely not gonna sit at home and think “Hm, what is cool among the people who listen to that type of music usually? Oh, let’s write some pseudo-matrix bullshit and mix it with vampiric satanism!”. Haha, actually that sounds like fun, I should make a whole album with those kinds of lyrics! You asked about politics: I don’t believe in mixing political views with music which is why I don’t do it in my lyrics. I always hated it when musicians told me what to think and I like to believe that people who buy Faderhead records are intelligent people who don’t want to be told what to think either! Also the fact that I am (politically) a pretty liberal guy doesn’t make for interesting lyrics. Haha! I would always be like “Yea, whatever! You can do that if you want, I don’t care!” … On the other hand, if you think that all the lyrics are simple to understand then you got it all wrong. On rare occasions I explain lyrics to people and they are really astonished by the actual meaning. If you look at “The Protagonist”, it’s simply NOT a song about making a video. Same with almost all other songs. Exception to the rule would be “The Beat Has Started” and “Melt Into Your Eyes” because they are really what they seem…
Chain D.L.K.: Almost the same question regarding the other different music styles which you try to integrate. Different styles for different folks, or is this also a conscious attempt to bring in new ideas to an almost stagnant music scene?
Faderhead: No. I don’t give a fuck about scenes. If you are in the Westcoast HipHop scene – I don’t give a fuck. If you are in the Nu Metal scene – I don’t give a fuck. If you are in the Hellektro scene – I don’t give a fuck. I just don’t believe in scenes, so I don’t care if the scene stagnates. Let it stagnate, I couldn’t care less. I just write my music very independently of what the scene is. I am an individual and most people I know are bored of scenes. My friends come from all walks of life and that is what enriches life. I couldn’t imagine hanging out with only one group of people. Gwen Stefani probably has more influence on my writing than any Electro/EBM group, simply because I get to listen to her more often. She also sings better and LOOKS a whole hell of a lot better, haha. After I went to my first Industrial party in 2004, I decided to make a little project that had a few stipulations: all songs were gonna have the same drum sound and every song had to be written, produced and recorded in 2 hours. I was not allowed to work on the tracks longer than 2 hours. I named the project “Obaku04” and made 5 tracks in a week. Then I got bored with the style. Those 5 tracks are available on www.faderhead.com for free download, if anyone wants to check them out.
Chain D.L.K.: There’s also the track “Mattaku” featuring an Asian performer named Myoonji Sadamune providing Asiatic lyrics. Please explain to us all details behind this track. How did you get in contact with this guy, and what’s the content of his lyrics and the overall idea of this track?
Faderhead: I have no ideas about the lyrics. He never told me what they were about. I keep asking him, but he just chuckles and says nothing! I met Sadamune at the gym. He’s this tough older guy who trains really hard. He once said “I believe a healthy body should support a sick mind!” and so he pushes some serious weight at the age of 47! Well, when I had the music to “Mattaku” written I decided that it would be nice to have some dark-sounding Japanese vocals on it, simply because the track screamed “Japanese” to me. So I asked him in between sets when we were training and he came up with lyrics and we recorded them a few weeks later. He’s actually quite a good singer, much better than I am, but the song didn’t need melodies, so we didn’t put any on.
Chain D.L.K.: There is also a hidden track to the end of your debut CD. Why did you hide it at the end of the CD? Does this track have a real title?
Faderhead: The title of that track is “Disappear” and it obviously doesn’t fit the rest of the tracks on the album. So I thought it would be fitting to the title if the song would “disappear” from the track list and “reappear” after the record is officially over. I think it’s a very good song which is the reason I didn’t want to drop it from the record completely. For some reason no one has found the other hidden track on the album yet…
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans for a new release you can already confirm here? What do you expect for the future of your projects?
Faderhead: There are plans. But nothing settled. There might be a mini-album coming in fall 2006 but there will definitely be a second album in 2007. We’ll see how that goes. I have over 20 song ideas or songs already written, it’s only a matter of refining them and picking the best tracks.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words you would like to fill in here?
Faderhead: Thanks for the interview! Everyone should head over to the newly released website www.faderhead.com now! There’s tons of little stuff like unreleased tracks, remixes, behind-the-scenes photos and even custom drum samples to download. You can also stream the whole album at low sound quality or check out snippets of some tracks in good sound quality. So head over, browse through the site and I hope to see everyone on tour!
Visit Faderhead on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Brandon L. Clark]