Finnish producer Janne Hattula, mostly known as Fanu, can brag about the fact that he signed a number of critically acclaimed tunes such as Siren Song, Hagakure, and From Afterlife She Speaks, as well as many amazing albums (including a collaborative one with Bill Laswell), that have shown a remarkable originality in the drum ‘n’ bass scene. He recently came back with a brand new and likewise amazing album (“The Silent Watcher” on his personal imprint Lightless Recordings). After our review, we had a chat with this constant producer.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi, Fanu! How are you?
Fanu: Yo! I’m good, thanks…enjoying the spring, which finally seems to have started in Finland!
Chain D.L.K.: You can be reasonably considered a veteran of drum ‘n’ bass… does this consideration make you feel aged?
Fanu: Well, I described the new album as ”an ageing junglist’s take on D&B / bass music” so I kind of brought it on myself, ha! I’m 37. But am I making a big deal of my age? No. The next thing I’ll do once I’m done answering these questions? Hit up the local skatepark with my new board. The majority of visitors to that park are young kids. Do I see people of my age there? Rarely. Do I care? No.
Chain D.L.K.: Jokes aside, is there something of the relatively old times you feel nostalgic about?
Fanu: Just the 90s ”wave” of great artists and great music. We celebrated individuality way more back then, and great artists were popping up like mushrooms after rain. Oh, and the type of beats that were in the spotlight back then.
Chain D.L.K.: Some feedback about your style, particularly when you started to drop the first releases, highlighted the somehow mystical declension of your music…maybe because of the presence of samples and sonorities that could resemble Indian music… Did you agree with such a label?
Fanu: I never thought about the Indian aspect, so I can’t say about that, but if my music strikes that type of chord in somebody, that’s just great! What’s great about music anyways is that people hear different things in it and interpret it in different ways. What’s clear about it to somebody is heard way differently by someone else.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you ever thought drum ‘n’ bass could be a tool for spiritual enhancement or even divination? If so, any evidence?
Fanu: Well, I think in general, music definitely is one thing that can resonate in one on a spiritual level. Heck, to me, it’s one of the most divine things I know of, so yeah, music’s the universally uplifting religion we all can subscribe to!
Chain D.L.K.: As a trained ear, what are the features to recognize a possible next big thing in bass-driven music?
Fanu: Being individual and original. Literally doing your own thing without caring at all about what’s trending. That’d be like it was in the nineties. Less homogenous vibes is always something people seem to pay attention to. Bringing music into bass music without trying to sound like bass music.
Chain D.L.K.: Any talent you’d like to introduce to our readers?
Fanu: Some lesser-known names I’d like to drop, in no particular order: Mister Shifter, Recue, Out Of Fuel, Graphs, Sonis, Defrostatica Records, Halogen Music, Samurai Breaks…
Chain D.L.K.: Compliments on your brand new album…very good tunes. Some of them seem to implement your style into more nervous (I would say almost neurotech) sonorities… would you say so?
Fanu: I guess the growly basses put some of it in that sector, so yeah!
Chain D.L.K.: Do you feel like a silent watcher? Is the observed object muting the watcher? If so, what does he/she observe?
Fanu: This probably relates to my album description on Bandcamp, which is a nudge towards Eckhart Tolle’s teachings. With age, I’ve realized it’s good to observe your mind and understand it always wants more things and is often unhappy and compares you to others – e.g., other artists and their success, which can be hell if you don’t how to handle those feelings. So, I’ve learned to be happy with what I already have and have realized we all walk along different paths, so you can’t be wanting things others have achieved or just wanting more in general. Appreciate what you have, and understand that your mind is not you in a way…it often wants more, so you just have to observe it from a distance and laugh at it…so you become a silent watcher.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you include any tracks you’ve kept in your drawer or on a hard disk for ages?
Fanu: No. I tend to release the stuff that I’ve recently done. I don’t save stuff for later. I just want to put stuff I’ve done out to clear my desk and to be able to do more.
Chain D.L.K.: In your own words, what are the main differences between the sound of “The Silent Watcher” and your previous releases?
Fanu: Honestly, I don’t know. TSW is probably a melting pot of old and new.
Chain D.L.K.: Some voices seem grabbed from movies or podcasts. If so, any word about the sources you used?
Fanu: You can’t reveal your sample sources. We recently discussed this on a forum, and my take has always been that knowing what one used to make a song takes away from the mysticism of the music you experience. Every time I see a ”list of samples that producer X used in his song,” I steer away from it. I don’t want to know. Unless it has a great break, then I need to find that out and get it.
Chain D.L.K.: Speaking of voices, some songs had a remarkable push by very good voices. Can you introduce some collaborators for this album?
Fanu: No official collabos; just samples.
Chain D.L.K.: What does Tribe 962 refer to?
Fanu: I don’t explain my song titles! Same as what I said about samples. E.g., this one, it does have a meaning, but if I explained it, it’d make it mundane and be quite a boring reply, TBH!
Chain D.L.K.: Is there anything a listener should be aware of for a deeper understanding of The Silent Watcher?
Fanu: No. Just make your own interpretation, as always with music.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you performed it on live stage yet?
Fanu: Not yet, but it seems there are gig offers coming in now, which is niiiice!
Chain D.L.K.: Any work in progress?
Fanu: Go preorder TSW on vinyl: I’m trying to release it in co-op with Diggers Factory. If we get enough preorders, we’ll get a sweeeet 2×12” vinyl release of it.
That’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/TSWvinyl
Also, as for progress: currently working on wrapping up the next FatGyver album, and there’s also another, ”non-genre” electronic album waiting to get wrapped up. Hoping to wrap them up this year and get them out.
visit Fanu on the web at: www.fanumusic.com