Black Research _ Interview with Fausten
More of a longitudinal meeting of minds than a collaboration, Fausten are in it ’til the end..
For their Fausten project, Julien (Monster X) and Derek (Stormfield) have recoiled from what is considered acceptable and safe and magnified that force back 100 times into their sound and vision.
An eponymous album emerged in April 2013 and featured 11 tracks of filthy heavy, abrasive electronic music. Dark and confident, the sound is difficult to define, but very familiar at the same time; a smashed hybrid of Techno, Glitch, Dubstep, Drum and Bass and Electro.
The overall sound design of the album is wonderful. Though the tracks could be considered obnoxious and challenging upon first impression, the contrast of the distortion against the immense bass eventually reveals a unexpected subtlety and finesse that demands to be acknowledged and appreciated. It’s highly recommended.
In this interview, we find out about how the protagonists relationship began and where the seeds of the collaboration and album were sown. After discussing the process behind making the album, we discuss professional sound design with Julien, Fausten’s influences and a bit of audio visual. Derek is also involved in education and shares his thoughts on giving lectures in AV production, which leads onto a conversation about Emoresh; the third member of Fausten and the director of their ‘Punishment’ and ‘Evisceration’ videos. Towards the end of the interview, there is some talk of live shows, why they decided to release the album on Ad Noiseaum and the brilliant Fausten remixes from Ontal, Oyaars and Dadub.
This interview also coincides with a mix that is being released on the excellent Electronic Explorations. Please give them a visit and check it out HERE.
SO back to the interview..
Good music and good people; I really enjoyed this chat with the Lads.
Hey Guys, so you have the new album out of course, but how did you guys meet? Have you known each other long? Monster X has been on Combat Recordings obviously..
Derek: Oh, we’ve known each other since, um, 2006? Matt Subjex, who runs the Bedroom Research label, said “hey there’s a friend from France who’s moving to London, can you sort him out?” So he stayed for a bit until finding a place. Turns out Matt had never actually met him before, so for all we knew he could have been a complete psycho. Well actually, he is.
Hahaha – Either it was a lucky escape or it was meant to be.
When did the topic of a musical collaboration crop up?
Derek: We’d played at the same gigs over the years but not produced together. Although the general vibe of what we do is consistently aggressive music, the structures differ. The Stormfield stuff usually runs around 130-140bpm Electro / Halfstep / Acid stuff while the Monster X sets go all over the place in tempo and takes in among many other things Gabba and Breakcore.
Fausten is the first time we’ve actually sat down and worked together, production-wise. It began one afternoon while we were jamming sounds to visuals. On one screen was the evisceration scene in the film “Taxidemia”, and we started doing a live soundtrack to it. It was quite loud; some housemates heard the horrific sounds and came in to find us in the dark grinning maniacally, at a scene of a guy pulling his own guts out and dropping them in a jar of fluid.
I can only imagine what was going through their minds..
Derek: So, Fausten began as a “black research” project. Whatever stuff that was too extreme for our usual projects went into Fausten and was consciously made even more extreme. Over a couple of years it become a distinct sound of its own. A lot of it is heavily influenced by the work of Mick Harris and Autechre and by films like Salo, Calvaire, The Human Centipede, A Serbian Film, Texas Chainsaw, The Men Behind the Sun, and of course the Irreversible director Gaspar Noé.
Seems like you had a lot of inspiration to work with. What sort of timeframe was involved making the album then? Have you been working on the material for a long time then?
Derek: The album wasn’t exactly made in a linear way. “Punishment” took 2 years to do partly because we had our own projects to keep busy with. Over that time we’d acquired new hardware and plugins and even changed speakers. So everything that sounded okay on the old Tannoys suddenly sounded too cramped or squashed on the Dynaudios. Punishment was re-done and became a lot more detailed and 3-dimensional, but when I took it for a test-run in Matt Colton’s studio, it sounded lacking in punch and low-end. It was then we learned the need to turn the bass down on the new speakers so they didn’t give the illusion of a physicality that wasn’t actually there in the track itself. “Evisceration” was the same, taking almost a year and a half and was worked over and over while in various states of sobriety and mashup. But the later tracks came together much more quickly as it became clearer in our heads what Fausten is. Some of the later tracks took just 2 weeks or less to do.
It was originally meant to be an EP of 4 tracks. Two originals and two remixes, but by the time Ad Noiseam offered a release, there was enough for a whole album.
If you had to both pick a favourite track of it, or play one to someone as an introduction, what would it be?
Derek: It would be Evisceration, as it carries all the different aspects of Fausten like precision, brutality, some Ambient / Soundscape sections, Acid / Techno influences as well as pigs and dogs and other stuff you don’t want to know about. Quite a lot of time and sweat and literally blood went into it, which will hopefully be apparent in the forthcoming video 😉
Yeah.. like the distorted groove of the drums in that one. Really pulls you forward. If the video is anything like ‘Punishment’, should be good haha.