Black Research _ Interview with Fausten

Fausten _ lriG

What kinds of people are interested in visuals? I guess that there are a lot of parallels between it and music production – would that be fair to say?

Derek: People with a twisted sense of humour, probably. It’s fair to say that if you don’t “get” it, the intensity will probably make you feel unsettled or walk out of the room. Although nice surprises do happen – at a gig in Karlovac, Croatia, people came up after the set to describe what they’d seen, and it was clear that they had imagined extra gore that wasn’t actually there on screen. It was a participatory kind of horror 🙂

We’ve been quite lucky with people appearing in the videos so far, they know exactly what it’s all about. Some unfortunate circumstances happened which I cannot go into, which fed into the filming day and made the footage even more extreme. You can see their names credited on the CD.

Comparing music and visual production, I’d say the main difference is that with visuals, you’re essentially using what’s on a screen to create something that will ultimately be on a screen. What you see is literally what you get (venue projector/colour limitations aside). Yes, video render times can be long and you sometimes have to plan your day around them, but overall I tend to find the visuals more straightforward to do than music production, where you are using what’s on a screen to shape something that’s essentially “invisible”, felt as rhythmic fluctuations in the room’s air pressure. Maybe it’s just the way my brain is wired, but I can get working on visuals pretty much immediately, while for music I need time to get in the zone to do it.
For similarities, well, some of the more interesting visuals and sounds come from jamming, getting unexpected good results which you can later pretend were deliberate 😉

Our two main AV programs (Ableton Live / VDMX) communicate at various points anyway, such as project clock, MIDI, OSC, and audio signal/frequency. It’s sounds odd to say it but I’m fairly synaesthetic, meaning I tend to “see” shapes, colours and textures in sounds. These pairings are arbitrarily assigned in my brain, but are consistent enough that they can guide the working process, e.g. Autechre-ish sounds tend to be colourless and precise, Scorn stuff a dirty dark brown or deep black, that sort of thing. If I hear something interesting, I tend to remember it by the shapes and textures it generates in the head; the sound might get forgotten, but it gets recognised again immediately if the track is played because it’ll generate the exact same visuals which I’ll recognise. A lot of the output on Combat is guided not just by sonic impact, but also because they generate specific types of  images. Fausten colours and textures are quite specific.

On the topic of visuals I must introduce Emoresh, who is the third member of Fausten based in Paris, albeit the visual side. It was he who directed the videos for “Punishment” and “Evisceration”. ..

Yeah.. that ‘Punishment’ video is mental. Looks amazing. Very disturbing for sure..

Derek: He comes from a photography / film discipline and is a clever, perverted fucker. Here we return briefly to the “jamming” element. Emoresh takes the Gaspar Noé approach of setting up a film scene and then getting people to improvise, with no specific plan. Just keeping the camera running. Letting people completely lose control, whereas I tend to work to a script and choreography.. especially if it’s about fighting. It has to look realistic, right?.

In the “Stahlblumen” video both our techniques came together: The script was broken into a series of rough starting points from which people would just improvise, although I have to admit the best bit of the shoot was when a girl went completely mental, smashing blades into the floor which went all red, entirely unplanned.

Well, job well done. It definitely stopped me in my tracks!


Music production and history are my biggest passions in life. Though people often say that Techno is faceless and should be about the music blah, blah, blah.. I believe in the need to document the people and stories behind it. Techno is a very small world in reality and I think it needs a proper resource. I hope that everyone who is interested in Techno finds this blog accessible in terms of the way that it is written. I personally prefer to hear the artists voice as loud as the music and never enjoy synopsised and pasteurised versions of old conversation; the sort that's peppered with the occasional quote here and there.


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