sexta-feira, 1 de maio de 2015

Terban Te Ban with Feverdreamt - An Interview

Os alemães do Feverdreamt caminham em um universo a parte e totalmente deslocado da música contemporânea.

Seu mais novo trabalho recém lançado pela Blackjack Illuminist pega elementos dos mantras do Dead Skeletons, das viagens do Vibravoid, além de kraut, shoegazer, pós punk e sinceramente, outras dezenas de rótulos que servem apenas para estampar a ausência de algo pré definido.

Terban Te Ban é uma verdadeira sabatina egocêntrica repleta de caminhos surreais e visões alucinógenas, quando aparenta que tudo caminho para um trip sem fim, algo surpreendente acontece.

Uma banda única viajando pela mesmice da música mainstream atual. Ponto para o submundo dos bons sons,

***** Interview with Feverdreamt *****

Q. When did Feverdreamt start, tell us about the history...
Feverdreamt hasn’t had much of a history yet, the band is only two and a half months old and was formed in a cellar in the outskirts of Berlin in January 2015, when my father-in-law was visiting. No, he’s not a member of the band, but, he plays decisive role in this story. You know, whenever he visits me he is pretty difficult to please with my record collection. Still, I do not give up, whenever he’s here I put on a new record hoping this day he would like it. Sometimes it’s really funny, even the softest Dream Pop is too unnerving for him, he is more into Classical music. Generally, whenever guests are in my house I secretly have this mission to play records which at some point during the stay make them ask me “What’s that we’re listening to? That’s cool!” So, that day in January 2015 I put on a Constellation Records LP called “Mo7it Al-Mo7it” by Jerusalem In My Heart. Admittedly, a record I do not listen to that often, but it proved to be the right choice just now. My father-in-law reacted all surprised, ‘Oh, so, you DO have some good music in your collection!” - Jerusalem In My Heart make contemporary Arabic and electronic music, and I really like the Drone and Ambient parts where people are singing in Arabic - it just sounds so dark and dramatic, as if people were constantly mourning or something. I do not understand any word but the atmosphere is just so dense! After the first song of that very record things are heading into slightly different directions, less ambience, less darkness. I would have wanted it differently, but you can’t change the record, right? And I hate re-playing a song once I already played it, I never listen to songs twice in a row. Now, as my father-in-law liked Jerusalem In My Heart, too, he was a kind of catalyst for me: On the one hand, I wanted to make music which fulfilled my idea of dark Arabic ambient which I would have wanted to listen. On the other hand, it was a challenge - I wanted to record a full album for my hard-to-please-father-in-law. An idea was born. Subsequently, the songs kept writing themselves, it was ridiculous! In the beginning, it was all guitar drones and loops and me singing very long and high notes using a weird language which I thought sounded Arabic. Somehow, it was a kind of revelation how familiar everything felt, although I hadn’t done anything like that before. It felt as if my voice was made just for this kind of sound. Soon I recognized I didn’t want it to be Ambient only, I had the urge to write proper songs, use drums, even include something like a chorus. And I wanted a voice, a real voice, not something drowning in the background. So I did exactly that, and it felt like the most unique thing I’ve done in my life as a music making person. At least, I cannot think of a band that sounds like Feverdreamt – and that makes me proud. Almost as proud as the reaction of my father-in-law – he really likes the record.

Q: Who are your influences?
During the years 2000 and 2001 alternative music more and more caught my interest. I began to understand what an incredible variety of genres and styles it included. Everything got serious when I got hands on Deftones’ “White Pony”, which somehow is Dream Pop Rock oder Dream Metal for me. The guitars on that album are aggressive but very atmospheric, in combination with the keyboard it’s almost Shoegaze – yet, the term Shoegaze didn’t enter my world. Then, I discovered “Agaetis Byrjun” by Sigur Rós, “Rock Action” by Mogwai, “Cold House” by Hood and “Kid A” by Radiohead. Man, these changed everything in my life! These bands are in my DNA now, but if you ask me about direct influences on my sound, of course, I’ll have to name My Bloody Valentine, whose song “When You Sleep” was played over the PA in a venue in Berlin where I was about to see …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead in 2002, it was the first time I got into contact with MBV, and I was completely blown away. I never heard anything like that before! More than ten years later, I’ve tried playing my guitar like Kevin Shields, watched YouTube tutorials, bought recommended pedals - like every Shoegazer, I guess -, and I had fun doing it, really, but generally I didn’t and don’t like the idea of reproducing stuff of other people, so soon I stopped and focused on my own thing. Now, of course, I’m heavily influenced by the idea of Shoegaze but not just the Shoegaze MBV promote, I mean Shoegaze as an idea. I like comparing it to “Punk” which is a genre and attitude at the same time. So what is Shoegaze attitude?, you might wanna ask, and I would have problems answering that. It probably is a way of life in which you try to fill every bit with something, you do lots of things at the same time, more than people usually would want to handle. Music-wise it’s like guitars and sounds that are layered one over another until you have a massive wall of sound. I have my life as a teacher and my life as a musician - I need both worlds to keep the balance, not to forget family life. I like to keep myself busy at all times. Also, Shoegaze attitude might mean that music plays a central role in your life, you consume it actively, not as background music, you need a certain volume, you want to drown in the sound, want to become the sound. As a musician I am constantly trying to create songs and sounds that whirr in and out of your head. That’s why I also like white noise. Silence is the enemy, hah hah. Whatever you do - never forget: When you make music it shouldn’t be about imitating your idols, it should always be an attempt to create the sound that you have in your head. Me, now, I’ve never been closer to that than with Feverdreamt right now.

Q. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
I love these questions! I am an absolute fan of making lists and will give you my current top 10 – including numbers. You will see that even an album from 2013 made the list, but on the other hand “Loveless” isn’t part of the top ten at the moment – which might be surprising if you consider yourself being a Shoegazer. By the way, the album’s maximum rate is 12 points.

British Sea Power - The Decline Of British Sea Power 11,727 (2003)
Touché Amoré - Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me 11,654 (2011)
No Age - Nouns 11,583 (2008)
Radiohead - Kid A 11,5 (2000)
Converge - Jane Doe 11,417 (2001)
No Age - An Object 11,409 (2013)
Radiohead - Ok Computer 11,375 (1997)
Deftones - White Pony 11,364 (2000)
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags And Codes 11,308 (2002)
Mogwai - Rock Action 11,25 (2001)

Q. How do you feel playing live?
It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I played regular live shows with the bands I was in. I loved the energy, the reaction of the crowd, the volume. I loved playing every show as if it was the last I ever did, it was like doing sport. Somehow, since three or four years I’ve been barely finding my way onto the stages as I more and more had fun concentrating on writing music at home than reproducing stuff I already wrote. Touring is a real time consumer, but I understand it to be a vital factor in a band’s life. Most of my favourite bands couldn’t exist without hitting the road. Me, I do not depend on playing live shows, I write that many songs that I need different pseudonyms for my output. At a certain time I also asked myself: Am I writing these songs for the listener or for myself? It’s the latter, and that means cutting back on live shows, although I miss freaking out swinging the microphone like I did when I was in a Hardcore band with nothing to worry about but breathing and not collapsing entangled in cables.

Q. How do you describes Feverdreamt sounds?
You certainly know blockbuster thrillers and drama that play in the far or middle east, dark movies with heavy topics, drugs, politics, war. I’ve always liked the soundtracks of them, the mystical atmosphere they created. The inconceivable Oriental feel has something fascinating, yet dangerous in it, something which is far from the way of the Western society. It’s almost like being in a dream or a fairy tale. With Feverdreamt I’m trying to put this feeling into Indie songs combining two totally different cultures. The melodies and hooks are mostly clearly Oriental, however, the Krautrock-like drum patterns are European and may clock in at 10 minutes or more. And then there are Shoegazey/Ambient guitars, film score-like violins, Oriental vocals and an own language called ‘Terbansk’, which I needed because the English or German language just didn’t fit. On top, everything is soaked in DIY and lo-fi attitude. The title track of “Terban Te Ban” which is also the opener might be a bit misleading as it is the only song which is not far out there floating in whatever sphere. Generally, Feverdreamt creates a sound that reminds me of the shimmering desert, inescapable heat and dust over Oriental cities.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
The past has shown that I’m satisfied the most with an album when the songs on it were recorded in a short period of time. Right after I told my father-in-law that I would make that album for him I was so full of expectations, drive and thirst for action that I started recording the next day. After one or two hours I found 2 long ambient variations on my Tascam recording device . With Feverdreamt I learned to give a damn about thinking too much, I just did what I felt was the right thing to do at every moment of the recording. I’ve never been the improvisational guy but I learned to love working on a 10 minute guitar take where I didn’t know where it was leading me to. It’s exciting to see what’s happening to a song once you add more to it. First, that’s usually a second guitar, then violins, then bass and finally the vocals. I had to deal with a structure that I had chosen in the moment I played the song. If I had had too much time thinking about the structure I surely wouldn’t have created a song like “Antrebax Nox”, which is my absolute favourite on the album. It contains some of the best moments I’ve created in my life.
I only developed one rule during the recordings: The most important thing while improvising is coming back to a motif from time to time - though is it still an improvisation then? Whatever, the album “Terban Te Ban” was recorded in no time as I spent almost every night recording in my cellar.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
There are a lot of great bands out there. My favourite new band of 2014 is Self Defense Family who, for me, are Postpunk reformists who constantly push boundaries and surprise with a massive singles output on which you never know what to expect. Also, I'm convinced that Viet Cong is a band from which we can expect a lot, they write three and a half minute Postpunk pop songs but also experimental 11 minute tracks in which they celebrate their love for repetition and noise. Maybe they should just change their stupid name, though.

Q: Which bands would you love to make a cover version of?
Whenever there is a remix to be done I prefer doing a cover of the original song, I never use original tracks or elements. Oh well, only one time maybe. Usually I don’t cover songs as long as it’s for a remix release, but some time in the future I would love to see myself cover a song by No Age, British Sea Power or Touché Amoré. I’ll probably fail miserably.

Q: What´s the plan for the future....
For now, I’m very much looking forward to the release of my album. It will be out on cassette and CD on Blackjack Illuminist. All the sleeves are handmade, so each copy is individual. That’s a middle finger for the digital age, yay! But hey, at least vinyl sales are increasing, and I’m definitely okay with that! - Well, let’s see what the future has in store. I would love to record another Feverdreamt album, but first I will take a break and focus on my other bands and projects.

Q: Any parting words?
Stay thirsty for new music, everyone! And to you, Renato, thanks so much for listening to Feverdreamt and getting in contact with my label Blackjack Illuminist, I really