If one has at all graced the floor of one’s local industrial club within the last year, or perhaps even sampled the lion’s share of online podcasts, it’s become nigh impossible to overlook Faderhead. Between his massive hits, “Dirtygrrls/Dirtybois” and “TZDV”, this Hamburg artist has quickly become one of the hottest new acts in the scene. Still, if one spends a moment gleaning Faderhead’s thoughts, he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as just another club band… even if he does certainly know how to craft an ensured hit. |
Still, before “TZDV” and the album from which it was culled, FH3, Faderhead almost called it quits. Fortunately, thanks to fan support and his new label, L-Tracks, Faderhead’s back stronger than ever before. Yet with FH3, his original trilogy of albums is now over. So, it’s time to catch up with Faderhead and see not only what’s next, but learn a bit about the back story behind his trio of discs, his thoughts on touring the U.S., his penchant for metal, and why he should be seen as more than just a club act.
Vlad: I caught a mention that you're working on something ‘Horizon Born’. Would that be a new Faderhead track?
Faderhead: Yes, it’s a new track and also the title of the upcoming EP, which will be released in late October 2009. ‘Horizon Born’ sounds quite different from any other Faderhead track… but I’ll say more about it in September!
Vlad: You appear to be quite actively trying to keep abreast of all the social networking sites - Myspace, Facebook, VampireFreaks Twitter, YouTube, et cetera. Do you find them to be necessary tools for an artist in this day and age?
Faderhead: Yeah. They are just fantastic ways of letting your listeners take a look at what you do and whom you are… aside from interviews, music videos, and promo shoots. We started doing behind-the-scenes videos regularly and the response to those has been really cool. I just don’t want to pretend to be this harsh-EBM evil clown of darkness when I am neither evil, nor a clown, nor am I particularly dark…!
Vlad: Before FH3, there was a time when you left your old label and almost quit producing music entirely until you struck up a deal with your new label, L-Tracks. So, has this new partnership proven to be beneficial? Have your financial fears been quelled?
Faderhead: Well, it wasn’t really about financial fear. It was about feasibility. If I am better off making music without a label than with a label, then most people will agree that having a label is not a worthwhile state of affairs. Accession Records have done a good job; it just wasn’t working financially for me. In these kinds of deals, the artist ends up with 10-20% of the income, which is far too little if you have substantial costs. The deal with L-Tracks is different. I don’t have to worry much about losing larger sums of personal money anymore, we put out a quality album, two quality music videos, set up a new website and started making regular video features, so yes, I am happy with how things went. FH3 has also sold better than FH2, which is very good considering that bands usually lose 40-50% sales every album these days. We are still far from making any real money because all the income gets invested in more videos/releases, but at least it’s at a healthy financial level now.
Vlad: Since it's your hit of the moment, it seems like 'TZDV' should be addressed. What's its story?
Faderhead: I don’t know if there is a story, really. I met Douglas McCarthy one day,we hung out, and I ended up checking out some Nitzer Ebb (which I usually avoided). Also, my then-girlfriend was a big Laibach fan. Back then, everybody kinda expected me to come back with another ‘Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois’-type track. I mean, the recipe in the music business (and I am including the EBM/Goth scene here) is this: find a formula that works, repeat it ad nauseam ‘til people are sick of your shit, and then find a regular day job. So everyone kept saying how much they loved ‘Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois’ and with the Modulate remix being very popular, everyone expected another song like that. So I thought, ‘fuck it, I’ll do the exact opposite!’. And that’s why I came up with the idea to go more old-school and do something like Nitzer Ebb meets Laibach… and it worked! Some of my DJ friends played it at old school EBM parties before the official release and all the big guys there were coming up after the song, asking the DJs, ‘wow, that was awesome, who made that track?’ Their jaws dropped when they heard that it was that wimp Faderhead who made that shitty ‘Dirtygrrrl’s track…!
Vlad: I noticed on your site that you're currently casting for a music video for FH2's hit song, 'Dirtygrrls / Dirtybois'. Why did you decide to skip back an album to pay homage to it?
Faderhead: ‘Cause it is still an immensely popular song… we didn’t have a budget for it in 2007, and you never know if it isn’t possible to reach a larger audience with a good videoclip. So, now while there is time and a budget, why not make a video?
Vlad: Also, considering it's in the same director’s hands and you're casting club folks once again, will 'Dirtygrrls' be similar to 'TZDV’... perhaps like a 'sequel'?
Faderhead: It will be somewhat similar. Both tracks do not have deep lyrical content or a story. They are both club tracks with very simple punch lines. Therefore, it’ll be really hard to come up with some contrived/pretentious story, so I decided not to try. We will try to make the video fun and dancey and have as many cool people in there as possible…!
Vlad: In between FH2 and FH3, you wrote the non-album single 'Exit Ghost'. Considering you even filmed a video for it, I'm curious, what is its significance, and why didn't it make it on to FH3?
Faderhead: It’s a song I wrote for personal reasons. All the songs I write have some sort of significance for me… even if not all songs are about me or written from my point of view. Also, I was a bit annoyed by the fact that I am mainly known for club hits and less known for the other 50-60% of the music on my albums, which is not clubby. I like doing unexpected things and when I had signed with L-Tracks, I wanted to do a completely unexpected video/release, and that’s why we did ‘Exit Ghost’. Nobody expected a piano ballad. I don’t like to be predictable, and I’ll do my best to stay somewhat unpredictable…! It didn’t make it onto FH3 because there were already a number of ballads/slow tracks with ‘Still Missing’, ‘Here With You’, ‘Let Me Go’ (and possibly ‘Mr. Fetus’) and I didn’t want the album to be too slow overall.
Vlad: Speaking of FH3, 'Fuck What You Heard' seems to be in retaliation to people spreading misinformation about you. Is that the case, and are its lyrics based on actual gossip that got back to you?
Faderhead: Yeah, well it’s not really in retaliation, but a comment on the insane amount of gossip I hear about myself (or my friends who play in other bands). I hear the most ridiculous things, and this track was just my way of making fun of it. Over the years, I’ve gotten really thick-skinned and there isn’t much that makes me angry or surprised anymore. Actually, the only thing that surprises me is the stupidity with which people spread the gossip. Just a few weeks ago, this girl comes up to my girlfriend in a club and said to her, ‘maybe I should make you aware of the fact that I slept with your boyfriend on this-and-this weekend!?!” My girlfriend than said, ‘maybe I should make you aware of the fact that him and me were both in Belgium together that weekend?’ Random Bitch: ‘Uh, sorry… I meant the weekend before!’ My GF: ‘Uh, no you didn’t, he was sick all week and I was at his place’. It’s just ridiculous, really… it’s like friggin’ kindergarten revisited…!
Vlad: Both 'Acquire the Fire' and 'Mr. Fetus' address some rather weighty issues, like dysfunctional families as well as organized religion's connection to pedophilia. Considering many of your songs come from more personal angles, what prompted the writing of these two?
Faderhead: ‘Mr. Fetus’ was inspired by my friend Aaron. He came up with the concept and ideas for it, I just turned it into music. ‘Acquire The Fire’ is actually the name of an American religious organization, which uses modern image and rock bands to get kids on the Christianity bandwagon. An ex-girlfriend of mine directed my attention to it. Neither the story in ‘Mr. Fetus’, nor the pedophile priests/religious nuts have any direct connection with my personal life - my friends introduced them to me. It’s extremely important to understand that not all of my songs are written from my point of view! As a songwriter, you are like a storyteller – you create realities in other people’s minds. And since these two topics were introduced to me, I just thought they made good storytelling material. Also, I found it ironic that the name of the organization is supposed to encourage the acquisition of a religious ‘spark’ or ‘fire’ into one’s life, while the abuse of young children may very well rob them of that same ‘spark’ and ‘fire’ … and don’t ask me why there is such a strong occurrence of pedophilia in organized religion. That I simply don’t know…!
Vlad: I understand that during your younger days, you spent some time in the United States, particularly North Carolina. From what I understand, your experience there is also why I hear you're not interested in touring the States. Is that true?
Faderhead: I’d love to come to the States. What people still don’t seem to understand is that making music costs money. You need equipment, you need to press CDs, you need to advertise, possibly make music videos, etc. etc. Going on tour also costs money… especially when you tour overseas. Let me give you an example. Let’s say Vampirefreaks want Faderhead to play a show at a VF-party. Here’s an approximation of the money that would be needed:
1. Two or three flight tickets from Europe to the US: $1000 or $1500
2. 2 half way decent hotel rooms: $150
3. Work visas for the US: $4000
4. Performance fee for the band: $500 or $750
The performance fee here is VERY low and just set to cover the loss of income we have from our daily jobs back home that we can’t do when on tour in the U.S. But overall, that’s still between $5650 and $6400 for a concert. Now, if you sell tickets at $10 a piece, you will need 600-650 people just to pay for that… which isn’t very likely in the US. You can get these numbers in Germany, but none of the U.S. promoters want to risk it. Now, the main costs are the flights and the work visa (thanks to the U.S. government), but if you can line up a tour with 8-10 shows, then every promoter only has costs of $650… but it seems that there aren’t enough reputable promoters in the U.S. who want to put up even that amount in this economic climate …
I hope this explains why we haven’t played in the U.S. yet. We will though, at some point…!
Vlad: Considering your musical background ranges from hip-hop to metal, and hearing how you like to break out with Slayer and Pantera during sound checks, I’m curious - how did you end up doing electronic music?
Faderhead: I’ve always used synths, be it in metal, pop, or hip-hop productions. I just started going to these local goth/EBM parties in 2002 and then started experimenting with electronic music in 2004. It’s all just one big experiment, really. I’m much better at writing metal than writing electronica…
Vlad: Though club music isn't your everyday thing, what's currently wowing you out there in the music world? Also, beyond Faderhead, whom do you think in terms of electronic music is doing something interesting these days?
Faderhead: That’s a good question. I don’t listen to any electronic music at home, ‘cause if you make electronic music in the studio, you don’t wanna hear any more when you’re done. So, I really can’t answer this… the only thing that really hooked me lately is the ‘Never Better’ album by P.O.S. – it’s awesome and on constant repeat here. They’re probably not suited for most VF regulars, though…!
Vlad: Going back to aforementioned metal, have you ever given thought of incorporating such elements as heavy guitar into Faderhead? Or are there elements in your mind that wouldn't fit in with your vision?
Faderhead: I thought about it and I even played guitar on some of the earlier shows, but overall I don’t want guitars for Faderhead anymore. There are no real reasons for it; I just think it wouldn’t fit stylistically. Also, you can’t do cool metal riffs over four-to-the-floor beats once they get above 110 BPM. It all just sounds generic and terribly overdone …
Vlad: Shortly after FH2 hit the market, the FH2.1 DJ EP was broadcast through your promotional network, eventually lead to Modulate's remix of 'Dirtygrrls' becoming a major hit. Will there perhaps be an FH3.1, or was 2.1 more of a one-time experiment?
Faderhead: No, we won’t do that for FH3. The next release is coming in October and there will hopefully be a preceding DJ release to get new material out to the clubs, but it won’t be a DJ EP. Back then, we had a number of good remixes that were just lying around and therefore we decided, ‘let’s hit the clubs with those’… and the club-goers loved it. So everyone won!
Vlad: On a similar note, I understand that there's still some scrapped material dating back to even the FH1 sessions that has never been released. As one who quite enjoyed the old compilation exclusive, 'Bassgod', I'm curious - will this material ever surface? If not, why?
Faderhead: Oh, there is TONS of material. And it does resurface. ‘Mr. Fetus’, for example, was originally written for FH1, and the original version sounds completely different. So, yes, some of the material will probably resurface as a different version. Will I go and release some finished tracks from that time? Probably not… or maybe in seventeen years when there’s a ‘Faderhead 20th Anniversary Box Set’ or something…!
Vlad: To date, I don't recall hearing of Faderhead covering any other artists. Considering your diverse tastes, are there any particular songs you would like to take on and give the Faderhead treatment?
Faderhead: Many, many songs. Actually, I just did a few cover versions and one of them will be on the Horizon Born EP that comes out in October. It’s a lesser-known track though, so I doubt a lot of people will even recognize it as a cover …
Vlad: I've read a couple of mentions that FH1, FH2, FH3 was meant as a trilogy. What unifies them as such, in your mind?
Faderhead: There are songs that belong together, lyrically. For example, there’s ‘The Lines’ (FH1), ‘Friday Night Binge’ (FH2), and ‘Still Missing’ (FH3). Also, because my original record deal with Accession was for three albums, I wanted to make it coherent by using very recognizable titles.
Vlad: Do you plan on composing another trilogy after this one? If not, how will the future incarnation of Faderhead differ from the one we already know? From what I hear, the next one might even feature a full name...
Faderhead: Nope, no more trilogies! First up, will be the EP in October, which does have a ‘theme’ or unifying style throughout the songs, and then the next album will also have a concept behind it. And a full name!
Vlad: Finally, do you have any last words for us here at Vampire Freaks?
Faderhead: If you’ve never heard of Faderhead, or only know ‘Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois’ or ‘TZDV’, why don’t you go over to www.faderhead.com and check out the music section. There’s a player there that includes every Faderhead song ever released on CD so you can easily check out all my tracks… and maybe you’ll end up very surprised because a lot of it does not sound like ‘Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois’ or ‘TZDV’
Check out Faderhead on VampireFreaks