Hello guys! We did an interview when “INSECTS” came out, but now it is about time to have our sequel, because the excellent successor “FAIL•LURE” is out. Congratulations and how are you doing?
III.XXIII: Thank you, we are doing very well. We are glad that the album has now finally appeared. Likewise, all the tricky things like the artwork prints, the pressings and deadlines have all gone well. We can now look forward to the presentation and live performances. Furthermore, it’s fun again, to explain the things in interviews or simply crawling the press and internet for reactions.
We know that farsot. is involved in selected tours, due to other (work) commitments and so, yet we remember from our former interview that you wanted to tour/plays gigs more often. What happened on the tour and live front after the release of “INSECTS” in 2011?
X.XIX: We played a couple of shows and had some nice gigs on minor and major festivals. Unluckily all our plans of a tour crashed for some reason. It is hard to plan a tour completely by yourself. But at the first instance you need a cool package to arouse the interest of the organizers. There are so many bands out there. You are literally crushed by the mass of bands. In the course of this, you have to be tough to remain at the ball. At the end we're not that band, which is able to be on the road for months or which would give the shirts off their backs just to jump on a tour for a fee of several thousand Euros. There are still our families which come first and on the other hand we have to do our jobs. Hopefully we could set up a nice tour package to promote ‘FAIL•LURE’ properly. A few festivals are already confirmed… it seems like a good start.
What were the highlights (and if they occurred: downers?) in the years following on 'INSECTS'? Did you experience a growing interest in the band? What about gigs abroad?
III.XXIII: After the release of ‘INSECTS’, we have enjoyed introducing the album fully live. In doing so, we were attracted by interesting angles of the European countries, but also some clubs and festivals in Germany. Unfortunately, there was no coherent tour, which of course would have been the culmination of the whole. At all times, the highlights were the old school trips among friends, in the van, always with a lot of fun in the luggage. There are always a lot of interesting places and people to explore. As an example, there would be the trip to the Metal Méan Festival, which was enriched the day before by an iconic pub gig in Hasselt. Opposites, misfortune and mishaps do not want me right now.
When did you start thinking about new material and can you tell a bit more about the writing process this time?
III.XXIII: The writing process began sometime in the last part of 2013. We had enough air and distance to the old sessions. The live gigs were fading away. Everyone could free themselves in peace, prioritize private things. The most creative time was the time between winter 2014 and summer 2015. Nearly 1.5 years of intense songwriting. All in a healthy setting, two till four sessions per month. The basic framework of the songs was developed during this time by our drummer and myself on guitar in the rehearsal room. The old way ... classic, persevering but very efficient. Little by little, the rest of the band has developed their parts. The lyrical concept developed almost parallel, so that the songs could already take up a mood tendency, and lyrical intentions could harmonize with the musical intentions.
I remember you had quite a few material left from ‘INSECTS’. Did it find a place on ‘FAIL•LURE’ or did you start from scratch?
III.XXIII: We actually started at zero. Only one riff relict, the opening riff of ‘Vitriolic’ was recycled in another context because it was absolutely essential in its whole to ‘FAIL•LURE’. Basically, we conclude with old things, since it only hinders the process of the advance. Continuously you try to (usually unsuccessfully) integrate or adapt. This makes it easier - freshly focused - following new ideas, which completely reflect the band's current zeitgeist, or its specific intentions concerning the actual album works.
It happened to be the movie ‘Drowning By Numbers’ from Peter Greenaway that inspired you for the lyrical contents this time. How did you come to this theme and how was it developed? I think you really dived deep into the matter…
X.XIX: I watched the movie right after the recommendation of a former work mate and was completely overwhelmed by the deep metaphorical aura and dark cynicism the movie radiates. Thus it was quite easy for me to accept the challenge and spin an album concept around ‘DROWNING BY NUMBERS’. I watched the movie countless times – made my own ideas and added very own perspectives on the whole thing. I picked out the most interesting characters and also did a lot of research, even off from the film. So, I was also inspired by some art of the Art-Nouveau era. I even followed some references which led back to the antique (Samson & Deliah, the Sirens, …). My colleague died on cancer during the time when I started to create the concept. He was a real cineaste and always supplied me with “new” movies which aren’t that famous but unfortunately mostly underrated or not noticed enough. Perhaps I felt obliged to him, to accept this challenge. A kind of paying final tribute.
You used some excerpts from the movie in the lyrics, isn’t it? Does it mean that lyrics came first and music later when composing?
X.XIX: No. The music came first. The concept was created during the finalization of the musical construct and was fitted to the music. All of the lyrics were written by our own. Of course we used some terminologies, which are typical for the film and are like a common thread not only through this but also through ‘FAIL•LURE’. The most important element, which closely connects the movie and our album is the counting theme. From zero to hundred. From the beginning to the end. So, a hundred stars are named one by one. The introduction of ‘DROWNING BY NUMBERS’ which counts continuously all these stars till hundred. Our leitmotif. The lyrics of the album begin to count from the first star of these hundred and ends with the last. From the beginning to the end.
Can you tell a bit more about the Art Nouveau influences that appeared on your roster while making “FAIL•LURE”? In which way are they influential?
X.XIX: These paintings have massively helped me to extend the imaginery and detached character of the lyrics. Always keeping the film and its plot in mind, I tried to get a more objective view to set the focus not only upon the movie. So, Fernand Khnopffs ‘Istar’ helped me completing the lyrical framework of ‘Vitriolic’ and Klimt’s ‘Mermaids’ enlightened my senses for ‘Undercurrents’.
How would you compare “FAIL•LURE” with your earlier works?
III.XXIII: I think ‘FAIL•LURE’ could be described as a synthesis of our previous work. It takes up the direct, melodic, and fulminate undertone of our early phase and connects it with the real, sombre and, above all, sobering worldview of ‘INSECTS’. Lyrically as well as musically the essence of the expressions of extremes is presented. Our attitude drifts more from the outside. I believe this kind of sovereignty, this cold distance to the things is illustrated by the album very well. We want to leave the listener as much room for discovery and interpretation as possible...
You returned to V. Santura for producer duties. Well, I am sure both him and Markus Stock are great guys and exquisite producers, but please shine a light on the reason for return to the producer of the first album?
III.XXIII: We would never do the same thing in succession. This would not be satisfactory at all. We had serious thoughts about possible producers, who, after weighing sound expectations, logistics questions and human coexistence, always let Victor appear before our eyes. Ten years had passed since the recordings for the debut album, Victor had built up a studio, lots of experience gathered. So why not try a second. Finally, he gave ‘IIII’ the probably perfect sound. If you look at the possibilities at the time with regard to the equipment, this was quite a master work. And with Markus' consideration, you are of course equally right. He is a damn good musician, engineer and visionary. In the end, he also pushed ‘INSECTS’ the appropriate stamp.
One of the amazing features of farsot.’s music is the multilayered wealth in the music, even harsh and acoustic/soft elements sometimes loom up at the same time. This time I think the result of this contrasts is stronger than ever. Do you agree on that?
III.XXIII: Absolute. This is a typical trademark of the "farsot.-sound". Contrasts enliven the tension and dynamism, create the best in all the listening levels. There is no real purpose for these things. Rather, we are our own listeners who want to push the song to the best possible intensity. Then these things simply happen on instinct. Certainly, things have improved in recent years, so that the symbiosis of roughness and relaxation on ‘FAIL•LURE’ works better than ever before.
One could speak of a certain duality, one can find that duality also in the artwork I think. Can you tell a bit more about this cover artwork?
X.XIX: It was on a short trip in Alsace (Eastern France) when I discovered these sculptures. The concept was already woven and some of the lyrics were written. There was a small castle. The sculptures (there are two – this one and a smaller one) are in its courtyard. After countless and some useless attempts of making a suitable cover artwork, I was stunned to finally find our cover image. This sculpture fits perfectly to the mood of the record. For me, it symbolizes the urge for freedom. A conscious uprooting in anticipation of a drastic change without attention to losses. With the head up-stretched and sharp claws, they seem to screw out of the ground to the heavens. There is also a saga around these so-called “green ladies”. Once they were good fairies who lived in the forests near the villages. They protected the families against all evil. Urbanization pushed them more and more out of the woods. So they were forced to live among the humans in the cities. Their attitude changed since then. Angered and vengeful, they used their beauty to drive men into madness, dragged them into the forests and with the claws on their heads they let them flounder over an abyss. But we mainly used the sculptures for image aesthetic reasons.
You have a conjuring video clip for “The Antagonist”. Please tell us a bit more about this song and the making of the clip...
X.XIX: ‘The Antagonist’ marks the climax of the record. It’s about the failing unmasking of the human himself. The lyrical plot of the song is mainly about the coroner in ‘Drowning by Numbers’. He is the one who should help three women, who drowned their husbands, to conceal their murders. In return to that, they promised him affection, which he never got. Instead of this, he got drowned too in the end. ‘The Antagonist’ describes the moment, when he recognized the false and insane games and he unmasks himself as a fool, who trapped into the pitfall of temptation. He confesses, that he was also playing his very own games. Humanity is just acting for its own benefit. With deceptive masquerade and without regards for losses. We’re unable to get off our masks. We hide behind it and just change it due to our longings… ‘The Antagonist’ asks for who we really are. We did the video with the great support of a good mate. We had the idea to play with the unmasking and drowning themes but we didn’t want to take a too strong reference to the lyrical construct. Thus came a coherent plot, which takes slight references to the lyrics and the concept. It deals about a masked individual who drowned an unknown person. The murderer is walking away, through fields and forests to meet four further masked individuals (who are also walking through the forests) at a fireplace. He used to remove his mask to reveal his true identity. You can see it melting in the fire. But he still wears the mask and ranks with the others (who did this also before?!).
What are the plans for the near future? Concerning gigs or other things...
III.XXIII: We hope to present the album extensively live. Unfortunately, there are still some regions of Europe that have been a bit too short in this respect. After the tour activities, we will recharge our batteries to work without unnecessary delays on new material. Hopefully there will not be another six years. Otherwise, never give up hope of something extraordinary and unexpected. We are not too predictable in this case!
If there is anything you’d like to add, feel free to do it here...
III.XXIII: Thanks for your support! See you on live tour. Otherwise, we wish all readers and listeners a lot of fun discovering the album. Stay hungry!