There is an unspoken code of audio visual within music. The ability to let music speak for itself, without the need for a blatant orientation on the subject is nonexistent within the mainstream. However, this is an issue that Fassine needn’t worry about, as they create incredibly journeys through subtle ambience over distorted trip-hop.
Growling synthesizers, majestic drum beats and silky vocals complete their sound, helping Fassine assume a stance of ambiguity within their music as they explain everything, whilst asserting nothing at all. Outspoken and self sufficient their hardworking and innovative attitude towards their art places them light-years above their competition, whilst they act as a prime example for achieving success in their field. I sat down with the band to talk about their ambient creations, the mantra of their music and how working on their new album ‘Dialectik’ opened their eyes to a new set of fundamental motives.
Although Fassine has a unique and ambient sound, the tracks blissfully juxtapose and develop constantly throughout. Did this genius style come from a wide range of conflicting musical inspirations from the band?
Without doubt. Strangely, most of our inspirations are not from the genres we swim about in. These come more from artists and music where there is almost no connection. These conflicts allow us to take a concept from behind another wall, develop it and place our version of it on the record.
Your video ‘Whatever It Takes To Help You Sleep’ was directed by the Russian production company ‘Dogs of Passion’, on the streets of St Petersburg, Russia. How did you come into meeting such an unexpected contact, and do you think the setting of St Petersburg helped reflect on your almost industrial sound?
We found ‘Dogs’ through our mutual collaborator and photographer Tamas Szigyarto whom is from St Petersburg. As soon as we were exposed to their work, we knew they, along with the setting of St Petersburg, would be able encapsulate everything we wanted.
For ‘Dialectik’ additional mixing and programming roles were given to Rohan Onraet, an engineer who has previously assisted artists like Scott Walker, Nick Cave, White Stripes, U2 . Has this experience helped you reflect on your own production roles? And how has his professional insight helped your progress as an ensemble?
Rohan’s insight is down to his ability of wearing two hats: one a fan, the other an artist. The former means he understands what works to a fan’s ear. The latter means he is always willing to go with an idea, no matter how strange it may be. The area in the middle is where we all meet. He is the unofficial fourth member without a doubt.
Your sound is very cinematic; some of the structures of the songs on your new album ‘Dialectik’ are reminiscent of trip-hop bands Massive Attack and Lamb, whereas others like ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Bring the Weight Down’ have a much more grimey feel. Were there any specific artists you listened to as a band to get inspiration for the new album?
Our inspirations are many and varied but the one constant of all these inspirations is that they evoke something inside you. Our favourite artists are geniuses at creating a mixed feeling – euphoria with melancholy, bitterness with humour.
Fassine class themselves as ‘Performers/Producers/Purveyors/Preachers’. Do you think the format of bands doing everything for themselves, from producing to managing, is essential to succeed considering how the music industry currently stands.
It’s certainly not essential to succeed. There are lots of acts out there who have had many helping hands in order to get them to where they are. However, the industry requires a lot from the artist and the artist should always require a lot from the industry. We happened to be in a position where the industry couldn’t offer us anything we couldn’t and wouldn’t do ourselves. The element of freedom we enjoy is because of the choices we make and what we want to do. We found over and over again, people were unable to keep up with us and so the obvious choice was to always, where possible, to do things ourselves. Our eye and ear are very important to us and including other people in this process is just not viable.
It’s clear on tracks like ‘Sunshine’, you like to play on the contrasts of connotations between song titles and the lyrics they hold,. Is this ambiguity a running theme on ‘Dialectik?
The idea of ambiguity is something we constantly play with. For us there is nothing worse than a lyricist who has to force a point and spell out at every opportunity what they are saying and why they are saying it. Painting a picture with a few colours is far more appealing to us than using the whole pallet.
This Fassine article was written by John Gittins, a GIGsoup contributor