The multifaceted Swedish producer, musician, sound designer and founder of Farplane Records is back with an irresistible new LP called Two Left Feet. 5 Mag’s Czarina Mirani caught up with Rasmus Faber to talk about it as well as premiere a new 5 Mag Mix.
Listen: Rasmus Faber – A 5 Mag Mix 82
Tell us about your latest album Two Left Feet. I understand it’s your third artist album since you’ve been making music for over 20 years. What is it that has called you back to house music?
I’ve been coming and going from house music for a long time. I’m involved in different projects, which is one reason for my periodic absence and another is that I sometimes feel ambivalence towards the club scene and its tendency for a certain type of conformity. But this time I decided to view house music not so much as a scene in which I’m a part, but as a broad genre of music which, just like jazz, soul, latin, etc, is a part of my history and my personality.
The result is I felt a certain “effortless” feeling making house music which I can’t remember having felt for a very long time. I just went into the studio, and rather than having a pre-conceived idea of what I should do, I started to just do what felt most natural. This lead to me shedding almost all electronic programmed elements in favor of a very organic sound. Its probably my softest and most reflective album to date. This also lead to some different choices in collaborations with singers, which tended more towards the singer-songwriter side.
With the exception of the kick, everything on the album was recorded live. When you’re in the creation process, are you locked up in a studio filled with instruments and just jam out to them? Do you ever use a laptop to try out different sounds?
Yes, I’m lucky to have a grand piano and a marimba in my studio, very inspirational pieces which definitely helps a lot in the process! I play around with computer sounds first, sometimes just to make sure what I’m doing. Though it also happens I just press record and see what happens sometimes. I also have a couple of musicians who I love to work with, notably a bass player, guitar player and a percussionist for this album. They bring so much to the sound!
Perhaps I should say, having a real marimba in a one man producer studio is not the most common thing. Its almost two meters wide, and a quite daunting thing, with note bars made of rosewood. It belonged to a friend of my dad who trusted me with its care. It has been there as a secret weapon now for a couple of years, but finally I let it take center stage. There’s even one song of my album which is called “Son of a Marimba Maker,” but that isn’t a true reflection at all. My dad was a jazz saxophonist. I’ve never met a marimba maker, nor any son of such, but I’m sure that must be pretty cool people!
I find your work with the anime music scene so incredibly beautiful and melancholy. I have it on repeat during the mornings. What was it about anime that drew you to it? And what a combination – jazz and anime together. Who would have thought?
Thank you! Well its a pretty long winded way I got into it. Basically I’ve had a solid career in Japan for about 15 years, first as a DJ, but then my manager there starting moving into the anime scene and we kind of got into it together. It started with a jazz project, and eventually lead into me producing full scores for anime, which is amazingly fun!
You are so incredibly creative and your body of work expands to so many genres and styles… I think today DJs and producers on the dance music scene are worried about their future with so many of the technological changes. What are your thoughts on dance music’s future?
Thank you for saying that! I think in one way everyone involved in music is always worried about their changes with just so many changes generally in the world, in the audience, in themselves, I can kind of see that dwarfing the part taken up by worrying about technological changes. In a way, I feel the future is brighter because it’s easier to find your audience. Technology will change many things for a lot of us, but at least our jobs won’t be the first to be taken over by robots, so thats a little comfort at least!
Are you still actively doing things with your RaFa Orchestra?
I would say our activities are quite erratic, and have always been. I always have a little bit of a guilty conscience for not spending enough time on the project. Its so much fun to play with! At the moment I’m quite inspired to make some new music for the orchestra, so fingers crossed (I have indeed uttered those words before on a few occasions, so I’m careful to make promises these days).
Tell us about your mix that you are doing for us? What made you choose the songs?
I wanted the mix to reflect my new album, which turned out to be quite difficult, as I discovered there weren’t that many tracks around that I could find which was a good fit. But I did my best and made a mix of afro, soulful, deep and with somewhat of a meditative touch.