Oliver Pade (vocals, various instruments) of FAUN
I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of interviewing Oliver, male vocalist, instrumentalist and founding member of Medieval giants FAUN earlier in the month and together we discussed their new album 'Buch Der Balladen', a love of touring and even Fibonacci! Read more...
Reflections of Darkness (RoD): For those unfamiliar with your work, can you give a little background to FAUN, how were you founded and did you anticipate that you'd achieve the sheer level of success that you have?
Oliver: We never expected such success because I myself did a lot of juggling and fire theatre on medieval markets and music was always my big love, but it was kind of coincidence I met the right people. Then the first year we went really fast and travelled doing the markets, but this was good, just the four members getting used to each other and getting the most out of the instruments, so the experience that we gained there was so important and then very soon we took another good friend as a band member in who was working with synthesisers, samplers, computers and beats and this made us more unique although it gave us also a little bit of difficulty, but it helped us have a really big power on stage and we can put down a lot of tracks which is otherwise impossible unless there is a full orchestra.
RoD: Okay, you had recently a line-up change when Elisabeth left and Sandra joined the group. How has that affected the working environment and the creative process?
Oliver: I think it was just that there were very different points of views concerning our music. We have a percussion player that's very into African and Jazz and highly complicated percussion stuff and we have an electronic guy who likes APHEX TWIN and so on, and we combine all of these influences and try to make what is just ours but this is only possible to a certain point of course and mostly Lisa, she went really for early music, and even the driving beats were not her thing anymore. She wanted to go mostly for authentic recreations of what it really sounded like back then and this was the point where we thought 'is it helpful to find a compromise or is everyone just too unhappy because the compromise is too big?' But just at the right moment she decided that she wanted to go to the University to study and work with old sheet music and so we went our way and found someone by very lucky coincidence. But since then we have found ourselves also, and the result is the best concerts so far because we can use all of our experience, but also as a group can do all the things we want to do on stage. So I think it was the right decision, Lisa just made a CD that was really nice, its early music, and we're on a good path and no-one is angry so it's the right decision for sure.
RoD: You tour a huge amount. Is that something that you really, really enjoy or do you ever get fed up. Do you prefer live work to work in the studio?
Oliver: Me, I really need it nearly. I guess other bands maybe not so much. I am a Hermit, this guy is my Tarot card ( laughs) and if I'm not out playing I'm just staying in my house with my music and not going out! I feel if I'm forced to be on stage it gives me a lot back, it's an exchange with the people. It makes the music alive. For example a much better way rather than being in the studio and creating your songs there is having a group of people and just going out and playing them even if they're not 100% finished, because you really start to feel what is necessary and what the people want so I like not to have breaks longer than two weeks without a concert!
RoD: With that in mind, what do you have planned in the future?
Oliver: Yeah, we're possibly a little too busy, but as long as it's fun! (laughs) Already now we're working on our next CD, because our acoustic CD we did just now started from an acoustic tour that we did and we enjoyed so much that we did the acoustic CD, but before that we had already begun work on an electronic CD and it's good sometimes not to mingle things up and work separately so now we're working again on our next big CD, with electronics that has a much bigger variety and which has some ancient Latin for example, some rituals of the Romans, some Finnish stuff and a lot of English songs and texts.
RoD: What about your own musical influences, what was the last concert you attended yourself?
Oliver: I have to say I have a very big variety, for me it's a lot of singer songwriters Like BRIGHT EYES and people who work a lot with lyrics and meaning because for me music needs to have a deep meaning. But there is also a lot of bands using the medieval source, this archaic power, lots of Scandinavian bands, and also of course DEAD CAN DANCE, and anyone who plays medieval instruments and makes this kind of modern sound. Luckily this scene is very small and you travel around the whole world but always meet the same people (laughs) so I think we all inspire each other and share as guest musicians so this is really very nice I have to say. We work with MEDIEVAL BABES from the UK, with OMNIA from Holland and now with WOODLAND from America.
RoD: So who would you like to collaborate with if it could be anyone in world?
Oliver: Oh so many! DEAD CAN DANCE! I think what they do has a certain quality that is beyond commercial music and also really because they almost started this thing that we do. Also I like a lot anyone who can do magic on their instruments, virtuoso players! I listen to very weird music sometimes, sometimes things that really don't sell, but the guys are so technically amazing, of course this is also sometimes so far off that it's not something we should be aiming for but it's just the technique and the music and how much they think.... for example EPHRAIM LOPEZ from Spain is a virtuoso on every type of lute.
RoD: How do you select new material in your creative process?
Oliver: That's a good question, (laughs) because there is such a variety of songs sometimes! For this recent album it was easy because from the beginning we focused on German Medieval Ballads but on a normal CD of FAUNE there is everything, electronic influences, ancient texts and lyrics and little improvisations and I think the good point is that we know if we personally like something and it's not used on a CD, we know it'll be used later somewhere, so good things are not getting lost! Mostly it's a process where one or two people create something and sometimes it works that all five of us can collaborate with that easily and give the full power to the playing and skill of it and then we think this will be great live on stage, so then we put it on a CD. Sometimes though there is a certain topic and it's good not mingle too many things up.
RoD: I notice on your MySpace page that you think all of the worlds problems can be solved with poetry! That's an interesting take on things and I'm not sure I don't agree with you actually, but seriously, do you think that actually holds some validity in the way that for example children are educated? Is there in your opinion too much emphasis on other things, academic achievement, sport etc and not enough on the arts and music and creativity in general?
Oliver: Oh yeah! In my case for sure! I'm a huge fan of this Austrian architect and painter called Friedensreich Hundertwasser and if you read his books and his theory about his art, you have a very strong and true meaning. He says that things need to be organic and in proportion and if things are not in proportion it's destroys our inner harmony. A lot in our world has this concept of function only, and it all must bring the biggest profits and so on and this is a problem from my point of view, it's a straight line, it's just like a staircase that's going really straight, after many years it's bad for you! This is why to Hundertwasser everything was a little curved, and this is how nature is working and this is how all system is done...
RoD: Like the Fibonacci spiral?
Oliver: Yeah a straight line is really inorganic and will in the end psychologically make you ill.
RoD: Okay it's been a really interesting interview. So finally what's your most exciting thing you have coming up?
Oliver: Oh ( laughs) we have a big acoustic tour coming up where we will bring this CD to the stage and we're just looking forward to that and to what we do, although it's a lot of work. (laughs)
RoD: Olli thank you it's been a pleasure speaking to you!
Oliver: It's been nice!
http://www.faune.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/paganfolk