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solar fake promo2024 byAnnieBertram 01Interview with

Sven Friedrich (vocals) from Solar Fake

On May 24, 2024, the time has finally come! The new SOLAR FAKE album, ‘Don’t push this button!’ will be out. This album will not be released by Out Of Line like the three previous albums of the band, but by Sven Friedrich’s label Pointless Music. We’ve known Sven well for a long time and we managed to bring SOLAR FAKE to Kyiv, Ukraine twice with solo concerts and we sincerely believe that when the war is over it will be possible again! It’s always an honour for us when we have a chance to interview him, especially when there is such a great occasion as the release of a new album.

We are looking forward to three different versions of the album: the main album with the usual stylistic sound, the 2nd CD version with ‘Amplified’ songs in Indie-Rock style, which were recorded together with band members André Feller and Jens Halbauer, and the last but not least the 3rd CD version containing seven piano versions of the songs. Sven’s friend, pianist Dirk Riegner (PETER HEPPNER, SCHATTENHERZ, etc.) was invited again to take care of the songs’ arrangements as well as piano recordings. And before the album is out, enjoy our interview...

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: ‘Don’t push this button’ - how did this album title come into your mind? For many fans first, the association was the red button right away since it’s so very actual nowadays, unfortunately... But your title explanation was about human behaviour. How about you, how often do you tend to push this button even knowing you shouldn’t?
Sven: I think this is one of the problems of today. People do things, even if they know they shouldn’t. Even if they know it’s bad and affects others. Sometimes they don’t know better, sometimes they just don’t care... And sometimes it’s just impossible to resist... I think everybody knows this sort of thing and of course I do too…

RoD: What are the similarities and differences from your previous studio album ‘Enjoy Dystopia’ while working on the new material this time?
Sven: The work in the studio was pretty much the same, compared to the other albums. Of course, I always use some new tools and synths, but I’m working in my studio at my own pace. For me, this is the most productive and effective way of working.

RoD: You’ve performed a few Synth Pop style songs live so far from the upcoming album. Can your fans expect your usual mix of dark music styles, or do you focus on Synth Pop more this time?
Sven: That’s always hard for me to say. I would think that I have accomplished a good mixture again. However, some songs might sound a bit Synth-wavey, but Synth Pop is not the main focus if you ask me. But of course, it’s some sort of Pop music in the end. Sometimes harder, sometimes not. We don’t have a real ballad on the album this time...

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RoD: What inspired you the most while writing new songs? Can you tell me more about your new influences?
Sven: Again, it’s people. Mostly bad or stupid things that people do. I still watch people and see what decisions they make in what situations. So, it’s the same influence but still different, since times have changed quite a bit since our last album... I also still write about broken people who can’t deal with stuff...

RoD: Why did you decide to release ‘This Generation Ends’ Vinyl for members of the fan club Shadowplay only?
Sven: Well, the fan club is something really special and I think it’s nice to give our members the chance to grab something very rare. However, the song itself is also digitally available to everyone. Just not on vinyl with all these other versions and remixes.

RoD: Your videos recently look like short movies made by real professionals. You are very talented as a cameraman and Jeans as an actor. How did it come you paid so much attention to moviemaking?
Sven: That’s always been something I was very much interested in. I also did motion graphics for some TV shows and I always wanted to do stuff like that. I have a nice camera and some equipment that you need for ok shoots. I wouldn’t say that I’m working professionally in any way, but usually, it’s always close to no budget and I kind of like working without a budget and still achieving something that looks cool. But I also have to say that I could not at all work like that without JK. She has these cool ideas and does the editing; I do all the rest... So, we’re a great team, I guess.

RoD: Also, in continuation of the topic of the video, to be honest, many people discuss that the plot in ‘This Generation Ends’ is not quite understandable. If you can describe what happens there?
Sven: Hahaha, well, there are also a lot of comments discussing the plot and most understood it as it was meant to be, but maybe those comments are in German only? I don’t know... It’s just a weird loop, a bit fantasy-themed. Someone watches someone that looks like himself run by, he follows and then watches this murder, is spotted by the killer, and has to escape. He’s chased by the killer throughout the clip and in the end the killer gets him, then he shoots the killer in defence... Someone else watches this who looks like the one that’s just been shot... The new killer spots him and chases him. Here’s the loop... From here it could go on infinitely...

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RoD: I’d also like to talk a little bit about the song and video with MORPHOSE’s ‘All Comes Back to You’. Though that certainly doesn’t apply to the new album. But this song and video are very well done. And that black-and-white storyline. Tell us a little bit about this collaboration and the process of making the video.
Sven: Well, Christoph asked me if I could imagine collaborating. I thought he is pretty interesting since he does movie and TV scores that I like a lot. However, he sent me some music and I immediately liked it and had ideas about the vocals and lyrics. And then we shot the clip in Berlin last year. He works pretty much like me when shooting, so it was really easy to work together for the both of us...

RoD: Traditionally there are remixes and two cover versions in a bonus CD, why did you decide not to include any this time? Many fans expected DM’s ‘Ghosts Again’ studio record which you performed live since last year already. Instead, you offer an ‘Amplified’ CD with Indie Rock versions. How was this idea born? Will you perform Rock versions live in your upcoming tour gigs?
Sven: Let’s start with the remixes. I have asked everyone I wanted to ask for a remix already. So, I ran out of ideas here. And the cover version, I asked for permission, but never received a reply from the publisher. But to be honest, I wasn’t very much behind it... Never sent a 2nd email or something... I like our ‘Ghosts Again’ cover, but I had this other concept already in mind from the very beginning of the songwriting process. So, the cover version was not so much of a priority this time. However, we can still play it live and we will... Maybe, someday, I’ll write another email to the publisher and ask for permission again, for some single or so... Don’t know yet... And the ‘Amplified’ versions... That was something I already had in mind when I started writing the songs. And with André and Jeans, there are two great musicians with some Rock and Punk background, so it’s been easy to just do it... Hahaha... I’m not sure about an “amplified” live performance on tour. I hope we can do a short block in the encores. At the release events, we will play some amplified versions for sure.

RoD: I wondered how quickly the tickets for your premiere concert in May were sold out. I understand that there are no more tickets for the additional concert. Did you expect such a success?
Sven: Well, both shows were sold out within minutes. But to be fair, the venue is very small. Well, we expected it to sell out quickly, but we didn’t expect it to happen in minutes... The idea behind picking this rather small venue for our release events is to support a small venue like this. They’ve organized an open-air show for us during the pandemic and now we want to help them a bit to survive these weird times.

RoD: Do you plan to continue the live tour with the new album in 2025? What countries and cities would you like to visit?
Sven: Yes, we will definitely continue the tour in 2025. We’ll start with more German dates and then see, where we can go. I love playing in foreign countries. So, we’ll try to play all over the world. But I haven’t made any serious plans yet.

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RoD: Do you manage to travel not as a musician but as a tourist? Which countries would you like to visit in this format, with a backpack on your shoulders and planned routes?
Sven: To be honest, I never go on holiday. I mean I live in genuinely nice places and then I travel a lot with the band... I don’t miss private traveling. Also, it’s almost impossible to travel when you have a dog and rabbits and cats...

RoD: Would you be interested in visiting Chernobyl in the future, after the war ends, with a professional guide of course? I think it would have made some cool photos for one of the next albums.
Sven: That would be amazing. I mean I love lost places and I’ve seen so many pictures of this place. I’d definitely love to go there and see it for myself. Not sure if I would actually take photos or just try to feel this place in reality... Maybe we should just bring a photographer...

RoD: Was it a hard decision to leave Out of Line? What are the pros and cons of creating your label for the band? Do you have any free time since you’re doing everything now...
Sven: No, the decision was pretty easy. I did most of the job on my own anyway, so now there’s just a little bit more work for me, but I have total control now. And since I seem to be a workaholic, I don’t care too much about free time, hahaha.

RoD: What would you put in a time capsule if you knew it would be found after 100 years?
Sven: A paper with some quotes from politicians of the new German Nazi party and current voting results to prove that people don’t learn from past mistakes.

RoD: Talking about the war theme, as you know Ukraine is going through difficult times right now. Is there something you would like to wish your Ukrainian fans?
Sven: I truly hope that this insane war will soon come to an end and that people can return to their homes, their families, and friends. Hopefully, someday, a normal life will be possible again, including a cultural life.

Pictures by Annie Bertram

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