Euphoric is proud to present an exclusive interview with a very talented producer and audio engineer by the name of FANU. Hailing from Helsinki Finland, FANU has been spinning or making D&B, Hip Hop, breakbeat and other electronic music for decades. With an eclectic approach to production and heavy influences from the nineties he has dope releases with Lightless Records and labels such as ShootRecordings and Halogen Music. As a matter of fact FANU is not just an accomplished producer but is also an adept mixing and mastering engineer and certified Ableton trainer. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions we had about music before the internet, how geography shapes art, his latest album ‘The Silent Watcher’ – and that’s just to start.
Read on to learn more and check out his website http://www.fanumusic.com/ for awesome tutorials, mixing guides, new music, and more!
EUPHORIC: Can you please give us a quick history of your musical background? Where and when did you start spinning records and producing beats?
FANU: I started making electronic music around 1992 or so, messing with Amiga. I have no formal background in music. I started absorbing electronic music and hip hop in early 1990s, and that created my musical backbone. Rest is history, really!
As for DJing: I moved from Finnish countryside to Helsinki in January 2000 and bought myself a pair of Technics. Best purchase ever. I can’t recall exactly when my first international gig was, but probably around 2005 or so.
How would you describe the music scene you’re involved with in your native Finland? Does your environment have an effect on your music?
I gotta say I’ve never been ”involved in” any ”scene”, not locally or globally – especially in Finland. I don’t think many people know my stuff here. Or maybe they don’t care, ha.
Anyways, the music thing here is quite lively, especially considering how small a nation we are. There’s always lots of events presenting different styles, and we definitely have quite a lot of producers. And we make a lot of music, reason being the weather is quite awful for most of the year!
The environment definitely affects you. I grew up in the dark, cold Finnish countryside where the only things that kept me sane was skateboarding and listening to electronic music shows from the radio and taping them all just to listen to all of it on a loop, thinking I’ll move away. The dark climate most definitely made me what I am in terms of a producer and style: kind of melancholic. I just cannot or don’t want to do any happy shit…it’s not that ”true” to me in a way. If I lived in Brazil, I’d sound way different if you know what I mean.
Your latest album ‘The Silent Watcher’ is a unique form of spacey drum and bass and breaks. Where did the inspiration for this LP come from? Did you have a certain theme or objective with it?
I never have one clear objective when writing an album; they’re mostly a good snapshot of a producer’s ”musical mindstate” within a certain period, and that’s why albums are interesting. I think with TSW I went back to my roots a bit in terms of chopping drums but I think there’s modern influences there as well; e.g., Paracosm Part 2.
‘The Silent Watcher’ is your 10th album you’ve released. How has the industry changed since your first one?
It’s got crazy. I know I sound like an old grump (which I allegedly am), but internet and saturation changed it all. I think it was easier to stick out from the crowd before internet got so damn huge. While the web offers everybody great tools to be out there, it made everybody and artist or a label. It made bigger artists and labels even bigger and smaller ones even smaller. And the saturation is just crazy. Today, one can make the most amazing music in the world and not get noticed, because the amount of noise is just so overwhelming. And in today’s climate, there’s a lot of people chasing attention instead of working for respect slowly over time. Fuck all the noise. In the end, substance will always overpower hype in a way, but it’s hype that you need these days, and I detest that.
Being musically great takes you nowhere alone, which is sad…if you want to get somewhere, you need lots of luck, the right connections, you gotta look good in your promo shots, be an interesting personality, the media must develop a liking for you, etc…it’s kind of fucked, really. Your musical background and discography alone are not enough if you want to go somewhere…although that’s what matters and is the most important thing, you need way more than that.
The reason I also miss the nineties is that it was ”calmer” and it was way more about just the music, and music seemed to be THE thing that we paid attention to. You were not able to see what your favorite ate for breakfast and how his new shoes look at the airport today, etc., which was great.
True that. Speaking of the nineties, are all your releases available on vinyl? What is your relationship to that medium?
Now first things first: if you like vinyl, you should know that you can go and preorder TSW on vinyl: http://tinyurl.com/TSWvinyl. I’m trying to release it in co-op with Diggers Factory. If we get enough preorders, we’ll get a sweeeet 2×12” vinyl release of it.
Anyways, not all of them are out on vinyl. In the last few years, I’ve been releasing way less. There’s two reasons, or three:
1) the type of music doesn’t sell that easily on vinyl, unless
2) your vinyl gets a bit of hype on media etc., and that’s something I hardly ever get, so the word about it does not get around as much as I’d like to. It may sound corny saying this, but hey, I’ve always been truthful, and that’s how it is.
3) I’ve also had some bad luck, which isn’t always encouraging. Sometimes it can be pure hell. E.g., doing LIGHTLESS006 took probably over six months…that’s a helluva long story and I’ll spare you the details. Just tons of bad luck. I actually ”gave up” twice during that process but we finally made it work. Those reasons had only to do with the plant and not me. Also, I tried getting the last FatGyver album out on wax, but same things came up with that. It’s absolutely tearing when things don’t work, and it takes tons of time, money, and patience. It feels nice getting music out when it’s still kind of fresh, and that’s why digital is great. I can say I’ve been more than once in a situation where a release takes so long to come on vinyl that when you finally receive a copy of it, you’re like ”Yeah, cool…” as it’s already kind of old to you and you’ve made tons of stuff after it that’s also waiting to come out.
All in all, if making vinyl was easier and the odds weren’t against me, I’d more it more often.
That being said, I want to stress: if TSW is your thing, go and place a preorder on it, and if that works out fine, I’ll be using that service to manufacture way more vinyl in the future.
When you’re not making or playing music what do you like to do?
Mix and master music, as that’s my official business and work: http://fanumusic.com/mastering/. Drink a lot of coffee. Ride my Radon bike and skateboard when my legs and feet aren’t all fucked from doing too much of it.
What’s the rest of 2017 looking like for FANU?
Wrapping up two albums: one hip hop, one non-genre electronic stuff. I’m well on my way!
Awesome thanks so much FANU!