Having spent the last few months preparing us for the release of his eagerly-awaited new album, Berlin-based singer and songwriter Sigmund Faust has now unveiled his latest full-length 'Banchō Stanza'.
The new collection sees him channel the bold and exciting indie-rock aesthetic of acts like Interpol and Circa Waves with its bright and sometimes brooding energy. Filled with one pulsing banger after another, this new release is set to see him make a grand impression on the new music scene throughout the rest of this year.
So with his new record finally with us, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
I started with music rather late at 17, tagging along for a sample lesson when I had friends learning guitar at a conveniently local music school. As soon as I played those clumsy first notes myself, it immediately felt great and just made sense to me, so I was back with my own guitar for next week's class. I've loved the guitar in all its forms ever since.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
I'm not sure I could pinpoint any one thing - I'm usually working on a lot of different projects, trying to do very different things. Banchō Stanza started off as just impulsive improvisation, not knowing what it was trying to be. After a few pieces a sort of common aesthetic became apparent, which inspired a few more pieces of related themes, and reworking existing songs accordingly. Music inspires music, your own, as much as being around many different forms of music, wanting to experiment, refine and trying to figure out where the ideas want to go. Sometimes that can be forcing it too, sitting down with a blank mind, not getting up until you have “something”, even if it later turns into nothing.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
As a teenager, I'm pretty sure a lot of questionable stuff I've already forgotten (...repressed?) Otherwise, I've had a few Michael Jackson tapes since I was about 6, those were pretty cool. Definitely had some Red Hot Chili Peppers albums when I was 14, probably Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins. Soon started getting into a lot of metal as well, some of the usual suspects like Slayer and Iron Maiden, but mostly bands like Death, Nile and the always entertaining Immortal.
Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?
Not a song but, when I got into guitar I was just practising constantly, improving rather quickly and also started writing songs from the beginning, which of course were all just absolutely terrible. But it was still quite fun and exciting putting notes together and thinking “wow that sounds fantastic, and just anyone can do this then!?” The combination of finding something captivating, enjoyable, and realizing I could become “good” at it, even wanting to put the work in, made music the obvious choice for me.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
Lately I've been getting in some classical guitar practice early in the day – most recently pieces from the Bach lute suites and some Villa-Lobos.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
There are always parts of my lyrics that have a very specific meaning to me, but are also kept vague enough to fit into a broader theme, or that any listener may make sense of it in their own manner. So, while there isn't much in the way of songs entirely about people, most of them will have a phrase or thought that I associate with a specific someone.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
Don't really have one, but there is a recurring nice little moment when occasionally I come up with something that feels kinda good; of course it often turns out to be nothing at all upon reconsideration a few days later, but there's always a next step to explore from there.
Outside of music, what is your biggest passion?
Been riding my bike through the local woods a lot the past weeks, love skiing, even though time and money are cruel limitations of reality preventing me from doing that more. Fair amount of time spent on the computer, playing games, watching things. I quite like cooking, though I may not be the best at it. Eating however, I am actually the best at.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
Difficult to say, likely something equally fruitless in terms of paying bills – I used to draw & paint a lot before I got into music. Other interests would have been anthropology, ancient/pre-history, something along those lines.
And what advice would you give to other musicians looking to stay productive through the coronavirus lockdown?
There's no real necessity to absolutely force being productive, but it is perhaps a good time to be exploring something, ideas, unrestricted and now largely free from outside influence, just seeing where things go. Being at home a lot is also a great time to just be practising – the musician that has truly mastered every aspect of their instrument does not exist. With things everywhere still slowed down a bit, there's space for things often forgotten, organizing projects & files, maintenance, taking the time to listen to something with undivided attention. It all plays a part in improving the craft, and so does sometimes just taking a break entirely to let the mind wander about for a while.
Sigmund Faust's new album 'Banchō Stanz' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.