The 230th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Faskil.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I’m 43 years old, I’ve been living in Paris for 12 years now (I was formerly based in Brussels) and I’ve been Djing since I was 14, and producing since I was 18. (Thinking about this suddenly makes me feel very old.)
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
A lot of influences (FSOL, Underworld, Depeche Mode, The Orb, Autechre, really too many to mention). I truly was introduced to electronic music when I started working for Radio Campus in Brussels, back in the 90s. I didn’t know much about it at first, except from the mainstream tunes that were playing on the radio, and I discovered a brand new and fascinating world with rich sonic universes. I got hooked pretty quickly and decided to give it a try with the gear I had at my disposal at the time.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of money. So I started tinkering with the tools I had at my disposal: PC trackers. I started building tunes and learned how to use the software. It pretty much came naturally, I’m lucky to be a quick learner. I then moved on to other pieces of software, Reason, MIDI sequencers, I discovered VST plugins and it really opened up a whole new universe.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
The hardest part is the “wrap up” and the mastering. I’m a perfectionist, so I always think I can do better and I usually don’t know when to stop, which can lead to problems (overdoing it can transform a pretty decent track into a hot mess). Creative block usually hits me before the actual work starts, mainly because of the fear of not being inspired or not having any good ideas (the musical equivalent of the blank page). But I usually kill it by thinking: “just do what you like and don’t think about what anyone else will say”.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
It depends on the period, I don’t really have a typical day. I’m also working as a journalist and write for a few magazines and websites here in France. I also produce podcasts (about music of course, but also about other things, like comics). I’m an avid movie and TV series fan. Oh and I also play videogames. So there’s always something to do!
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?
It might sound cliché, but I listen to pretty much anything. I love music as a whole. As long as a track moves me, I don’t really care what genre it is. As for their effect on my own productions, I’m pretty sure they have one, but it’s a tough thing to measure. The way a track can sometimes really touch me, that inspires me more than anything, it motivates me to try and make better music because I think ultimately every artist’s goal is to touch people, connect with them.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
I honestly can’t remember the first vinyl I bought, because I was too little (I started buying 45s when I was 7 or 8, with my grandmother’s money). I do remember my very first CD though: Characters by Stevie Wonder, because there was a duet with Michael Jackson on it that I’ve never heard of before. And the last one I bought was a couple of weeks ago, I snatched a copy of the Tekkokinkreet OST remix album by Plaid, which is only available in Japan.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I don’t like clubbing. I know, weird, right? The truth is I love playing in clubs, I love the crowd when I’m in the DJ booth, but I don’t like going to clubs when I’m not working. When I’m in a club and I’m not playing, you can usually find me sitting at the bar, just enjoying the music. I’m also a terrible dancer, which doesn’t help.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
I don’t think there’s any producer who’s consistently overlooked, but there are a few producers who deserve more recognition, who deserve to have a huge public success. A few names come to mind: Pole Folder, Derek Howell, Ewan Rill, Kobana, Silinder, Ilya Malyuev, I can’t list them all but there are plenty… These guys are well known in the scene, but they deserve global success because in my opinion, music sounds better with them.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
I already mentioned them but Ben (Pole Folder) and Derek (Howell) are huge sources of inspiration, not only in the music field, but also in life in general. Ben is actually the reason I started to make music again, back in 2004, after a few years’ hiatus. His love for music and his energy are highly contagious. And I love working with Derek, he always thinks outside the box and produces tracks with such a unique sound. The track he co-wrote with Peter (Martin), called “Soylent Barbeque” is such a massive epic gem. This is the kind of music that inspires me, that makes me want to go work on new tunes every time I hear it.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
I’m very bad at giving advices, but I’d say this: take time to learn your gear, know how to use it, and also leave room for accidents, don’t be afraid to try new stuff and make mistakes, something good will eventually come out of experimenting. And when making music, don’t try to please anyone else but you. If you like what you’re producing, there’s a very good chance you won’t be the only one.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Propaganda’s “Dream Within A Dream”. It’s not a club track, it’s a synthpop track from 1984. But it’s the most beautiful piece of music in the whole universe and a perfect way to end a very special night at the decks.
‘Better’ is out now on Welcome Music, you can purchase the release: here