Thursday, September 22, 2011

SOUND CHECK: The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble INTERVIEW

Fake Plastic's very own Fr. Jones shoots the breeze with Paul Frick from the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble about Moogfest, pre-industrial robots, locating the vibraslap, and eternal happiness.

Here is a link to the review of the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble's Mr. Machine.

FR: Before the ensemble was formed, how did the original trio get together? And what was the process like when it came time to form the actual ensemble?

PF: We met in the club music scene, mutually liking each others music, Jan and Daniel's project "Scott" and my solo house project. Our first common session worked so well for us that we just kept on making music together. Then we had this ensemble idea very quickly, because we asked ourselves how we would want to perform without using prerecorded sounds live.

FR: I really dig the album artwork for both You Make Me Real and Mr. Machine. What is the story behind that?

PF: Daniel had the ideas for both of them, he's the one who usually comes up with visual and conceptual stuff. For "You Make Me Real" we asked the illustrator Danae Diaz to draw it. Afterwards she also made the video for "Caffeine" based on the artwork, together with Patricia Luna. And the objects for the "Mr. Machine" artwork were build by Jan's friend Robert Meyer and photographied by Richard G. Brozowski. Mr. Machine's skull has even moving parts and lights in it, and also the ear, the arm and a bone. Mr. Machine is an old pre-industrial robot that we found underneath our garden.

FR: The new album features some vocals from Ninja Tune's Emika. What was that collaborative experience like?

PF: We know each other well, so it's very cool to work together. Before we did the album recording of "Pretend," we had done a remix of her original song. At some point we had the idea that our remix would fit very well for making an ensemble arrangement of it. Emika was also on tour with us in May, supporting us and then also singing "Pretend." All the ensemble musicians loved it from the start.

FR: You guys will be performing at Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina this October. How did you land that gig? Is there any particular artist involved you are excited to see perform?

PF: Oh, ask our booker! We're excited about Moogfest, glad to be able to see for example Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus and again Battles who were already fantastic at Glastonbury.

FR: What can an audience expect from a Brandt Brauer Frick live performance? How do you feel your sound translates live?

PF: People shouldn't have any particular expectations and come with their senses open wide. Maybe they will like it.

FR: To me, the classic 9 minute "Bop" video is a brilliant, conceptual summation of your talents. Can we expect another video in the same vein to coincide with Mr. Machine?

PF: Well, yes! We shot a pretty gigantic video some weeks ago, and the cut is almost ready. It's very different from "Bop," and I find it quite spectacular.

FR: Does the ensemble have a preference for any of the reinterpreted tracks from You Make Me Real featured on the new album?

PF: Not completely sure about the others, but my favourite is the piece "You Make Me Real" itself. It's got a very intense vibe and there are very mind-blowing and sick instrumental sounds in it.

FR: What is the inspiration behind the unconventional, signature sound of the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble?

PF: Love and hate, life and death.

FR: Out of the wide array of instruments utilized in Mr. Machine, is there one that you feel defines the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble the most?

PF: No, it's about creating a world, with whatever means we feel like. But maybe we can make a competition: who finds the vibraslap on the album gets a CD?

FR: What can fans expect from future releases?

PF: They can't expect anything, we don't even know it ourselves!

FR: In just the past decade, the music industry has gone through some radical changes. Where do you see the music scene heading in the next ten years?

PF: To eternal happiness?

PF: Any advice to up-and-coming artists struggling to make it in the music industry?

FR: Hm, just the obvious one: first make music and then you can think of the industry, not the other way around.

The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble will be performing at this year's Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina on the weekend of October 28-30. For more information, visit

- Fr. Jones

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