“Kontakt” raised the post-hardcore band FJØRT from Aachen at the beginning of 2016 from the underground into the mainstream. Not even two years later, David Frings (bass, vocals), Chris Hell (electric guitar, vocals) and Frank Schophaus (drums) with “Couleur” are already releasing the sequel to the breakthrough work. Astonishingly fast, that was all, amazingly raw and honest, the record sounds like it too. We met with the band in Cologne in the office of their promo agency Fleet Union to talk about the genesis of the album, the artwork, the title and the big tour in the spring of 2018.
artquery .info: We talked a little over a year ago, when you were on the “autumn trip”. At that time, you did not even start working on new songs. Now your third album “Couleur” will be released soon. Why did it all go so fast?
Chris: That was the time after the “Autumn Journey”, in the direction of November, when one of us said that he had an idea and that he wrote another song and just could see how that will be. That was the starting signal. Thank God we had many other ideas and then came Höckschen on sticks. At some point we had a handful of songs, which we found very cool and where we wanted to stay tuned. It all went faster than you thought. You know, before you start writing, you never know how long it takes. But that went very well.
David: At first we did not plan anything. We just started writing songs. Maybe you thought that a new album could come in 2018 or so. You look already long term, because you want to bring out the songs you write, someday. That was all but really fast. We also sent demos to Grand Hotel [Van Cleef, Label], which they loved. We were satisfied, Grand Hotel [Van Cleef] thought it was awesome, so why should we wait?
artquery.info: Soundwise, “Couleur” already takes a different approach than its predecessor “Kontakt” which was dominated by reverberant, high guitar melodies. Why this sound development now?
Chris: I believe this is also something that develops with the songwriting process. At some point you might even have an idea, have heard a few new records that you like. In our case, all this now should sound a little rougher than the “contact,” which was a bit polished. This time we wanted more with a grater over it. But then these are really just nuances.
How it really sounds in the end, you do not know before. This then develops in the recording process, where you turn again to a thousand knobs. We spent a lot of time in the studio playing around and experimenting with it, whether that was a synthesizer that was made by a distortion or something. Then something comes out in the back.
David: On the “Couleur” the different instruments fight much more together in the sound image. With the “contact” everything has somehow its empire. This time, everything is fighting with and against each other. All instruments rub against each other and push themselves further up. This went in the songwriting process from the beginning in the direction. I would not even say that the plate is tougher, which many say yes. It’s rather difficult.
artquery.info: I think that’s just fine! Similar to the word “contact”, “couleur” is a very broad, strong term. For one, that’s the French word for “color.” On the other hand, one also says that a human being is “of a different kind” than a different world view. How does that look for you in the context of the album? What does the term mean to you?
Chris: I think it’s cool that you call that an open title. It is always important to us that we have a concept that you can unfold and into which you can put your own thoughts. “Couleur” is, as you said before, a bit of a term for your opinion, your views, what you represent to the outside, how you give yourself what you are holding.
The record illuminates various stories that act by what it means when you say or do not say your opinion, for whatever reason. Everybody carries something around with them, where he might think twice about it, if he really does that. This can be a very personal thing, that you want to keep things for yourself and also do not know who has an open ear for something like that. That can be interpersonal things – it always begins in interpersonal and then goes up to this big black Peter, the unfortunately very current topic of the new, burgeoning fascism here. In For example, a song like “Raison” sings about a situation in which it would be fatal to shut up and say nothing.
artquery.info: The cover of your previous album featured David’s parents , That was the wedding photography of the two. Do you have a personal connection to the artwork of the new record again? And to what extent is the cover related to the content of the album?
Chris: This has a similar development again. That’s what the Artworks always have for us. And while we do not actively seek the covers, we always want them to come and want to see something that captivates us. We have to know unanimously that this will be a cover for us.
In this case it’s a photo from my family fund – this is my grandfather and his brother who’s on it. At some point I had this photo in my hand and I wondered what kind of situation this photo was taken. What the participants thought and why they are wearing these weird costumes. Is that a celebration? Is that a happy occasion or not? Probably, but the two do not really look like it’s the best day.
I just had to get out of the picture quite a bit and watch it. That’s exactly the feeling I want when I look at an artwork. That has to occupy me. The picture shows a situation where you do not know if that was the desire of the people involved to stand there like that. Is that cool for you? Do they perhaps make that out of constraint? That summed up well the theme of the album at the moment – “My Couleur” and “Your Couleur” and “What am I doing freely and what not?”
artquery.info: You have yours Album quite spectacular with a 25-minute live session in which you have already played three new songs of the album, announced. Where did the idea for this announcement come from?
Chris: We had the songs in our hands when the record was done and we thought about how to get out of it. Of course you always want to do something special that you have not seen a hundred times. After all, we just like to play live and we decided that we would like to present it live. At the time it was not clear where we wanted to do that, but we wanted to have a special location. Besides, we did not just want to play a song, but we wanted it to have a hand and a foot with multiple songs and a consistent atmosphere. That was the starting point.
Then somebody had the idea for a choice of location to do that on a lost-place. As you can see pictures of. For example, there are many hotels that still look like they are still alive, but they are not anymore. Then the phone glowed at Malek of Grand Hotel [Van Cleef] because he tried to find such a hotel. Somehow, he managed to do so over a million corners. In any case, then a memorial society, which manages this dilapidated building, in Freudenstadt, in the Black Forest, allowed to turn there a few days. Then we were there to visit and looked at it and were super happy with it. Then we were there and played live stuff and also made videos. All in one look, in a feeling and in an environment.
artquery.info: You have succeeded very well! It was also very well received.
David: Thank you! But we still like to watch it. That was great fun. But it was definitely a lot of work and needed a lot of helping hands.
Chris: The days were really exhausting. We make three crosses that it all worked out the way we imagined.
artquery.info: How many takes did you need for the session?
David: I believe that were two and a half.
We did that once, so we knew about the times. That was okay. Then we tried that once. But we had to stop that. Once we broke off the first song directly. Fortunately, the next take was then.
David: A drum set was rebuilt during the shoot. Frank did not like the first take. (laughs)
Frank: There was nothing!
David: We rehearsed the set-up on it. But then it worked. After that, but was also first roaring at all. That was crazy.
Frank: When everything was ready, I just screamed. That was really cool.
David: Of course we were super concentrated as well.
Everything the FJØRT guys say sounds so wise and thoughtful. It’s amazing that the three of them have time to write music in addition to all these head things. And then it’s so good too! Well, in the second part of our big FJØRT interview about “Couleur”, David, Chris and Frank are mainly talking about the recordings and can get really upset about the right-hand shift in Germany.
Zu Teil 2 is here.
Click here to read part 3.
“Couleur” will be released on 17.11 at Grand Hotel Van Cleef and can be ordered here & here *.
And this sounds like this:
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FJØRT live 2018:
01/18/18 – Münster, Gleis 22 (additional show!)
19.01.18 – Münster, track 22 (sold out!)
01/20/18 – Hannover, Musikzentrum
21.01.18 – Berlin, Lido
01.22.18 – Dresden, Beatpol
01.21.18 – Leipzig, Werk 2
01.24.18 – AT – Vienna, Chelsea
01.21.18 – Munich, Strom
01.26.18 – Stuttgart, Universam
01.27.18 – Saabrücken, JUZ Försterstraße
01/28/18 – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
01/29/18 – Cologne, Building 9
01/30/18 – Hamburg, Knust
Photo by Andreas Hornoff.
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