Words: Andrew Swann (Substance Is Meaningless)
Photo: WIP Press, Karine & Oliver
Okay, so no, WE INVENTED PARIS didn’t actually really invent Paris, the city dates back to the 3rd century BC and was originally inhabited by a tribe called the Parisii before the Romans conquered and named it Lutetia Parisiorum, “Lutetia of the Parisii” – there you go, you’ve learned something new today.
Anyway, enough of the history lesson, while they may not have invented one of the most populous metropoles on the planet, what the collective centered around Swiss singer-songwriter Flavian Graber have managed to do is create a enthralling synth-pop sound that is – in their own words, ‘ the perfect soundtrack to an 80s cyberpunk drama played out in 2017.’
We caught up with Flavian on the back of the release of the band’s new album, Catastrophe, to talk about the challenges musicians are faced with in today’s music landscape.
What is your main goal as a musician?
FLAVIAN GRABER: To create songs & music that matter.
How do you feel about the evolution of digital music streaming services?
It’s really handy and comfortable. Though the value of one single piece of music gets downgraded.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an up and coming artist in the digital age?
To get people’s attention, and to actually make them listen to your music. Sometimes it becomes more about how you present yourself on social media and less about the music you’re making.
What is your experience with working with music media and new media apps as a musician?
A lot of the music media still works old school (album-oriented) but the consumer and ironically the media itself is very song-oriented.
What are the opportunities and dangers of using Instagram as a musician?
To let images speak for themselves and let people have insight on what you’re up to in your daily life as a band. We all know we’re showing off, but still we all dig it. It can be very time-consuming, and if you have a bad day it can discourage you, because everyone else seems like they’re having a perfect rainbow life on instagram.
Are there any social media feeds you find inspiring at the moment?
Arcade Fire have great artwork and graphics. What I find interesting is that it’s always about the music and art with them. They never post about gossip or useless information. I also like Neufundland. Fabian (the lead singer) used to play bass with us. They’re just a great bunch of people and it was fun to follow them on their festival tour this summer. Thirdly, Bilderbuch – They’re shaping new styles and way we look at music right now.
How do you deal with your visual concept on social media? Do you have a strategy to interact and connect with fans?
Quality before Quantity. It’s about ‘show, don’t tell’
You mentioned Arcade Fire before and their visual skills, what do you think the secret is?
I think it is because the collaborate with very talented visual artists. It sounds simple but that’s the key. Together they create something that reminds you of some older things (in a good way) but still it’s something new, fresh and unique.
Are you currently using any software to engage in musical content?
There are three that are very useful: Ableton Live is the most practical and reliable software for live usage. I use Logic when I’m writing my songs, it’s just very simple and clear. When I’m mixing and recording I use Pro Tools.
Catastophe is your 3rd album, are there any mistakes you’ve made along the way that other musicians could learn from?
Ha ha, yes, we’ve wasted way too much time trying to be cool on social media! What i’ve learned from that is that you need to put all your energy and focus on your music and the songs you’re writing. Just be yourself. Staying on the subject of social media, we spent far too much time hanging around on the platforms when we should have been enjoying the life outside – now I only go online when I have something to say or do. Finally, I think one of the biggest mistakes was comparing ourselves with other musicians too much rather than just being ourselves and enjoying the music other bands make as well. The media is the real competition, not other musicians.
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