Click Interview with Rhys Fulber: ‘I Wanted To Cultivate A More ‘Soundtrack-Techno’

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Rhys Fulber will be always connected with music projects like Frontline Assembly, Delerium, Conjure One, Will, Noise Unit, Intermix, Synaesthesia ao. The Canadian musician remains a prolific artist who also started releasing music under his own name. Both previously released albums “Your Dystopia, My Dystopia” (2018) and “Ostalgia” (2019) were ground to explore Techno- and IDM fields. The “Resolve”-EP (2020) revealed a radical change into Ambient Music. The newest opus “Brutal Nature” released on Rhys’ own label FR Recordings sounds as the offspring between Techno and Ambient. I talked with Rhys Fulber about this new and visionary work.  

(Picture credits by by Adam De Ville / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: I remember you said this solo-project all started by some jam sessions with modular synths, which finally resulted in the album “My Dystopia, Your Dystopia”. How did it happen for “Brutal Nature”? Is it still a kind of instinctive process or more a suspicious one? 

Rhys: “Brutal Nature” was probably the most deliberate solo record so far, so not as much ‘jamming’ took place. It was actually made on a much smaller set up than the previous two which let to a more intimate sound in places.

Q: The album was recorded during your stay in Canada while you got inspired by elements of nature. Tell us a bit more about it and especially the connection with the album title? What has been the impact of the ongoing pandemic and the quarantine restrictions? 

Rhys: The core of the album was born in the initial lockdowns in Los Angeles when I just took a few pieces of gear home to work on, then halfway through relocated to a small coastal town in British Columbia I used to live in where that environment helped me fine tune the songs and make it become an album. 

I did all the test listening on a deserted rocky beach by a decaying cabin and all the bits and pieces of mankind washing up on the beaches and abandoned concrete infrastructure gave me the title. The juxtaposition of the two elements.

Q: How long did it take to write and record the tracks of “Brutal Nature”? And what are the different stages you’d to go through to achieve this work? 

Rhys: A couple tracks like “Pyrrhic Act” and “Rogue Minority” were started in L.A circa 2019, then the main material was shaped from spring to fall 2020 in the lockdown era. I usually have a bunch of ideas then figure out the direction and pull them all together as an album. Like I said earlier that fine tuning took place once I got into the coastal environment in British Columbia.  

Q: I can imagine “Brutal Nature” must have been a special recording as you were not working in your studio so how did it feel to work outside your ‘comfort zone’? What have been the pros and cons? And did you encounter major difficulties and/or challenges? 

Rhys: Honestly I can work anywhere I can set up some gear so I kind of liked the variety. The cons would be ‘unreliable monitoring environments’ and having to use headphones. The pros in L.A were no commuting! 

The studio I was using up here was a very finely tuned room so in a way it was an upgrade to my old L.A studio.

Q: Brutal Nature” sounds to me as the offspring between Techno- and Ambient music, which makes the work pretty exciting and original. How would you analyze this album and its sound approach? 

Rhys: I had started making more ambient material and instead of using it for a another project I thought it would be better to make the solo-project more honest and include all the different sides.  I tried it with the “Resolve”-EP first. A few of the songs like “Chemical” and “Fragility” were going to be used elsewhere but then it suddenly made sense as part of this album and in many ways they are the core pieces now. I think there is so much Techno, EBM and club tools out there you need to find your own angle on things, so I wanted to cultivate a more ‘Soundtrack-Techno’ type sound that includes all tempos and emotions and highlights what I feel are my strengths musically.

Q: You’re now releasing your work on FR Recordings, which is your own label. What’s the idea behind FR Recordings and how do you manage all different elements like pressing, promotion, distribution, social media etc?

Rhys: I just wanted to release the music I want on the schedule I want in a more direct self-curated way. Also doing things for art’s sake like the live cassettes, with very artistic packaging and design (with Berlin artist Janina Schuetz) which most labels wouldn’t do because it is not profitable.  

As far as the logistics, I used similar set up the labels I’d release on used and hired promo people etc. It’s mostly people I know from over the years of making records. I am looking to release some other artists as well this year and develop it a bit more.   

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