Sven Friedrich has only be involved with successful bands. He became member of Dreadful Shadows and Zeraphine. He next started his solo-project Solar Fake, which even became more successful. The first albums got released on Synthetic Symphony while all other productions got released on Out Of Line. Solar Fake has a very personal approach in sound, mixing elements of Dark-Pop together with Future-Pop. It’s a powerful production carried by solid choruses like illustrated at the new album “Enjoy Dystopia”. It’s a great new work, kind of rough Future-Pop sound featuring multiple cool songs. Time for a chat with Sven Friedrich.
(Picture credits by Melanie Haack / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: The title of your new album “Enjoy Dystopia” sounds a bit as a cynical wink to the world we’re living in. What did you really try to express and how do you transpose the themes into notes resulting in songs and finally into an album?
Sven: Yes, you’re right, it is a cynical wink. It’s not really about the situation the pandemic has caused, but to me the world and our society seems to be running towards an abyss faster and faster… To keep up this picture, I think we’ve already lost ground beneath our feet and now wait for the impact. I see people get more and more egoistic and self-absorbed, don’t even try to honestly think about the environmental situation when it comes to giving up just a little bit of the achieved comfort…
Well, to make it short I think we’re really fucked and it’s our own fault if we keep on destroying the planet. But this is just one aspect of the variety of themes that fit under this topic. Also in smaller frames, when it comes to mental issues and the way people deal with it, I just see that we’re really fucked… In the album lyrics I have collected many stories and each of them could have the title “Enjoy Dystopia” so I thought this would be the perfect title for the album.
Q: Dystopia seems to have become the new reality, but what’s the impact of it all –and especially the ongoing pandemic, on you as human being and as artist?
Sven: Well, the most obvious impact is of course that no normal concerts can take place. On the one hand this is a very serious economical problem for a band and their crew, on the other hand it’s totally frustrating for an artist not to go out and celebrate the music and especially a new album with the fans.
But apart from music you can see the real character of people in this situation and that’s really interesting. Some deny the existence of the virus, some try to make as much money as possible, and some are just cool and patient and try to help wherever they can. It’s good to see people how they really are, these days… That totally helps making decisions in or for the future 😉
Q: Did you’ve specific ideas in mind about sound and production when you started writing “Enjoy Dystopia”? Did the album need some preparation and what have been the different stages you’d to go through to achieve this work?
Sven: The good thing is that I always work alone and I don’t depend on other people to work on new material. So I usually start writing songs. New song ideas come to me automatically after a while. I usually collect some musical sketches for let’s say 4 songs, then I write lyrics and record demo vocals and then I continue working on them until I can make the first demo version. When I have the first 4 demos I continue like that until I have 10 – 12 demos ready. Then I go much deeper into the production, work on sounds, add details, change arrangements and then I record the final vocals. After that I mix all songs and then I master all songs… then the artwork and the videos… It’s more or less the same for each album, it turned out to be the best way to work for me.
Q: I would like you to react about a few interesting items of the album like the song “Es Geht Dich Nichts An”, which I think is the first Solar Fake-track sung in German? The cover versions of HIM and Pixies featured on the DCD-edit?
Sven: Yes, “Es Geht Dich Nichts An” is indeed the first Solar Fake-song featuring German vocals. I just had the words in the chorus in mind as soon as I had written the music… Well, I usually write in English, without translating, so I thought I shouldn’t try to find English words for that song… it works pretty well in German.
The cover versions… We always have cover versions on our albums. “Where Is My Mind” is a fantastic song in 2 ways… It’s a masterpiece anyway and it’s also the music for one of the greatest scenes in film history, at least in my opinion… the final scene in “Fight Club”. So it’s an homage to both… “Join Me” is also one of the greatest Pop songs ever… Plus I have a close connection to HIM and Ville, we know each other for many years and I totally admire what he does. I never try to make a cover version ‘better’ than the original. I just want it to sound like a Solar Fake song, that’s all… it’s fun 😉
Q: Solar Fake is now active for numerous years so how did you see the project evolving from the early beginning till today? What have been the biggest challenges, rewards and eventually deceptions?
Sven: Oh, I’m totally overwhelmed by the success of this project. I’ve played in 2 rather successful bands before, but Solar Fake really tops it all… It grew from the first day until now and I think it has become a wonderful family for the musicians and the crew and everyone who is involved. The concerts are always totally overwhelming for us, because we really become one with the audience and everyone has so much fun… Oh, how I miss that…
I think we’ve had some important points in our history. First when André joined in, the live act and the stage performance has become much more powerful, then, when we signed with Out Of Line music, which really pushed our popularity and finally when Jeans joined the live band as a drummer.
All that has also been quite a challenge, but it turned out to be the only possible way to get better. We’ve experienced so many great things, from gigs in wonderful countries up to the crazy top 4 in the German album charts with the new album… We are totally thankful for being able to live this life…
Q: Artists try to keep themselves busy during the lockdown. I noticed you started an interesting podcast concept answering questions from the fans. Can you tell us a bit more about it and what have been your experiences and feedback? And what question would you like to ask your fans?
Sven: Yes, we started this podcast in April 2020, after most of the upcoming gigs were cancelled. We wanted to keep up the connection with our fans and we thought it’s not for us to play our songs on acoustic guitars, hahaha. So we started the podcast and it’s usually total chaos, because we mainly just talk the way talk in the tour bus when we go to a gig. And we asked people to send in questions… From the beginning we’ve had many listeners and we received so much positive feedback that we’ll probably continue with it even after the pandemic break. We also have listeners who weren’t even Solar Fake fans before…
Most of the time it’s just funny, we don’t take ourselves serious at all, but people also sent us ideas for new categories and stuff, I think it made us part of many people’s Friday breakfast tables, hahaha 😉 And we enjoy it a lot. The only problem is, that the podcast is German only. We wouldn’t have the same attitude if we talk in a different language. But we have some wonderful fans who translate some parts to other languages.
And we sometimes do ask our fans questions in the podcast, so it’s indeed not only a one-way communication 😉