For Clash Magazine's Personality Clash
These New Puritans Interview Faust

Two artists, one conversation. Personality Clash: bringing like minds together since 2004.

Hans Joachim Irmler (Faust)
One of the primary exponents of the Krautrock genre, along with the likes of Kraftwerk and Can, Faust paved the way for a whole host of experimental and progressive bands. Their legacy still lives on, championed by artists like These New Puritans.

Jack Barnett (These New Puritans)
These Southend-On-Sea boys have already made waves with their spiky experimental art-punk. Channelling the spirit of the 17th century and a futuristic aesthetic at the same time, this band traverse time to create music which defies all classifcation.


Hans: So you played in Austria. How did it go?
Jack: It was really good, it’s a really nice festival. It’s really rare that I play a festival that’s actually quite memorable; they usually just melt into one.
Hans: I was really surprised when I listened to some of your tracks. Your current record is quite astonishing, very punkish and full of refreshing new recording ideas. We need to get you over here.
Jack: That's a real compliment, thanks. How do you feel about doing interviews then, do you like doing them?
Hans: No! I’m sure you feel the same?
Jack: I used to think you could get something out of them. When I first started doing them for this album I started to realise things about the album that I hadn’t realised before. But also you start talking about the music so much that you start talking rubbish and the music starts to belong to someone else. So, do you feel like you’re part of the rock aristocracy? Your band is like the blueprint for a lot of bands on how to be experimental.
Hans: That’s a difficult question... I don’t really care about or recognise how old I am, just that I’m making music and into music and that’s it. I suddenly realised that the studio here in the south of Germany is quite huge. Having a big room is an old fashioned idea now, but it’s great as you can make your music as live as you want.
Jack: Yes, all the big studios in London seem to be shutting down.
Hans: When I went to London I was invited to go to Brixton and listen to my friend’s new record, which they did well under the circumstances, and it made me think about recording studios. I would always like to keep a studio as a special place to go where a musician can try out whatever he wants. In different studios obviously you’re aware that the acoustics change. A big room should sound like a big room, with its own acoustics, not like my mother’s bedroom. There should be some reverb.
Jack: That’s definitely true, because when I was recording our album it was important that the ensemble brass and woodwind recording sounded like there were lots of people playing together and all those tiny nuances that happen when a lot of people are playing together are so important. If you try and cut corners it never works unless you have enough space and enough people.
Hans: These days you have a totally different feeling about the studio as everything is recorded digitally. But you can also still record in a church if necessary!
Jack: We used a combination: our album was all about having the really digital, fake sounding textures mixed with really huge spaces.
Hans: Sounds good, because it means something to you.
Jack: So do you think of Faust as popular music?
Hans: You could say we had an influence on some popular music, but our music is as far away from the popular as it could possibly be. Do you want to be rich and famous eventually?
Jack: No, that’s not what it’s about. I always think that we are like a pop group but a subversive pop group. There are things about popular music that I like and that I find interesting. But the main drive for me is writing music.
Hans: What instruments did you start out playing?
Jack: I actually made a drum kit for myself out of cardboard boxes. There were three drummers a the beginning so we needed more instruments. So that’s probably where the focus on the drums comes from.
Hans: Your drum sound is really far away from popular music.
Jack: I agree, although there are still some things that we take from popular music like the textures on the album.
Hans: To me, good percussion is important in order to attract the listener.
Jack: Yes, rhythm is very important. I’ve got another question for you: is it easier making music now than when you started?
Hans: We’re just in it for the music so it’s not hard. But ideas and emotions change all the time, they’re always changing...

Faust’s new album, ‘Faust Is Last’, is out now on Klangbad.


Clash Magazine Issue 51

This is an excerpt from the article that appears in the 51st issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from June 4th.

Find out more about the issue HERE. Subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.



Follow Clash: