Interview with THE FALS

Interview with THE FALS

- in Written interviews

Hi! Can you provide some insight into the creative process behind “Beyond The Grave Of The Moon”?
A.S.: Hail! Two years of very focused and inspirational work led to the album. The process will come to an end with the vinyl release in autumn/winter.

The FALS originated in 2019 and have since embraced the themes of cold, darkness, and primal energy. How do these elements manifest in your music and performances?
A.S.: Musically, in writing primitive riffs…. and is not being inspired by Emperor…. Concerning the live performance it has a stripped-down setting with few lights and much fog.

Could you share some details about the sombre days of the band’s primal gathering in 2019? How did that period shape The FALS’ identity and sound?
A.S.: For me it was a time of renewal, both in my personal life and from an inspirational point of view. When we created THE FALS in its present form the three founding members agreed that there would be no restrictions in what we do.
Furthermore, there were some very inspiring releases coming out in the late 2010s. I mean not necessarily inspiring from a musical point of view but rather attitude-wise. Don’t give a fuck, just fuckin go for it, you know? I won’t mention any bands or albums here, only that most of it came from the European underground…

“Beyond The Grave Of The Moon” explores the collaboration between a lone sovereign and saturnine forces. Can you delve deeper into the concept and the underlying story?
CS: Being quite nebular on the first look, the story will become clear to those who have access to the lyrics. They fit in just perfectly with the respective song. Songs and lyrics share the same spirit, which sums up to the album itself. Although we had an idea this album is not going to make flowers and bees to its topic, the lyrical theme had not been clear right from the beginning. Considering we came up with the title even before a single song was written it is remarkable how things evolved. Words became ideas, ideas came to shape (lyrically), these shapes started to fit into an ongoing tale, which turned out to become a tale of eight chapters. Each chapter is a necessary step and the order is irreversible. Whereas the opener describes the somber setting of this world called “Fals”, “Peregrination” describes landscapes from alpine summits to gruesome desserts. “The Orb” describes the way to control the saturnine forces you described, which fails miserably in “Lost in The Realm”. Emerging again to a fatal strike is what track number five describes, followed by this strike’s impact what is “Zaar’nahsx Zyrbataar”. The logical order manifests in “Cremate” with “Dynast” being the final result. I’m not going to dive deeper into it as I want you guys to find out the details yourself. Open a beer, set something on fire and listen to this story of steel, mist and blood

How do you create an immersive atmosphere within your songs? Are there any specific techniques or influences you draw upon?
A.S.: It’s a very unconscious process. Darkness as an inspiration might sound cliché, but it’s the overall feeling of darkness that inspires us. You have to take it seriously. We can have beers at the rehearsal room, talk about everyday shit, but while creating the songs, there is a strong tension and seriousness about it.
CS: Honestly, I don’t see how a certain technique would attest to an immersive atmosphere for our album. I think it’s pretty much the conglomerate of each tone being played, of each drum strick being broken and each word being said. It’s the mixture and the diversity of “Beyond The Grave of The Moon” which lets you dive in deep. Paired with the feel of the cover and the bleakness of the mix it is what it is – captivating

How do you balance and blend different metal music genres to create a cohesive sound that represents your artistic vision?
A.S.: As stated above, we do not limit ourselves while writing. First and foremost, we have to please ourselves with the music we create. To create something that isn’t already there but still drifting not that far out. I worship many bands or albums, but I would consider it disgraceful if someone would tell me “Your music sounds exactly like band A or B”. That can’t be the point of being creative, to sound like someone else.

In your opinion, what sets The FALS apart from other bands in the metal scene? How do you strive to stand out and make a unique impact with your music?
A.S.: I don’t know if we are the right people to answer that question. You have to ask the listeners if we have qualities that others don’t have. But what does set us apart, at least sound-wise, from many other current bands is that we record our albums in a live setting and use as little digital tools as possible.
Drums, bass and guitar are recorded live, together in one room. In contrast to many child’s room projects out there where everything is completely digital. Programmed drums, digital amplifiers, recorded into the computer. I can’t fucking stand that. But who cares at the end of the day, you ask? Well, we do. “If you don’t understand what I mean, well fucking listen to Venom’s Acid Queen” (Darkthrone quote).

Could you share some insights into the symbolism and imagery used in your album artwork and visual representations? How do these visuals complement the music?
CS: This is a fine question. All three of us are absolute artwork affine. I mean honestly – Who looks forward to listen to an album of a band he never heard before when it has a shitty cover? The cover contributes quite much to the album and I’m glad we have been working with Timon Kokott on this one again. It’s painted with acrylics on canvas and I love who you both see and feel its structure on the original painting. Basically, the cover is a mixture of album contents. It shows the gates of Bel’ranaar (track 5!), the diverse landscapes of “Fals” (track 2!), the collapsed moon (this is clear, isn’t it) amongst other little hints. Combined with the hostile colouring and atmosphere it is nothing but a perfect match to the album’s musical content. In the CD version’s booklet, you’ll find one specific symbol for each song, printed in combination with the respective lyrics. To round things off we’ve been doing a photo shoot in an medieval ruin here in the forests of “Saarland”. The symbolism of the album is a fitting package to both, the music and our personal intuition.

The concept of power and omniscience plays a significant role in your album’s narrative. How does this theme resonate with the band members personally, and how does it tie into your overall artistic vision?
CS: Knowledge and power are amongst mankind’s oldest aspirations. Wars have been fought for the sake of manifesting power for thousands of years, and “Beyond The Grave” is no exception. Aren’t we all trying to become more cognizant day by day? Personally, I’m addicted to knowledge and find myself googling stuff all the time. I rather sit outside googling stuff or reading a book than sitting inside in front of the TV. We are learning all the time when we are willing to – no matter if I’m sitting in my basement listening to some vinyl, if I’m hiking through the forests or if I’m reading a book. We are longing for knowledge all the time. What are we doing this interview for? Because you want to know something about us.
Just speaking for me, this habit is transferable to our protagonist in a 1:1 fashion. This did not happen intentionally and is not meant to be a parallel between me and the protagonist, but at the end of the day many listeners will figure out they agree to this.

A.S.: Isn’t everyone fascinated by overpowering others?

Sacrifice is a recurring motif in your concept story. How does this theme reflect the band’s commitment to its craft and the sacrifices you make as musicians?
C.S.: Sacrifices don’t value up to anything like the outcome of doing what you love to do, so this question, to me, is not applicable. Of course, it’s not always all fun and games when rehearsing every week for hours since all of us have a live to manage, but talking of actual sacrifices – none. Get your shot together and do it seriously or not at all and we decided for the first option without feeling to give a sacrifice.

Can you shed some light on your approach to songwriting and how you develop those heavy, impactful guitar parts?
A.S.: As we are a three-piece, the songs have to function in a live setting without lacking anything. In the studio, though, we add little extras, like guitar melodies, synths, vocal layers or samples. All those extras are improvised in the studio off the cuff. In contrast to some other bands in the metal world nowadays, we DON’T record 25 guitar tracks to make it sound big. We record two tracks, each with different guitar and amp, that’s it.

“Beyond The Grave Of The Moon” is described as a journey through a foreign realm and time. How do you create a sense of otherworldliness and transport the listener to these unique sonic landscapes?
A.S.: To me, every outstanding musical offering should submit a sense of otherworldliness. Something you can dive deep into and forget everything around you. That should be every artist’s claim. I can no longer see the difference between dreams and reality.

The FALS embrace a dark and mysterious aesthetic. How does this visual presentation contribute to the overall experience of your music and live performances?
A.S.: Could you imagine (Black) Metal without some kind of dark visual presentation? From Black Sabbath’s first to, let’s say Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind, Dio’s Last in Line or Darkthrone’s Eternal Hails……, the visual presentation is as important as the music itself. Rock’n’Roll, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal are expressions of otherness, embracing a dark and rebellious path. I think Timon Kokott has perfectly captured the story of Beyond the Grave…. in visual form.
The live aspect couldn’t be more important as well. No disco lights, no fooling around, no everyday clothes. Just the purest, insane dedication, a few lights and much fog on stage.

The band’s name carries a certain enigmatic quality. What is the significance of this name, and how does it relate to the band’s identity and music?
C.S.: Many bands just feed the clichés by calling them Black X or Dead Y and let’s be honest: how boring can it get? Not knowing if this is a question you ask in every interview I attest your real interest in the name and that pretty much attests to the name in itself being good. Only one thing left to get to know the significance of the name for your readers: listen to the album and dive into the lyrics and you’ll know.

Can you provide some insights into the lyrical themes explored in your music? What messages or emotions do you aim to convey through your lyrics?
C.S.: I think we covered quite some of them in the previous question. One we haven’t talked about is as old as life itself – Brutality. Brutality both in a “de facto” and a figurative sense. You are not going to achieve shit without being brutal in one way or the other. Achieving is by no means meant in a monetary fashion, but in a way of living up to your own claim and being true to your principles.

Looking ahead, what can fans expect from The FALS in terms of future releases and live performances? Are there any exciting projects or collaborations on the horizon? Thank you for your time!
A.S.: There will be some live shows in autumn/winter 2023. 2024 we might do a small European tour, but nothing save yet.
Thanks for your interest!

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Quality music fan since '80s.

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