Fauxe is a Singaporean producer/beatmaker who caught our attention when his remix of The XX’s ‘Angels’ started circulating on Facebook just days before his public appearance at The Pigeonhole’s benefit gig where his performance with local band Pleasantry left us intrigued and wanting more. Not only that, the fact that he kept his mask on even after his performance — despite the heat in the venue — only added to our curiosity. This mystery man has just released his debut EP UBUNTU, and has two shows coming up at Home Club in February. Read on as we pick his brain and find out more about his work.
Hey Fauxe, when did you start making music?
I think I’ve always been a very noisy child, always causing trouble for my mum. I think that’s how music slowly came into my life — I just lean towards anything that creates sound. I started learning to play the guitar with a friend of mine at the now defunct music school Celviano Music, but after awhile I stopped taking lessons and decided to teach myself because I guess once you know the chords, everything just falls into place.
I formed my first band with the guy I learned the guitar with. We always switched roles when it came to vocals, rhythm and lead. To be honest, I think we played a lot of stuff, from rock, indie, metal, blues, etc. That was one of the best times of my life because being able to play music with people was always a very spiritual experience for me.
What’s steered you to your current musical direction?
I listened to mainstream music when I was young but I started getting into a lot of underground bands in secondary school, especially either metal or indie bands, although that term itself is already so general and overused.
“I never knew you could make music sound so colourful, in the sense that it brought so many emotions.”
I wouldn’t really say that any of what I used to listen to has steered me to my current musical direction. Really, it was the breaking up of the band I was in. It allowed to be really free in my mind to explore the creative and musical possibilities out there, and that’s what inspired and made me interested in venturing into electronic music.
One person in particular that actually helped create Fauxe is Gold Panda. The moment I heard ‘You’, I was just completely blown away. I never knew you could make music sound so colourful, in the sense that it brought so many emotions. Everything about the track made me realize that there is more to electronic music than just 4/4 beats — you can actually create emotions out of sound without really singing. So yes, ode to Gold Panda, because I wouldn’t have started Fauxe without him, probably still be finding my calling.
“Music isn’t a single entity, it’s a really complicated matter that seems to evolve into many different forms. It has a life of its own and it gives people different feelings and moods. I love that aspect of music the most, the unpredictability.”
What do you think it is that makes us personally connect with a certain sound or genre?
I would just say the emotions you feel when you hear a track. For me, there are times when apparently sad songs actually make me happy, or vice versa. It’s because individually, we all go through different situations in life. Even with my own music, I tend towards writing about how I feel on that particular day itself. So even if I were to write a happy song titled let’s say, ‘Love You Baby’ (yes, its cheesy, but whatever), I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else were to listen to it and feel sad when the music hits them. And that’s good, because music isn’t a single entity, it’s a really complicated matter that seems to evolve into many different forms. It has a life of its own and it gives people different feelings and moods. I love that aspect of music the most, the unpredictability.
And does this explain the mask?
The main reason why I wear the mask is because I just want people to focus on the music. That’s really all there is to say about it. I don’t want to mix my personal life with my music. You could say that people might be more interested in who I am since I’m covered, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter, because when I’m wearing the mask, I let the Fauxe persona take over me and the only thing that matters then is sharing the music that I make to whoever wants to listen. And after I’ve shared the love, I go.
Your live remix of Pleasantry’s ‘Window Gazer’ at The Pigeonhole’s benefit gig was pretty cool. How did this collaboration come together?
That gig has to be one of the most memorable. Producing the remix was fun in itself, but playing live with them was awesome. I think there always comes a point in time where you as a producer, will want to try something different, and performing live with a band is one of them.
“When I’m wearing the mask, I let the Fauxe persona take over me and the only thing that matters then is sharing the music that I make to whoever wants to listen. And after I’ve shared the love, I go.”
Do you plan to collaborate live with more local acts in this way?
Yes! I do plan to actually collaborate with more bands and musicians here in Singapore. Once I’ve found the time, I’ll make the best of it.
You also started the HYBRDTHRY sessions. What are you planning for the next session?
Ah yes, HYBRDTHRY was an idea conceived when I realized there is a lack of platforms for young, fresh, new, whatever-you-might-call-it producers who find it hard to find places to perform in. The idea is to encourage the community to develop, rather than stick to their own crews and not give a damn about the rest. It’s been a long time since there was another show but I do plan to continue this when the time is right.
So what are your thoughts on the electronic music scene in Singapore?
Well for starters, I don’t really know much about the scene here. I’m still very new to this, considering I started barely a year ago. I have heard a lot though, from the outside, be it positive or negative, but I’m just going to see for myself and experience what it’s like to be an electronic musician here in Singapore.
“The idea is to encourage the community to develop, rather than stick to their own crews and not give a damn about the rest.”
The only thing I can say though is that I’ve met many amazing people from the community here who have led me to meet the good people from the label I’m now in, Phyla Digital! Shoutouts to Harv, Nikhil and Nithia!
Yes congratulations on that! How do you think belonging to a label or collective helps an artist in this modern context?
I think for me, being in a label has given me confidence in knowing that I have people with me who want to push the music as far out as possible and who will do whatever it takes to get it out there. Once you meet people with the same ideas musically, it just clicks, and I’m so glad that I met the three of them.
Do you think you could you recommend three albums to our readers? We love your music and remixes so we’d love to know what you’re listening to right now!
Well there’s too much music out there for me to really say, but if I had to, I’ll just recommend what I’ve been listening to lately:
1. Burial – Untrue
2. Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner
3. Jonsi and Alex – Riceboy Sleeps
And lastly, what are your favourite Other Sounds?
Now, sound-wise, I really go for anything weird, funny, strange — well, I’m sure you can think of all the other synonyms for what I’m trying to say!
I use field recordings of whatever I find in the house, which you can hear on my debut EP, UBUNTU — anything from household items, to the radio, to the ambient sounds outside my room. People tend to not associate these sounds with ‘music’ — but what’s funny is that there are a lot of sounds we hear everyday like random rhythms that each have a certain character to them each time you listen to them.
This to me, is not just sound, it’s music. I’m a very strong believer in using sound as music, because sound is everywhere, it’s universal, just like music.
By Cindy Tan
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Fauxe is playing at Syndicate’s 3rd Anniv3rsary this Saturday, 2 February, and will be opening for Gold Panda on 27 February.