Name: Infant Finches
Members: Frederik Bruun & Jan Philipp
Occupation: Composer, violinist
Nationality: German (Jan), Danish (Frederik)
Recent release: Infant Finches' debut album Sci-Fi Immune is out via Papercup.
Recommendation: Jan: Wolfgang Herrndorf - Arbeit und Struktur ( book); Charles Tournemire - L’Orgue Mystique (music)
Frederik: Cindy Lee - “What’s on tonight is eternity”; Dean Blunt - “Black Metal”
If you enjoyed this interview with Infant Finches and would like to find out more about the duo, visit them on Instagram, and Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/ or sound that drew you to it?
Frederik: I started as a kid by playing drums in the music lessons in school.
I don’t know exactly what it was that caught me, but it was around this time my dad showed me Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I connected a lot to. I loved the feeling of letting go just playing and I still do very much.
Later, funny enough, a broken arm got me into guitar playing which was amazing since it allowed me to play chords, melodies etc. I felt very lonely throughout these years and music gave me a very deep feeling of something good and something right. It was like a mirror that shows you things you’ve never seen in which you could let yourself dream into.
Jan: We started making music together about 4 years ago.
Originally it was jams that we recorded directly to tape. But then it quickly became clear that we wanted to write songs, originally more in the direction of shoegaze.
More and more ideas and influences came along so that it became something of its own.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
Frederik: Oh cool, I also see colours sometimes. I mean it’s very different, depending on the music and the mood, but on a good one it draws my body into it with all its feeling, and I feel, and sometimes move, only with the music.
I guess you can say it influences me in a way that making music should come out of spontaneous ideas rather than a thought-through thing.
Jan: Most of the time I see the music I hear as a kind of timeline that passes by my inner eye and to which everything I associate with the music is attached.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
Frederik: It’s a bumpy road. There is so much good music out there and it’s all very inviting.
Sometimes I feel more like becoming input and sometimes more like giving output. The first one brings a lot of looking inwards where you look at everything in different lightings.
It can be tough, but I feel it’s necessary in order to move forward and developing your music and yourself as a person.
Jan: I think that in the last two years a lot of things became clearer for me in terms of what I like and I also got a lot more confidence to express them artistically. That and our new album I would call the biggest breakthrough.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
Frederik: This is a very tough question to have a good answer to. I think we both don’t feel like the coolest people that have walked this earth, so trying to be that would be kinda catastrophic. (laughs)
But listening to music that has that attitude can be great for me. It doesn’t matter that much to me what kind of identity the music has somehow. If I like it, I know it’s good and maybe even better if it’s in a style that I just thought was annoying me or pretentious or whatever.
The same goes for creating – I love trying to do something I didn’t really thought was me, because at some point you’ll listen back to it and realize that because you made it, it is how you sound.
Jan: I think that I am a rather reserved person and that also shows in my listening behavior.
For example, it often takes me a while before I really jump at new music that is shown to me. I think that I rather need the time to discover something for myself, but then I am usually very convinced of it.
As an artist it is similar with me, maybe I need a little longer to react to a new influence, but when I then like or understand something, then it is usually very strong, I think.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Frederik: Freedom, honesty, emotion
Jan: I really like to decide things quickly and intuitively, i.e. not to be too perfectionistic but to make friends with mistakes etc. And to see them as something special and beautiful.
This may not always be the best way. But basically I like this way of doing things.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
Frederik: I want to listen to music that’s personal, and for me that’s when it brings something different, when it takes chances. I get very bored by listening or playing to music that’s framed by a tradition.
Jan: I believe that music that has an honest core and thus becomes original and always has something timeless and thus always has its justification.
So the question of the music of the future doesn't arise so strongly for me because music that has the above characteristics will always be up to date, in my opinion. As soon as you try to make something frantically modern, it probably loses its originality and won't last as long or age as well as music that has a true and honest core.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Frederik: I don’t really have any strategies or any specific tools. Or maybe I do, but I’m not so much aware of them. I change my instruments a lot and how to make music often because I’m inspired by someone’s way of doing music.
For me the only thing there really is to it, is just to do something and try to see what you are doing through instead of thinking about how to proceed.
Jan: As a band I think we realized that we really like the result when we heavily edit recorded material afterwards and add a lot of details to a recording.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Frederik: Right now I get up in the morning, eat a little and either start working on some music on my laptop or sampler or go to university. Later perhaps go to work or see a friend. The evenings I often do music or hang out, see shows and so on.
Jan: Hard to answer question, I think for me pretty much every day is a little different in flow
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Frederik: Well this album we are releasing is pretty dear to me, and we spent approximately 2 years on it. We spent a loooooot of time recording a loooot of demos. In the end we picked 12 songs or so and went to the studio to record the basics with our producer Olaf Opal.
From there on we were just together almost every day doing overdubs, cutting and looping, manipulating stuff. The songs changed a lot this way. In the end we went to the studio again and recorded the vocals. Also the mixing process shaped the songs a lot.
Jan: For our first single "over Peculiar" we had some elements of the song already very early. In the studio we recorded a kind of form for the song without knowing if this would be the final form.
Then, during production, Frederik found a loop out of the many guitars which now makes the song very distinctive. The vocals we actually found only shortly before the recording was finished.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Frederik: Both are great, but yeah very different. I like being completely alone with music, walking around listening to an album and getting completely into it. All the sounds talk to you and the space you find yourself in. It can be really magical. So also with making music. But being at a concert and sharing the experience with other people is also some of the best experiences I’ve had.
Jan: Most of the time I listen to music over headphones alone. This is the most fun for me and has something very personal.
However, I also love to show newly discovered music to friends and convince them of it. Making music alone, on the other hand, I find rather unsatisfying and doesn't give me that much fun.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Frederik: I don’t know how it relates to the world. I’m not concerned about making something that fits or doesn’t fit. It’s there, it exists. There is a small platform for it.
The last two years showed us a society without music and that was depressing for everyone. I believe music and art in general are deeply connected to freedom.
Jan: A very difficult question to answer. I can't say what our music means to others.
Music is probably the most widespread art form, so it certainly has a high meaning. (laughs)
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Frederik: Music and writing poems has helped me finding meaning where it was hard to find any.
Jan: I find it especially that one always associates certain music with the age at which one has often heard it. Perhaps this shows that it makes no sense to try to hold on to a certain point in life as a final state.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Frederik: Music is essentially waves that travel through air and therefore it’s very prone to change when something gets in the way of the waves and the ear drum.
Beside that, it has a lot of mathematics to it both in terms of rhythm but also pitch that makes up harmonies etc.
But I’m not very scientific to say the least and I just follow my gut when I create music, so I don’t really think about this.
Jan: I very rarely think about this connection. (laughs)
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Frederik: Yes it’s very different for me. I can’t express myself making a cup of coffee. I’m just happy if it turns out how I want it and it gives me great joy. (laughs)
But making music can make you forget time completely and you just think of nothing else but these sounds and how to make them fit. It’s like something stops you from thinking and reaches into your subconscious and shows it to you in the form of sound.
Jan: When it's music that's important to me, it's a very special feeling where sometimes you really get into a state where you really don't think about anything and just follow your intuition.
But sometimes it can also feel like a lot of work - which is ok if you have the other feeling in your own projects.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Frederik: I mean we translate so many impressions every day and just in a millisecond or less. The vibe in a room, how someone is feeling etc. It’s all signals and music is a language as well.
Jan: I think that's because every listener can find their own meaning of the music for themselves. And that can also change over time.