Name: Friederike Bernhardt aka Moritz Fasbender
Occupation: Composer, producer, pianist
Recent release: Friederike Bernhardt's new release as Moritz Fasbender, 13 Rabbits, is out via Edition Dur.
Recommendations: The string quartets by Schostakovich (especially Nr 7, 8 and 15) and nearly everything Cate Blanchett is doing with her face.
If you enjoyed this interview with Friederike Bernhardt aka Moritz Fasbender, visit her on Instagram for more information. She also has a personal website.
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?
I started playing music when I was 4 years old and I started writing music with 16. Influenced by the music of Hanns Eisler I wanted to write a cycle of songs about dementia. I never finished it (yet).
Early passions were Russian composers, such as Rachmaninov or mainly Shostakovich, sure influenced by my beloved piano teacher, who was Bulgarian.
She was like a second mother to me and affected me with her intense passion to play the piano, so that I inhaled everything she was feeling about music.
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?
In a best case scenario my lower body shows similar symptoms as when I see an attractive man - but in most cases I don’t have very interesting feelings while listening to music.
While creating music I feel more like a dentist: I dig around in a small weird hole until everything is neat.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I am interested in highlighting the gap between electroacoustics and “playing piano” - by more than just adding a reverb or a filter. A specific and, in best case, precise language of the sounddesign is what I’d like to add to an already existing and huge piano-world.
I don’t find anything challenging.
I may have a certain feeling about a personal style - but whether I have a voice of my own is for others to judge.
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.
I have a v e r y playful vision of identity and would answer this question differently every day.
At the moment, I just split all my tastes and desires to different alter egos so that every expression-part of me gets a different personality. Sometimes it’s just a name, sometimes it’s a whole biography.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Love and staring at animals.
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”?
I don’t know why originality should exclude perfection (if I understand “versus” right) but I think my music is neither specifically futuristic nor traditional.
If I can add some flavor to a particular genre, I would be more than satisfied.
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?
My Prophet 12 and coffee. I always start with a sound this divine holy grail is giving me while drinking coffee - or the other way around. Success is guaranteed.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
9.00am: hearing an alarm
9.30am: hearing a second alarm and getting up
9.30-10.30am: drinking coffee, petting animals, working on some music
10.30-11.30am: working on some music
Done. Creativity is usually gone around lunch, so after that you’ll find me outside.
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?
I am better alone. In company with others I am mainly stiff and limited.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
My work is infected / affected by the music of other people and I relate with that to the world because it’s one craft I am capable to react with. But in the end it’s just an aesthetic, nothing more.
I don’t have a feeling towards the word “role”. Sometimes it just releases tension, sometimes it fills a “concentration playlist” or maybe a concert was a gift for your grandmothers’ last birthday.
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?
“Vanishing Act” by Lou Reed really helped me once not to be afraid of death and the second movement of string quartet Nr. 7 by Shostakovich gives me a profound feeling that others also have a captivating sense of incomprehensible but completely engaging beauty.
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?
A good cup of coffee has definitely the same qualities and skills like a good symphony! (laughs)
I express things in music that I couldn’t tell my mom on the phone.
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?
In the same beautiful and hard-to-detect way we can’t deconstruct love.