FARLO: Maybe in Another Life
Updated: Jan 29, 2019
I’m sitting in my uni’s library, on the top floor where you’re not allowed to speak or move for fear of disruption and humiliation. The Artist I’m currently listening to is called Farlo, and I’m playing his new EP ‘Maybe in Another Life’ so bloody loud, not only in protest to my location, but also because there are so many hidden elements within these tracks that I just need to hear up close.
Before I even pressed play, the first thing that sparked my interest were the song names. I haven’t ever come across an individual who is bold enough to not only name one track ‘Piss’, but to also reveal a part 2. I thought that was pretty funny, until I listened to the music and realised that it’s probably some rather deep satire.
The first version of ‘Piss’ starts with a strong beat that sounds as though it could be made using wood. It’s a really good start to the EP, no waiting around for the main event to begin. The descending guitar melody creates the beginning of a melancholic narrative that sets the tone for the rest of the EP. I particularly enjoyed the prominent screech of the guitar frets, something musicians usually try to make subtler, but here makes me wonder if Farlo was emotional when he recorded this part. The potential despair is then solidified by this unusual speech sample, which comes in around the same time as what I can only describe as a fluttering sound. I replayed the voice sample quite a few times at an attempt to guess where it was from. I did find out, but only after asking Farlo himself. Is that cheating?
‘Shedding Skin’ (can snakes make music?) comes in a lot softer than the first track, easing me into it with synths that mimic voices saying ‘ahhh’. This song is much more electronic, but still with the similar melancholic tone. The high bell-like sounds bouncing from one ear to another are angelic, which contrast with the once again, wooden sounding beat. This song has so much story telling through the combination of components, that there is no desire for words. I really love the rhythm section in ‘Shedding Skin’ and imagine the ‘ssshhh’ sound to be of someone telling me to shut up and listen.
The second chapter of ‘Piss’, adequately named ‘Piss Pt 2’, immediately commences into that familiar guitar tone, however this time teasing me with a faster melody. The sound becomes deeper with inclusion of bass, which again forces me to seek sorrowful reasoning towards such depth. The angelic tunes from ‘Shedding Skin’ return along with the disturbing speech sample from ‘Piss’. These contrast with each other, implying satire not just within the titles, but also the music itself. The melodies alone are seemingly jubilant yet with dark undertones that are reinstated by the painful words of the man in the sample. My favourite part is at the 2-minute mark, when a sonic high pitched drone appears and flickers between both ears. If you listen right to the end (which you should), you’ll hear a sound that replicates that of a gasp, perhaps this is the last breath of the speaker in this particular sample, as it is not heard again.
Despite the others being rather amusing, I think the final track wins most relatable title out of the entire EP. ‘Hahaha (I’m still here)’ starts with a dark, ominous synth that emulates visions of a gloomy, mist-permeated forest and almost hints at a supernatural presence via a metallic clicking noise that could be a broken clock. This composition includes yet another distorted speech sample, but with words that are previously unheard. Just before 2 minutes, a fluttering element that is close to something noted in ‘Piss’ is heard, however is now much more prominent in the mix. It could be an imitation of fast beating wings, but I like to imagine that instead, it is the sound of flicking through a book to quickly reach the final pages. The EP’s solemn narrative is coming to its end and the composer is desperate to make it to the conclusion of his misery.
The last seconds leave me with the final version of the unusual speech sample and I am wondering each time I finish it why Farlo was so fascinated by these words. I am captivated by the tracks and intrigued to know more about the mind of this individual. I managed to satisfy my curiosity by asking Farlo himself all of my burning questions. Read on to hear about his creative process and why he used those extraordinary samples:
When did you begin making music and what made you start?
Well, I’ve been piano since I was 5 and picked up guitar when I was 12. My dad always had me listening to classic rock, so I always knew music was important to me and would remain an important part of my life. As far as making music, I started producing at around 15, but never released anything until this year.
Which artists do you listen to the most?
That’s a tough one because I always try to find a new artist to listen to weekly, but my favourite artists at the moment would be; Jimi Hendrix, Deftones, Metallica, My Bloody Valentine, Pink Floyd, Clipping and Have a Nice Life. Not all of these influences had an effect on the sound of my music, but rather inspired me to make music. I’d rather the listener decide which influences they hear.
Your latest release has tracks that include live instruments, do you write and record those yourself, or do you hunt around for the right sample?
All of the guitar in the EP is completely me playing. A lot of it was improvised, especially Piss Pt 2.
Speaking of samples, what made you decide to use the unusual speech sample in both ‘Piss’ and ‘Piss Pt 2’?
The sample was taken from the original film of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Charles Laughton performance was unbelievable and his dialogue was delivered with such unbelievable pain. Unlike which anything I’ve seen before. I also think I resonated and related a lot with the lines in the song. Incredibly Powerful.
What is your reasoning behind using such bold song titles?
I suppose to surprise the listener and create a contrast. I hate this sort of “safe” type of music we have nowadays. We should be trying to push boundaries and surprise listeners. As far as these specific titles, I think they're just sub-conscious decisions.
Where did you create this EP?
In my bedroom, on the train to school, in my kitchen. Wherever and whenever inspiration hit, I was working on it straight away in some form or another.
How long do you spend working on a project for?
Until I’m happy. Could be weeks, could be months, could be years. Deadlines are a stupid concept when it comes to art, in my opinion. Why rush anything if it means lacking in quality?
Would you consider any live performances of your music?
I’m in a band at the moment called “Murmur” so any live performances would be dedicated to that project. As far as solo work, I feel it’s too difficult at the moment as there are many samples in some songs. I’d have to blend DJ’ing and Guitar playing together some how ahahaha....
Who would be your ideal collaboration?
That’s a tough one, but artists like: JPEGMAFIA, Daveed Diggs of Clipping and experimental bands, like Have a Nice Life and Daughters, would be somewhere up my alley.
What inspired you to create this style of music?
Honestly, I feel sonically and musically I wanted my own sound, but as far as inspiring me to release music itself, it would have to be the upcoming rap scene in Ireland with acts like “Versatile” and any type of music I’ve loved in my life.
Your EP was only released a short time ago, however are you currently working on anything new?
I’m never not working on anything, but I’m never planning anything. If an idea hits me, I’ll pursue it.
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