Earlier this month saw the release of the third full length record I Will See No Moon, No Sky by Crystal Shipsss, the musical project of experimental Danish artist Jacob Faurholt. It’s our much deserved current album of the week. As the title suggests, its a rather melancholic record, recorded in the aftermath of a period of tumult in Faurholt’s personal life, the mood matched by the liberal use of the darker elements of the musical spectrum. Faurholt’s work has always been fascinating to follow so we relished the opportunity to fire him off some questions about the inspirations, processes and personnel behind the new record and he was candidly forthcoming.
INDIE30: There has always been a quite melancholic approach in much of your music but on I Will See No Moon, No Sky you seem to have taken that a step further and really stepped into the mire of sorts. What was the inspiration for the record?
JF: I guess the inspiration for the album can be divided into two things. The inspiration for the music itself – and the inspiration for the overall theme of the record. When living in Berlin my good friend Soren (from the Canadian act Man Meets Bear) introduced me to the Canadian, but Berlin based duo Nadja. Their music (drone / ambient metal) inspired the sound on “I Will See No Moon No Sky” a lot. I even asked Aidan Baker from Nadja to recommend other bands in the genre for further inspiration. Aidan also plays guitar on the song CROWN. The mood and the lyrics came out of a turbulent time where I parted with my now ex-girlfriend and decided to leave Berlin after 4 ½ year in the city. I recorded all of my own parts in my bedroom while still living in Berlin, which was important to me. After that I emailed the tracks to my friend William Kudahl Sørensen (from the Danish ambient act Infants) who recorded more tracks, and in more than one occasion made the songs way longer. So he is the main architect of the long intros and outros. In the end we gave it all to our friend Jens Christian Madsen (from the Danish electronic alt. pop project Tjaere+Fjer) who also recorded more tracks and finally mixed the album in his studio in Copenhagen. So the album also reflects our three musical projects coming together in one piece.
INDIE30: While, your last record under the Crystal Shipsss name, Dirty Dancer, was a very varied affair, there is a more cohesive feel to the new record. Was that deliberate, to present an overt subject as a musical whole? Is there an overt subject specifically?
JF: With “Dirty Dancer” the idea was to record whenever I felt inspired, especially by listening to all kinds of different music. Therefore the album was recorded over a long period of time, which is probably the reason why it’s such a varied affair. As mentioned above, the musical inspiration for the new album was very clear from the start, and I had a clear deadline for recording my parts (before leaving Berlin). So yes it was definitely deliberate to present the subject as a musical whole.
INDIE30: There is definitely a nod to drone elements on the record. Over the years I have noticed this has been employed sparingly in your work before, suggesting that you’ve always had a penchant for the approach. Would that be right and why the decision to embrace it so wholeheartedly on this release.
JF: I was not sure that I would make another Crystal Shipsss album after “Dirty Dancer”. But then I got sucked into ambient / drone metal music, and I thought it would be interesting to wholeheartedly dive into that “genre”. The song “Burning Kingdom” from the first Crystal Shipsss album “Yay” was the first clue to go in that direction.
INDIE30: While darkness is definitely a theme of the record, you still employ aspects that reflect light and hope. There even seem to be pop elements along with definite ambient and even prog like and otherworldly moments blending themselves in with lo-fi dirge and drone. Is there hope to be found on a record titled I Will See No Moon No Sky?
JF: Yes I think there is. And as you say it’s not all darkness. There is also beauty in those feelings connected to the overall subject. And that contrast is also reflected in the music. For example the contrast between the high pitched reverby vocals and the heavy distorted guitars.
INDIE30: Can you enlighten us a little as to the one word song titles and what drove the lyrical process?
JF: I came up with the one worded titles first and then I improvised the music / lyrics while recording. So the creative process was very immediate. I just wanted to express whatever I was feeling in the moment. The titles were just whatever popped into my head.
INDIE30: Who did you work with on this record and where did you record it? Tell us a little bit about that process, in terms of the people, places and approaches enlisted. Was it a departure from previous methodologies.
JF: I worked with William Kudahl Sørensen (Infants) and Jens Christian Madsen (Tjaere+Fjer) who are now also a part of the CS live band. My parts were recorded in Berlin and the rest was recorded in Copenhagen, where we all live now. And then we had Aidan Baker of Nadja play guitar on CROWN. It meant a lot to me that Aidan said yes to participate, as Nadja was a huge influence on this record. Compared to the previous CS albums, which were more or less solo albums, this one felt like a real band effort. Even though we did not play our first show together until the album was done.
INDIE30: In a studio recording sense, it’s such an alternating mixture of employing real density together with spartan like moments. Was this mixture and the utilisation of density and space part of a search for mood and effect because it succeeds in creating such in spades?
JF: I think it’s the process of all of us throwing our musical minds together. My lo-fi recordings / songs, Williams ambient stuff (and talent for atmosphere) and Jens’ studio wizardry (and eye for details). But I had a very clear vision of what kind of record I wanted to make, and I asked William and Jens to participate as I know and love their music. The perfect match.
INDIE30: Your work seems to possess quite restless tendencies when it comes to genre. Does this restlessness partly stem from being on the road constantly and living in different cities and countries over the years and being influenced by different “scenes” and artists? What’s been the motivation for the multitude of places and spaces? Has it been a matter of going where the music takes you or have you been searching for something in particular?
JF: Crystal Shipsss has from the start been the vehicle for exploring whatever I felt interesting to explore. So it’s definitely a matter of going where the music takes me. With CS there are really no boundaries. I also release albums in my own name, which is more traditional stuff. Songs written on a guitar.
INDIE30: You’ve recently moved back ‘home’ to Copenhagen after being based in Berlin for some years. What prompted this?
JF: Basically just a need for change.
INDIE30: You seem to have alternated back and forth between releasing work under your own name and Crystal Shipsss. Can you enlighten us as to thought process behind the two approaches and the timing of such and what does that signal about the future for Jacob Faurholt?
JF: Crystal Shipsss is the more lets say experimental stuff, and the music I release in my own name is more traditional when it comes to songwriting. Right now I am focusing on promoting the new CS album. But there are also plans for an upcoming solo album + shows.
James Stocker – June 26, 2015.
Crystal Shipsss (DEN)
From the album, ‘I Will See No Moon, No Sky’, Raw Onion Records