Dunkel Radio’s Najaaraq has an honest talk with FaltyDL about courage, fear and Louis C.K.
It takes courage to change direction, to slow down in pace. That’s exactly what Drew Lustman has done with his third full-length under the electronic moniker, FaltyDL. This might be the most cohesive release from this American to date, but it will definitely scatter the crowd. I guess it’s always like that when someone takes a risk, and perhaps, makes something brilliant. Proper respect to his record label Ninja Tune for taking a leap with him. The albums title ‘Hardcourage’ is appropriate on more than one level, as you will read in this interview.
NV: What’s up with your label, Blueberry Records? I have been wondering why you wanted to start a label?
DL: »You know I like touring, and I like traveling and stuff, but it’s not my favorite thing. I would like to be able to mostly make music from home, and stay home in New York. So I was thinking like, over the years if I can build a label, I can just have one more thing that can sort of make up some sort of career that can allow me to stay home. But there is other peoples music that I really want to try and release and there is also songs of my own that I don’t think that anyone else would want to release, so I want to try and release them myself. I don’t know why anyone really wants to start a label. My only one problem with it is that so much music being released, like things can get lost, and a lot of people will just release things that aren’t very good. I don’t think anyone thinks they are releasing bad music, but I want to try and have a really high quality control if possible«.
NV: Do you know how you are going to do that? Well, besides using your own taste.
DL: »Yeah I know right. So, this could hurt me or could help me. The one release that I know I want to do so fare, is something that I have been listening to for about a year and a half, so I really like the tunes I know that they are good«.
NV: International artists? Or are you planning on focusing on American producers?
DL: »You know, its funny; I think about a year ago I was really thinking it would be great to focus on a lot of NYC artists. But then in the past year there is a bunch of labels like UNO NYC and L.I.E.S, there is probably half a dozen that have cropped up and become much more popular in the last year, that are here in Brooklyn and NYC that are doing a really good job, so, I don’t feel like I need to carry the NYC torch«.
NV: I was listening to a radio interview you gave, where you mentioned that you are very inspired by storytellers. Who is your favorite storyteller?
DL: »Honestly – Louis CK the comedian. Do you know him? «.
NV: No, tell me about him.
DL: »He is a comedian and he tells jokes in a way - its not just timing, he has got great timing like most comedians. But he tells stories with his jokes in a way that completely grip you and you have no idea where he is going to go with it. I think that’s like any good storyteller. But he is an auditory storyteller, and I think maybe because I’m a musician I gravitate more towards people that can tell stories to me as opposed to reading stories«.
NV: What story has had the biggest influence on you, perhaps shaped you?
DL: »Ahmmmm [long pause] that is a great question that I am not prepared for. [long pause again] I feel like, stories that my father has told me. When I’m relating to him and trying to figure out more about who I am and comparing myself to him. He recently got very sick, and is actually doing much better now, so I think it’s made me think a lot of that type of stuff. But there is this story called The Story of Ferdinand the bull. He is the biggest baddest’ bull in Spain, and all the bullfighters want to fight him. But he just doesn’t want to fight, he just wants to go sit underneath the tree, and smell the flowers and just chill out. That story has always been in my head, in some form or another. I’m thinking more about it now than I ever did, as a kid obviously. But I think it ties in to the album; having courage. You got to just eventually do what it is that you want to do, because nothing else is going to seem important to you «.
NV: Okay, lets talk about courage. What happened during the past year where you needed courage?
DL: »This year, a lot of changes. Some of what I just mentioned with family and illness. I guess moving apartments, starting a new relationship; I mean a lot of big events that happens to everyone all the time. They just all fell at me at one point, and I think there was a moment where I really said, I don’t think I want to do any of this, or deal with any of it. But then I was like, well I kind of have to, cause I don’t want to get a new job so I might as well finish this album«.
NV: So how did you get the courage?
DL: »Under a lot of pressure I always end up doing what it is that I have to do. Sometimes I do it sort of kicking and screaming and really wishing that I wasn’t doing it, but I do know that under pressure I can still preform and I’m doing all these things that I’m afraid of doing«.
NV: What else are you afraid of?
DL: »I’m afraid of being misunderstood, musically I guess. I’m afraid of being alone, and I’m afraid of being sort of forgotten. Which all equals up to my ego, and why I want to make albums, to be an artist, do interviews and these things. Its like; I’m doing them because I want people to know more about me, you know? Any musician that does interviews can’t really say that they are not a little bit self-centered in wanting to be known; maybe they all have this fear of not being«.
NV: When's the last time you felt musically misunderstood?
DL: »I mean it happens with every release, usually at least one review, which completely misses the point of the release. But then again, who am I to say what makes sense. Once I make the music and I get it out there it’s not really up to me what people think about it. If they can have some kind of meaningful connection with it, that’s the best I can hope for. Its not really up to me to say; ‘This song needs to make you feel this way’ you know what I mean? It’s not really my job«.
NV: But you feel like doing it anyway?
DL: »I hope that I can guide them just with the music itself, but I don’t know. I’m so close. Its like when I release a song its something that’s very close to me and its like its made me feel a certain way and I hope other people feel that way too, but its not really my decision, how its going to make people feel«.
NV: And that’s frustrating for you?
DL: »No, well it shouldn’t be. I mean it is a little bit, if only when they miss mark. I don’t want people to say; ‘this is a piece of shit’ I want them to say; ‘this is great, this is wonderful, its amazing’ you know what I mean? [laughs] But that does not always happen«.
NV: I read that you are miserable when you don’t do music. Do you ever get writer's block?
DL: »Yeah. This year I have had more of that then ever before, I say this year but I mean 2012. It happens usually after I finish an album, there is a period of time where I have a hard time getting back in to the mode of writing music. I think its because I’m a little stressed about the release and doing press and stuff. But also, if I’m going to start making music now I really want it to be a step up from the last thing I did. It’s a lot of pressure. I had a hard time, basically for the last 4-5 months; I had a real hard time making music, that’s the longest amount of time I have gone without making a lot. I haven’t made the one song that’s cracked me out of my shell yet. Which I hope will happen soon«.
NV: What do you do, do you have any rituals or something to try to snap out of it?
DL: »Taking a break is good. I just spent a month in Spain sort of on vacation. Spending a day or two in record shops buying new records, coming home and sampling them. Cleaning up the desk in my studio and my desktop on my computer, trying to get a fresh clean start. Right now there is just a million icons on my desktop, its not very clean at the moment«.
NV: I read that you are very competitive when it comes to your musical peers. When is the last time you heard something that made you want to be a better producer?
DL: »Pretty much every floating points release makes me want to be a better producer. I feel like man I really need to step it up, so its good. I was talking to him the other day and I was like Sam; ‘I’m getting these great reviews back but they are all mentioning that I have been listening to you, sorry’ And he didn’t respond and two days later I was like; ‘come on, you got to respond to that, what do you think about that?!’ and he was like ‘man, I listen to you, so where does that leave us? We are in a constant loop’. You know, that was pretty cool«. [Laughs]