Whatever You Love You Are: Nils Frahm
Words: Nils Frahm, Illustration: Craig Carry
Thursday 31 January 2013
During this evening I had the wonderful pleasure to talk once again with German composer Nils Frahm. Our conversation centered on the idea of ‘Whatever You Love You Are’; what is the true source of an artist’s inspiration and where this comes from. The title comes from a Dirty Three record but I feel it resonates powerfully and rings true for all things in life-art in all its beautiful forms. I emailed Nils first of all asking him to contribute his thoughts and was excited to discover his interest in this particular experiment. The following evening, from his Berlin home, Nils was in conversation with me reflecting on what is most important to him. Like Nils’s music, his words offer endless inspiration.
Maybe it’s interesting for people to read something different than your favourite album because I always feel that it puts too much emphasis on one album and kind of neglects all the other great stuff, you know what I mean. There is so much great music, to only point out one or two bands or whatever. But I was thinking myself of really what is, aside making music, what is my favourite thing in the world, or is there something even above making music which leads me to making music in the first place. Of course you want to make something beautiful and make the world a better place. This is quite general; you’re doing what you’re doing for a reason and of course I could say that I love the piano the most but that’s not always true and sometimes I hate it even and sometimes it’s really frustrating to struggle and to work, and your music and your art. If there is one thing; my favourite thing-it would be a little simplistic for me to say having a good meal and snuggling with your girlfriend. It certainly boils down to that sort of stuff. I think eating and preparing food, and being a host for people is actually what I always enjoy the most. Putting on some good music, and old records and inviting people, and having them over and then cook something for them. First some very good special beers. Just to make people feel very comfortable, like they are at home and they kind of, have a good experience. They are sharing, sharing moments together. I think it’s something I’ve learned from my Dad. He’s always a good host. It doesn’t matter to him if I tell him, oh can you cook something tonight. He always has enough food and enough wine and enough things he can always throw you a little party, and then he plays good music and gets out his guitar and plays a song for everybody and just has good conversation. It’s always really rewarding. Those moments really matter. I really care about the in-between human being, if you like.
I can only imagine from your perspective when you have touring and different projects on the go, it’s nice to have you know, someplace to come back to.
Yeah, I really feel quite proud when I come home and I realize, oh cool I still have a home and I have a nice place I can share with people. And then I feel like I want to invite people. It’s the same for me when I work in the studio. People come over and I work in the studio and people realize everything is taken care of; everything is clean, the coffee is the best possible coffee you can drink. Then the gear I am using for the music I am helping people with, when I do mastering or such. It’s always the best of the best, and it’s me taking care of those things. There is something really clear to me-respect the needs and desires of my friends, and my beloved ones. Try to, maybe just being a host is something really wonderful.
When you say that one word, host, it’s nice because you feel that kind of responsibility to take care of whoever is coming to you and you make them feel welcome.
Like you say, when you ask a question about music, there are so many things you’re only going to leave out. You can only mention so much. But I would love to know maybe, in terms of outside of music but staying in art would you have favourite films or books?
Well at one point when I have people over for dinner I will put on a record from The Gentleman Losers. They are really one of my favourites right now. I listen to their records all of the time. Their two albums, they’re both incredible. I feel like those are the only bands I would ask for helping me with my production because I love their sound. They’re getting so much and it sounds so wonderful. I feel like they are under-appreciated and nobody has really heard of them and I feel like that is unfair. It is one of the coolest music right now and one of my best musical influences.
Nils Frahm’s current album, ‘Screws’, is available now on Erased Tapes.
The Screws Reworked Project is now online, a project where artists have been invited to rework ‘Screws’: