Fierbinteanu and the pop experiment
Gabriela and Cristian Fierbinteanu explore the pop genre beyound the common definition. With strong messages and a militant atitude, the duo speaks about the liberation from corporations and the discover of the inner self. Their is show is often accompanied by dance performance giving the audience a more intense perception of their message.
| I came this year at your show in Club Control and I liked the performance and the energy it transmitted. I found myself watching and hearing something at the border of electronic music, theatre and dance performance.
Thank you for your kind words about the show in Control. These genres - electronic or experimental music, theatre and dance performance don’t mean a lot to us. It is all dead music, or genres from the past. Crossing these genres or blending them is also not that important, because even crossing and blending are from the past. What is important is that we manage to deliver an intense experience, a unique moment, for us and for the audience. And that is very hard and it happens rarely all over the world.
| But if you all genres are dead or “from the past” and even crossing or blending are also from the past, what is it that you consider new or actual?
I think that the content itself is important and it is whan makes a piece new, fresh and actual or boring and bad. More than the genre. I don’t like a piece of music because it is dub or hip hop or rock and roll or electronic or a blend of these generes. I like it because of its content. Or I like it because I just like it, sometimes I’m very superficial. The content itself makes you live an intense experience, an unique moment, when you play or when you listen to a piece of music. There are things written 400 years ago that are fresh and free, and there is music released yesterday that is predictable and dead. But not every piece of classical music is like that. And not every neo-folk or goa piece released yesterday is predictable. The content makes the difference. And content is a monster made of attitude, self-awarness, intention and skill, and many more things that I can’t put my finger on, ‘cos I’m not omniscient.
| “People, You Will Not Understand Us”, one of your songs coming on the forthcoming album is something that reflects an ironic attitude regarding genres?
Is not an ironical song. The message is serious and sad. On the surface it may appear to be humoresque or ironic, but if you get pass that, it is our way to say “We can’t be together, really. You can laugh at our musical jokes, and at how we say that we are epochal, colossal, monumental, but in the end you will not understand us. And we will not understand you”.
| The great scheme of things, your new album ready to drop this autumn, will reflect a shift of perspective in the way you perceive the sound?
We spent more than three years doing The great scheme of things. The first year we did almost nothing but talking endlessly about who we are, what is Fierbinteanu in the huge ocean of music, what’s the reason for doing this, what’s the concept, should there be a concept, should we stop and quit? Then we wrote the songs together and we even presented the whole thing as a contemporary dance show. Then we presented the dance show in some wonderful places, The National Theatre in Craiova included, which was huge!
We spent almost two years recording and producing. But that is not that important, because our intention was not to make a “good” album, but a personal and artistic one. Working three years or ten years on an album does not necessarily make it a good or an artistic one. It does not even make it a successful one, sadly. Maybe it makes it more personal. On the other hand, I think that the fact that there is more singing from Gabriela is good.
| The LP will be released through Local Records, the label you previous worked with?
Most probably it will be an independent release. I don’t know if it will be on vinyl, cd, or only digital. The visual aspect linked to each song is very important, so the format should be in accordance with that.
| Your latest single from the upcoming album is “Rescue”, just released one week ago. It is very different from your previous singles like “Adore” or “Corporate America”. Minimal, more positive and with a dreamy attitude. What is the story behind this rescue mission?
On the album, it follows Next Revolution, Please! and Restart, a double and very turbulent piece, like the war with the past or with the inner demons or whatever. Rescue is the last song on the album, and we wanted to do a positive one, like finding peace, arriving at the sea shore. It has no development, i don’t think it needs one. It is minimal and positive, like saying “love is the answer” or “love will rescue me, or us”. But isn’t that just another illusion? I hope that somehow we managed (with the predictable repetition of the lyrics) to pour a little bit of that doubt into this otherwise very positive song, or into its video.
| “Rescue” and some other video materials you released are edited by you. Is it a control type of situation or you haven’t found yet a visual artist who understand your music?
I think the recent Fierbinteanu videos are very Fierbinteanu, and that is very important for us. Also, we happily managed to win two “best music video” awards at two consecutive editions of an independent film festival called Filmul de Piatră. Also, our video work has been presented at Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival and Bucharest International Dance Film Festival, which is fab.
On the other hand, I’m still waiting, hoping and praying for an approachable visual artist touching and penetrating my poor heart so deeply that I can’t resist losing control and asking him to make videos for Fierbinteanu. Is there someone out there who is a visual artist that good at that kind of penetration?
| Your track titles from the forthcoming album are quite introspective and send the listener to a more political and activist state of mind.
We hope it is our most personal, artistic and our most 2018-2019 (that is <relevant in its own time>) release yet. I think it is a record about us and about our relation with the world, but with lyrics that sound political. I don’t think the solution to the world’s problem is political. You can see that in the streets. It is time to build a better future, like never before, simple, humane and positive. Does it sound naive? Ha ha ha, so what?
| And do you think a solution for building such a future is through art?
Sadly, I don’t know what the solution is. I can’t give a positive answer, like “this is the solution”. All I can do is give many answers with “no” in them - this is not the solution, that is not the solution. Politics seem to not be the solution anymore. It’s maybe unfair that I criticize and not give a solution. But I don’t think it is my job or one’s job to give or impose solutions for all humanity. That happened in the past, one man or a small grop forcing their vision on others, and it was not good. That’s why I said “let’s build”, because it implies togetherness. If we can be together, maybe the solution will come (sensitive Hollywood music in the background, please, haha!). I also don’t think that the solution lies in the doctrines from the past.
| You say, “We stroke a blow for the decent man / Don’t vanish in porn” at the beginning of “Corporate America”. But who is the decent man? The one who is not watching porn?
I’m the decent man! Maybe the only one left alive. Don’t ask me if I watch porn, I couldn’t lie!
| Is “the decent man” a concept that is still current in the postmodernist world? I thought you believed the tags are coming from “old world” that you wish to leave behind.
You are absolutely right. The concepts and the slogans in the lyrics of The Great Scheme Of Things are the everyday realities, human beliefs and modern or ancient illusions such as love, civil rights, pornography, socialism, capitalism, decent men and women, consumerism, God, Satan, Elvis, New York, etc. We received those things from the world around us. We don’t necesarily believe in them. Maybe this is our way to make this world our own, taking what it gave us - all those things mentioned before - and making a piece of music, an album out of them. Maybe it is our way of killing the past, setting ourselves free and enjoying life. We just want to be happy and maybe shock ourselves a little by using words like “don’t vanish in porn” in our songs.
| As a musical producer how do you see the world of radio phonic footage and recordings? Have you ever sampled or got inspired from such a record?
As a child I used to have an old Electrecord LP with The adventures of Sindbad the Sailor. At the beginning of Side B i think, Sindbad has an encounter with a sea monster. That monster made a sound I could not bear listening to (I was a lonely child, sleeping alone). It still is the oddest, saddest and unbearable sound I ever heard in my life.
I also had an LP with the story of The Invisible Man. It started with some strange sounds, a knock on a door and someone asking “Who’s there?”, and a creepy voice answering “Nobody!”. It scared the shit out of me. It made my daily waiting for my parents to get back home from work like a walk through the shadow of the valley of the dead.
I recently had a better experience with radio phonic theatre and ARS Acustica. “Next Revolution, Please!”, a piece from The Great Scheme Of Things, made it to top five selections in the short forms section at the 2018 edition of Grand Prix Nova International Radio Drama Festival, hosted by the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation. That was huge for us, given the incredible quality of all the pieces in the festival. “Next Revolution, Please!” is a short piece of music drama, with theatrical elements.
| How much is improvisation a part of your music-making process?
If we improvise when we perform live, that means that we are happy with the sound, the crowd and the vibe. That’s rare. But we don’t improvise in the music-making process. Improvising musically is incredibly hard and it seldom happens. Don’t mistake hormonal modal jamming or generic experimental sound-making with quality improvisation! Anyway, for us is not important anymore if music is improvised or composed or electronic or live or rock or classical or dub. The only important thing is if it somehow makes us feel that we’re experiencing a special time while listening.
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