HBF’s Shea Kopp sat down with Munich disco merchant Justin Faust to talk disco, how he managed to find himself of Nervous Records and what’s next for the German producer.
Justin Faust has established himself as Germany’s leading disco player, so much so that his innovative take on the classic sound has earned him worldwide respect by fans and musicians alike. Establishing himself with the acclaimed Lisbon label, Discotexas, alongside Xinobi and Moullinex, together they have set the bar for productions that somehow simultaneously traverse the line between nu disco, indie dance and house. He has since expanded his reach to land him a place with one of New York’s most esteemed independent labels, Nervous Records, to release a string of fantastic productions.
We had a chance to catch up with Faust to see what he’s been up to, gauge his plans for the months to come and learn the secret to his witty internet-isms. Read the full interview below and be sure to keep an eye out for his forthcoming releases.
HBF: How did you get into disco and nu disco as a producer, was it love at first listen?
Justin Faust: Back in the MySpace days I was discovering lots of artists that were incorporating a style that blended french house, 80s and synth disco to something completely new. Having produced deep and french house before, it was kind of a logical step and yes, it was love at first listen.
HBF: You’ve posted videos of yourself playing very jazzy piano riffs, a bit of Thelonuis Monk and Coltrane – in what ways do you feel that these artists and similar jazz artists have influenced your sound?
Faust: Jazz has always been my where my heart is, I played in lots of jazz bands when I was younger. It’s a different style though, but I think that harmonically I’m very much influenced by jazz, but of course even more so by funk and soul, R&B
HBF: Could you ever see yourself playing piano concerts for your fans, like in a Chilly Gonzales fashion?
Faust: I’d love to do a duet with him someday!
HBF: How do you approach each of your productions creatively? Do you just have a bunch of ideas floating in your head to test on different pieces of equipment, or is it just freestyle?
Faust: It all comes from playing around. Sometimes it’s just a bass-line, sometimes it’s a sample that I discovered, sometimes it’s a melody that is stuck in my head for a while. I like the playfulness in producing, this notion of there is no right or wrong. You try things and if they don’t work you try something else. Improvisation is a huge part of it and I gotta say it’s the most fun part of producing as well.
HBF: What has it been like to work with two huge imprints in the house and indie-dance realm, Nervous Records and Discotexas?
Faust: Amazing. Discotexas is my family, my home. I’m close friends with all of them and I released my album on Discotexas, so it’s very important to me. With Nervous it was a pretty crazy story. I was a huge fan of the label back in the days and I never would’ve thought it could be an option to release on Nervous. But I made these simple, funky disco house tracks, with influences like DJ Sneak, Ian Pooley, Kerri Chandler in mind and the whole time, in the back of my head, I was like “this would be great on a label like Nervous”. A few days later I get an e-mail by their A&R asking me if I had any spare tracks to release. What an honor!
HBF: Music aside, you’re quite the funny-man when it comes to social media. Have you ever considered a side career in comedy?
Faust: Oh well, I’m afraid I’m super unfunny in real life. Don’t forget I’m German, no sense of humor whatsoever.
HBF: How do you find some of the hilarious internet-isms and memes that you post?
Faust: I just surf out of boredom and whenever stuff comes up on Facebook, 4chan or Plague, I share it ;)
HBF: What is your main source when it comes to discovering new tunes? SoundCloud? Some secret vinyl hub somewhere?
Faust: Promos. To be honest, I’m a terrible person, I get shitloads of promos and I rarely ever check them. Maybe I should hire someone to do it for me. The most interesting stuff though I discover by listening to sets of DJs I like. Mixtapes are a good source to find a bit more rare material.
HBF: Are you ever pleasantly surprised by some of the submissions / promos producers send your way?
Faust: Yeah, I try to, but it’s hard to keep up. You know, constructive criticism that goes beyond “I like it” or “Not for me” is hard work. You need to listen carefully, point out what’s good and what’s not and why that is. This takes time, and usually I need this time to keep up with my own stuff.
HBF: Who are a few artists that you are excited about right now?
Faust: Fouk, new Kendrick Lamar album, Cri, Cid Rim, Action Bronson
HBF: What’s next for Justin Faust?
Faust: There’s a couple of remixes coming out soon and I’m working on new original material. Currently, I’m cutting back the DJing and trying to focus more on production. I might do some hip hop stuff as well. Who knows?