His thoughts are pervasive and his peace evasive, soulful producer Chet Faker's epic rise in music is as profound as his deep lyrical statements.
A seriously deep philosopher, Melbourne producer Chet Faker is trying to figure himself out. Releasing his hugely anticipated debut studio album this month Built On Glass, Chet's insightful lyrics play out like the innermost musings of a brooding, whiskey-soaked cowboys greatest found wisdom. "The lyrical theme for that record is self-analysis. Almost every song (although they might occasionally involve someone else or my relationship with someone else) is looking at the way I interact with my own thoughts." Chatting to the 24-year-old musician in a taxi on his way from Paris to Amsterdam, Chet speaks slowly despite the fast pace of life around him. Purposefully enunciated, his words are discerning. Creating a deeply personal body of work to represent himself for this first LP gave cause for deep deliberation and consequently serially delayed release dates. Committing to 12 tracks produced entirely by himself, released via Future Classic/Downtown records, Built on Glass progresses like a journey upon first listen. Moving from slower, charged moods to lesser known Chet territories, faster paced but equally haunting rhythms encourage a broader spectrum of vocal ranges. Famously collaborating with fellow young Ozzie producer Flume, some unexpected electronic influences feel creeped in. Attracting over 500,000 views on YouTube in under two weeks for the compelling video for the lead single Talk Is Cheap, Chet's mysterious voice represents a handsome, ginger bearded man of formidable stature. His performances focus mainly just on him playing with little animation. Chet is mesmeric. Originally mastering the saxophone, piano and guitar to escape his own teen angst, Chet's father was a main source of enlightenment for his perspective on life. Today the whistful soul artist walks, breathes and lives for himself. Understanding judgement only comes at the end of the journey and the most important person you face then is yourself. A big believer in idolising no one person, Chet imparts invaluable jewels of wisdom to i-D.
Who has the most profound effect upon you as a person?
My father, probably.
I read that your dad’s a businessman, is that right?
Yeah. He does a lot of things, he used to work for a communications company.
Did he encourage you with music, or was music a rebellion for you?
He wasn’t very encouraging at the beginning, but once he saw me at a gig ever since then he was very supportive. He’s always sending me emails like "you should do this, you should do that," and giving me statistics and things like that.
Has he ever featured in any of your songs?
He has in one but it hasn’t been released. It’s a sample of him in the background.
What is he like?
He changed himself a lot. He was pretty lost and unhappy when I was younger and he turned his life around. A lot of people actually believe that people don’t change but I know for a fact that people do change because I saw my father change and that’s the best thing you can give your child. My brother and I got to see our dad change. Shit parents always tell you to do this or that and at the end of the day you end up doing what they do and you don’t listen to them. So it was pretty powerful seeing my dad change for the better.
If you had to pinpoint something that he’s imparted to you that’s allowed you to have insight to how he allowed himself to change in that way, what would it be?
You can change, most people think you can’t but you can literally be whatever you want. As long as you work on it. It sounds so cliché but it’s true.
Have you had a moment of change like that?
I don’t want to be too specific, but I guess that everytime something isn’t well in my life, usually the root of the problem is myself. You can’t change everything else but you can change the way you think about things. That was a big realisation for me a few years ago. It doesn’t matter what you’re capable of and no one gives a shit what you do, at the end of the day the only person that’s going to give value to your life is you yourself. It’s nice when people like things I do and I actually expect people to not like what I do. At the end of the day, as long as I’m happy with what I do, I try not to care about anything else.
Does that self-discovery come through when you’re writing your music?
Yes. The recording process, that’s my time. Obviously, live on stage and once you’ve released a song, it’s not just about you. You can’t live that selfish a life. In the studio it’s about being true to myself but outside the studio it’s about making sure that what I’ve done is communicate with people. Definitely, making music in the studio, that for me is more of a subconscious process, like exercise or mediation. I think I’ve done it for so long now, I kind of have to do it.
Do you meditate?
To be honest I did try when I was much, much younger, shit when I was 16. So I don’t even know what I was doing. Recently I’ve been considering yoga but I don’t want to be that guy. I have my own versions of meditation, I read and walk or go for a run and listen to music. Which I think are all versions of that.
Are you reading anything at the moment?
I just finished A Brave New World which was a good read. My brother gave that to me. My favourite book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I’ve read that three times. I love that book.
What’s that about?
You’ve got to read it. It’s just one of those books. It changed the way that I look at a lot of things in life.
You just have to read the book.
I read that you scrapped two versions of this album before rendering the finished version. Does the success of the music act as an affirmation or just add more pressure in terms of how you feel about moving onto the next thing?
I don’t think it adds pressure. To be honest I spend a lot of time not thinking about it, trying not to be aware of it. Because it’s irrelevant, at the end of the day I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do no matter what people think. I honestly believe that even if people didn’t like my music, I would still make it. I guess it’s an affirmation in a sense; I like that people like it but I also don’t think about it too much. I don’t think it’s healthy.
How did your collaboration with Flume first happen?
He just wrote on the Facebook page, we both started making music around the same time. I think he wrote something like "hey" on my wall, and I just wrote "hey" back.
There's an exciting scene in music happening in Australia at the moment, it seems to be building...
There’s a good vibe coming out of Australia right now, it's opening the doors for other musicians. It’s a good place to be. I’m glad to be in Australia right now.
What collaborations are up coming?
I’m already working with a few people at the moment, but I don’t want to say anything and jinx it.