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Interview with In Good Faith: “We’ll cling to Synthpop”

The conversation with synthpop formation In Good Faith, which is so highly-valued by Russian-speaking synth-community, became probably the most controversial in my practice. By the way, I rarely turn to this genre of journalism, because a well-written press release should be comprehensive for the audience. In Good Faith was the same case: they released the LP Trinity earlier in the year (it was reviewed here), but I’ve decided that there’s some capacity for more detailed material.

Our talk turned out to be interesting but sometimes too brief and laconic. However, you can read it yourself and make up your own mind ;)

It has been two months since Trinity was released, and you probably have received initial feedback from your audience, music critics, and fellow musicians. Are you satisfied with the reception of the album?

Basically yes. The album has reached position number one in GEWC charts and position four in DAC charts. That’s been a nice start but we still have other goals: media control top 100 and even more international awareness.

Trinity is a new chapter in the history of your project, isn’t it? It is quite different from both Forward and Past Tense Presence stylistically, by sound, even by vocal lines. What are the reasons for these changes?

Most of the songs on Trinity were written and/or produced during the last two years, so they are a lot “younger” than the “old” material you mentioned, we had on Forward and Past Tense Presence. We used a lot of new recording — and producing techniques, and of course, when writing lyrics, you have a different view on life after 20 years, choose other topics, etc.

In addition, Trinity, in our opinion, is a very personal album. Are we right in our conjecture? Or you support the assertion that private life and creative work should not overlap? Otherwise, how do you find plots for one or another song? Did the work on Trinity differ in this regard from the work on your previous releases?

The work on Trinity mainly was overshadowed by the death of Iggi’s brother, who committed suicide at the beginning of last year, so, of course this has always been a topic for Iggi (frontman of the band — Kai Vincenz Németh — ed.) when writing lyrics.

Let’s talk about one of the hits from the last album, I mean the song Choose Your Way, and more specifically its video clip, which differs from your previous monochrome-static music videos. It has the plot, dynamics. How did you come up with the idea to make that clip, and what was the main motivation for that piece of work? Does it serve to illustrate the lyrics or something else?

Yes, you are right: it mainly served the purpose to illustrate the lyrics. Actually we really don’t know why it turned out to be in color and is more dynamic than the old videos. You would have to ask the director Joerg Kaspert himself. It was “zero-budget-production”, we had to make a lot of compromises and give the director all the freedom he needed…

My next question is unrelated to the main topic of the interview. Nevertheless, we still want to ask it. The car that Kai drives is a 1967 Ford Mustang, isn’t it? Is it his own car? If it is, it’s an excellent choice, but I’m still curious why does it have to be stylish Mustang and not severe and reliable Salzgitter’s Volkswagen? ;)))

The Mustang was just a loan, Iggi is actually driving a (Volkswagen) Golf Cabriolet.

And a little more questions about cars, if you don’t mind. Your official YouTube channel contains a couple of videos of Kai singing at the wheel Iris, Depeche Mode and Blume songs. We’ve noticed the posh road surface in German cities (for us, Russians, «question of roads» is always a sensitive subject, lol)))) and great Kai’s driving skills. How often do you sing driving? And what bands aside from Depeche Mode and Blume? Or do you learn In Good Faith and Model Chaos lyrics in such a way? Do those people who stuck in traffic jams pay attention to a driver singing in a memorable basso profundo voice? Or is it an entertainment just for the chosen ones and is performed on deserted autobahns only?

The Carpool singing is a good way to learn the lyrics and train the voice. Iggi is always singing.

Speaking of Model Kaos Kai has become vocalist of that project. Will its activity intersect with In Good Faith? Will you perform its tracks on your concerts, and vice versa, as in the case of Ultima Bleep?

You never know. Collaboration with other bands or musicians is always an interesting thing. In the end you might come up with something bigger or new, something you didn’t think of in the beginning.

How did you manage to get Mic-L from Ultima Bleep? Does having side-projects hinder In Good Faith, especially if they belong to the same genre? How do you prioritize?

Now, the most hindering thing to our creativity still is going to work in our normal jobs every day. Seriously speaking: We don’t really think in categories like that. But, Mic-L has been the producer and also background-singer on most of the tracks during the last couple of of years, it was just the next logical step to do. We found, it would freshen up our Live-appearance a little, also because Ultima Bleep is’nt touring anymore… That might also be one reason, why we picked Hendrik as our drummer.

Do you have a wish to try an absolutely new genre? To take a bass guitar and compose proto doom metal, or, for instance, stoner? Or start a witch house project (Kai once noticed that he sympathizes with this genre).

We’ll cling to Synthpop.

Are there many distractions for a modern musician? Does creative activity suffer from working hours, family? Do you have to make sacrifices like that to set off for a concert tour? Does music take place of an «expensive hobby» in your life or something else?

There are quite a few distractions, compared to the situation we had in the 80s or even the 90s. You could really make some money, even if you weren’t that famous in business. Those were the times, when you might have had a record company would spend money for the production of an album. Even in the Independent Music scene. Nowadays, in most cases it’s the other way around: musicians have to pay for the record company/label, pay for the music production studio, pay for the video production, and sometimes even pay to play! On the other hand we have the income situation, the problem of less CDs being sold, music streaming for a payment, that actually does not need to be mentioned at all, while companies like Spotify seem to make a fortune. And we’re not talking about illegal downloads!

In Good Faith is keeping afloat for already 20 years. Have you started to perceive your music differently? Are old In Good Faith and new In Good Faith two different bands? And how did the audience and scene in general change since then? Or everything mentioned above is just a question of personal perception? You perceive the world differently when you are only 20 and when you have some life experience after all.

Yes, of course. We’re always in some kind of flow. The audience in our “scene”, from our point of view, seems to be rather static or conservative. But that’s quite alright? In Good Faith” as a band was, is and probably might always be changing in the outer perception — but the center or heart of the band will always be one person. Guess, who? That’s exactly why we chose the name.

How did you come to a decision to get yourself into music, in particular with synthpop genre? Was it spontaneous or a result of a long term passion? Maybe any other factors like environment, for example?

Actually, that was just a natural reaction. We were lucky growing up in the 80s /90s, when music had a much higher value than today, more like religion.

You must have accumulated a great amount of unpublished material for 20 years. Are there any plans to release those b-sides separately? Or you believe the past should belong to the past and only new tracks are the highest priority of In Good Faith?

Right now, we haven’t decided yet. There are just too many factors that have an influence on our decisions In the nearest future. Raising money to make it even possible to have future productions, is just one thing to be mentioned here.

Tell us how did you join to Echozone label? How did it manage to attract you and what is your relationship with other members of the label?

We learned about Echozone by Coincidence, we are in touch with Ulf & Joerg who run the Label.

A question about music distribution. What does In Good Faith rely on: digital platforms (Bandcamр, iTunes and the like), physical copies sale or something else? It has been argued (especially by successful bands) that streams and digital copies “kill” musicians’ income. Is the amount of sales important for you?

Well, we already answered this question, didn’t we?

In your view, who is the typical In Good Faith listener? What public are you focused on? And is the feedback important for you?

Everyone from 10-50 , but we can’t say who’s the typical IGF listener . We are not focused on a specific type of audience as long as they like our music. Feedback is of course very important cause we want to learn from our Fans …

Festival season is ahead – have you decided which ones will you visit as In Good Faith and which ones as regular guests?

Depends on if we get booked as an artist or not .

The studio album is released, so what are your plans for the future? Will you focus on your side-projects or take a sabbatical?

See above…

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