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Photo by Nora Hollstein
pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein
Photo by Nora Hollstein
pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein
Photo by Nora Hollstein
pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein
Photo by Nora Hollstein
pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein
Photo by Nora Hollstein

Fauna: Unconditional Love Is the Only Answer

December 3, 2020
Text by Jakob Dibold
pw-magazine-vienna-fauna-nora-hollstein
Photo by Nora Hollstein

Fauna, one of the most influential personalities of the Viennese music scene, has released her last album for the time being. A conversation about the beauty of old languages and the feeling of departure and arrival.

Finally, (still) Vienna-based musician and DJ Rana Farahani aka Fauna released her third and last album. After downtempo vibes on her debut »D(R)One« and »Infernum«’s catchy trance-pop, Fauna’s profound intuition for the sound of our times culminates in a well-balanced whole of her signature synths, big avant-pop melodies and comforting, yet dense ambient tales on Syncronia. Fauna has become one of the key figures in a scene that she helped co-create. She is set to move to Berlin next year, yet will not leave completely. An interview by Jakob Dibold with photos by Nora Hollstein.

Although again, we have to wait for its live premiere, you have finally released your third album »Syncronia«. How did the final result take shape as an album — and is it really your last, making the three a cohesive trilogy?

These three albums are mainly about different realities and different worlds. That’s why I call it »the mundos trilogy«. The whole thing is really much more of a process. You have to go through these other stages, these other worlds in order to reach »Syncronia«. »Infernum« was never the final destination.

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Photo by Nora Hollstein

The first part of this trilogy, »D(R)One«, opens with »and the nightmare begins«; after finding yourself Lonely at the Top, »Syncronia« closes with a barely comprehensible message at the end of »Neutrum« and the full-force ambient countdown »Donum 321«. How do you reflect your journey as lyricist, vocalist, producer and composer?

»Neutrum« starts with »Do you understand it all? What is it constructed for?« and closes with the statement »Unconditional love is the only answer…« It is up to everyone to define exactly what this means. Sometimes, I myself am able to grasp meaning of my own lyrics only years after I wrote them, to be honest. I can’t really explain exactly how the compositions and texts and especially the production were created either. Somehow it seems like I’ve been guided by a magical travel guide.

For example, in 2018, during my work on »Infernum«, I was wondering why the album turned out so dark, when everything actually still seemed quite stable back then, compared to today. From today’s point of view, »Infernum« is more topical than ever for me. Perhaps I can deal with the current dreary situation in a little more relaxed way at the moment because »Syncronia« may eventually become real in two years’ time as well. In any case, I do remain optimistic and curious about the future.

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Photo by Nora Hollstein

Latin has become a dominant language in your titles. Your lyrics are mostly English, sometimes German. How do work with language? Do you want to convey — and maybe transcend — communicative ambiguities? Your Song »Ahava«, for example, it means love in Hebrew and fight in Sanskrit.

I love old writings and old languages. Hebrew, for instance, is a very beautiful language, both in its meaning and in its aesthetics. But what’s even more interesting to me is its hermeneutic technique of interpretation of words with the help of numbers. The structure and individual values of the words can also be set as the sum of their individual values in relation to other numbers and words.

»Ahava« is mainly about love and charity. That’s the further meaning in Sanskrit. The nearest ones are not only the neighbors or one’s family, but above all anyone who needs help most. How can you do something good to others? Who needs help? I believe that the meaning and the beauty of life lie in the willingness to make sacrifices for others.

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Photo by Nora Hollstein

What about past and present, what role has the city of Vienna played? »This melody / in my head since 1985« you sing on »I Morgen Min Elskede Kilde 1985«, a song whose title could refer to the danish movie »Tomorrow My Love« and your arrival in the city — a city and a scene that you will leave soon, as someone who has not only left a profound mark with her live performances and DJ sets, but also helped co-create Viennese underground music and club culture.

As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen the Danish film. The title first came to my mind in German and then I googled it and came across the Danish translation and this movie. The year 1985 itself occurs in two of my albums. I was born in 1982 and came to Vienna in the year of 1985. I started my career as a DJ in 2005 at Flex and it was at the same time that I started to produce music. Over time, I have made many new friends and companions who have also inspired me musically. The greatest positive influence on my career and also my most loyal supporter is Marlene Engel, who in turn created the festival Hyperreality.

As the years went by, an ever-growing scene was created that has greatly enriched all of us. Strictly musically speaking, the band »Alan Parsons Project«, which consists of Eric Woolfson and Alan Parson, and Beethoven have left the most distinct traces on me. Still, I think it’s time to change the environment. But I won’t be on another planet, rather almost around the corner. And I’ll never leave Vienna completely because I also connect a lot of personal things with this city.

Since 2020 has indeed forced us to wallow in memories — which of the shows you played were the most special for you?

My last concert at the Odeon theatre in Vienna was very special. In general, I like playing in theatres because the drama comes across very well there. They can create a very special atmosphere in combination with sound from a suitable production and some magical effects.

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Photo by Nora Hollstein

In some of your last live shows, you laid emphasis on performative elements. When art spaces reopen, we can experience a sound installation of yours at the group show New Views On Same-Olds at a exhibition space of the Academy of Fine Arts. With no full-length releases on the horizon, where do you aim to go artistically?

Frankly speaking, I can’t say exactly what my future path looks like at the moment. What I can say for sure though, is that I won’t make another album. This process lasted for eight years and I truly feel that I have now arrived where I wanted to go. In retrospect, everything makes sense in the end.

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PW-Magazine is a bilingual online magazine for contemporary culture.