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FOANS Album Gateway is musical therapy for a tragedy

FOANS designed his new album, bridge, the day after a tragedy. Despite racking up millions of streams on Spotify, composer Andrew Dahabrah had been on a two-year hiatus from making music. Then his family had to take his sister off life support after she was allegedly murdered by her husband in February 2020 (he was not convicted, as he is still on trial for assaulting her three months prior). In order to cope with the catastrophe, Dahabrah immersed himself in the creation bridge bring light into the world instead of succumbing to darkness.

The result is an introspective and ethereal fourteen-track piece of dance music that draws inspiration from lo-fi, ambient, house, techno, IDM and glitch. While this is an electronic album, the selected samples of guitars, harps, fiddles and tape fuzz give it an organic texture, grounding its sound in something that feels utterly existential rather than robotic. It may also be because Dahabrah did this using an array of hardware instruments and sequencers instead of relying primarily on modern digital workstations.

bridge was originally slated for self-release in October, but its aesthetic caught the eye of the internationally acclaimed label 100% Silkwho published it at the end of January.

Westword reached out to Dahabrah to discuss his approach to music, his reclusive nature and how music acts as a healing and inspirational vehicle, both for himself and for his fans, who have contacted to tell him how bridge affected them in different ways.

West word: In your Instagram bio, it simply says “landscaper”. How do you see yourself as a landscape designer? How would you describe your music in this context?

Andrew Dahabra: The landscaper thing I did kind of like a joke. I thought that sounded good.

You don’t really play much. How come?

It wasn’t intentional, I guess. I lived in Fort Collins for a long time and turned off my social media to focus on work. I live closer to Denver now, and have played here and there – although I would really like to get out more!

You play with full hardware configuration. Can you tell us about this approach and why you do this instead of just plugging in a USB stick like many electronic artists do these days? What limitations have you found this approach creates, and what possibilities does it open up?

I remember seeing Atom™ and Tobias Freund play a six to seven hour set in Boulder Canyon for that Lunar Lodge party, and it changed my life. I just found it so much more interesting than playing other people’s records. Not to mention deejaying, because I constantly listen to mixes and I still admire a lot of DJs, but I like the idea of ​​making it a completely original experience. I also like the challenge of using gear because it helps me a lot in the studio and I find it more rewarding. The hard part is trying to keep it diverse and smooth enough so the crowd doesn’t get bored, but a lot of people get really interested when they see that I’m not using a CDJ or laptop.

Although you don’t play live often, you have over a million streams on Spotify. How did it happen?

I’m not really sure. I guess it was because of my first release on 100% Silk in 2016. I think I had a track that got added to a few editorial playlists, and that helped a lot.

What is your relationship with 100% Silk, and how did it go?

They have always been super supportive. I first contacted them through my friend Joel aka donna golden. He put me on, and I owe him a lot for that. Besides, I was just planning to keep bridge like a self-release, but they asked me if I was ready to put it on tape, so of course I agreed.

Why did you feel like it had to be self-produced when you’ve managed to put your releases on labels in the past?

I guess I just didn’t want to bother sending demos and having all that back and forth for creative control. The last two albums I did were just a way for me to offload things, so to speak, and working with labels can be very exhausting at times, and you end up losing sight of your own creative vision. to adapt to their aesthetics. That being said, I’ve never had too many problems working with 100% Silk, and they’ve always been a great help to me, so I was happy to work with them again.

Losing a sibling must be extremely difficult. Yet many great arts have been created out of sadness and loss. In an Instagram post, you said making this album was very therapeutic. How do you think it was therapeutic, and did you find your sound and/or approach changing as a result of the tragedy?

Music has always been an introspective process and my main source of expression. It’s not easy to describe the healing nature of it, as it’s a very subconscious process, but it just brings me a sense of comfort and hope. Music is also a very important transportation power for me, and it brings me back to better times when I need it. I feel like my approach has changed in the sense that I’m not afraid to experiment a bit more with different styles and techniques.

Have you ever had someone tell you that your work had an impact on their life?

I’ve had quite a few people contact me and say my music has helped them through some tough times. I also had a lot of people say that they studied my music and it helped them in school. Honestly, I never thought my music would have this effect on people, but it’s a rewarding feeling.

bridge went out on 100% Silk. You can stream it on all platforms and download it on band camp.

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