Nordic artist got name from a sex dream, and other things you need to know about FARAO

3144 portraits by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Karl Erik Brøndbo and Hallvar Witzø make up the music video for Farao’s “The Hours”. Layering crunchy, silky and metallic textures under her falsetto vocal stylings, the Russian disco inspired artist leads us in a journey across the picturesque landscapes of England, Iceland and Norway as each photo almost exactly replicates the last. In the distance traveled and the stagnation endured, she offers the viewers a look into the hours wasted, as her lyrics denote.

Amongst other things, this is what drew me to her. She is just as advertised: a woman with a witty sense of humor and a potent sense of individuality. She plays with depth and absurdity in a nuanced sense that is almost, and rightly so, selfish in its eccentricity. Please enjoy this interview.

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1. What made you fall in love with music when you were young?

Farao: It was a way to escape – I grew up in a tiny village in the mountains in Norway with not much going on, so I needed something to make me feel like I was a part of something bigger.

2. Who were some of the musicians and artists that you looked up to while you were growing up that influence your sound today?

Farao: I listened to a lot of 90s R&B, specifically TLC, Janet Jackson, Destiny’s Child, who all influenced my singing style and made me feel like an independent woman.

3. You grew up in Norway, where the primary language spoken in Norwegian. So I am curious as to why do you choose to write lyrics in English? And how has that affected your listenership?

Farao: It’s a way to distance myself from my lyrics. I find it awkward singing lyrics that are too personal in Norwegian so I hide behind the English language. Plus, as a singer, the English language has a way nicer flow.

4. I watched your music video for “Marry Me.” So I was wondering what the creative process is like for making a music video? Did you come up with the concept, the choreography? Or was it pitched to you by the director?

Farao: I realized weirdo ballet aerobics was the ultimate way to visually represent the song.I came up with the concept based on these old Soviet aerobic videos I was watching on YouTube and the director Irrum loved the idea immediately. We took the choreography from those videos and put it together with the help of a choreographer here in Berlin – it was the most fun and most exhausting music video I’ve ever made.

5. What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists who want to make a music video, but don’t know where to start?

Farao: Stop thinking that it has to look fancy or expensive for it to be interesting. Make it yourself at home with your phone or a cheap camera, spend a few days learning Premiere or Final Cut with some Youtube-tutorials and just go for it. It’ll probably be more charming that way and a better representation of who you are as an artist.

6. Where does the name Farao come from?

Farao: From a sex dream I had about Pharoah Sanders. It’s also the Norwegian spelling of the English word for an Egyptian pharaoh.

7. Why did you choose to create music in the club, disco-pop genre, as opposed to other genres?

Farao: Because it’s obviously the coolest genre.

8. What are the first albums you bought?

Farao: My parents bought me Robyn is here by Robyn at a gas station in Sweden when I was 8 and I listened to it on my Discman until the CD had so many scratches it stopped working. I still listen to that album all the time. Any Robyn fans out there should check out the track “The Last Time” from that album, it’s so smooth

9. What is your source of inspiration as an artist, in other words, what keeps you making music every day?

Farao: I make the kind of music I feel like the world is lacking. There is a lot of great stuff out there, but most music being released today is uninteresting to me. Until people start making the kind of music I wanna hear, I have to make it myself.

10. How do you get into the creative mindset?

Farao: I just spark a huff dart and go wild. [presumably Norwegian slang for cigarette]

11. You have an EP, two albums and 11 singles out. Congratulations on that!! The big question is: How do you know when a track is DONE?

Farao: Thank you! Well, the thing is, you don’t know. At some point you just have to stop working on it and let it go. I still hear stuff I wanna change in the music I’ve already released, but things got a lot easier for me once I started forgiving myself for the creative choices I’ve made in the past.

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If you’re in the European way, you can find tickets for Farao’s upcoming shows here, otherwise I encourage you to stream her Pure-O and Till It’s All Forgotten.

Article and Interview by Jenny Lee.