Faraway Friends on New LP: ‘If This Record Makes People Think and Feel Something, It Would Be Enough’
The collaborative project brings together German artist Keno Langbein, Austrian producer and percussionist David Raddish and Indian singer-songwriter Aditi Veena aka Ditty
While on a project trip through India with German Non-Governmental Organization Viva con Agua (VCA) visiting water conservation projects that they had been funding, German artist Keno Langbein and Austrian producer/percussionist David Raddish met Indian singer-songwriter Aditi Veena aka Ditty at a concert in Varanasi. Langbein says, “VCA’s approach is to bring artists with them to use the universal language of music to connect on eye level with the communities. We were looking to meet Indian artists who were also interested in these social issues.” Ditty adds, “We knew that we wanted to work together and make a socially inspired art to create space for such conversations in the music world.”
Over the last year, the trio – who are now known as Faraway Friends – worked endlessly via Skype sessions to create their new 13-track record Rain is Coming, that released on World Water Day yesterday, March 22nd. Faraway Friends teamed up with over 20 artists ranging from filmmakers, dancers, illustrators and visual artists from across the world for the album. “We are all artists who feel passionately about writing on society,” says Ditty.
Across Rain is Coming, Faraway Friends touch upon issues such as inequality, poverty, hunger, community empowerment and the climate crisis. The album juxtaposes Langbein, Raddish and Ditty’s diverse musical influences and backgrounds with hints of electronic pop music, hip-hop, spoken word and indie. “A lot comes from how David sampled various sounds and turned them into beats and music,” says Ditty. Langbein adds, “Together, all three of us envisioned the various conceptual layers of the album – from stories to the presentation.”
An interview with activist Pooja Chowdhary is sampled on the track “Pooja Says” where she talks about how “it is now or never, when it comes to water conservation.” Langbein says, “We hope that we bridged the gap between conveying an important message and making an artwork that stands for itself too.”
According to the artists, this record is their way of taking a stand on the current ecological crisis in the world. Ditty explains that resources such as underground aquifers, rivers, forests and mountains are fragile ecosystems being lost to human greed. She says, “If this record makes people think and feel something, it would be enough.”
While proceeds from the record will go back to the projects that inspired it, Faraway Friends are already floating the idea for another album. The trio wants to continue to grow the outfit into a collective of artists and use it as a platform to connect with more like-minded people across boundaries to talk about social issues. “It was never planned to be a ‘normal’ band,” says Langbein.
Apart from Faraway Friends, Langbein is working on new music with his group Moop Mama while Raddish will be releasing an EP with Austrian rapper Average. As for Ditty, she’s planning on releasing an EP called skin later this year. She says, “[It] ties up some ideas about the earth, femininity and love.”
Stream ‘Rain is Coming’ on Spotify below and on other platforms.