Over the past decade, Sebastián Faena has created some of fashion’s viral visuals, conducting the industry’s influential names from behind the camera. However, the experienced photographer and filmmaker is stepping out from behind the lense translating his creative energy into an outlet where he feels most truly himself– music.
“I’ve been taking images for more than a decade, but this is by far the thing that I feel the most certain about,” said Faena from a car ride ahead of the star-studded celebration of his debut EP release at downtown Manhattan’s Socialista club. “The feeling of being able to touch and entertain people is so much more than I have ever dreamt was possible. This becoming a reality is beyond words.”
For Faena, the foray into music is an organic transition. “For me, it’s always been music and visuals, they’ve always been one thing to me, I could never think of them separately,” he said. “It’s about the narrative and the character in a story and that’s how the pictures happen.”
Faena’s inaugural EP “Save Your Life” featuring vocals by acclaimed Photographer Gray Sorrenti is what the artist considers his magnum opus in the grand scheme of his creative work for the reason that it exposes his unbridled self as an artist telling his own narrative. Though Faena has played the piano and been an avid music lover since he was a child growing up in Buenos Aires, this is the first time he’s publicly released his own music beyond playing for friends and family.
It was following the emotional passing of Faena’s mother when he came to the realization that it was finally time to share this part of himself with the rest of the world. “Save Your Life” was her favorite,” he said reflecting on his last few moments with his mother. “She couldn’t do many things in the end, but she could always answer to – ”do you want me to play the piano?” I knew I had to, it was finally time to record them.”
A week after his mother’s passing, Faena dove head-first into the making “Save Your Life” alongside his high school friends and Argentinian record label Estamos Felices. “The whole spirit of this album has been very spontaneous and familiar in the sense that everything has happened naturally,” said Faena. Both songs on the EP “Save Your Life” and “Artificial Irresistible” were recorded live in one take in the studio to which Faena compares to surfing a wave, the feeling of harnessing the power of creative energy and riding it until its finish.
“I was full of emotions, bursting out of love and sadness,” said Faena. “Watching your mom or dad die is one of the most horrifying things to have happen to you, but also one of the most beautiful things to happen to you. It’s a moment where you really understand what’s inside you, like the concept of unconditional love becomes so clear and it’s a beautiful moment, no matter how horrifying it is.”
The complimentary vocals of Sorrenti and Faena together create an easy-going smooth sound that is audibly emotional and honest, as if listening to someone melodically recite pages from their diary. “The beating pulse of the bass, that simple resonance of yearning in the vocal melodies laid bare, reminded me of the Velvet Underground, in its honesty. I caught myself crying after the first chorus,” said Singer-Songwriter Cat Power on the EP’s release. “I found the song an instant journey to somewhere I could feel a lot of pain but at the same time be absolved of it. And that is great art!”
In terms of the vocals, Faena prescribes Sorrenti to sing the words he imagines his mother singing on the track which is also reflected in the song’s music video. Directed by Sorrenti and edited by Faena, the music video for “Save Your Life” juxtaposes videos of Sorrenti with vintage Super Eight family video footage of Faena’s mother. “This is for me what my mom used to be,” said Faena on Sorrenti. “My mom had me when she was very old, so I never met my mom when she was a young girl. It was incredible to see her that way for the first time in these found videos.”
Elsewhere, the EP’s second song “Artificial Intelligence” takes inspiration from Actress Monica Vitti in the 1964 Italian drama Red Desert. “I wrote the song based on Vitti and her separation from people. She’s just so hopeless, hysterical, and always feels so alone,” said Faena. The forthcoming music video for the song has reinforced Faena’s love for directing moving images. “Nowadays, I would so much rather make that video for myself than a few pictures in order to express myself visually,” he said.
Throughout our entire conversation, there’s a sense of peace in Faena’s tone. He reiterates his comfort in this moment of how he’s sharing his art with the world. “I only get to make people happy,” said Faena. “I want people to listen to the songs over and over again and I want their life to be better because of it.” While the artist has worked to write his own narrative in the form of ethereal piano notes and thoughtful lyricism, he desires the EP to become part of the listener’s history. “ I just wanted to enjoy them and I really want the song to become a part of their lives.”END
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