1. Hi guys you join us today to talk about your EP. It’s a collection of 4 great tracks, could you sum up the mood for the people who haven’t heard it yet?
On the EP we touch topics of love, desperation, sex and climate change Lyrically. What we’re trying to do musically is to create a warm, sexy, psychedelic bath you can take after a long day of cold, hard work. It’s soulful and playful, and quite an escape from daily life. We try to create our own little world on this EP. It’s a nice little world you can stay in for a minute or 20 before you return to your day to day activities. Just sit down and dream off. It might make you happy, it might make you sad but we hope it makes you either think or stop thinking for a minute, whichever you need most.
2. Saying that, there’s a lot of people who have heard your tracks already! You guys have been getting some serious attention online, with well over 10 million plays on YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud and still counting… how important do you think it has been for Feng Suave to build an online following?
Building an online following has been vital for us. Everything you want to do as a band hinges on people tuning in. Although our following isn’t particularly huge, it has already allowed us to do some cool things like playing shows abroad and recording with artists overseas. Most importantly, it’s just fun to connect with people, we get some really hilarious and heartwarming messages sometimes.
3. Well done guys, just think that before the internet, 10 million plays would be well on the way to Platinum-selling tracks. I’m guessing you guys aren’t about to retire on that just yet! How important do you think it is to get great tracks online, compared to playing a lot of gigs and touring?
We think it is just as important, probably even more important. Of course it’s best to get a good combination going. With us, all we did is upload 4 songs to the internet, and off we went. It’s not like we’re there yet, but it gave us a great start which we wouldn’t have if we would have just focused on playing live. In this day and age where internet is a big thing you can reach people all over the world, and that’s what happened with us. Big love to the people in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico and all the other countries we never would’ve reached without the internet. Besides that, I think you have to ask yourself what kind of band you are, more of a studio band or more of a live band. You can be both of course, but I think our priority lies within the studio. That’s mainly because we’re such a fan of recording and getting all the sounds right. It’s such a beautiful part of the process. And even though we have a lot to learn, which you can hear on the EP, we love to create the sound that’s in our own head and do it ourselves and we’re getting better at it every time, so we’re hoping for more beautiful sounds in the future.
4. And off the back of getting your songs out there, I’ve discovered that you straight sold out 2 hometown shows in Amsterdam within 30 hours – some achievement! And that proves that whatever you’re doing is working. How was it to have that kind of reception in your home city?
That week was an absolute gift. When the first show sold out we were ecstatic but we knew that a good chunk of the audience was going to be friends and family. It took us by surprise when the second show sold out that quickly too. That meant strangers were coming to see us as well. To have that kind of reception at home is extremely gratifying and we can’t wait to hit home turf again.
5. So let’s talk about the music itself. I have to say I’m a big fan. It’s very cool and brooding, yet in an unassuming way. Every track seems to creep up you as a listener, and then you’ve got the hooks stuck in your ear! Is it just the two of you playing all the instruments? And who plays what, or do you each do a bit of everything?
It’s just the two of us doing everything. The drums on the record are just samples we recorded with a keyboard so recording this album didn’t take any actual drumming skills. The rest is all real and played live by the two of us. We don’t have specific roles except that Daniel de Jong sings and Daniel Elvis is the better lead guitarist. Other than that we switch it all around and whoever records it best is on the EP. So yeah, we both do a bit of everything.
6. How long have you been playing together? And have you done anything before Feng Suave, either working together or on separate projects?
We’ve been playing and writing together for about 3 years now. Before that we were both busy sucking at being singer-songwriters individually, haha. We were both in bands when we were teenagers, the demos of which still float around on the internet, unfortunately. But when we started playing together we knew there was something right about it.
7. You’ve got a polished sound, it sounds very deliberately both retro and lo-fi. And right on trend with the synth revival we seem to be having in music right now. Is this coming from your influences, what sort of acts would you guys listen to?
We listen to many different things but it’s mostly very warm and chic music from the seventies like Al Green, Bill Withers, Nina Simone, Ray Charles and Idris Bill Withers just to name a few. We combine that part of our taste with more contemporary artists like Homeshake, Timber Timbre and Tame Impala. As a result ofthose different interests our own music comes out the way it does. We share a deep love for the warm 70’s soul recordings and artists, but because we recorded everything in logic and we didn’t have any plugins when we recorded the EP it all came out sounding a bit to digital for our taste. We’d like to keep it a bit more natural in the future, but we had to work with what we had and we’re glad it turned out this way.
8. Personally I have to say my favourite tracks are By ThePoolside… and Sink to The Floor. Was it a long recording process to get to the release of this EP? I see you’ve produced the tracks yourself as well, are you happy to work that way or would you like to get more people involved in the future?
The whole production process was kind of lengthy and strenuous. We were still learning how to record and produce music when we were also writing. There wasn’t a clear distinction between writing and recording either, so the songs all lay around as half-baked demos for a long time. Sometimes we didn’t have the lyrics or bassline ready the night before the song was do. The way we go about songwriting is a little goofy but it works I guess. We’re still happy to work that way – we’re always going to need a certain degree of isolation to make our songs – but we’re also bringing people on who can do things we can’t.
9. With just the two of you being the official members of Feng Suave, how do you translate that into a live show?
For our live show we take three lovely guys with us. When getting the live set together they play a big role in the process as well. They’re all from Amsterdam and Utrecht just like the two of us and they make for great company and are all very creative people. For some tracks in can be hard to translate it to a live show with ‘just’ five people since there often are multiple synth-based parts and other sounds that make the recording, that simply can’t be done by five guys. That can be a challenge but it’s fun, because it makes our songs live a bit different which is interesting.
10. Great to talk to you both and really looking forward to what you’re going to be doing next. Will you be getting more tracks out there, or get out on the road and playing gigs?
Both! We’re working on new tracks which we can’t wait to release and we’re going on the road in December in the UK, NL, France, Belgium and Germany. Hopefully we’ll be able to cross the Atlantic soon as well.
“Feng Suave are live at Headrow House Leeds on Monday December 3rd via Superfriendz
Tickets available here: