October 17 2013
Melbourne-based lads Feenixpawl are as legit as it gets when it comes to EDM. They can produce their asses off, DJ like lords and are nice guys to boot. This is the real deal right here. I had a chat to Josh from the duo about their fantastic career so far, the US and their upcoming Stereosonic tour.
Where did you guys meet and at what point did you decide to team up?
We met around 2005. I was running a nightclub in Melbourne called Bliss Lounge, and Aden was actually a promoter for me. One day he approached me about wanting to DJ, so we put him on. As time went by we were playing alternating sets every second week, but we decided to just play back to back every week. At first we were just Aden Forte & Josh Soon, but we started to get booked more and more, so we thought we’d come up with a name, and ‘Feenixpawl’ was born!
I’m sure there are ups and down of being a duo. I’m guessing travelling together is a massive plus and sharing a drinks rider is a downer. What is the key to making it work?
Firstly, most of the time our rider is way too much for both of us to finish, so that is a huge plus. We’ve never had any dramas travelling together. Being able to see the world, doing what you love, with your best mate is really an amazing experience. I think we’re both so easy going that we never butt heads – even if we do have a disagreement, 10 minutes later we’ll probably be laughing about it.
I have known you guys since the Q Bar Melbourne days and have seen you put in the groundwork for years. What advice do you have for people who really want to succeed?
Wow, the Q Bar days feel like so long ago. Fun times! I think the moral of that story is just to keep your head down and work hard. We’ve always tried to play and make music for an international market. Our goal was to be able to tour overseas and play music that we love listening to. It was a long, hard slog before we gained any sort of international recognition, but it’s all been worth it. The best advice we’ve ever been given is to try and catch the ear of someone influential and to always be networking. That and constantly working hard, it pays off.
How do your DJ sets work? Does one guy programme it or are you totally zen and in each others minds?
We generally have an idea of what we are going to play, but after seven or so years of playing together we can get up there, feel out the crowd and bounce off each other quite well. Zen all the way.
Winning an ARIA for ‘In My Mind’ was well deserved and awesome for your profile. Were you confident it would happen?
Not in the slightest. Even the day we got nominated we were flabbergasted. We got invited to the nomination ceremony and unfortunately we couldn’t make it, but when we received the invitation to go, we were just like “Why would they want us there?” It’s such an amazing honour, and the night itself was something else. We’ll always look back at that as one of the highlights of our career.
Ivan Gough is basically a LORD. What is it like working in the studio with him?
Ivan is the most hilariously eccentric musical genius we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He’s such a legend of the Australian dance music scene and when he asked us to come and spend some time in his studio, we were stoked. We now have the honour of calling him one of our best mates and we love him to death. He loves to pace back and forth in the studio, and he’s got a great ear. He’s very particular about what he wants, he can spend hours working on something like a snare, but that’s why he’s had so much success. However, we usually just spend the whole day quoting The Simpsons.
Your rework of Ellie Goulding ‘Lights’ is pretty much near perfect. Did she ever get to hear it?
You know what, we have no idea. We’d like to think she has, but I doubt it! One day, if we ever get to meet her we can ask.
You’ve been touring North and South America alot. What clubs have blown you away?
Pacha in New York is always a highlight for us. We’ve played there several times and are back there again in November, can’t wait. We were also lucky enough to support Thomas Gold at Roseland Ballroom in New York which was next level. The crowds in NY know how to party. In Vegas, The Light at Mandalay Bay really blew us away. The production there is something special.
What is it about Australian DJs that makes them successful in the US? Are they scared we are going to bash them if they don’t book us?
Haha, I hope not! I’d like to think its because of the music! I think it’s just a case of Aussies making strong tunes. Guys like Dirty South, Tommy Trash and Hook n Sling have led the charge in the ‘EDM’ world, to borrow a US term. We’ve always looked up to those guys. The Staffords have just come in like a whirlwind and made an impact too. Then you see younger guys like Will Sparks making a lot of noise over there. On the flip side of the electronic scene you have Flume, Ta-ku and Chet Faker doing something so original that it’s become an ‘Australian Sound’. To be honest, I think it’s our culture. We have such strong roots with electronic music in our club and radio culture here, while it’s relatively new in the US. So all these guys have grown up with it.
You are on the road with Stereosonic really soon. What artists are you most interested in checking out?
Looking forward to seeing Axwell again, Alesso too. We’re keen to check out Krewella’s new show which has been making waves in the States. W&W always put on a high energy set. Mainly, we’re excited just to go watch and hang out with our mates. Guys like MaRLo, Kaz James, Tommy Trash, Flight Facilities. Tours like this end up being a bit of a reunion and they’re always tonnes of fun. Plus, of course, we’re looking forward to having a beer or two with you Will!
Please list your Top 5 Essential Travel Gear Items: 1. Macbook Pro – Our computers are our lives. From music production to preparing for sets to Facebook. We can’t live without ‘em. Quite sad really. 2. Headphones – Goes without saying. 3. iPhone – Gotta call home… And Aden needs to play Candy Crush. 4. Playstation Vita – Otherwise I get FIFA withdrawals. 5. Thongs – As in flips flops, not underwear. It’d be un-Australian to not travel with a pair