Behind The Beat | Feenixpawl Interview
At Paradiso Festival this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Australian duo Feenixpawl, who were two of the nicest guys I’ve met in a while. To be completely honest, I did not know much more of Adan Forte and Josh Soon’s music besides their hit with Ivan Gough (and Axwell), “In My Mind” which has held the number one spot on both the ARIA Club charts as well as the iTunes Dance Music charts.
I was able to catch their set before our interview and I was definitely blown away. The two work incredibly well together as a team and the best part about it was watching the smiles on their faces. Since the release of “In My Mind,” they’ve been touring around the world to prove that they’re anything but a one-hit DJ team. As a word, their music is EPIC. Not Sandro Silva and Quintino “Epic,” but the kind of epic that makes you want to dance, sing, hug your friends and go on a quest at the same time. If you haven’t, I highly recommend taking a look at their music. These guys are doing some great things (like a sick new remix of Jetski Safari’s “Like A Lie”), and you don’t want to miss out.
PS: Aden, Josh, I may just take you two up on the offer to join you on your travels to the warmer weather. 🙂
OTB: So you guys just played, what do you think of the Gorge?
Aden: Amazing, it’s probably one of the best venues I’ve seen.
Josh: It’s the most beautiful festival venue that we’ve been to anyway; it’s fantastic.
OTB: Have you guys ever been to Red Rocks?
Josh: No, but I hear a lot of good things about Red Rocks. Hopefully we can get there soon.
OTB: It’s very evenly split, Red Rocks and the Gorge. It’s been a beautiful day here, we’ve had great weather. You guys have done a lot of festivals around the world. What’s the best festival you’ve ever been to? Does this one take the cake?
Aden: This one is definitely up there…
Josh: And Stereosonic. To be able to play at Stereosonic, you’re in front of your home country and they do 60-70 thousand [people], so it’s a big festival. That was mind-blowing for us. Apart from that, in terms of aesthetics and looking at the view, this takes the cake.
Aden: I would say the best overall setup I’ve seen was Ultra.
Josh: Yeah the production at Ultra was fantastic.
Aden: They go all out.
OTB: Definitely, every year. Who are the top two or three people that would be your inspiration?
Josh: Well we always looked up to Axwell, even when we were younger. Out of all the Swedish House Mafia guys, he’s a little older and he was around when we started DJing. Musically, we just try to capture us and we hope that catches the crowd as well.
Aden: We try not to take too much from other people. When you start doing that, your stuff starts to sound exactly like someone else’s or exactly like the last thing that you did. We always try to approach it differently.
Josh: We grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, Elvis and Michael Jackson, and with creating music you just have to evoke an emotion, you have to. If people aren’t emotionally connected to what you make, then it’s not worth doing.
OTB: You guys have really great energy during your sets; what’s the best part about playing live?
Aden: The best bit is if we play something that’s new, that no one’s heard before, and it works and goes off, that’s the best part. We can be in the studio and make something and think it’s really good, but we don’t know until we play it in front of people.
Josh: Like today we played 3 or 4 tracks that no one’s ever heard before, and they went off so that’s good.
Aden: To see and hear people being happy about something that you’ve done; there’s nothing better than that.
OTB: You’ll definitely get a rise out of the Northwest crowd. We have a LOT of energy.
OTB: You’ve done a lot of remixes, but if you could have your dream collaboration, who would it be with?
Aden: There’s two; Florence Welch would be number one. She’s got an amazing voice; I know Calvin [Harris] has done that but I don’t care. *laughing* I’ve been a fan of her music even before house [music] was calling her. Like Aden said, I was always a fan of Fleetwood Mac, so maybe Stevie Nicks. I know she’s not a house track performer, but you never know. I think there’s something about those kind of vocals; that’s something unique and special, and that’s what we look for in vocalists so that’d be my dream collab.
OTB: You guys have your logo with the bird wings; what does that signify/what’s the story behind it?
Aden: There is not much of a story. *laughing*
OTB: You just like it?
Aden: I love it.
Josh: Our biggest inspiration artistically in terms of our logos and our artwork has always been space and flight. When we came to create a logo we wanted it to be something to do with wings; I know our visuals have space behind it.
Aden: We can’t really explain it, it’s just something that we like.
Josh: I like subconsciously that it’s like space is endless; that’s where we want our career to go. There’s no boundaries.
OTB: If you had to pick one word to describe yourselves as a duo, what would it be?
Josh: One word? I think we’re friends, and I think that’s what’s important. We’ve been best mates for probably 8 years now
Aden: Yeah you know, only 2 or 3 months *laughing*
Josh: I think it couldn’t work if we weren’t really good friends.
Aden: You know, you spend a lot of time together. So many gigs that we’ve done, we love DJing but sometimes you travel somewhere then you have to leave straight away to somewhere else, and there’s some times where you hate it a little bit. If we had to do that on our own, I don’t know if I could do it. Individual DJs, I don’t know how they do it. You know, a place like this the crowd is so energizing, it’s amazing, but that’s not always like that. For us from Australia, sometimes you have to fly 30 hours to get somewhere and if you do that on your own, it’s hard work and hard to get motivated. We’re pretty lucky to do it together.
Josh: You get to be able to do what you love with your best friend. That’s the short of it.
OTB: That was actually one of my questions, if you guys have been good friends. Now I know! 🙂 So you guys are from…do people actually call it “Down Under?”
Aden: We don’t, you guys do.
Josh: People from America call it “Down Under” *laughing*
OTB: Right, because we do all that “shrimp on the barbie” bullshit and no one ever says that?
Josh: No one does that back home. *looking at Aden* What do we call shrimp? Prawns.
Aden: We don’t know what shrimp is.
Josh: Actually, I came here and someone asked “Want some shrimp?” and I’m like “What the fuck is shrimp?”
Aden: It’s amazing how like one or two movies, people can see that and they think that’s what we’re all like and it’s nothing like that.
OTB: Northern or Southern Hemisphere: what’s your choice?
Josh: That’s a tough one.
Aden: I’d say the real answer is somewhere in the middle.
Josh: The real answer is wherever the fuck it’s warm. This year we’re touring all the way through winter at home and as soon as it becomes winter here, we’re going back home.
Aden: So somewhere in the middle.
Josh: As long as it’s hot we’re happy.
Aden: It can be winter here though and it can snow, and that can be beautiful with a white Christmas. In Australia though, it’s just winter and it just sucks. It’s like having a cold storm on a summer day.
OTB: We have that too here in Washington though. I would love to get away for the winter. It’s a lot of rain.
Josh: Just come with us then!
OTB: Yeah, OK I’ll follow you guys around then! 🙂
Aden: Right, just come to interviews. Wherever we’ll be, it’s warm.
Josh: Yeah you know, “How’s it feeling today?” “Oh, same as yesterday.”
Aden: It’s warm!
OTB: I know I’m interviewing you both after your set, but do you have any pre-show rituals or snacks beforehand?
Josh: Not really; my thing is that I need to do a shot of Patrón.
Aden: Well that’s something that kind of just started…
OTB: One of you likes tequila and one of you doesn’t though, right?
Josh: I like tequila, he doesn’t.
Aden: But it wasn’t like one time we played this amazing set and it was like “yeah, because he had a shot”
Josh: It just hypes me up!
Josh: I’ll often offer one to Aden and he’ll be like noooo
Aden: It’s the last thing I want
OTB: But you make him do it anyway?
Aden: Nah, I never do it
Josh: Even today I go, “You want a bit of Patrón?” He says “No fuck off”
Aden: We’re such good friends *laughing*
OTB: Well if you’re good friends you’re honest!
Aden: *to me* Hey you have some glitter on your face
OTB: Oh, yeah someone put this on me at camp
Josh: Now, don’t go blaming this on someone else! *laughing*
Aden: I hate glitter. Last summer overseas my girlfriend bought a dress with glitter on it and put it in her bag; everything she pulled out of her bag had glitter on it.
Josh: Yeah and it’s his fucking girlfriend and I’ll have glitter all over my shit and he comes up to me and goes “Why do you have glitter all over you?” and I’m like “I don’t know it’s just everywhere!”
Aden: We’ll be out for dinner and he’ll be like “Oh there’s some glitter on your face” but it will be in some random spot.
OTB: Yeah, this went on my face and my boyfriend looks at me and is like “I don’t want any of that”
Aden: “Don’t get near me with that,” right? *laughing*
Josh: You’ve got a lot of people here with glitter
OTB: I know, it’s unavoidable.
Josh: It’s fairy dust. You know what’s funny about America, right? They all do the glitter and wear funny costumes…that was like the 1990’s in Australia.
Aden: That was the old rave culture in Australia.
OTB: Yeah it’s interesting. Going to Europe, I went during the summers and it’s so different because people listen to the music but, you know, you go to a concert and you wear normal clothes. You wear a t-shirt.
Aden: You go to the biggest festival in Australia and everyone’s wearing t-shirts, everyone’s wearing shorts…
Josh: …tank tops…no one wears costumes.
Aden: Who wants to be out in 100 degree heat with a beanie..
OTB: …or furry boots…
Josh: It reminds me of the rave scene in the UK about 20 years ago
Aden: America’s just catching up now.
OTB: It’s crazy. I listened to Tiesto a long time ago, when I was in junior high and people would make fun of it and be like “What is this shit, this is stupid, this music sucks” and now everyone is like “Tiesto’s the best! Yeah!”
Josh: The first time I went to the states I went to PURE in Vegas in Caesar’s Palace and they played one Daft Punk song and this is probably 2008. I go “wow, they’re playing some dance music”
Aden: And he rings me…
Josh: …I called him [Aden] and I said “they’re playing dance music in America”
Aden: We can play here!
Josh: He’s like no way, it’s 2008, and like 3-4 years later we’re touring here. It’s crazy!
OTB: I went to the [Daft Punk] Alive tour in 2007 and it was really small.
Josh: Really? In Melbourne, they had 3 shows, 30,000 each show. This was back in 2008.
OTB: I’m curious to see where the industry is going.
Josh: Everyone thinks the bubble is going to burst; I don’t think it will. The bubble is just going to get bigger. Maybe we should start wearing masks. *laughing*
OTB: What are the future plans for Feenixpawl?
Aden: We’ve got a lot of new music coming out. I think we’ll probably move to America just to be a little closer.
OTB: Do you guys want to do LA then?
Aden: Yeah, maybe. For us it’s only 12 hours back to Australia, 5-6 to New York.
OTB: One more question…what would you say your guys’ spirit animals are?
Aden: Oh no, it got so weird the last time we were asked this *laughing*
Josh: Mine’s an eagle. What did I say?
Aden: You went on some tangent and said something dumb about eagles getting their heads cut off.
Josh: We’re both eagles. Actually, yours is a bear because you’re unBEARable.
OTB: Oh man…
Aden: Aaaand that is the end of the interview.
OTB: That was a BAD pun. *all laughing* Well thank you very much for taking time out to meet with me and I look forward to see where you guys go from here!
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