: Deanna Rilling
You may best know Australian duo Feenixpawl
than their smash hit “In My Mind” with Ivan Gough, but there’s a lot more to the duo of Aden Forte and Josh Soon—like great senses of humor. We caught up with the guys after their Marquee Dayclub set on September 13 to talk classic rock, dancing hamsters and what’s next on the music front.
First it was the Dutch, then the Swedes. Is Australia the next breeding ground for electronic music producers?
Josh: I don’t know. I think Australia’s always been around, haven’t we?
Since the prison colony days, right?
Josh [Laughs.]: Exactly! That’s the only way to get out of the prison colony is to make good EDM! With Dirty South and TV Rock and Tommy Trash, we’ve already sort of made a name for ourselves in the dance music scene.
Aden: This is going to sound like a really old-person answer, but a long time ago without the internet, for you to go from Australia to another country takes a long time. You might not really know what’s happening overseas unless you see touring DJs come over and hear what they’re playing. These days, you can download a Hardwell set like that [snaps fingers]. So you understand what’s happening overseas and you can adjust your sound to what you want to make, that kind of thing. So I think a long time ago you didn’t really have that, so a lot of Australian DJs were kind of behind; the scene was behind. I think we’re catching up now so I think you’ll see a lot more Australian producers coming out.
Josh: Guys like Will Sparks and all the young guys coming out of Australia? They’re killing it, which is great.
What other Aussies would you recommend people check out?
Josh: Right now I think Aden’s older brother, Jason, who we made our track "Together" with, he’s got a lot of shit coming up that’s going to be really good. A lot of young guys in Australia like Marcus Santoro, Will K and Samuel James.
Aden: They’ll be big; 16-17 years old! I remember when I was that young and just doing nothing at all and they’re already making tracks that are getting signed to good labels. I think they’ll be big soon.
Josh: When I their age I was playing Xbox.
Aden: What else were you doing?
Josh: I was just wacking off. [Laughs.]
Aden: [Laughs.] You’re still doing that. Not much has changed.
For those in America that might only be familiar with your big hit “In My Mind,” or maybe “Together” or “Universe,” what is important to know about your music?
Josh: We like to make music that we enjoy listening to. That’s a broad spectrum, but at the same time we like to always put melody, we like to have an uplifting feel to our music. There’s a lot of different styles of music out there right now, but we’re sort of sticking to what we’re doing. We always like to evolve as well.
Aden: Before “In My Mind” we were still making melodic, sort of progressive house, whatever you want to call the genre. We’ve always done that and I don’t think I could really live with myself or sleep at night if we jumped on the bandwagon of a certain genre that’s big right now just so we could make it big. Whereas I think that if this is the peak of our career and it sort of goes down after this and we continue to be proud of what we make, I think I would be able to live the rest of my life happier than knowing I made a shit load of money making stuff that I’m not proud of.
Josh: Did you? [Laughs.]
Aden: I’m saying if I did! I haven’t made any money yet, but I’m saying if I did! Like if I started making trap because trap was big, then I listen to the music that I was playing and people might be going off, but I wouldn’t be proud of myself for doing that.
Josh: I was gonna say that if Aden made a shit load of money and I didn’t, I’m missing out!
Aden: They call me Carnage as well. [Laughs.]
What were your thoughts when you saw dancing hamsters rocking out to "In My Mind" in the Kia commercial?
Josh: I was with my mom when I first saw that commercial. I said, “Oh, we just got this commercial and our track’s on it.” She goes, “Oh! Awesome!” We played it; my mom’s just staring at the screen going, “What the fuck is this?!” [Laughs.]
Aden: The thing is, they didn’t send it to us before it aired. We were just getting messages from people going, “What the fuck is this?” And we’re going, “I don’t know!” But at the same time, what did you expect? I think it’s different, people were talking about it. We got one of our tracks on a car ad. What else could you really ask for?
Josh: I would never have dreamed we’d get our track on a commercial ever—and with hamsters! [Laughs.]
Aden: I actually thought it was quite cool when I got used to it. The first time I saw it I was kind of like “What the fuck?” but it was awesome, it was good to see.
What drives you in an industry that’s now full of DJs and producers?
Josh: We love playing and we love people connecting with our music. So every time we play a really rocking show, every time we release a track and people enjoy listening to it, that’s what we live for. That’s all we live for.
Aden: I think the difference is for people that are just DJs and they go out and they play big records and you ask them “What do you love about DJing?” and they’ll say “When I played this track everyone sort of knew and it went off and they were talking about it when they left,” I love that about DJing and it’s a progression from there. It’s like when we finish a gig and we play a song that people don’t know and it went off, that’s the proudest moment of our lives because you’re creating something that makes people happy, as opposed to just playing other people’s music. That never gets old. Every time we play “In My Mind”—which is fucking old now—
Josh:—It is old—[Laughs]
Aden: If we play a festival and we play that song, people go sort of crazy and everyone’s singing it? That never gets old. It always gives you shivers and butterflies and stuff. I’ll always chase that high for the rest of my life.
Who’s been your favorite producer to collaborate with thus far? And who are you aching to work with?
Aden: We actually just did a track with Marco V—not the remix—there’s a new track that we’ve done that we haven’t played yet. He’s so professional and he’s been around for so long so it’s so easy. Sometimes you collaborate with someone and it doesn’t work and you feel bad because it’s a waste of time. But with him it was just like “Bang! Here’s an idea,” and he’s like “Here’s my idea!” and it worked perfectly and the track was done in like two days—that’s rare. We get that the same with my brother, Jason, he’s on the same wavelength.
Is there some legend you wish you could work with?
Aden: I’ve got it! There’s three: Stevie Nicks, Florence [Welch] obviously because she’s the best, and I think maybe Ellie Goulding. You know what? Calvin Harris has [worked] with two of them, so he’s only got one more and he’s just ruined my life. [Laughs.]
Josh: For me it’s Elvis, Michael Jackson, John Lennon—
Aden: —George Washington?
Josh: But I dunno if it’s going to happen. I’m just gonna keep my fingers crossed and we’ll see. [Laughs.]
You’ve mentioned your love for Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac before. But you said you’ve never wanted to touch their music because you didn’t want to ruin them. But what is your favorite song?
Aden: Well, the first thing I ever finished when I was probably about 18 was “Gypsy.” It was terrible. So bad. I don’t think I’ve touched another one since.
Josh: Not much has changed though, right?
Aden: The thing is, Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” was my favorite song for so long and when someone did a remix of that and I heard it on the radio—probably about 18 or 19—I was so outraged. I was like “What the fuck is this?!” And they resung it—they ruined it! I guess that is my favorite, but it’s kind of been ruined with a remix.
Josh, do you have a classic rock band that you’re in love with as much as Aden is with Stevie Nicks?
Josh: His love for Fleetwood Mac is—
Aden: —Unparallel! I’m going in November, they’re going to be in Australia!
Josh: My answers that I gave as kind of a joke before, that was serious. I grew up listening to Elvis and Michael Jackson because my dad was a massive fan of Elvis. I would just get in the car when I was like five years old and he would play “Burning Love” or something like that and I’d love anything that Elvis did. But from then it’s about a groove and about whatever you enjoy listening to.
What’s your favorite thing about playing at Marquee?
Josh: Interviewing with you!
Aden: Two years ago, I’d never been to Vegas. And [Josh] used to always talk about it. And one of the things I’d always wanted to do was go to Marquee. So came to the nightclub, it was amazing, saw Kaskade. And then as we went around Vegas and saw the other clubs, this is by far the best dayclub there is, it really is, the way it’s laid out, there’s a good vibe.
: Like he said, our first time playing in Vegas was at Marquee with Kaskade and that just blew our minds. Ever since that night we said to Stef[anie], our agent, ever time we come to America, we want to play in Vegas—we want to play anywhere that’ll take us—but most of all [in unison with Aden
]: Marquee! —Deanna Rilling
Watch Feenixpawl's complete set, courtesy of Be-At.tv.