With more than a decade under their belt as a musical tag team, Aden Forte and Josh Soon, better known as Feenixpawl, have already left an indelible mark on the house music industry.
Their breakout 2012 track, “In My Mind”, served as a much-needed stepping stone into stardom. Released on Axwell’s Axtone Records, the track sat comfortably at the number 1 spot on both the Beatport charts and the ARIA Club charts for quite some time, even culminating with a Grammy nomination. As if that wasn’t enough, “In My Mind” was quickly credited as one of Pete Tong’s essential new tunes.
Since that unofficial 2012 induction into mainstream celebrity status, Feenixpawl was recruited by Kaskade for a remix of “Room For Happiness”, which opened the floodgates for appearance, production, and remix requests from big names like Sony and Warner.
Having gained recognition from some of the biggest names in the game, like Tiesto, Afrojack, Alesso, Fedde Le Grand, Martin Garrix, Dirty South, and more, the Australian duo is working, one step at a time, to master virtually every aspect of the house music industry.
With their label glowing in its infancy, Eclypse Records is dropping timeless banger after banger and developing a heavily influential name for both itself and the boys.
With such continual success, we wanted to sit down with Feenixpawl to pick their brains and get an exclusive inside look at where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re headed.
You two teamed up and started growing your brand more than 10 years ago. How has the scene changed since then?
To be honest, it’s both changed and stayed exactly the same to us. People often talk about the ‘EDM bubble’ and when it’s going to burst. But for us, dance music has always been around and has always been big. Groups like Binary Finary, The Chemical Brothers, and Fatboy Slim have been topping the pop charts for two or three decades, so to see people like Calvin Harris and Zedd doing the same is no surprise to us at all.
Having said that, the scene has definitely grown exponentially in the past five or six years. Festivals are bigger, pop acts are recruiting dance artists to produce their music, and many subgenres of dance have come out of this.
It’s an exciting time to be a dance producer.
What do you think the most important characteristic was/is about Feenixpawl that you can credit today’s success to?
We absolutely stuck to our guns and never gave up. There were times early in our career where things weren’t progressing how we would have liked.
In fact, there have been times that things came to a screeching halt and we questioned whether we were ever going to get anywhere. But we stuck at it, never had a plan be and just made it work through blood, sweat and tears.
We definitely aren’t where we want to be yet, we are always looking to do bigger and better things, and we won’t stop until we achieve them.
With what you’ve seen change in the industry, do you think you’re able to predict the next big change for electronic music? What would those predictions be?
We’ve been asked this question a lot in the last five or six years, and we’ve never been able to accurately predict the ‘next big thing’. I mean, who thought dubstep was going to be huge a few years ago?
I feel like change has a certain type of formula; a young, talented pioneer comes along and creates a completely new sound, that sound explodes and becomes commercialized and exploited. Other young artists copy that sound and through that, more subgenres are born.
Who initially came up with idea to create Eclypse Records?
It was actually something we have all talked about since when started DJing, even in our bedrooms. Idolizing labels like Axtone and Toolroom while we were coming up, we always dreamed about being in control of our own and other young producers music.
While we love DJing and producing, we felt the end game when we’ve retired from touring would be to help launch the careers of younger artists struggling to break into the scene, and a record label is obviously the best way to do that. It was never a reality until a few years ago.
When and why did Wind-up Records come into play?
We did a remix for some Aussie friends of ours called Strange Talk, that are signed to Wind-up. They were so pleased with the outcome, they were interested in working together more and possibly getting into the dance world.
We had mentioned that we had always wanted to start our own label, so the discussion began on how we can both help each other in our goals.
It was a truly organic process and it couldn’t have come together better.
Over the last few weeks, you’ve had two (2) charting Eclypse Records tracks (“Ghosts” ft. Melissa Ramsay by Feenixpawl and “Blue Sky” by Feenixpawl & Jason Forte. Mary Jane Smith) in the Mediabase charts (one which made it into the top 10), and one highly-ranked on the Billboard Dance Charts. How does it feel to drop multiple chart-topping tracks just months after launching your very-own label?
There isn’t really words to describe how that feels. It is a testament to the hard work we and Wind Up have put in to making the label work. Since “In My Mind” was released in 2012, there have been a lot of passing fads and genres, but we felt that music, with melodies and lyrics that really connect with people, will always have a place in the clubs and on the radio. The success of Eclypse so far has been exhilarating.
Coverage of these tracks has made its’ round in the blogosphere. How important do you feel that this type of coverage and exposure is?
Blogs are, and I feel will always be, an important part of dance culture. Larger outlets and websites are great for exposing artists and music, but there is something impersonal about those outlets.
Blogs have a far more personal touch, and we feel it’s almost a bridge between the fans and the artists.
We will always be looking for coverage from blogs and there is no question the impact it has.
What do you look for specifically when scoping out a new artist or a new sound for your label?
To us, something unique and ground breaking is hugely important. There are a lot of good, even great producers out there. But what it important is that you stand out amongst the crowd.
Everyone that has succeeded in this industry have broken into the scene by doing something different that catches the
ear of influential people.
What do you think are the most important ingredients, for both an artist and a track, to speak to the fan base of today?
A personal connection between artist and their fans is extremely important. Replying to fans on social media and showing fans that you’re just a normal person like everyone else builds a great connection with fans.
In terms of music, the dance public can smell a generic, cookie cutter track a mile a way. Music that is produced from the heart reaches people so much more than just making music you think will sell well.
Fans will always hear and appreciate the passion in your music.
With the end of the year drawing near, what are some goals you’ll be setting for yourselves for 2016?
We took a bit of time off touring in 2015 to concentrate on making music and setting up the next few months of releases. We plan on getting back on the road in 2016 – big time.
We’re also going go be releasing 5 or more original Feenixpawl tracks that we’re extremely excited for and also plan on signing some big names to Eclypse Records. 2016 is looking really big for us.
If you two didn’t make it to 2016 and had to play your last performance tonight, what song would you close out your set with?
Great question! I feel like “In My Mind” would be up there for us because it really was the launchpad that made everything we have now possible. If we were to go with another track, I think the Thin White Duke remix of The Killers – Mr. Brightside would be it. Nothing stirs up more emotion in us than that masterpiece.
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