Rising Australian duo Feenixpawl took to the stage at Estate Thursday night in their Boston debut. Together, they played a wide variety of mashups, remixes, and hits spanning the EDM realm, delivering a promising night for clubbers.

Tracks they played included Kaskade’s hit “Atmosphere”, the Calvin Harris remix of “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat” by Fatboy Slim & Riva Star, the Axwell remix of their mega-hit “In My Mind”, a collaboration with fellow Australian Ivan Gough, and Hardwell’s monster “Spaceman”.

After their performance, we got to sit down with the two Aussies and ask them about their productions, life as a DJ, and how they feel about the current direction electronic music is heading.

TK: We are here with Feenixpawl at Estate! This was your first show in Boston, correct?

Feenixpawl: Yes!

TK: What did you think of it?

Feenixpawl: Loved it! We love the city too; we didn’t get to see much, we landed at like 8 p.m. We got in and watched the Knicks play on TV and then came here.

TK: Where did you come from?

Feenixpawl: We came from LA but we came from Australia the day before, so we had one night off to adjust to the time zone.

TK: How did you guys get started DJing? And Feenixpawl, the name, how did you come up with it?

Josh: I had a nightclub in Melbourne, and I was running it and to save money I wanted to DJ. I was like, “this doesn’t look that hard, right?” (Laughs). So I started doing it and then Aden was promoting for me and we then ended up DJing together and the rest is history. But the name is this: [Aden’s] middle name is Feenix and my middle name is Pawl, that’s it. There’s no crazy story to it.

TK: Where do you find inspiration for your productions ?

Aden: Anywhere! We do a lot of different music, we don’t just do house music. [Josh] grew up with Elvis and Michael Jackson and I grew up with Queen and Fleetwood Mac. We didn’t get into house music until we started going to clubs, when we were 18. Whatever we listen to at the time inspires us – we try not to make too much of the same stuff, it just gets boring, so we try and get inspiration from other places.

TK: Exactly, because Avicii recently said that all music is starting to sound the same. So you would agree with that?

Feenixpawl: He’s definitely switched it up a bit, definitely done something different. But I agree at the moment, “EDM” as you guys call it in America, is going down one path. It’s lost a bit of soul, because people are scared to do something different, or do something that they like, they want to do something that is popular.

TK: So they just do something that will get them in the charts.

Feenixpawl: Exactly. There’s a lot of young guys that are just desperate to break out and they don’t think that they’re going to get noticed by doing something different. But then at the same time, they get lost by doing something the same. So it’s weird, it’s like a Catch-22 situation, because it goes both ways.

TK: So your advice to young producers would be to try something different.

Feenixpawl: Find your own sound. Look at Martin Garixx for example. His track [Animals] was amazing but also different, but not so different where it was weird, where people go like what the hell is this? I think he took that sound to its peak.

TK: Who do you want to collaborate with in the future?

Feenixpawl: We’ve always said Tommy Trash. Tommy’s cool, we’ve known him for a very long time. We used to play at clubs with him back when we were all nobodys, we were just kids having fun. NERVO’s cool, that almost happened once, but hopefully we get to do that again. In terms of artists, we mainly think of vocalists than other producers. For example we did a remix of Ellie Goulding, and I mean that voice is amazing. We’d love to actually work with her. Florence and the Machine is definitely up there too. Aden’s always had a hard on for Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac (laughs) so we also want to work with her.

 

TK: Time for a sensitive topic. Here in Boston we’ve seen some problems with the whole “Molly” fiasco. At Zedd’s concert at House of Blues, two people unfortunately passed away. They also closed this one club, Ocean Marina Bay because of drug-related problems. Since you guys are DJs and people look up to you, not just fans but aspiring producers as well, do you think it’s in your position to educate people on drugs? Is it solely up to them or what?

Feenixpawl: I think it’s up to them. We can’t be the moral authority because as soon as you tell someone not to do something, they do it. I think that people rebel to what they’re not allowed to do. I think there should be freedom there but at the same time obviously it’s a massive health risk, and we don’t think people understand how risky it is. We’re always pretty vocal about feeling the emotion in the music, because that’s where the high comes from. Because we’ve been into music from such a young age, into making it, it’s all about the feeling for us. We go to a night club because we like the music, not to get messed up.  You don’t need to do that stuff. It’s also education. If you’re a young 17 year old kid and you go out for the first time and you have something that you don’t know what it is, you don’t know how much to do and so on. It’s strange, people learn from a negative experience. They pass out in the corner and don’t remember anything, so why do they even do it? We’re not saying to do it to learn from the experience, it just depends and goes from case to case. I think Kaskade hit the nail on the head, he said it pretty well.

TK: They cancelled some shows here at UMass, Above & Beyond was supposed to perform but they cancelled it out of fear of drugs.

Feenixpawl: See we think that’s a mistake because you push it underground where it’s not policed as much and there’s not that much security. We got cancelled at EZoo; we went to play and the whole day was cancelled. And we talked to people who were there the day before and they said there was simply no security. In Australia, if you want to sneak drugs into a festival, they put you through a gauntlet. They literally bottleneck you into one entrance with like fives sniffing dogs, and so a lot of people don’t even bother. So what that actually does is it stops you from taking too much in. It’s more of a deterrent than anything, because if you can just walk into a festival with how much ever stuff you have, you’re probably going to die.

TK: What we’re curious about is this: you’re basically celebrities. The transition from let’s say, “normal life” to this position – how do you find time for your personal life? Like if you want to spend time with your family or kick back and relax instead of hopping on a plane to somewhere else. Do you ever find it stressful?

Feenixpawl: (Laughs) We wouldn’t say we’re celebrities, but we take time off when we need to. Early next year we’re taking most of January off, just to kind of relax and spend time with our family, so we’re looking forward to that.

Josh: My Xbox is my best friend, apart from him (points to Aden and laughs).

TK: What’s your favorite game?

Josh: Batman! Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Arkham Origins, just give me some Batman any day.

TK: See that’s what we’re interested in, you’re quirkier sides. What do you guys listen to on your free time. What’s in your Top 10 on your iPod?

Aden: Well I’m going to be honest. There are like 10 unfinished Feenixpawl tracks that are never going to be released, terrible, terrible, music (everybody laughs). But I listen to them so much because I try and listen to how to improve them. I’ll make like half a track and I’ll put it on my iPod and I’ll listen to it like a million times. The only way I realize that its crap is if I listen to it many times, so I don’t get that much time to listen to other music because I’m always listening to the same thing over and over again trying to pick it apart. I think that attention to detail is important, because if you release something it’s out there forever, you’re always going to be known for that track. This is the age of the Internet: if you put something out there it’s going to be there forever, so it has to be “perfect” so to speak.

TK: In general how long does it take you to finish a track?

Feenixpawl: It depends. We’ve done tracks really fast, like in a day, where as other tracks have taken months. It’s always different, we never rush. Any producer who has had some experience could finish a track in like four hours, but it’s about where or not people can connect with it. That’s the key. We’re not going to put anything out there unless people can connect with it.

TK: Have you guys ever thought about doing an album?

Feenixpawl: We’ve actually had that discussion many times. We have so many tracks that are unfinished that we could put an album out for the sake of putting an album out. But we aren’t ready to do one yet. We’ve always said that when we do one it’s not just going to be a house music album, with like a minute intro and then a break down. It’s going to tell a story, it’s going to be different. We’ll do it eventually.

TK: That’s all we have for you, we appreciate you taking the time to do this and we hope to catch you performing again.

Feenixpawl: No problem, thank you very much, see you again in Boston!

You can listen to all Feenixpawl music on Soundcloud.

Special thanks to Liza Hinman for helping with the interview.

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