We Rave You Radio – Episode 22 by Michael Feiner + Exclusive Interview
One of Sweden’s finest exports, the multi-talented Michael Feiner steps up to man the reigns of the latest We Rave You Radio, accompanied by an exclusive interview. Perhaps known best for his 2016 release on Axtone called ‘Mantra’ and his knack of whipping out a saxophone during his live sets.
His latest release on Spinnin’ Records titled ‘Bababa’ absolutely smashed the charts and garnered the support of some of the most prominent DJs across the globe, including personal edits from Hardwell and Fedde Le Grand.
The Swedish producer showcases some of his favorite releases and tracks at the moment, including Zonderling‘s ‘Tunnel Vision’ and Teamworx and Tom Swoon‘s hit ‘Atom’. A few classics also come to light, such as Daft Punk‘s ‘Technologic’ and an old one from Feiner himself called ‘Soleil’.
We also had a chance to catch Michael Feiner and have him sit down with us to talk about his vision as an artist, his quite illustrious career, creative strategies, and more.
As a vocalist, you have had some pretty breakthrough releases throughout your career, with your standout one being ‘Together’ with Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso as the very first release on Axtone. How has the success of that release felt and influenced your current musical direction?
Yes I am very happy to be part of the first ever release on Axtone together with Axwell & Ingrosso. I wrote the top line melody and lyrics together with my friend Eric Amarillo and we recorded my vocals for that track. It’s great that it still is being played and I still love that tune too. Actually a lot of people still don’t know that I’m the singer on that track, but some people know and it gave me an opportunity to work with other artists and also to DJ around the world. As for my musical direction, I’m just curious for sound and music and that can take me anywhere.
Your last release ‘Mantra’ was also on Axtone, and is still receiving some heavy support. Did you expect the track to be such a huge success?
I was actually surprised it was received so well and of course very happy for it. I had a feeling myself that it was a catchy track with good potential since I couldn’t get it out of my head before starting to produce it and I had a great vibe all the time while working on it. But I could never have guessed the amount of support it got from the biggest DJ names. Very thankful for that.
To top the last question, how was it to work with such a legendary producer as Axwell?
Actually, I did the whole track and production myself from start to finish but Axwell visited my studio briefly since he had a little suggestion for the mix and wanted some sections of the track to be cut away and that’s why it’s called an Axwell cut. It was good advice. He’s got an amazing ear for music and I have a big respect for him. He’s an extremely nice and funny person so it’s always nice to see him.
We managed to catch you live this year at the Axtone party during Miami Music Week, where you played an outstanding set, including your upcoming single ‘Bababa’ on Spinnin’ Records. How did the idea for that track come to life and what were some of the challenges you faced while making it? We’re already expecting it to smash the charts.
The idea for the track had actually been in my head for a long time since I love old 50’s & 60’s records where it was very common to sing these kind of vocals. It was also something that I was humming by myself every now and then so when it comes to that stage where I can’t get something out of my head (as with Mantra too actually) I know that I need to work on it. I made a rough mix of the track last year that I played out in my sets for quite some time and the crowd reaction was always phenomenal even though nobody had heard it before, so I felt pretty confident by then that I had to finish the track. It took another couple of weeks to finish the production to get everything right. I’m always very picky in the studio and I tweak details in the mix until I’m satisfied.
Many artists nowadays rely on some sort of a “template” when producing new music, structuring all their tracks off their biggest release. However, you’ve managed to make each of your releases extremely unique and fresh, can you tell us a bit more about your production process?
I usually hear the music and production in my head when I’m working and that can both be a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I know exactly how I want it to sound and when it doesn’t it can be frustrating but it’s a challenge to accept. I’ve always been interested in studio gear and synthesizers since I was a kid so I’m a curious studio geek that chase the sound in my head until I find it. Sometimes of course funny accidents can occur too while tweaking and that’s great fun too. I start everything from scratch on each track instead of a template. I think it’s much more exciting and rewarding that way. Keeps it fresh and enjoyable for me. It’s like going on a journey on each track and I love to travel musically and sonically. Speaking of it.. Geographically too of course hahaha.
One of the things we enjoyed the most during your set at Axtone was the live sax performance throughout your set, how did that come to be a part of your gigs?
I’ve been playing saxophone and other instruments since a long time and actually started playing sax in nightclubs before I was asked to DJ. So when I started DJ’ing it felt very natural that I brought my saxophone along in my set. It makes a nice addition I think and I really enjoy being able to perform live in my sets too. It’s like having a bonus dialogue with the crowd.
You have a wide spectrum of talents, as both a vocalist and a producer. How will that play out into your future releases? Will you be doing more vocal releases, or stick to a more traditional instrumental direction?
Everything is possible and I have so many ideas that I don’t know where to start sometimes. Sometimes I get caught up in the studio tweaking sounds for days without actually recording anything and sometimes I’m more focused and know exactly what I need to do and produce. But it’s always a very enjoyable time for me to hear sounds and experiment in the studio regardless. I don’t like to rush things and I’m a strong believer that music should be sprung out of a good time in the studio where you nourish your passion. Sometimes it can be a fast process and sometimes it can take months but it doesn’t matter as long as I’m happy with the end result. I really want to do a vocal track soon again, I think it’s about time. Also a track with my saxophone would be fun to do. Or my old recorder that I used on “Mantra”. Anything can happen and music is an exciting adventure!
Check out the brilliant one-hour mix Michael Feiner has curated for We Rave You Radio below, jam-packed with his favorite selections at the moment!