Dutch sweethearts, Feng Suave, meet on the streets of the city to enjoying acclaimed European attention.
Admitting to us that things didn't work out straight away, the not so rising duo (consisting of long-term friends Daniël Schoemaker and Daniël de Jong) met in the streets of Amsterdam and saw where things went. After a year or two of keeping music in their locker as they tried to work out how to create a "half-decent" song, the duo successes started to roll in with their self-titled EP.
Both influenced and drawn into the sounds they surrounded themselves, Feng Suave planned to aim into sounds of vintage 70s/60s but slowly expanded into modern indie-pop. As they accidentally fell into the expansive soundscapes, they now present to their listeners their latest project and best work to date So Much For Gardening.
Overseen by the band themselves between their separate four walls, with a little help from their friends, Feng Suave avoid one single mood or narrative but hope to reflect themselves in a life of up and down towards their listeners.
As they take life not so seriously, we caught up with the duo to talk about their latest EP, So Much For Gardening, moving away from bedroom pop to indie-rock and what they're hoping to bring into 2022.
Let's get straight into it! Congratulations on your latest EP, So Much For Gardening. How long has this been in the works, and what does this third EP mean to you?
It's been done since January. We recorded it in October and finished mixing it early this year. The nature of the music business requires a few months of lead up time for the first single to be released, so it's kind of ‘old-new' to us at this point, haha. We've been working on it since the start of the pandemic. We were supposed to go to Mexico and some other exciting places to play live shows, but those were all cancelled. That left us some time to work on a new project, and what do you know, we finished another EP.
Avoiding one specific narrative, the four-track project dissects some of our most pressing problems, but do you believe it achieves what you were hoping for?
We didn't set out to make something that offers any solutions, so we were never expecting to make even a tiny dent in the global challenges that are touched upon. The best we can achieve is to offer some cathartic relief for a couple of listeners. If we manage to do it, we will consider it to be successful.
Talking about the project as a whole, you take on a unique approach to the art of juxtaposition. What is the reason behind this, and was there a specific influence or your own way of creating music?
We feel our music tends to lean towards the more vintage side of music history, and it wouldn't really make for a refreshing listen if the lyrics were completely consistent with the classic style of the instrumental. Also, we just think it's funny. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we would like our music to reflect that as well. Also, life is kind of that way too. It's never just sadness or happiness or whatever other emotions you can think of. We like things that are bittersweet, and we would like to evoke those feelings in our listeners as well.
Overall, how would you describe the creative process of the EP and how does it differ from your previous work?
It's mostly the recording process that was different. It's still mostly the two of us writing songs separately in our bedrooms and joining the pieces of the puzzle together right before we start recording. We did get help from our friends Kike, Adura, Ivar and Gino with arranging the music. We also played it live, straight to tape, which was a big change from the overdubbing approach of our previous work.
Out of the four tracks, which one is your favourite and why, or do you host different ones?
We both think 'Tomb for Rockets' came out the best in the end. It’s the song that we enjoy listening back to the most out of all four. We enjoy the other three as well but feel, in retrospect, that we could have done some things differently and more outrageously that would have made for a more dramatic result.
With amassing over millions of streams and gaining ongoing attraction within the heart of the Netherlands, how did Feng Suave meet and start?
We met on the street in Amsterdam and, after checking out each other’s work, we decided to hang out and try to play music together. It didn’t work out. But then it kind of did. We were making music together for a year or two when nobody knew us except some intimate friends, so we had a lot of under the radar time to figure out how to record and how to write a half-decent song.
From your debut back in 2017 to a host of work that toes between 1970s soul and modern indie pop, what inspired you two to delve into this specific sound?
Well, we’re naturally drawn to this type of sound because of the bulk of the music that we listen to. So, it’s what we enjoy the most and try to emulate. Things like the kind of instruments that we use, and the recording approach all add up to the way the music is ultimately going to sound, so things that feel natural to us factor into the sound a lot.
Now with music being very open and you two continuously creating your own brand, how has your sound evolved over time?
We were always aiming to sound vintage, warm and 60s/70s and landed almost accidentally in the bedroom-pop space. Nowadays, we like to think we’re slowly transitioning out of the bedroom-pop space into the indie-folk-rock space. But it’s a work in progress.
Looking at your musical journey, what has been your highest moment in life, and how have you overcome the challenges of the industry?
Still, one of the best moments of our career was when we got 30,000 streams overnight on our first single, ‘Sink Into The Floor’. Another triumphant moment was when we heard a live string ensemble play the arrangement for our songs for the first time in the studio.
Finally, what is the hope for 2022?
A huge tour and recording an album. Also, lots of sunshine and friendship