Who are Aden Forte and Josh Soon? They’re two Australian dudes, two house music DJs, two remixers, two producers, now two record label owners, two Grammy nominees, and they are Feenixpawl!
The boys met in 2003 and since then it has been nothing but an electric journey of synths, beats, and music.
I had such an amazing phone call conversation with the guys when I called in for an interview. Immediately when I called and the phone was answered, the kind, energetic, and Australian-accented voice of Josh answered “heyyyy, how are you?!” It was then accompanied by the voice of Aden “hellooooo!” They were an extremely interesting duo as they answered every question I posed with depth and thoughtfulness. You could just tell that they were passionate about their work and are “living the life” at the moment.
They are currently living in Los Angeles, CA, but they are constantly traveling and on the go, and so they do get the chance to go back home a lot.
I had many questions for the musicians, one of which was how did they start getting into this realm of music and consider this a possible career? And what was the process like of starting their own record label-conjoined with the established Wind Up Records, Entertainment, Inc. record label, known for artists such as Strange Talk, Civil Twilight, Five for Fighting, and Tegan and Sara (just to name a few)! Josh answered without pause how at age 17, the two started to learn how to produce and learned from others around them and just messed around. Josh noted that House music was an American creation that had a myriad of percussive sounds and synths, rhythms, and made for the club atmosphere. Later on, the genre kind of expanded into EDM (electronic dance music), which according to Josh and Aden is:
the main force of music in Australia. It has a really strong presence there. There isn’t really a massive hip-hop scene in Australia, and with all of the night clubs, house and EDM were at the forefront.
They said that dance music was mostly inspired by the Europeans who started playing around with sounds and rhythms electronically. When I asked the two where they saw the domain of EDM going, Aden replied that the “bubble is not going to burst,” meaning that EDM is not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon, and in fact, it is growing and gaining even greater recognition, more than ever. They distinguished that EDM has a multitude of subcategories too that build up its core. There is house, there is EDM, there is tropical EDM, trap, and dubstep, and more.
In addition, the process of creating their EDM record label, Eclypse Records, came to them 4 years ago when they did a remix of a Strange Talk, a rock band that is affiliated with Wind Up Records. They were then asked to help the record label develop and EDM division of their company, and so Josh said it just “sort of happened organically.”
I asked them what would be their favorite project so far that they have done, and they had a little trouble at first because there was a lot that they had to be proud of, but if they had to pick, it would probably be their single “Blue Sky,” and in the developing stages of the song, they “knew this was something kind of special.” Their other single that released recently, “Ghosts,” found success on the Billboard Dance Charts! It is Number 17 at the moment and is grammy nominated!
Check out their latest singles here now!
What I found so wonderful about these two and their music careers was that they had a supportive family. Feenixpawl, was a name they constructed out of their middle names: Phoenix and Paul. They wanted something that had meaning to them but was also word that never existed, hence the the reconstruction of the spelling. In the process of forming Eclypse Records, Josh’s brother, Jason Forte, worked with them and so now it is run by the three gentlemen. You could tell family is very important for them and it is fantastic to hear that their families were always in favor of the boys’ DJ-ing lives.
I asked them if they could collaborate with anyone who would they want to collaborate with? They gave me a little list of great names:
Florence and the Machine, Stevie Nicks, and Scott Grinds.
Feenixpawl had a lot of great answers for whether they were trying to emulate any particular artists or if they had any influences or have a specific way they approach each song? Josh replied that
we have never done a track that’s the same as the other and that’s the best thing about it. We try not to speak to any formulas and just went with our hearts. Every song we make is always a new experience…
Aden then chimed in and replied “we don’t try to have a sound really…” because they had been working really hard to get to where they are and it took them 10 years, so within that time, there was not really any soul-sound searching, as there was, just creating and producing.
I then decided to ask a question that I love asking musicians and artists who have made it to where they want to be “do you have any advice for the aspiring musician in your genre?”
Without fail, I received a very real and practical answer from Aden that you have to “catch the ear of someone influential.” He then proceeded to say that you really needed to keep the connections you make and build relationships everywhere you go, but on that same note, do not be shoving your material down peoples’ throats because that would just turn them off and irritate them. But of course, Josh said it is also really important to keep your head up in every situation and never give up no matter how many highs and lows you face.
This is advice I really appreciated hearing from these two’s success stories and for someone like me who is infatuated with the love for music.
So, I had to ask them just because people were buzzing about it so much– What were their thoughts on Justin Bieber’s new sound and would they call it EDM? The two chuckled, as expected, and replied that they think he’s great and the music is fun, but they would not consider him EDM. In fact, they said he is “not EDM, he is just pop music produced by a dance music producer.”
I could not have agreed more with the guys.
I was really excited by the end of this discussion and wanted to talk to them more, but knew that would be exhausting for them haha. I asked them if they would ever tour the U.S. and stop by Boston, and they said they could see it happening in the near future. SO, make sure to check these guys out because you are not going to want to miss them when they stop by your hometown. I want to make a shoutout and say a big thanks to Feenixpawl for taking the time to speak with me, and I hope that I get to one day meet them in person and attend one of their concerts!
Here is where you can find Eclypse Records:
Here is where you can find Feenixpawl: