“We’re one chorus away from Superstar” – Daniel De Jong
It’s definitely not what it might sounds like. When it comes to Feng Suave, who are Daniel de Jong (Daniel) and Daniel Leonard Elvis (Elvis), modesty, pureness and a good pinch of humor are the most adequate characteristics to described the Dutch psych-pop duo. Read our interview below to dive into Feng Suave’s cosmos of what inspires them for writing music, their fashion-taste and some shenanigans.
Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us, here at Reeperbahn Festival. How are you doing?
It’s not the first time for you playing shows in Germany, you already have toured Germany twice. But now that you’re at Reeperbahn, you’ve played four shows in three days – how’s the vibe at the festival and did you have some time to explore and discover the festival site?
Daniel: Not much..
Elvis: We discovered the catering area (laughed). We’ve been lying los, drinking tea, going to bed early.
Is there any difference between the crowds back home in Amsterdam/the Netherlands and German audiences, specifically at Reeperbahn Festival?
Elvis: Well I feel Reeperbahn is mostly industry audience, right? So there’s definitely a difference when you play your own headline show in like your home town, you recognise half of the crowd. So there’s a huge difference.
Daniel: Yeah! I kinda like it. We also did Eurosonic Nooderslag and two Dutch festival with kind of the same ‚angle‘, so a lot of industry people go there too. And I think this one is kinda nicer, right? There’s more people here, enjoying the music.
Elvis: Yeah, more regular concert goers as well!
Can you name a venue/place/festival, you’d really love to play one day?
Daniel: Red Rocks.
Elvis: Yeah Red Rocks Colorado!
Daniel: Hollywood Bowl, something like that. Royal Albert Hall.
Here and there, you’re described as ‚Wunderkinder‘. How do you feel about it?
Daniel: ‚Wunderkinder‘? I’ve never heard that one before (laughed), but it’s nice to hear!Elvis: We’re describes as that? Oh that’s cool! I feel like my mum wrote that. I’m glad they still consider us ‚Kinder‘ (laughed). Well 23 years olds..
Daniel: It’s nice to get that appreciation. We both tried to get into music schools, but they didn’t except us.
Elvis: They didn’t think we were ‚miracle children‘.
Daniel: But yeah it sounds nice!
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
Daniel: The best thing is when one of us writes something new and you play it to the other one and then he hears it and is like (imitated magical sound) – yeah, that’s the best thing! That’s the best part and the rest is just okay.
And what’s the absolutely worst part of making music for a living?
Daniel: I think it’s driving.
Elvis: I feel like that your mood is directly linked to your creative output, so if you’re not making anything meaningful for like a couple of weeks you just feel like an idiot. Like ‚cool this is my job, I suck at it‘. (laughed)
Daniel: Being insecure is probably the worst part.
We heard that a new single is on it’s way and it will be released soon – what’s the story behind it?
Elvis: It’s about not being able to catch-up, with the outside world I guess.
Daniel: And then yeah the whole EP is gonna be like this. We wanted to stop writing love songs and stuff like that, so we made it a bit more observational. You know sometimes when you go outside and you see people laughing and you think ‚oh fuck?‘ why would you even do that? They’re just having a good time and you just can enjoy yourself, that’s kinda what it’s about. And then asking the world around you to stay the same until you feel okay again. That’s what it’s about!
You are planning on releasing two new EPs in 2020. What can we expect from these two EPs and what inspired you the most for writing them?
Daniel: Well one, the last one, we haven’t even started yet. So we just have some ideas, lying around. Fo the first EP, like I said, we wanted to stop writing love songs, just do some observational music and observational lyrics especially. I think the songs are pretty old-school and pretty Beatles inspired and stuff like that. But the lyrics are a bit more 21st century. We kinda wanted to make it like ‚Seinfeld‘, like an album about nothing..
Elvis: .. and about everything! (both were laughing)
Daniel: Not really! It’s not mysterious at all actually.
Elvis: It sounds like we’re being mysterious, but it’s kind of like a self-help-album in a way, you know what I mean!?
So that’s the reason why you did decide to stop writing love songs?
Elvis: When you’re writing a love song, it’s directed at a particular person and these songs are just directed at the audience like ‚hey guys, listen up!‘ (laughed). In this way it’s closer to the listener, like it’s directly at the listener in a way.
Daniel: It’s our best work so far. It took us a long time, but I think it’s really nice!
What’s your favourite song to perform live at the moment?
Daniel: I think ‚Noche Oscura‘ is the nicest, that’s on the first EP. It has a big dynamic range, especially compared to the other songs, because they are a bit more flat and I think that one is really nice.
Elvis: That one’s fun!
Do you have any childhood heroes?
Daniel: We share the same childhood hero..
Elvis: .. John Frusciante!
Daniel: John Frusciante! I’m not a big Red Hot Chilly Peppers fan anymore, but I really like him still. His solo word is pretty cool and I think he was my only hero when I was young. And now I have a lot of heroes, but when I was young it was just him and maybe Jimi Hendrix.
Elvis: Yeah Jimi Hendrix for sure! Michael Schumacher, a formula one driver (Daniel laughed) – I wanted to be a formula one driver originally. It didn’t work out!
So making music was just a back-up plan for you?
Elvis: No before I picked up the guitar I wanted to become a formula one driver, seriously!
What was the last physical record you bought?
Elvis: That was ‚Plantasia‘. I Ordered ‚Plantasia‘ online, a synthesizer only record from 1976. It’s like all analogue sythns and they did a re-issue this year.
Daniel: I think the last record I bought was ‚The Party‘ from Andy Shauf. One of my favourites, for sure!
While being on the road together – what was the funniest thing that happened to you on tour?
Daniel: Strip search in Sweden!
Elvis: Oh yeah, that was really funny! Should we tell the story? It’s kind of a long story.
Daniel: It’s a good story though!
Elvis: We were in Copenhagen, playing a show and after the show we were going to spend a night in Sweden, just across the border, just across the bridge and we were in Sweden. And one fan told us to don’t bring any hash to Sweden because they’ve tighten up the border control.
Daniel: And in Denmark you can smoke, they have Christiania it’s called..
Elvis: .. yeah free town! And we were like fuck it, we’ll bring some weed to Scandinavia, it’s fine. It was not fine (laughed). We decided in the parking lot in Denmark not to bring anything across the border, so we decided as a compromise to smoke it all (both were laughing).
Daniel: I was the only one who didn’t smoke, I was driving.
Elvis: It was 5 of us, so me and the other boys got high as shit in the parking lot (laughter).
Daniel: And then I had to drive and it was like only half an hour drive.
Elvis: These joints were ridiculous (laughed), I’ve never smoked anything like this in my life before. Half an hour later we were at the Swedish border and it was 2am at this point. And the Swedish border control was like ‚what are you doing?‘
Daniel: They asked me some questions and I was the only one who was sober so I answered them, like ‚what kinda music do you guys make?‘ and then he came from the back like ‚Psychedelic Rock‘ (laughter). And then they were like ‚let’s get these guys‘ and the searched the bus for like 45 minutes. Three quarters of the band, not me, they had to get naked.
Elvis: They had drug dogs and the sniffed us out. But in the end so funny, 10 police officers, in the middle of the night..
Daniel: We kept them busy and we got through because we didn’t have anything.
Elvis: Moral of the story: don’t take stupid risks!
Daniel: And we didn’t! But we were close, pretty close (laughed).
If you were able to do a time travel, would you like to go back in time or would you like to see what the future holds for you?
Elvis: I’d go to the 1960’s or 70’s. 70’s right? You and me living it up! Miami Beach! (laughter)
Daniel: Yeah! I would see some dinosaurs probably..
Elvis: There’s probably gonna be like some sort of mosquito fucks you up on the first day!
Daniel: Well we’d just go to the 60’s (laugher). What do you say?
Elvis: I’m all down for the dinosaurs, but it’s a one-way-ticket. You can’t go back (laughed).
Fashion-wise – What means fashion to you and how would you describe your style?
Elvis: Cheap, thrift..
Elvis: Thrift and mold (laughter).. There’s this really cool shop in Amsterdam.
Daniel: Let’s give it a shout out!
Elvis: Yeah! We’re gonna give a hoot out to our favourite shop, it’s called BIS! vintage in Amsterdam and they sell cashmere stuff for 30 bugs!
Elvis: It’s fancy shit, it’s all second hand, but it’s all original..
Daniel: ..very affordable. You don’t have to go through a lot of shit until you find something.
Elvis: Yeah it’s all curated, too.
Daniel: It’s a nice place and buying vintage clothed is nice.
Elvis: White T’s and 501’s! (laughter)
Do you have an indispensable piece of clothing?
Elvis: I think I’ve got a ‚Plantasia‘ t-shirt, from that record I bought, that’s a cool t-shirt!
Daniel: I’m really jealous, it’s the best t-shirt!
Elvis: It got a green crew-neck and it’s fun.
Daniel: I’ve had this pair of underway, that I have had since middle school.. (laughter)
Elvis: Really? Did you ever wash it?
Daniel: Yeah I did!
Daniel: Yeah, I mean at least my mum did.
If you could describe a perfect day off in the life of Feng Suave, how would it looks like?
Elvis: Rise early, I like early mornings, it’s like 22 degrees. The jumper is optional. (Daniel laughed) Sun’s out! We’re in Italy, it’s very clear.
Daniel: It’s Florence! We’re in Florence drinking coffee and playing backgammon. Then the sun goes down again (laughed).
Elvis: Then we play backgammon throughout the day and drink unhealthy amounts of coffee.
Daniel: And we try to play chess, but we suck (laughed).
Elvis: Yeah we suck at chess for half an hour and then go back to play backgammon. That’s about it!
Music is… (try to pick one word)
Daniel: Paycheck – no kidding! (laughter) Music is.. I would say for our own music, when we’re listing to our own music, it’s like a series of missed opportunities.
Elvis: It has to be one word!
Daniel: Oh shit – music is great! (laughter) One word, that’s so little for us.
Elvis: No we can use this opportunity and say something meaningful.
Daniel: Music is music (laughed) – that’s always right.
Elvis: Music is just wiggly air. Music is..
Daniel: ..art! No fuck that!
Elvis: Music is fun!
Daniel: Yeah that’s nice! Music is fun – that’s it!Elvis: That’s the most important!
Daniel: It’s fun, that’s all it should be!
Elvis: It’s a fun paycheck if you’re lucky.
Daniel: We’re one chorus away from Superstar (laughed)..
Elvis: That’s what we keep telling ourselves, we’re just one chorus away. There’s this coffee shop where we play backgammon all the time and across the street from that coffee shop is that vintage car dealer, next to it is a hi-fi audio system store and next to that is a real estate office. So we keep talking about the good day, when we get to go to all those shops at once. Like we get a car, we get a hi-fi system and then a garage for the car. We are just one chorus away from that day man! (laughed)
Well fingers crossed for that one special chorus, guys! We hope you had only as half of much fun while reading our interview, as we did talking to Daniel and Elvis back in Hamburg. To check out tour dates and more visit Feng Suave’s website!
xx smoke and echoes