Artist of the Week: Fei-Fei
Fei-Fei. To any western civilian this raises the image of a humble, cute non-western girl. And even though this image matches reality quite well, Fei-Fei sure isn't the little, silent girl she might seem. In fact, one might be surprised of the energy and roughness of her sound. This girl is on top of her game, with productions like 'Never Forget' and 'Ender' on Armada's Club Elite label, gigs from Ibiza and UK to Hollywood and L.A., and a massive group of loyal followers and fans. She's renowned for her powerful , techy trance and outstanding mix/techniques. Fei-Fei is the one and only embodiment of girl power.
Love at first listen
One finds out by accident, the other is brought up with it and yet another gets infected by friends. Electronic Dance Music moves and shakes the lives of many. One of them is Fei-Fei. For her, it was a case of 'first love'. Fei-Fei: 'It was quite simply, love at first listen. About 10 years ago I was at a friend's house and they were listening to Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva's 'X-Mix3 CD'. Techno music was my first exposure to EDM and I had to hear more. I started going to the underground rave parties in the Midwest. Everything from parties in a barn to the outdoor weekend masses to your typical run down warehouse parties. Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, anywhere I went, it was exhilarating. I pretty much decided that I had to be a part of that...I wanted to make music and DJ.'
Determination is a key word to Fei-Fei's success. Her musical journey started with a 12 years practice in piano study, until eventually the turntables took over and gave her a new kind of passion. One which didn't only take determination, but a lot of confidence as well. Fei-Fei: 'I started producing a few years after I moved to California, roughly 4-5 years ago. I started messing around with Reason, then Cubase, Logic, and now Ableton. I wasn't sure that I would get this far, but I grew up believing that anything was possible if you worked hard enough. I'm also incredibly lucky to have had some good friends show me some things along the way, and always encouraging me. Without them I wouldn't be where I am today.'
Well taught and a tough attitude
Fei-Fei's got herself a back-up as well. She isn't only musically talented, but educated as well. With a Master in Fine Arts from USC's School of Cinematic Arts in her pocket, Fei-Fei shows us how determination results in some very wise lessons in life. Fei-Fei:' The most important thing I learned in film school was to stick to your vision! To be unique and also understanding when to take criticisms and when not to. The whole cutthroat aspect of the film industry has also taught me to assert myself and never give up!' Her musical background gave her a head start on producing. Fei-Fei: 'I played piano for 12 years and violin for 2 years, and while I don't really have a formula for making music, I think having that background definitely shapes what comes out. Understanding basics like scales, chord structures, arrangement, rhythm, melodies, are definitely important. But anyone who has played an instrument comes away with that, not just classical music. Sometimes the best stuff is made just by playing around and experimenting, and just seeing what sounds good.'
It's a good thing she's so well-taught, cause music business sure is a hard business. With a DJ scene still ruled by male DJ's, it's important for Fei-Fei to stand her ground and stick to her skills. Does she mind being in a scene, dominated by men? Fei-Fei: 'I love it!! I love the challenge and having to work harder to prove myself, because one day when I get to the point where I can finally say I've succeeded, the success will be that much sweeter! I always followed my instincts and never fell into the stereotypical girl DJ image. You'll always have the people that hate on you, but I'm lucky to have established a good foundation where I don't have to deal with much prejudice these days. I hope one day the division between male/female DJ's disappears. Because we all do it for the love of music.'
A certain style
Whether you're a male or female DJ though, one thing is what you need to do to be successful: stand out. Fei-Fei's ability to slam as many as thirty tracks in an hour shows just how far her mixing skills are developed. Her style can be described as an energetic mix of styles, hard and dirty guaranteed, so states her biography. To Fei-Fei herself, it 's 'peak time driving trance and techno with a touch of electro'. No matter what some might call it, it's a style that has made definite impact. While most dj's stick to 'only' 10 tracks an hour, Fei-Fei spins three times as much, picking highlights and constantly crossing stuff over. Fei-Fei: 'Yes! I think I have A.D.D.! Just kidding. Sometimes I play a lot of techno live and like to layer a lot and mix in and out of songs quickly to keep the sounds changing to build tension and excitement. I also like to use acapella's to layer on top of songs. Or sometimes I just like certain parts of songs, like I'll mix out of a song in the breakdown and a new song slams back in. I like to try different things and surprise the crowd!'
Diversity enough. Fei-Fei also works out her brainwaves under her FFW guise. Fei-Fei: 'FFW is the darker and harder side of Fei-Fei. I've got several releases I'm quite excited about, so look for that on Discover Dark and Flux Delux in the near future!' But on Club Elite, Fei-Fei sticks to her own name. Club Elite owner and master producer M.I.K.E. signed Fei-Fei, making this girl part of the Armada Music family. Fei-Fei: 'It's awesome! Got to thank M.I.K.E for bringing me in to the family, everyone I've met so far has been amazing to me! I'm honored to be a part of such a great establishment.' Establishment is another one of Fei-Fei's key words. With plenty of talent, a big dose of dedication and consistency, plus the strive to success, Fei-Fei is set to gain a steady position in music industry. Exciting things are coming up. Fei-Fei: ' Lots more releases! I've got a big project I'm working on right now that I'm terribly excited to finish! Look out for more releases on Armada of course, and also look for my FFW alias on Discover Dark and the rest of the Recoverworld family of labels.'
Exclusive Mix (November 2008)
- Ender (Original Mix)
- Ender (DJ Preach Remix)
Check out Fei-Fei's Synchronicity Mix on iTunes now:
Fei-Fei November 08 Chart
01. Fei-Fei - Ender
02. Fei-Fei - Ender (DJ Preach Remix)
03. Fei-Fei - Never Forget
04. Icone - Cosmos (FFW Remix)
05. Orjan Nilsen - Vivida
06. Axel Karakasis - Under Water
07. Reaky - Absinthe Party
08. Audioklinik - The Basses Have Eyes
09. John Askew - Fade to Black
10. Bissen - Sandstone
Download now at ArmadaDownloads.com