– By Camille Banzon, Music Editor –
Have you ever wondered how each passing month would sound like if it were turned into a song? Did you ever think that January would have sounds of “snowy footsteps made into a beat”; or if February would shed emotional acoustics during “after house of fine dining”?
The mind of electro act, Feverkin, works like this, resulting in a working progress musical venture called “Calendar Project;” a series of tracks he releases and titles after each month. While others write down how time passes by, Feverkin uses Ableton and his skills as a multi-instrumentalist to record certain moments of each month, even going as far as getting organic sounds using a field recorder mic. Aside from groovy beats, calming melodies, and jazzy undertones, Feverkin will let you hear birds chirping, raindrops, footsteps, sounds of clinking glasses, and the overall feel of nostalgia in his songs. It’s as if each song holds a dear memory and listening makes one feel like they were right there in that moment, watching it all unfold.
Reminding us of the organic sound stylings of Finnish electronic act, Recue and the jazz sensibilities of The Cinematic Orchestra and Skapel, Feverkin’s sound is a mash-up of different musical techniques all blended into a finely tuned experimental electronic experience.
We got the chance to talk to the 26-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Georgia, and he talked about how a video game opened up his chest of inspiration, and how it is rooted from his love of classical piano.
TVW: Aside from making music? What keeps you busy?
Feverkin: At the time of this interview? Photography, cooking, and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
On Calendar Project, how did the idea come about?
It snowed here in Georgia, which isn’t a guaranteed annual event. I went out with my field recorder and camera intending to make a social media post to show people the recording process. As I started tampering with the recordings, I thought “Well, it could just be a song at this point,” then I thought, “Dude, I could just make this a thing every month.” The challenge of it is what got me hooked on the idea.
I ask myself what type of song I would personally like to hear that month, and I just follow my gut from there.
Can you describe a specific moment when a sudden jolt of inspiration comes for this project? How do you react to it?
Honestly, this has been a massive learning experience for me in terms of discovering what inspires me. In my experience, if there’s even only a dim light in the darkness, following it long enough reveals something interesting. Like in February, I thought maybe recording sounds at a restaurant could be cool, and one thing led to another. I remember throwing in some wine glass sounds and then immediately thinking saxophone is the move. Shoutouts to my man Cuff Malloy for the performance.
Are the songs also remnants of your adventures or travels?
Mhmm, they certainly can be. March, May, and July are all good examples of that. When I listen back to those songs, I remember the times around working on the song itself.
From all of the songs that you have made in Calendar Project so far, which one is your favorite, and why?
Well, I could like a song because the experience in making it was fantastic, but here I’ll say August is my favorite, as I really needed that song that month, and I could see myself going back to listen to it more than the others.
October so far is going alright. I’m hoping to work with a choir as the main sound this month, but we’ll have to see how next week goes!
Considering that this is a year-long project, do you ever feel pressure in terms of completion and being constantly creative and productive? If so, how do you react to it?
Ha, yeah, I’d be lying if I were to say it’s been all kicks and giggles. I’ve had to learn to be compassionate towards myself and allow myself to make mistakes. I will not always make my best song with every song I make. If I can honestly admit to myself I did the best I could, then that’s all that matters, personally (Mom advice 101). Just learn from the bad and innovate on the good.
How many instruments do you play, which ones?
Guitar and piano mainly. I can (sort of) play the cello, if the melodies are simple, and I can (sort of) play the flute, if it’s only going in the far, far background (like, it’s back there man, you don’t even know it’s a flute). This project has been solid motivation to get better at my instruments.
Can you describe your production and recording process? What significant hardware/ software you use when creating songs?
I’m an Ableton dude through and through. It’s my favorite digital audio workstation. I use a Zoom H5 field recorder mic for all the “organic” sounds or recordings from my travels, but hey, sometimes my phone gets the recordings I need too. For recording in the studio, I pretty much just use my AKG C214 condenser mic running through my Prism Lyra preamps.
I try to use as many of my own recordings as possible, and I just start by creating a loop and layering in sounds/rhythms/melodies I think work well together, then I arrange the track and decorate it, so to speak. The decorating is what takes the longest, you know, smoothing out a transition here, a little piano flourish there.
I took piano lessons when I was a whipper snapper for some years. I thought music was neat in general, but I didn’t become a fan of any one musician until I heard Chopin. Those nocturnes are still my jam to this day.[The video game] Zelda: Ocarina of Time inspired me to create melodies. I’d spend weekends off from school trying to figure out the tunes from the game, as I was too stubborn to find/read sheet music. In large part though, my sense of melody has come from that game – I mean, many other games – and movies – too, but Ocarina of Time was really the one that opened up the gate for me.
Yeah, I think so, as far as I can remember. I think the first electronic song that made a big impression on me is Celestial Soda Pop by Ray Lynch. My family would go to this laser show they’d have at Stone Mountain every 4th of July, and I would be so excited every time, because that song would play and it’d be a break from those patriotic songs (which, I mean, shoutouts to America and all, but those songs didn’t get me goin’ personally), and the lasers projected on the mountain would have all these geometric shapes changing color and patterns to the flow of the song. I was so captivated by it. Frustratingly enough, I could never figure out what that song was until about 10 years after my last laser show when a family friend burned a CD for me with random music on it. I remember hearing it, looking at the sharpie on the case and being like “Yoooooo!!!!”
Hmm, well this will have to do more with the circumstances rather than the performance itself. I’m gonna go with seeing Stars of the Lid in California. I was taking a road trip across America with my good friend Ryan (he makes music under Koresma, if you wanna check it) and one of the last nights before we headed home, Stars of the Lid was doing a rare performance at The Regent Theater. The group of people I went with said it sounded like they were having technical difficulties, but I was so into the vibe, and so stoked to see a venue packed to the brim for ambient music, that I can’t possibly forget how stoked for music I was that night.
Do you remember that specific moment that made you say, “That’s it, I’m going to be a musician.”
I was introduced to playing/creating music as an activity at such a young age, so I always kind of thought music was “a thing.” If you mean music as a viable career path though? I have to thank Skrillex. I was 19 and I lost sleep watching YouTube videos of this nerdy lookin’ dude who was only a couple years older than me gettin’ down with the songs he was making on his laptop. It really gave me that little push to get me to find my style and find people that vibe with it. If I ever met Sonny, I’d thank him and ask if it was cool to give him a hug.
Some chilled bluegrass probably. You can really hit a cool vibe with that sound pallette, as the instruments themselves often double as the percussion and there are so many textures and rhythms going on at once, that the music can really take all your focus to listen to.
Did you play in any bands before? What were they like?
Haha, yup, in High School I played guitar in a sorta indie/alt rock band. We called ourselves The Tempests (maybe we could have picked a better name, but we thought it was cool). I think we did pretty well though for just some dudes creating tunes on the weekend. We played around Atlanta every now and then, and it was a great way to hang out with friends and keep the weekends busy. Ahh, I’ve got this particularly fond memory of pulling an allnighter at Georgia Tech recording an EP on our own at the student studio. We were so stoked because we thought it sounded so solid until we listened back later on, and we ended up doing nothing with those recordings.
We noticed that the vocalist, Nori, is featured in two of the songs in your EP. How did you choose her, and was she a huge part in creating the EP?
Years ago, I was pretty much just looking for anyone to sing on my tracks as a way to challenge myself with new sounds. I found Nori though a Soundcloud comment on someone else’s track I think. She has a really unique voice, so it really swayed me in the production choices I would make on our songs. I can honestly say working with her helped me find my sound much faster than I would have on my own. For sure, she really helped shaped the concepts on the EP. In fact track 1 off the EP “I Seek You In The Sky” was her idea!
Ohhhh mann, my first ever physical piece of recorded music I ever bought was the self titled album by this like heavy rock/grunge band called Smile Empty Soul. I wanna say I heard the song “Silhouettes” on VH1 or something like that? I just thought the guitar riff from that song was so cool that I bought the whole album. My tastes have definitely changed since that album, but I would imagine it being a trip down memory lane listening to that [haha]. Fun question.