We’re big fans of collaborations; two ReverbNation artists joining forces, sharing ideas, and giving birth to ridiculously feel-good music. Meet alternative duo FEiN, who recently partnered up with house producer Christofi for a sweet-sounding, funky jam, “The Disco.” In our latest series, we caught up with Luke and Brandon of FEiN to get the deets on their new single, learn about the benefits of collaborating with different types of artists, how their local community has shaped them as musicians, and more.
We’re obsessing over your disco-drenched dance track “The Disco” featuring ReverbNation artist Christofi, tell us about the inspiration behind the track?
B: Hey, thanks! We’d been listening to a ton of old disco records and eventually fell so deep down the disco hole that the only way out was to take a good long look at ourselves.
L: It’s a holy practice.
B: Disco never dies, but people always do, so we figured we should.
L: Pick up the torch until we die.
B: Imagine if all relay races were run with torches instead of batons.
L: It would be the most Disco race ever.
B: Next Olympics better get the memo.
How do you approach a song when collaborating with a new artist and what are some of the benefits of teaming up with different types of artists?
B: We’re big advocates for collaboration. Part of our ethos is making ourselves into an adaptable palette for collaborators to explore ideas they dig, but wouldn’t feel totally comfortable developing by themselves. We usually come out of collabs with songs that sound like both artists and something else entirely, which is real fun.
L: So much can get attributed to the ‘fourth writer.’ The collaborator + Brandon + me = a spooky ghost writer that couldn’t exist otherwise.
B: If I don’t leave a writing session completely spooked out of my bones, something’s gone terribly wrong.
L: Writing ‘The Disco’ was terrifying.
Your song “#Grownupz” received a lot of praise and traction — over 1 million plays on Spotify, features on several playlists, and featured on Hype Machine — besides obvious talent, to what do you attribute this success?
L: Hashtags and the letter z. #DragonBallZ
B: We’ve done a little reverse engineering, like Ben Affleck did in the 2003 blockbuster “Paycheck.” Spotify started pushing us to Discover Weekly playlists, and enough people saved and repeat-listened that it started to snowball.
L: Indeed, Brandino. We were lucky enough to get near the top of the Spotify Viral 50 for the US, Canada, and Mexico. Their algorithm apparently tracks how many listeners add the song to playlists, come back to listen to it multiple times, and things like that. #GZ is in 50,000+ playlists now and that number grows every day.
How important is a musician’s presence in their local scene? How has being from southern California influenced your sound?
L: We both came out of the Popular Music Program at USC, and our ‘SC community of musicians really helped to shape our philosophy of music.
B: It’s really become a local scene within a local scene, which is really amazing to be part of but I also think if more scenes keep developing within scenes eventually there’ll just be one lonely person at the middle of all these scenes who will have no choice but to fracture inward if the cycle is to continue. We can cross that bridge when we come to it, though.
Walk us through your songwriting process. Do you both collaborate together or does one write the lyrics and the other focus on production?
L: We start with acoustic guitars and write the lyrics, chords and melody together then move to ProTools and record/arrange everything together.
B: That’s the whole thing!
L: We live together so it’s easy. Live in love everyone.
B: LIL, E.
Name one piece of equipment you can’t live without.
B: Zildjian cymbals have been an amazing partner, which has defined a huge portion of my sound as a drummer. I’ve always been super into them, and using their gear is such a treat from both the drumming and engineering points of view.
How has technology/tech innovation influenced the way you produce music?
B: I feel like it’s come up a lot lately while we’re working, where we’ll want to make something really specific and suddenly there will be a brand new plugin or pedal that lets us do exactly what we wanted. Pedals especially. We’re living in a very exciting time for guitar pedals.
L: We’ve also spent the last 5 or so years getting good at ProTools. What that program can do combined with a musical ear (and great performances) is incredible. We definitely think of it as another instrument for us to play.
Finally, what’s next for FEiN?
L: New music. Every two weeks. Stream us on Spotify. 🙂
B: Get ready to be SPOOKED.