by Danielle Holian
For our readers, please describe your musical background.
When I was six years old, I started taking piano lessons. I kept that up for a few years and then started to play drums. By the time I got to middle school, I was writing songs on piano and guitar. They were heavily influenced by classic rock artists such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. From there, I was able to connect with fellow musicians at my school, and soon found myself as the singer and drummer of a pop punk band, and the bassist in a metal band. Gradually, I started composing for other genres as well, including classical, jazz and experimental. In 2012, I was accepted to Bard College for music composition. Once I got to college, I began applying these skills to music production, and was finally able to produce an album. Right before graduation, I locked myself in the school’s recording studio for a week straight to complete this album.
Who or what are your influences?
Anything I hear can be inspirational. I draw my influences from everywhere. But it all started about ten years ago when I fell in love with classic rock. This station in New York, Q104.3, always played songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s, and I was drawn to the authentic sound. Artists that particularly stood out to me on the radio were Queen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and Rush. Once my love for rock was solidified, my friends started introducing me to heavier artists such as Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, and Iron Maiden. Recently, I became increasingly interested in electronic music production, starting to follow DJs such as Skrillex, Zedd and Knife Party, trying to understand how they go about composing and producing. It’s an interesting new concept to me because their craft magic is reserved for the studio, as they aren’t playing instruments live.
What can we expect from your upcoming debut record Signal Internalized?
I’m calling this my official debut because it is a reinvention of myself as an artist. I have released a few singles and an EP prior to this release, but the sound was underdeveloped. Now, listeners will get a chance to hear what I really do. You can expect a nice blend of rock and electronic music that combines a personal lyrical narrative with my own unique production style. I’m not really trying to sound like anyone else. I just want to use this album to say, “Hello world! This is who I am and this is what I sound like!” Once it is out, I have a few shows lined up where I can play these songs live, and I hope to keep growing my audience, whether it be through radio airplay, features in blogs or magazines, or touring.
And tell us a bit about the background and songwriting process.
Every song starts differently. It may start with me just jamming on the piano or guitar, and something I think sounds cool pops up. Or, out of nowhere, a catchy melody pops into my head. Lately, I’ve been trying to compose from within the software, using my knowledge of scales to input notes into the MIDI graph, and then playing it back to hear how it sounds. Usually, what comes last for me are the lyrics. Once I have my music written, I need to pick a subject and then find lyrics to match, trying hard not to force rhymes for the sake of keeping the melody in tact. It has been noted that there can sometimes be a disconnect between the vocals and instrumentals, but I’m trying to make that part of the overall sound.
Who or what inspired each track?
Various people in my life such as family or friends, but mostly looking inside myself. Growing up, I had to deal with a lot of issues such as depression, anxiety, self-doubt, not fitting in, and rejection. It may sound like your typical teenage stuff, but growing up with it for me was life-consuming. These songs highlight my journey with all of that and show how I’m still working on resolving these issues to this day. The thing about mental illness is that you never fully recover from it, but you learn to deal with it and understand it, and try to use it to shape your art. Every time I’m able to express how I’m feeling in a song, good or bad, it’s my best form of therapy.
What has been a highlight in your career so far?
Actually finishing a full-length album! Also, getting features in various blogs and magazines has been pretty cool. I’ve also revamped my live set and have taken it into cool New York venues such as Arlene’s Grocery and The Knitting Factory. I’m definitely looking forward to the release show for the album, which will be on February 10 at the world-famous Bitter End.
How has your music evolved since you began playing?
I’ve definitely put more of an electronic spin on things. I used to be more singer/songwriter, only having a piano or a guitar as my instrumental tracks. But when I discovered music software and became invested in the art of sound design, I crafted a larger, more electro sound. Additionally, the songs themselves are definitely more thought out. I spend many hours making sure everything from the lyrics to the production to the vocal delivery is acceptable to my ear. I’ve also gotten better at writing and producing songs quickly, as well as getting an understanding of what entices my audience.
Where can someone view your music?
As of now, I have some songs available on my SoundCloud and BandCamp pages, but I also have my full album available for pre-order on iTunes. Just type in Feyer to find it. Once it is out, it will be on all digital download and streaming platforms.
And do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Be patient! It doesn’t come right away! But work hard every day perfecting your craft and getting your name out there! Most importantly, believe in yourself!
Any last words?
Yes! Stay tuned! The album is out everywhere February 10! The release show is also that night, at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. I hope to see you there!
Interviewed by Danielle Holian (Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook)