Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Photo: Woody Bos
Feng Suave is the duo of Dutch musicians Daniel De Jong and Daniel Elvis Schoemaker.
What’s it like to be you?
It’s ok. Sometimes people tend to romanticise it. But it’s just like any other life, or at least there’s nothing fancy about it. We do romanticise being rich and famous ourselves too, since we are not that.
What does music mean to you?
It means the world. It is our escape plan from a society where you are born, where you grow, study, settle down and get a mortgage. It does allow us to live a lifestyle that is in some ways unconventional and more to our liking.
Do you ever feel confined in your own imaginations or is it always easy for you to access a creative space?
Man, we have writer’s block by default. Songwriting is always a battle for us. We’re always fighting with our own creative minds. So no, it’s not easy. But all you can do really is show up and put in the hours. If you sit down for a couple of hours every day and try to write and record, something nice is definitely going to come out.
What were your first music-related memories?
I remember watching that old Fantasia movie with Stravinsky music. I must’ve watched that movie around 40 times as a child and just loved the way the music complements the visuals. Classical music can be terrifying for a child though, especially Stravinsky.
What do you think about interviews? Do you enjoy answering questions or do you do them because you sometimes have to?
Well to be perfectly honest, written interviews aren’t our favourite part of the job and feel like a bit of a school assignment.
Was your creative bond strong from the very beginning or did it take time and effort to develop it?
It took some time. But much like a song you don’t like immediately, they eventually become the best.
What do you appreciate the most in each other?
Nothing specific really. We are both pretty nice in general. The fact that we can challenge each other mentally and enjoy a good cup of coffee helps.
What film, book, or cartoon reality would you like to live in for a while?
‘Call me by your name’. No explanation needed here. A beautiful love story in Italy, sign us up.
What is the best gig you’ve ever attended as part of an audience and how would you describe it? What made it special?
Father John Misty in Bloemendaal, the Netherlands. Lovely man, lovely banter, great show. If he were to fall in the moat, the world of folk-rock would take a major hit.
What have you learned through your experiences as Feng Suave both personally and professionally?
If you work hard you can achieve a lot of the stuff you want to achieve. Dreams are killed by being lazy and you can take matters into your own hands by showing up for the cause every morning.
Do you sometimes misjudge things or people? Is it easy for you to accept mistakes when you make them?
Uhm. I personally hate it when I make mistakes, and I find it hard to watch when people make the same mistakes that I make. But I tend to forgive everyone, including myself.
How to get through times that suck?
Suck it up.
What is your stance on imperfections, both in work and in life?
We hate them and strive to achieve perfect symmetry in every possible way. So far we have not come close, but perfection is always around the corner.
Do you think you’ve established your own artistic vision or are you still figuring it out?
We are still figuring it out for sure, but it’s ever-changing as well. In a way, we already have a pretty clear vision we Just haven’t figured out the best way to plant the seed so to say. We feel that every time we make a record we come a little bit closer.
What truth have you learned after all these years you’ve lived?
Put things in perspective and you might just feel better.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
This exact Question. The answer is and would be, that’s a great question.