This month we have the wonderful electronic artist Fei-Fei taking over the Music Ninja website. She is one amazing musician and we are ecstatic to have her as the resident artist. I got a chance to sit down with her and talk a little about her music history, her current music endeavors, and what we can look forward to from her in the New Year.
TMN: Fei-Fei! Hey my dear First off, thank you so much for taking time to chat with us today!
FF: Thanks so much for having me!
TMN: Let’s take it back a bit here, talk to us a bit about musical background. Did you grow up in a musical household? Were either of your parents involved in anything musical? Siblings? You? Play in the school band or sing in any choirs?
FF: Yes music all day everyday. My Dad was a classical pianist, also played clarinet and oboe. My Mom used to be in the Chinese opera back in China. I tried suziki violin when I was 4 and hated it. Then few years later – I picked up classical piano and played for over 13 years. In grade school I was in the choir.
TMN: Who were some of your favorite artists to listen to back in middle school and high school? I feel a lot of kids really start to understand the music they like, or think is “cool”, when they are in middle school. College age is really where people find a taste. Tell us about your musical progression from middle school to college age.
FF: Everything! A ton of alternative, rnb and hip hop. Garbage, Nirvana, Mobb Deep, Smashing Pumpkins, NIN, Beastie Boys, Liz Phair, Jodeci, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Biggie, Tupac – and of course Wu-Tang.
TMN: Now when did you yourself start experimenting with electronic music? Tell us about the first time and what that felt like for you.
FF: I was at a friend’s house party and this amazing music was playing that I’ve never heard before. It was John Acquaviva & Richie Hawtins X-Mix-3 CD. After that I started going to underground parties by myself and just absolutely lost it. I decided at the first undeground I went to I had to be the person creating the music.
TMN: Now let’s talk a little bit about your sound, I mean I call your music electronic but it is really so much more than that. You have the ability to touch on so many genres and even non-genres. If you were to describe your own music to someone, how would you describe it?
FF: A crazy journey. All the ups, the downs and everything in between.
TMN: Where has been your favorite place to perform thus far? City and venue, and if they are different from another that’s fine.
FF: Its really hard to choose! Every place is different. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a 50k festival or an intimate 100 person club, it’s all about the vibe. Recently I played at 1015 SF with Purity Ring, Webster Hall (I love NYC), and Detroit always brings a dope underground vibe. Outside the states I’ve had a ton of fun in the UK – Nass Festival and Croatia – it was a super dirty warehouse by the ocean. And of course my own Feided parties in DTLA @ The Lash definitely go the hardest!
TMN: You have done some amazing remixes of some really great songs, for example your Banks remix, kind of obsessed with it. What do you listen for when you are considering doing a remix of someone’s work?
FF: I have to love the tune.
TMN: Now, this has kind of been a huge year from you, and everyone is taking notice. We have to say congratulations on the release of your debut album ‘Pretty Girls Don’t Hallucinate’, last time I looked it is already #15 on iTunes which is amazing. Talk to us about this album, what went into it, and how you feel putting it out there.
FF: It’s been so unreal. We hit #13 on the charts and was all over the iTunes front page with so many artists I look up to. I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelmed with the response so far. Everyday I think I’m going to wake up from this amazing dream. I can’t believe all the hard work is finally becoming a reality and it’s out! I’ve been a nervous mess the past month and especially the night before it dropped. Believe it or not I wasn’t even going to release any of it. I was going through some weird personal stuff in life and needed to get the emotions out – it was music I made for myself. It wasn’t until recently that I decided it was time to show the world a different side of me and see all the things I saw in my heard, all the emotions I went on during this amazing journey. The good, bad, wild and weird. It’s made me who I am today and I’m not afraid to show it.So this album is for everyone – all my friends, fans, my supporters and my haters. Everyone that’s ever come to a show, supported my music, taken a shot with me or been there for me in any way shape or form. Thank you for always believing in me.A big shoutout to everyone who’s worked with me on this project – you know who you are!
TMN: I can openly say, electronic music and dj-ing is a very male dominated industry. As a woman, talk to me about that and how that is for you. Also, what do you hope might come from more women in the industry and what would you say to up-and-coming female producers?
FF: I hate talking about it but it’s so inherent in our society as a whole. I say it over and over again, I’d rather be someone’s fave artist then someone’s fave female artist. Just making the distinction is extremely backwards and so many people don’t realize it. You don’t go around saying he’s my fav male singer or male lawyer etc. And I definitely don’t want to be treated any differently because I happen to be a woman. I avoid female themed branded events, stages, situations because that automatically separates the genders and works against what we’re trying to overcome. It’s not
about highlighting females it’s about gender equality and that affects both males and females. There are so many amazing and talented women paving their own paths right in the industry and that’s a good sign. Some are more vocal then the other, but my personally I like to keep my head down, do my own thing and be a role model for everyone – guys and girls. Wake up everyone. Talent is genderless. Advice for the ladies and the gents – you have to want it real bad and work super hard to earn your keep and overturn those stereotypes!
TMN: Talk to us about the upcoming year, which is quickly approaching, and what we can look for in 2015 from you?
FF: Promoting the album, tour and everything in between – it’s an ongoing process. It’s not like once the album dops – the work is done. I also have so many projects in the pipeline, but it’s definitely way too early to talk about that.
TMN: Fei it wouldn’t be an interview without a few fun questions for here we go, what is your favorite color lip-gloss?
FF: I’m so not a girly girl but…Clear shimmer with a hint of pink.
TMN: What is your favorite thing to mow down on? If no one is watching, name one food and/or meal that you go to town on.
FF: My Mom’s homemade dumplings at her restaurant – Dumpling Haus in my hometown. I won’t eat dumpling anywhere else because it just doesn’t even come close. But I’ll do that with or without people watching. I like to eat and I don’t care who knows it.
TMN: If you had to trade places with one person for a day, any person, female, male, who would it be and why?
FF: I wouldn’t dream of subjecting anyone else to the things that go on in my head.
TMN: Winter is quickly approaching, if you were stuck in the artic tundra and could only listen to one musical artist/group on repeat for a week straight, who would it be?
FF: Lately I’ve been OD’ing a lot on Caribou. Unreal that I’ve been sharing the charts with these guys and so many other artists that inspire me on the daily.
TMN: If your best friend called you tomorrow and said we are going on vacation to anywhere in the world that you want, where would you go?
FF: Spain. Costa Rica. Argentina. Tokyo. I can’t choose. Let’s just go around the world do it all.
TMN: Who is your musical man crush…and woman crush?
FF: Purity Ring. Also Grimes.
TMN: What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever said to you?
FF: You don’t want to know. I get a lot of weird messages. On the cool non-creeper side of things, someone recently described my album as an “underwater trap party”.
TMN: And finally the question we ask all artists, if your music were an animal, what animal would it be and why?
FF: A lone wolf. Bold, fierce and not afraid to take their own path.
TMN: Fei-Fei thank you so much again for taking the time to sit down with us! Have a great rest of the year and we cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for you!
FF: Thank you I can’t wait!