Feng Suave explore the influence of the 70s and the “audio tour into your own world“ effect of Psychedelic Rock.
Rehashing old music into new music isn’t anything new. It’s done every time new music is made. It’s why most adequate people love music and musical theory states conjectures that memory and music have a deep relation in “theories designed to explain cognitive processing of linguistic stimuli apply reasonably well to musical stimuli.” You don’t have to be a scientist or even a musician to know that means music makes the brain do cool and strange stuff.
The framework of rehashing old music is exactly what psychedelic and proudly Dutch duo Feng Suave have been working on. Consisting of Daniel De Jong and Daniel Elvis Schoemaker, they describe their mindset as, “reminiscent of bygone times when vocals are drowned in reverb and instruments are seemingly recorded underwater.” So are they an ode to past achievements? To Hendrix’s fuzzed-out guitar and Curtis Mayfield’s soprano voice? Perhaps. If the duo is looked at as black and white.
A cover band is a cover band, though, and Feng Suave is not that. The band’s appreciation of the lo-fi effect, the underwater sound repurposed in the modern day, reaches back to their love of the 70s and its decade of funk and R&B music. Elements from that era, and other funky eras as well, are all thrown in the bag of tricks for Feng Suave to absorb.
Beyond the group’s adoration of past musical endeavours (“the last five decades” and “treasure trove” were used to describe their pool of study) is a band that is handpicking elements and forming them in their own voice.
“We feel all the music you’re exposed to will seep through in your own creations,” says De Jong. “The wider the variety of music you listen to, the more you can venture into the grey areas between genres.”
However, the 70s and its flared pants and white leisure suits will always be the starting point for the Dutch duo. “We tend to always come back to 70s music. We both feel that’s the sweet spot in history,” Schoemaker exclaims. “They had good enough equipment to make warm, crisp, stereo recordings but shitty enough equipment to prevent it from sounding all polished and glossed-up.”
The special effects, pedals and amps that were so famously catalogued in the 70’s as add-ons to the funk and R&B world have become tour guides in the band’s quest to find their own wave in through dated equipment.
Social media, and the various platforms available, are about the only thing that Feng Suave stays away from. They hold a strong dissonance from their phones and social media, and even now, if the group’s success were measured by their social media activity, it would be resoundingly flat.
“We both just enjoy being off the grid, so we don’t really like our phones buzzing with notifications all the time, maybe that’s part of it. But we do love to connect with people and fans, and it’s important to maintain an online presence,” De Jong says. “But we also want people to get off their phone and smell a fucking flower for once, and then come to our show.”
Its good that Feng Suave’s talent isn’t measured by their Instagram likes that are lit up by some apparatus in their pocket, but by their (ideally) Fender Jazzmaster and 1964 Reissued Fender Reverb amp. Rather than alter their social media profiles, they get down in looking for “a groovy foundation that the rest of the song can float above.” But while the group’s stance on social media is to hold back, it will be interesting to see how they navigate the hard ride of bringing their own influence to the world spectrum of psychedelic music sans an online presence.
They’re happy where they are right now, with the group telling me that their smooth bass and reverb’d guitar recently helped guide a man to stop smoking crack. And if one person, just one dude, can abscond from the alluring crack rock by listening to them, that’s pretty badass indeed.
And, as Feng Suave continues to break down with groovy bass lines that directly attach to whatever lobe of our brain likes funkadelic music, maybe they’ll break the modern template of social media and music coming together to define fame. But, more importantly, the Dutch friends can entice more people who enjoy connecting with the past five decades of music, and ideally, help them stop smoking crack.
Words by Sam Farrell – Feng Suave’s Self-Entitled EP is available on all platforms.