As an act with one of the more consistent, well-loved sounds around, it's no wonder Brooklyn's Chordashian, otherwise known as the duo of Michael Banks & Felix Feygin, have built such a devoted following since their creation in 2011. With a style that's acutely developed and always fresh in it's approach, their productions, both originals and remixes, are quickly irresistible. Because the guys have had no trouble getting us up on our feet and dancing over the past few years, we thought it was about time for us to get together for something special. So today we give to you not only an unbelievably awesome exclusive mix from the duo, but also an interview, in which we chat with Michael and Felix about everything from who's the better half of the pair and their affinity for great vocalists, to growing up on Russian pop and video game soundtracks. Dive in below!
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Vanguard - Every Time Lana Del Rey - West Coast (Grades Remix) Bondax - All I See (Darius Remix) Kaytranada - Happy (Tomas Barfod Bootleg) BANKS - Drowning (Love Thy Brother Remix) Years & Years - Real (Tobtok Remix) Pharell - Gush Ghost Beach - Miracle (Le Youth Remix) Panama - Always (Classixx Remix) Say Lou Lou & Lindstrom - Games For Girls Tagteam Terror - Feel More Porter Robinson - Lionhearted feat. Urban Cone (The Alexanders Remix) Treasure Fingers & Bosco - Names Ayla - Wish I Was (Tapesh Remix) Presets - No Fun (Lancelot Remix) Just Kiddin’ - Thinking About It (Club Mix)
Caveman Sound: First things first, this mix is awesome, can you talk a bit about the overall feeling of it and your track choices?
Felix: We just wanted to give your listeners a glimpse into our DJ sets. Its a small collection of tracks that are moving us at the moment.
Michael: A lot of our live DJ sets start out quite slow and then raise in bpm & energy as they go on, so we might start at 110 bpm and end at 125 bpm. It’s something we wanted to bring to this mix as well.
CS: What’s the story about how you guys originally came together as Chordashian?
M: We were both working in different genres at the time, but after talking online for a bit we decided it could be cool to do something together.
F: I was more into house and Michael was producing pop. We both shared a common love for hip-hop. Three years later, here we are doing neither pop nor house and definitely not hip hop, somehow it worked out.
CS: So, who’s the ‘better half’ of this duo?
F: Michael is certainly the better half, but without me Chordashian would be a cross between Japanese Pop, Katy Perry, Windows 97 error screen music and lots of really big bass drops and piercing buildups. I try to keep it groovin' and Michael is a wizard when it comes to mixing and sound design.
M: Everything he said is true, especially the windows 97 error screen music part. To add to that, Felix coming from a different palette of sound and style entirely is the only way the music ends up the way it does. Its hard to say one half is better since without both the music would be very different. Also he came up with the name, which I’m still not tired of saying after 3(?) years.
CS: You’ve done originals and remixes featuring some fantastic vocalists. How important of a role do vocals play for you, and how do you go about choosing who to collaborate with?
M: The human element vocals bring to each track is necessary for our sound to work. Even one of our very first tracks “Sea Crest” had a sample of Swizz Beats just saying “Go”. It was maybe a half a second sample but without it the song would've felt completely different. In terms of who, we gravitate towards vocalists who aren’t that well known or have a unique feel.
F: Whether its vocal samples or full original vocals, we're always looking for ways to make you sing along. We usually spend a bunch of time working on an instrumental before knowing what kind of voice we want to work with to take the project to another level. From there we start reaching out until we find someone who is interested and can work on the track.
CS: You’ve experimented with your sound a bit, most notably on your ‘Without You’ remix but also more recently on the Moonbootica one, tell us about what went into the making of those tracks.
F: Every remix we do comes totally from scratch. We don't typically have rules, but we do try to make everything danceable and unique. The sounds or styles might differ from remix to remix (depending on our mood or hysterical disagreements on direction) but ultimately we try to make our music up-lifting. Both of the original tracks have strong vocals so we were really excited to make them our own.
M: Both tracks were us going in a more serious, organic direction. As Felix said we try to make everything a bit unique and that includes experimenting with styles that we weren’t typically doing in the past. Our newer music is balancing some of that style with our earlier music so we are really excited for everyone to hear them when they are done.
CS: What artists were the soundtrack of your youth? Who inspires you right now?
M: I listened to mostly classic rock and some hip hop growing up, but discovering Röyksopp led me to electronic music. From there I started listening to to a few other underground artists, mainly from Scandinavia. On top of that, another big musical influence of mine came from the soundtracks of Nintendo 64 games like Ocarina of Time and Banjo Kazooie (lol, just laughed at myself for writing that). There are too many artists and songs I like these days that naming a few would be a poor representation. I will say that my favorite album at the moment is Lone’s “Reality Testing” however.
F: There was a bunch of Russian pop that I was really into like this group called Karmen, which was like an electro pop/milli vanilli of Russia. I was also really into hip hop when I migrated here in ’92. So Snoop Dogg, Dre and Biggie were in constant rotation. There was a period that I was really into hard trance like Hennes and Cold and Scot Project. I fell in love with house sometime in the late 90s. At the moment there are so many incredible artists that Im inspired by, its so hard to name one and not the other. But labels/camps like Young Turks, HW+W, PMR, Kitsune, Odd Future.. are all really unique and inspiring.
CS: You just announced you’ll be playing a Kitsuné Club Night put on by them and Need Supply Co. — we're big fans of both brands. How did it come about?
F: There's no interesting story behind it, but we do thank the good folks at Bond Music Group (our agents) for putting this together. We're both big fans of both brands as well and we're really excited to be part of the Kitsuné Club Night.
M: Yea, super excited about that!
CS: We can’t take credit for this, saw it on a sign the other day, but — would you rather never be able to go on the internet again, or have to eat only kale for the rest of your life?
M: I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.
F: Rather not go on the internet ever again. I'm kinda tired of it anyway.
CS: Your ‘Questions Remixes EP’ just came out, what can we expect from you next?
F: We're currently working on a handful of originals and we're really excited to reveal them. In due time!
M: We are also re-releasing an older tune with some new remixes with an exciting new label. The original has been out for a while, but we are excited to show it off again with some remixes.
A massive thank you goes to both Michael and Felix for taking the time to chat. If you're not already, get connected with the guys via the links below, and keep an eye out for those new releases soon!