Catch up with singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Feyer and watch the video for his single "I Just Don't Know" from his debut full-length album Signals Internalized, to be released February 10th.
What got you interested in music?
Feyer: Well, I've been taking piano lessons since I was 6, on and off; piano is really what got me started. When I started singing around the age of 10 or 11 and started getting into a lot of classic rock greats based on what was played on the radio in my town - artists like Queen and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd - I thought, 'that would be cool if I did something like that'. So, I started getting into that. From there, I took on a couple more instruments in addition to piano - drums, guitar, bass - and then I joined a few bands here and there and, after there, I got into recording and producing my own music.
What was the first song you wrote that you were really proud of?
There was this song that I wrote when I was about 14. I actually had to write it for a Humanities/Social Studies class and we all had to do creative assignments based on human rights and activism and things like that and I think that was the first song that I wrote that was fully fleshed out, in terms of music and lyrics, that I was very proud of. In terms of songs that I've been doing with this current solo project, it started about 4 years ago. In 2013, I wrote this song called "Wasted Time", which you're actually going to see appears on this album that I'm coming out with on Friday.
Which musicians were you influenced by?
A lot of it started, as I said, with classic rock. Queen was the main one that really got me interested in performing and songwriting but also, of course, you have The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. From there, I started getting into more modern rock bands, bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica, some of the heavier stuff. Recently, I've been getting into really alternative groups like Passion Pit and Tame Impala and also solo alternative artists like Grimes. Most recently, I've started paying attention to what is trending and what's in the Top 40, just to see what the world is listening to. I started paying attention to what the number one singles are and it's actually become a hobby of mine, to memorize the number one song, year end, of each year; like, last year, it was "Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber and before that it was "Uptown Funk" and before that it was "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. Going back to the '90s, I can tell you what the number one song of each year was.
Is there a song that you're hooked on right now?
I think the song that I'm hooked on right now would be "Hymn For The Weekend" by Coldplay. There's a lot of Top 40 songs out there that you hear them a bunch and it's really catchy, but then you get tired of it after it's been played so much. But this song is being played a lot and I'm still not tired of it, even though it's been out for almost a year now. I'd say one of my favorite modern groups in the mainstream right now would be Coldplay, just because they've been doing this for 20 years and they're very fresh and they're still able to catch my attention. Another group that I'm really into right now is Twenty One Pilots, they've been coming out with some stuff that has managed to make it into the Top 10 but still sounds very different from a lot of the other stuff out there and that's what I'm getting really into: stuff that's able to break through into the Top 10 but doesn't necessarily sound like anything else, it has its own sound.
How would you describe your own sound?
To me, it's always hard to describe, but I guess I'd have to describe it as taking everything that I've observed and learned over the years with different genres and styles and periods of music and trying to put it all together into one precise style. If you listen to my album, you'll hear songs that resonate with a lot of stuff they were doing in the '80s with progressive rock and stadium rock, but also trying to put a modern spin on it production-wise, like some of these modern day alternative groups like Coldplay and Twenty One Pilots. I'm all about blending genres, blending production styles, and blending particular periods of music. Certain periods, like the '80s and '90s and even the 2000s, have their very distinct styles and what I'm trying to do is find a way to put it all together.
What were your inspirations behind your single and the video for "I Just Don't Know"?
Funny story, the instrumental of it I actually wrote when I was 16, which was about 7 years ago. Basically, I was in this music production class at my music school and I just started fooling around and these melodies and these rhythms started coming into my head and I hung onto it in my brain for a while but never really got it down and recording it until about 2 years ago. That's really just how it came about. In terms of the video, honestly, I didn't have much of a budget to make a music video but I knew that there was this wide open parking garage space in my town and nobody ever goes to the top floor, no cars ever drive through it. It's a big open space and I just wanted to think, what's a nice open space that I can film a video where I don't have to pay to rent out a space where I could set up all my instruments and I'm able to showcase that it was me playing everything on it - which it was - and I had the idea of, you often see a band video where it's different people playing every instrument and I wanted to try to make a video where I'm playing multiple instruments, but just at different times. To point out each instrument, each instrument is given a different color, and so I wanted to experiment with that. One day we just took all my instruments, we moved them into the garage for a couple of hours, my friend set up a camera and she filmed it, and then I took the footage home and I edited it and did all the colors in post production and that's about it.
Could you tell us more about your debut album Signals Internalized?
This is my first full-length debut album and it's the first album that I'm really going all in with. In the past, I've released a couple singles on SoundCloud and Bandcamp here and there, but I wasn't too happy with the production so I took them down. I spent about 2-3 years just really working on developing my sound and trying to get this album as good as I could get it. Basically, what you'll hear from it and what you can expect from it is, as I said, a combination of all of these musical styles that I've been interested in and trying to write for, but also combining that with a personal narrative, lyrically. I'm someone who has dealt with the issues of anxiety and depression in the past and I wanted to tell that story in the lyrics and my whole thing is, a lot of people mention that there is a little bit of a disconnect between my instrumentals - which sound powerful and thought out and fleshed out - with my lyrics - which are meant to be more vulnerable and very personal and narrative. Some people say there's a disconnect between the two and either the lyrics have to be more powerful or the instrumentals have to be toned down a little bit to match, but I kind of like the mismatch. I think that could be my sound, is the disconnect. That's what people can expect.
In one sentence how would you sum up Signals Internalized?
Signals Internalized is, essentially, all of my experiences and musical training thus far, coming together in a 12 track album.
I will say, because I have musical training in a couple of different fields - ranging from vocal production to instrumental production to recording to songwriting - I'm not a specialist. I don't play one instrument really well, I never became a virtuoso on piano or a virtuoso singer or anything like that. I want to take all of the skills that I have enough of a grasp on and try to use it and just combine it so that I don't necessarily have to specialize in just one thing. If I was just doing one thing in music I'd get really bored, honestly, so I want to try to take all I've learned and put it together in one package, which is what I'm hoping to achieve with this album. And, of course, it will be different with each album as I grow as a musician and as I keep learning. Who knows, the next album could have an entirely different style, it could have an entirely different theme! It's really hard to say right now, because I'm constantly learning and I know so much more now about myself, doing this album, and about my production. Even when I finished the album, which was a couple of months ago, I know more now about production and songwriting - and about myself - than I did when I finished this album. As I said, each album, I'm trying to make more developed and try to do something different each time.
Is there a favorite song you have to perform live that you're excited to play Friday?
Yeah, I choose between two actually. "I Just Don't Know" - which is the lead single - is really fun to perform live 'cause it sounds very energetic, especially when I play live with my band, which is what's going to happen this Friday at The Bitter End; which is very exciting to play that venue because that's where Super Bowl Halftime star Lady Gaga actually got her start, was at The Bitter End 10 years ago, so it's very exciting to be on a stage that she was on. "I Just Don't Know" is very fun to play live. Also, the closing song, "Wasted Time", is also fun to play live, because I'm noticing from my gigs that that's the one that I think the crowd gets most into and it's always really fun to see a song that you're playing where there's a visible reaction from the crowd and you can see that they get into it. I'd say it's a tie between those two that are the most fun to play live.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
It's sort of a mix between two different things. I'm noticing, a lot of time, that in terms of specializing, that a lot of artists and a lot of songs are really just about one thing: you have songs to party to and you have songs to relax to and you have songs to cry to and you have songs to laugh to. I want my songs to have more than one meaning. Going back to the disconnect between the lyrics and the music, the music is meant to get people to have fun and to rock out a bit, but I want them to also, in another instance, stop and think about what the lyrics are saying; whether they're able to do that at the same time or not, that's on them, I guess. I want my music to be able to be used for different occasions, rather than just be about one thing. The lyrics will be for a thoughtful occasion and the music will be for a fun, rock out occasion.
Is there anything you want to add?
Just look out for the album when it comes out, it'll be on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, all of those things. Look out for some more music videos coming out, look out for some more features, maybe some more shows in the future, and that's about it.