Behind the Beat: Felix Jäehn
If you are into Tropical house, chances are you’re a fan of Felix Jäehn. The German DJ and producer known for the hits “Cheerleader” and “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)”. In addition to his solo career, Jäehn teamed up with German vocalist Mark Forester in 2015 to form the duo Eff.
Only The Beat: Take us back a bit. When did you begin DJing? Where was your first official gig?
Felix Jäehn: Well, it depends what you consider to be official. I started playing music when I was a kid, 15-16 years old, playing music just at birthday parties. I guess those wouldn’t be considered official gigs. So from there I developed into playing student nights at local clubs where I’m from in Hamburg and all of the little towns and cities in Northern Germany. That was about 2011 and that is where I had my first series of official shows. In 2012, I moved to London for a year where I studied music production and music business. That is where I started Djing under the name Felix Jäehn. So my first official gig as Felix Jäehn playing deep house records was at Ministry of Sound in 2012 when I was only 18 years old. I also did Pacha shortly after. It was surreal because at the time I didn’t even have any tracks out. I got in by meeting people and playing at smaller clubs and getting recognized.
OTB: Do you have any mentors in the industry and if so how have they helped you along?
FJ: I don’t really to be honest. I have been missing one all along. There are so many things to learn and get through, but it would have been so much easier if I did. Of course, I have a great team and a manager who knows the industry and has been really helpful giving advice on the personal side. Recently, I have been collaborating with experienced artists like Steve Aoki. If you talk to someone like him who has been around awhile you will learn. I never really had a proper mentor though that was like come on Felix let’s do this and go.
OTB: If you had to pick another career…
FJ: I was actually enrolled in a course called media management so I would have been studying business and working at a record label at the same time. It would have been music anyway, but not on the artist side. I would have been working in a record company or management.
OTB: If I’m in your hometown for 48 hours, what should I do?
FJ: You would get really bored. The place where I used to live actually has only about 100 people. It’s a tiny place. The only thing you could do is go to the beach. You would probably have a good time just chilling. I was born in Hamburg. There is a lot more to do there, especially as a music lover.
OTB: What is your favorite track that you produced and one that you did not produce?
FJ: I guess one of the favorite tracks that I produced is “Cut the Cord”, which is one of my recent releases. It was a side project with a group from Germany called Hitimpulse. I really like it because it’s fresh and new at 140 BPM. It has a really cool drop and something that you wouldn’t expect. For me personally, I am proud of that production. For one that I haven’t produced, I think a recent song that has changed the game is Jack U “Where Are U Now“. That was a track that was mind-blowing where everyone on the scene was like this is something really new or fresh.
Cut The Cord (Felix Jäehn Vs. Hitimpulse)
OTB: Who have you yet to collaborate with that you hope to in the future?
FJ: There are countless artists. There are so many pop stars and artists like Sia and Ed Sheeren that I have already done a remix for, but I haven’t been able to work on a song with them. That would be surreal. There are so many up and coming artists to like Alex Aiono who is a great singer, I really like Kiesza. There are really a lot of great artists out there.
OTB: What advice do you have for an aspiring DJ or producer trying to get a shot in the industry right now?
FJ: Besides on focusing on the music, try to find your own style and push the boundaries. Use the Internet to promote your music and social media. In the beginning you don’t need a big team, a record company or anything. You need a friend who will take some photos or design a logo. Just get your branding together and start a Facebook page, SoundCloud, Twitter and Instagram. Just put your music out there and try to connect with people.
OTB: What would you say is your top personal milestone in your career so far?
FJ: It is the “Cheerleader” remix that hit #1 in 55 countries worldwide including the U.S. I was the first German artist in 26 years to achieve that. Everyone in Europe was especially proud of me for that. It has been a great achievement and wonderful watching that record grow. It is going to be almost impossible to top that.
OTB: Where do you see the dance music industry going in the next few years? New technology? Changes? Style?
FJ: In terms of technology, we almost have everything. There can’t be much more. Everything is in a laptop. We can use the software to produce records from anywhere. Maybe people are going to start going back to where it started. I am actually looking in to buying my first proper studio right now because I want to be constantly evolving. Buy some instruments and experiment with some stuff. For me it really isn’t about buying the next technology, but getting the right setup and combining it with the classics. In terms of consumption, I think streaming is going to be everywhere.
OTB: Outside of DJing and producing, what are your hobbies or interests?
FJ: I have played football and tennis when I was a kid on teams. I don’t have the time now because I am never in one place for a long enough time. I couldn’t go to all of the practices. I’m still interested in it though and when I’m home, I try to play with friends. I am really into food although I don’t know if you can call that a hobby. I really love good food. When I’m on tour, I try to find the best place to eat and try a lot of different stuff.
OTB: What can we expect from you this upcoming year? Any new releases, tracks, or collaborations?
FJ: Yes, I am actually finishing my first album right now. I have never released an album yet. So far it has been single by single by remix by single. It is logical because people want new stuff all the time. Now I feel that I have gotten to the point, where if people have discussed me from a single that they now should have the opportunity to dive into the full Felix Jäehn world that is more than five tracks on Spotify. I want a proper album with all my different styles, which will be out really soon.