Why Felix Jaehn, DJ And Producer to OMI’s Cheerleader Remix, Is Music’s Hit-Making Magnet.
Felix Jaehn is a magnetic being simply put. His gift for creating magical spins, has earned him multiple hit songs, one of them being the remix of OMI’s “Cheerleader” which was # 1 in over 55 countries. Sitting and chatting with the German born DJ was beautifully chill. Life has emulsified into a collaboration of hits and its only the beginning for the 22-year old talent. Our convo, is sure to inspire you to become the hit maker in your own life as well!
Mm: Before we started this interview we were chatting away about balance and how on earth we create that with busy lives. I am very intrigued and I love doing media from the standpoint of inspiration. Seeing that you have a young fan base how did you keep yourself going in times of disappointment, if there were ever times of disappointment — this is a tough industry?
Felix: Definitely is tough! To be honest, I’ve only been doing this on this level since my very first hit for two years now. In those two years it just kept going for me, so there weren’t like huge downtimes but obviously you have those small disappointments and everyday business stuff. I’m just always trying to see the big picture, to zoom out and look at myself from the outside and be like ok this is me right now. I am doing this and that and actually, its not so bad. When you have a bad day and you feel like everything is going wrong and then you look at the big picture its still going up and its still good. I’m able to do what I love. I’m so young and I am doing music for a living. It’s just simply great, so I try to appreciate that and be really happy.
Mm: Speaking of it going from 0-100 real quick. What is the moment where you were at 0 and then it just kind of took off. I know you were approached to add your creative magic to the song. Yet in your mind did you even feel it could evolve into the magnitude it’s become?
Felix: No, to be honest, no one thought cheerleader would ever be a big record when I did it. Also it was released a few months before it started picking up on the charts. I think Sweden was the first country where it went to #1. No one really thought of it being a hit. Then suddenly everyone was like yo-Felix you know this old remix you did, its suddenly # 1 in Sweden— thats amazing. So this record literally came from out of nowhere.
Mm: So that’s interesting because you didn’t have a team yet.
Felix: No, when I did cheerleader, I was basically by myself. I produced the record on my laptop. I even mixed it myself and everything. I was like ok, Ultra is a great label the song sounds cool, why not give it a try. It was like one of the first remix request I’ve ever received. I checked my email and I was like there is a remix request from Ultra, why not lets do it. Then I just did it within one or two weeks maybe— did it on my laptop sent it back to them they really loved it and didn’t want to do any changes. It was just released and a few months later suddenly it was a hit. It was really, really cool!
Mm: So this is like a personal question for me more so. How did you go about picking a team? How do you navigate, yes you— no you. I need this, I need that. It’s all happening so fast!
Felix: I think its a really personal thing and at the time when I was meeting a lot of people and suddenly everyone was interested I spoke with another German artist at a party. There was like some publishing roof top event. I was talking to him and he was like you know what Felix, I know they’re all chasing you but when you meet them you need to think about one thing only— could they be apart of your gang? I was like ok, I like where you’re coming from. It’s a really personal business because its like when you are in the leather industry, you know the price for leather and you can sell it or you don’t. But for music you don’t have a currency like that. You need to get a long with each other in order to make the magic happen. You need to have good vibes and everyone needs to be happy. You need to travel a lot and spend a lot of time together so of course at the end, I ended up with Universal Music and Sony and William Morris and they are like the big-big companies that everyone wants to go for but even within those companies you need to see which agents are you working with. I think you need that personal bond to have a good working relationship as well.
Mm: That’s incredible advice, I’m going to take that with me. I also loved that you played the violin when you were young… I did too!
Felix: You did!
Mm: For like 8 years!
Felix: Same for me, I think... I did 7 years only.
Mm: Yeah, and then I stopped and my mom [african accent] I bought this instrument and your letting it go to waste?!
Mm: Do you still know how to play?
Felix: I don’t know to be honest. I haven’t picked up a violin in years. Actually my parents got me one for my birthday last year in August. I still haven’t had time to play it because I was constantly touring. But, I told you earlier in February and March I’m taking a bit of time off touring, just doing a few shows and spending more time in the studio with the music. Basically where it all started. Hopefully, I will have a day or two to pick up the violin and see if I can still play it.
Mm: I think the cool thing about Cheerleader is, it has a unique sound full of instruments.
Felix: Yeah, the thing about my music is its really important to me to combine the real instruments with the electronic stuff. Its not just about the big base lines and drums. Obviously you need that as well. For me its really about the song, the melody about the instruments. I love using a lot of real instruments. We did a live tour in September for the very first time in Europe where I was evolving from just being a DJ where we had a full live setup with my own stage design. I invited musicians on stage. We had a trumpet a cellist and singers. I was even playing the drums you know in ain’t nobody— I was playing that live and it was really cool and fun to combine the real music with the electronic world.
Mm: What birthed the inspiration to do ain’t nobody? It’s such a classic!
Felix: Yes! As you said, simply it is a classic. Actually this week, I was in Soho having a Matcha Latte which I am totally into at the moment.
Mm: Aren’t they so good? I had one yesterday!
Felix: Yeah, I love them. When we were sitting at the cafe suddenly the original came on and I was like yea, still a good tune!
Felix: It’s just one of those songs that’s always around no matter where you are and how old you are. You just know it. So, I have always liked the record. At the time when I did it, I had an original song out and it took a while for the release. I was like, ok I want to do something in between just for my fans online so I thought what could I do. I came across Ain’t nobody and I was like there is actually no dance version of this song that I can play at my sets. I thought lets give it a try. Right now, I am really focusing on my original music because obviously, everyone got to know me through remixes and covers. But, I’ve also been doing my own music and I’ve always been writing songs and producing music and working with singers. I am really focused on that at the moment. I am actually about to finish my very first album which is due like hopefully before the summer for people to jam to it. It’s going to be full of new original music.
Mm: So is your original music separate from your group EFF?
Felix: It is yeah. EFF is just a side project really. It’s with a German singer and we met at a German Festival and we just connected and thought lets try something so we had this song done and the label went crazy. Everyone was like this needs to be out. At the same time I had my singles coming out and most of my stuff is English and its international and he had stuff going on as well. But we were like this needs to be out, everyone loves it. So we were like ok, lets do a side project. We don’t even have socials, we never really promoted the record we just put it out and it went platinum and it was number 1 for 3 weeks.
Mm: Felix….. I need to touch your hands to get good luck. You have the golden touch. Literally!
Felix: I know its literally crazy, that’s why I said earlier, I didn’t really have a lot of downtime. It’s just been getting crazier and crazier and crazier.
Mm: WOW! That is absolutely incredible.
Felix: For me it was also really cool because it was in my home country in my own language. It was fun as well to do something German.
Mm: When you were young was all of this ever like a dream for you? I know you started playing the violin at the age of 6 and DJ’ing at 16.
Felix: I guess when I was a teenager, it definitely was. I just started DJ’ing and I was looking at all of those big artist touring the world and I was like this is amazing.
Mm: So it was a thought?
Felix: It kind of was. When I was playing the violin it wasn’t. Actually my mom keeps telling me almost every week she is like yea — yea when you were 13 and you stopped playing the violin you told me “come on mom I will never work with music, I can just stop” now she is like see, I told you. She was kind of pushing it. She kept saying, “no you are good at it, keep doing it. It’s what you love”. And at the time, I just wanted to play football and tennis. I didn’t really have time for the violin as well. She kind of always knew. Now she is like yea-yea….. you told me you would never do something music related.
Mm: You gotta love moms. Haha!
Felix: She loves that one!
Mm: I bet she does. So for tonights show at Output in Brooklyn. What is another outcome you want to leave with the crowd?
Felix: Well, I am super excited for two more reasons. One being that we are in New York. My team is based out of New York. A lot of people working with me my agency, my agent the US label team and everyone is going to come to the show tonight. They asked me where am I playing, I said Output everyone was like Output is amazing, so I have really high expectations for the venue because everyone seems to like it over here. Then also I hear that they banned photographers and phones from the venue. Sometimes, I do a snapchat thing on stage and I am not actually allowed to do that tonight because they want it to be just about the music. So they literally banned all phones. I don’t think, I have ever been partying without the phone before— because I really grew up with social media. So, I’m excited for this experience.
Mm: I am excited for you. This was a really amazing chance to chat with you. I wish you all the best and that these golden moments keep happening for you.
Felix: Thank you, it was a pleasure.