Fareoh Talks Stage Fright, Pacha and “Levity”

Despite his young age and countenance, New-York born producer Fareoh has continuously proven himself a force to be reckoned with. Self-taught in electronic production, he started catching the public’s eye opening up for some of the biggest names in dance music. Now considered one of the scene’s most promising emerging talents, Fareoh sat down with DJOYbeat to touch on his early career, an upcoming party and his recently released remix of Helena’s hit “Levity.”

In past interviews, you’ve mentioned you were a big fan of punk. How did you make the crossover from your previous musical tastes into a brand of electronic music you felt comfortable with?

I owe my crossover almost completely to The Bloody Beetroots. They were hugely into punk as well. I listened to them back when they were known as “Bob Rifo” (which is the same name as their lead). I think it was early 2007 when they started doing the whole TBB thing. I was fascinated. Other than early Daft Punk, I had never really heard much  electronic music and it was certainly not to the extent of what the Beetroots were doing… that’s where it all started for me. I started with electro, and then stumbled upon deadmau5 and Kaskade. By that point I was just listening to anything and everything I could, trying to understand the scene. I could go on for years about influences and inspirations.

On the topic of comfort, I can’t really say I am… or at least I hope I’m not. I am constantly experimenting and trying out new ideas and new tricks because to me, getting comfortable is dangerously close to getting lazy. It’s way too easy to get stuck in your comfort zone and begin to sound the same. So many producer and DJs suffer from this. All forms of art need risk. Art is about moving forward, advancing, doing something new, or taking things to a new level. Art is very dangerous in that way, but that’s also what makes it fun.

Lately it seems as though there’s a wave of incredibly young artists coming out on the scene. At any point in your career, did the growing fame and big-scale performances ever make you even the slightest bit nervous?

Of course! Actually, my first show ever was at Webster Hall in NYC. As I stood on stage waiting to go on, looking out at the crowd of at least 2,000 people, I was terrified. I had never really used CDJs before – I had the main concept down of course but had only been able to practice them by going into Guitar Center and messing around with the ones they had on display. Thankfully, as soon as I started my first track the stage fright went away. From then on it was just adrenaline and it was wild.

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What’s the best way of getting over stage fright and getting used to playing to large crowds?

Definitely preparation. I always have a full set planned out in terms of track order, as well as at least a couple of folders of “Toss In’s.” To this day, I have never played a set the way I had it planned originally. There is always a different vibe from the crowd, or I change my mind last minute, etc. But having it prepared allows me to be much more relaxed when it comes to performing. If you have something to fall back on, whether you use it or not, it will always make you more confident to take a risk, and risks are everything.

Since we’re on the subject, how much of a performance is selecting the right music and how much of it is engaging with the audience? You can’t have one without the other, but what do you place the most emphasis on?

I’d like to think that it’s all about the music, because in my opinion that’s what it should be. I’m rarely on the mic, and I’m definitely not yelling out, “Put your fucking hands up!” It’s very easy to get caught up in that side of performing because of how the crowd reacts… however, in my situation at least, I believe as a musician I should be striving to reach something higher than that. I think there is a line drawn in the sand between musicians/producers and DJs, and I mean that in no offense at all; I’d just rather leave the crowd shouting to MCs.

You just did a remix of Helena’s track “Levity.” What drew you to the tune in the first place, and how did you decide what direction you wanted to take it in?

Shawnee Taylor, the vocalist, just has so much soul. How could I say no? It was awesome being able to work with a singer who’s music is responsible for getting me into house back in the day. I knew I had to lay piano under her voice. It was too nice not to. And then to be honest, everything just flowed from there!

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Did Helena work with you on different ideas or did she only get to hear the finished piece? How does the whole process of remixing usually play out?

I wrote two completely different versions to this remix. One in minor, one in major. In the end I only submitted the one that is out now. I decided against using the other. It was too “club-y.”

We heard you’re planning a big release party at Pacha NYC on August 8 to celebrate the debut of that record. Why did you decide on Pacha for the location?

To be honest, I didn’t really have any say in it being Pacha. However, I love Pacha. When I first started DJing, most of my first shows were opening up for some big names at Pacha NYC, and even a few at Pacha Ibiza. I’m incredibly excited to be back! I missed you, Pacha!

We also heard it through the grapevine that you have a new remix of Birdy’s indie-folk ballad “Skinny Love” in the works. We imagine that’s probably a very different creative process than working on a track like “Levity,” which is a lot closer to your own musical style and already has an electro/progressive foundation. How difficult is it to work with a track that’s in a completely different musical sphere?

Yes, it’s completely different, but I love it. Birdy has a beautiful voice to work with and she gave me the perfect opportunity to do something new. I spent a lot of time recording and experimenting with guitar for this track. Honestly, I don’t even know how to describe it, and that’s what makes me most happy about the track. It’s totally fresh, and I can’t compare it to anything else. It’s not 128, and its not house – that’s all I really know!

Last but not least, is there anything upcoming we should keep an ear out for? Any projects, performances, collaborations, etc.?
I have a few things in the works right now that I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about, but a bunch of new music coming out in August. I have a nice amount of West Coast shows coming up – hopefully I’ll get to see the beach! And then I’m headed over to Norway for the first time, which should be amazing… can’t wait to see how they get down.

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