Exclusive Interview with DJ and Producer Farius
Real Progressive's real hero
A humble and heartfelt musician. An avid and enthusiastic performer, Farius is showcasing to the world what real progressive is all about. The keynote to Farius’ life has always been music. Beginning his career heating dance floors up as a talented DJ, it was only natural and destined that Farius would make his way into producing. As the host of the weekly podcast, REALPROGRADIO and with the steady release of his own original work, Farius consistently presents the goods behind real progressive music. Working within the space of what feels true and what resonates with Farius, this kind-hearted gem of a producer displays an honest and bright array of musical glitz.
OneEDM: You have new material coming out Sep 8, 2019, titled “Make this last” can you tell us a little about what to expect with this new release?
Farius: Make This Last is a slightly different sound for me – it’s still got the usual hallmarks of my uplifting/euphoric sound but I wanted to do something a bit more groove led with this one. And people seem to be enjoying it a lot – which I’m really pleased about as it can be a little daunting when you do something a bit different.
As a host for #REALPROGRADIO on ZeroThree, do you find diving into the art of other artists offers a result similar to the way one candle can light another?
Absolutely – I’m hugely lucky to be exposed every week to so much amazing new music. There are always elements and sounds I hear in others’ tracks which inspire me when I’m in the studio too.
What does real progressive consist of? What makes a song true progressive?
I think the #REALPROG term was born a few years ago when mainstream ‘EDM’ was being labeled Progressive House, despite the true origins of that genre being with artists like John Digweed, Sasha and others way back years ago. I think what EDM has done for dance music has been incredible – it found a whole new wave of fans especially in America, but I think there were others that still wanted that original progressive sound and it got a little confusing. I’ve never really wanted to get too bogged down in genres, but I suppose for me the key to progressive is melody and movement in a record. What I love about #REALPROG is that it feels a lot more encompassing of different styles and sounds as supposed to other genres within dance music that are quite rigid and fixed in their sound.
What is the significance for a DJ to top a Beatport chart? How important is that in your opinion?
I’m sure it’s still every DJs dream to have a number one track on Beatport – even if it’s just within the genre top 100 that your record is in. That said, as we move further away from buying music and into streaming, seeing one of your records on a playlist with over 1m followers is just as exciting in my opinion, and watching the stream numbers rack up every day is also really cool. But I was brought up with charts being the sole benchmark of an artists success – and I do think they still play an important part in our industry.
How do you go about making a guest mix? Is there a Farius signature that can always be heard?
I’m always open to guest mixes however big or small the radio show/podcast! I usually try to have my tracks make up the majority of the mix, and after that, I really enjoy showcasing other Zerothree artists coming through. From there it’s about piecing together the journey of the mix with the right records.
Does liking or disliking an original song have an effect on how you remix it?
I have to be honest, I’m quite picky about which tracks I remix. It’s not because I’m in any way precious about what I touch, but more because I’m always really keen to make sure that the Farius sound is translatable from whatever I’ve been asked to remix. Of course, it helps if you really feel a record – but sometimes it can be different elements that you enjoy. For instance, you could absolutely love the vocal but not feel the music so much, or there might be an incredible chord progression you want to use but not much of the vocal. It really depends. I actually have a couple of remixes coming out between now and the end of the year – the first is this month – a progressive remix of huge 138 bpm track on Infrasonic which I had loads of fun doing.
Do you believe that there is an overused structure to the way songs are written that even dance music gets effected by? If you could change how songs are formatted how would you do it or do you feel like you already are?
An incredibly well-respected composer in the classical world once said: “there are only so many notes on a keyboard”. And in Western Music it’s true – if you think about it, mathematically there are only so many melodies that can be written. Take that number and then work out how many of them sound good or pleasant to the ear – the number decreases hugely. In terms of format and structure of a track it’s tricky to try and change things too much – as someone who got into DJing way before producing I’m a true believer in the ‘dancefloor test’ of a new track – and there are only a finite amount of structures within dance music that works in a nightclub or at a festival. For instance, if I put a 5-minute breakdown with no beat halfway through my next track, chances are it probably wouldn’t work that well on a dance floor.
On your track “Running Away” there is a lyric that reads, “The rain will pass and the sun will shine again”. In your life has music ever been a means for healing?
Absolutely – the music of all genres has always been without a doubt the most consistent theme in my life. It’s been there through all the highs and of course the lows too. I’m really lucky that I’m able to use music as a form of healing by writing – I’m a great believer in focusing the mind to help you at low points in life and for me, forgive the cliché, but music is the answer.
Do you think it is important to have friendships within the industry? Can friendships hinder or help business?
For sure! Some of my best friends are also in the industry. I think the lines can often be blurred in our world between work and play – it’s not like you leave a desk on a Friday and come back on a Monday and someone asks you how your weekend was – because you’re spending most of your weekend with people you work with. People you’re doing business with will often see you in the most informal of circumstances – and you’ve just got to find that balance between professionalism and fun. I’ve always been pretty good at finding the balance between them both I think – and of course, friendships naturally come into that.
You are getting recognized by some heavy hitmakers in the dance scene. What do you think it says about the work you put into your career? Can you vouch that the blood sweat and tears were worth it?
Haha – that’s a tough one. I’m an exceptionally ambitious but measured person – so I anytime I feel proud of achievement it’s always pretty short-lived as I move immediately on to the next goal. I’m so grateful that the big guns are supporting my records though – it’s crazy to think some of the guys I grew up listening to now play my tunes.
Where would you like to see London’s trance scene go in the future?
London’s trance scene isn’t huge anymore, I think it’s just a case of times and tastes in music changing. London and in fact most of Europe now are pretty polarised between more of a techno sound and then the super commercial stuff – with not much in between. Whereas it seems in America there is an appetite for perhaps a wider spectrum of dance music. London still has ‘The Gallery’ a weekly trance party at Ministry of Sound which I played a few years back – and it still continues to be one of the best regular nights in the city, but otherwise we only really get one-off trance parties, or when a label / big artist comes to town – for instance, Armin van Buuren at Wembley Arena, or when Anjunabeats do their annual showcase. It would be great to see some new parties pop up – and we certainly are building some momentum with the #REALPROG movement – so watch this space!
Given the place where the world is in, regarding a lot of steps forward we as a collective have taken, there have been a lot of steps backward too, from segregation, walls, deportations, etc. What can an artist like yourself do that could possibly be an aid in seeing the joining of people rather than the separation of them?
I think one of the things I enjoy the most about doing what I do is bringing together all kinds of different people together under one roof. It doesn’t matter what gender, nationality, color, sexual orientation or religion you are – everyone is usually just at a party to enjoy the music. So I think as long as artists and the industry connect with everyone with no discrimination or prejudice – nightlife and music will always be a place where everyone is welcome.
Unfortunately, people feel like life can get stuck in their everyday routine. Can the mundane parts of life ever compromise our art? Or is our art the one thing that can free us?
I think it’s safe to say that every job has its mundane parts! Even as a DJ and producer – it’s not all private jets and champagne – not at all. I still do my own laundry and my own bookkeeping! I’m super lucky that I get to pay my way through life by writing and playing music – I’ll never take that for granted. But I appreciate that what I do is often the release for others out of their everyday routine. And that’s another thing that I love about my job.
I have heard you say in a past interview that music is your life, In a world where music doesn’t exist, who is Farius? or Would Farius exist?
It’s so difficult to say. I genuinely can’t remember a time where music wasn’t in my life. In a sense, I’ve never had to experience life without music!
What do your fans mean to you?
I’ve always felt quite uncomfortable acknowledging that I have ‘fans’. It’s just a word that doesn’t feel right for me. I prefer to call people who follow my music ‘supporters’ because without them I wouldn’t be where I’m at. The positive feedback I get when I release a new track or play a show is genuinely overwhelming sometimes. It’s crazy to think that I just sit in a room, write some music and it connects with people all around the world. It’s a feeling I can’t describe really – playing a show and hearing people sing lyrics or playing the air piano in the crowd to a tune I’ve written – it’s something so incredibly special. So as long as people still listen to my music, I’ll keep writing it.