Norwegian producer and DJ Jonas von der Fehr, AKA Fehrplay, was surrounded by creativity growing up in Oslo where his artist parents encouraged him to explore the arts from a young age.
Armed with his innate talent and driven to learn (he started out as an actor), Fehrplay has risen to the top of his craft, and why, at the end of the day, integrity is important to him. Here, Fehrplay recalls his love for the movie “Blade Runner,” the influences who helped shape his trajectory, his new record label Mood of Mind and the urgency for artistic freedom.
When I first discovered your work, two immediate things come to mind: 1. Music can be very emotional absent lyrics; 2. You are asking the listener to also see imagine and experience music beyond their comfort zone. Could you talk a little bit about your sound and why it is important to you personally?
Fehrplay: Wow you said it better than I could hahaha. I totally agree about the lyrics. When I use vocals I often use them to enhance the melody in the track, rather than being the main focus. And I think a great sounding synth often surpasses a vocal lead. Music has always to me been about the emotion. And I often pair up music with films that inspire me, or trailers of them, to get a better feel of whether the music can enhance the emotional scenes happening on the screen. It might be strange, but I love it. I also often don’t sit down and produce with the intention of a track being just a groover or a set tool, but rather with the intent of it being better than the last one. And to evoke a different kind of emotion than what I have dived into before. This will be more apparent with my Mood of Mind releases, as every release will have its own feel and mood. This is also to keep it challenging and fun.
If you were to compare your artistic style to a writer or musician or another kind of artist, who would you compare this sense to and why?
Fehrplay: I’m a HUGE fan of Hans Zimmer, and I take a lot of inspiration and motivation from him as an artist. His music is so soulful, and perfect in every way. I believe he is the greatest composer in this element to have ever lived.
You have always steered clear of becoming mainstream and have enjoyed artistic freedom. Why is important for you to challenge the status quo?
Fehrplay: Well, it’s a tough balance, as you want to reach as many people as possible, but without losing integrity. Over the years it has become more and more obvious to me that freeing yourself completely from the pressure of making something that is a ‘hit’ is key to having fun with the music, and essentially that will make the music better and personal.
What do you attribute to your success?
Fehrplay: Ouuf that’s a hard one. I mean there’s a lot of reasons and people to thank a long with it. But mostly I would say that, making music has always been my most pleasurable thing in life. When friends of mine were playing PlayStation, I would make music. I would and still do, bring my laptop everywhere, even if it’s just to wait for my laundry to finish, and I will make music. The day I stop feeling like that is the day it stops.
We hear, like us, you’re a big Reddit fan ☺ What’s your favorite subreddits?
Fehrplay: Hahaha, awesome. I honestly have to say it’s r/aww. All those cuddly small little rascals just gives me a warm feeling, and will cheer me up anytime ha! Other than that I love r/cringe. There is just something so fascinating about the cringe, and I can’t stop watching it.
If you had to choose, Berlin, Manchester or Barcelona?
Fehrplay: Maaaancheestaaa! Always. Have you been there? Well, you should!
You travel quite a great deal, what are the 5 things you can’t live without? [Inside your carry-on]
Fehrplay: I bet all 5 of these is a cliche but here it goes:
- My travel adaptors – I loose them all the time, so I usually have about 3 of them in my bag.
- Hand sanitizer – After 2 or more airports in a day, nothing feels better than soaking my hands in that stuff.
- My MacBook pro – For making tunes wherever.
- My little bag of all things important – From sim cards to earbuds. All the small stuff goes in it.
- Chewing gum. You never know when that travel breath will need a taming.
Favorite album(s) of all time?
Fehrplay: Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller.’ Up close is Jamiroquai – ‘Return of the Space Cowboy’
Tell us something about Norway that we don’t know.
Fehrplay: Norwegians don’t ever talk to each other (stranger danger) on the bus.
To close this interview, can you tell us a little bit about your TANNHÄUSER EP? How it came about? Also, when can we expect you back in NYC?
Fehrplay: Through the last 2 years, I would say, my music has been inspired a lot by Vangelis Soundtrack for Blade Runner. This EP is just a full out Fehrplay Blade Runner EP, in my opinion. In the movie, ‘Tannhauser’ is an opera by Richard Wagner which is quoted in the most famous scenes from Bladerunner, the improvised dialog called ‘Tears in the Rain.’ I think I’ll be back in New York in just a few months! See you then!