Christian Felner, Rob Fel, or just plain old Felly – however you’ve heard of this cool cat, it’s impossible to overlook his obvious flare and flamboyancy when it comes to producing beats and rhyming.
Already boasting a hefty 15 Bandcamp releases, racking up over 3 million channel views and 18,000 subscribers on Youtube, it’s more than fair to say Felner has a little something special going on – something that keeps the views rising, the tracks bumping and the fan base expanding.
We here at The Two Way Radio we’re lucky enough to get the chance to speak with Felner, who had some interesting things to say about his latest release Restless, and the future of his musical career…
Has getting picked up a label ever been something that’s crossed your mind? Or something that’s ever influenced the way you work?
I’ve thought about it like all musicians really but I’ve never really like, drooled about it or anything. Labels are cool because of the resources they provide but regardless of a label I’ll undoubtedly still be recording and putting out videos on my own. The help would be nice no doubt but I’m not gonna sit here for the next couple years like “damn man, I really need a label for all this”. You know?
In the long-term, where is it you want or see your music taking you?
Well first I really hope I can just make music my life and become financially independent with it. I don’t want a job at all. That’s on some naive shit but honestly one of my goals in life is to never have a real job. So I’m hoping through some hard work I don’t have to fall into many of the mundane jobs of society and can be recording, performing, producing, etc. on a daily basis. Touring is another thing. I really just want to be in front of large crowds and get people movin.
You mentioned in a recent interview about wanting to go on tour with another artist– Do you have any particular artist you would you like to be picked up by?
No one in particular I don’t think. I’ve been trying to see if I can fly out to Chicago and do some shows with the Palmer Squares but nothing is concrete right now. Other than that I’ve been working on getting into other venues like Toads Place and Webster Hall but it’s not all that easy – even though I know I have a bigger following than many of the performers there. They don’t really trust self managed 17 year olds and whatnot. Pretty lame. But if I could be doing shows with one dude right now it’d probably be Logic. To be honest I could name maybe one logic song and don’t really listen to him at all, but I’ve seen him perform and could really see myself on the same stage. I don’t know why but I feel like we have similar energy.
You’ve already joined in collaboration with a string of talented artists – is this something you can see yourself continuing to do more often?
Yes definitely. Part of me hates collabs because they can get really painful and not come out how you want them to (quite often because the artists on the track aren’t in the same room together), but when it’s a collab with people I really fuck with I can get really into them. For example I’ve collabed with CJ Trillo (Sucka Free CJ) and have some shit with the Palmer Squares ahead and everything’s been going dope with those. CJ is actually on one of my favorite tracks I’ve ever put out, Plus Signs. I wanna continue to collab but with more diversity. Like some female singers on my hooks would be ideal. I’ve definitely been trying to work more with some girls for that.
How important would you say sites such as Bandcamp are, with all the tools they provide, for independent artists?
Oh crucial. Bandcamp is the greatest. I’m starting to like Soundcloud more but still think it’s kind of beat how they make you pay them so people can download your music. But back to Bandcamp, that site kills it. I love the layout and how easy everything is and how easy it makes buying music. Definitely gotta show love to Bandcamp for funding a lot of the shit I do.
In terms of support, have you always had the backing of those around you – namely your family, friends and peers?
Oh definitely. My family is into my shit a creepy amount. I don’t even really like it to be honest haha. Like I love that they’re supportive and everything but I can’t really go to family functions the same anymore. It’s all about music now and grandmas telling me like “We watched alllllll your videos yesterday they’re great!”. That’s really cool but there’s a lot of shit I want to keep separate from family. I still want to be innocent in Grandma’s eyes and know that, regardless of if she understands what I’m actually saying in a rap or a video, the majority of what I put out isn’t all that innocent. Still mad love to the family for the support but sometimes when I’m in the midst of writing some real real shit I think about parts of my family hearing it and it fucks up my focus. It’s hard to explain. My friends stay fuckin with me which is awesome. They’re rocking their felly merch and freestyling with me and whatnot – telling people I’m not that cool when a stranger praises me or something (in a funny way not a dick way). But yeah, these are the kids I’d like to come up with.
In terms of improvement, how much do you believe you have accomplished on your journey from Bridges to Restless?
I definitely got better as far as quality goes. I improved a lot with mixing and mastering and overall recording. The recordings on restless by far sound better in most instances. I also think I improved with getting more personal with my words and creating better hooks. Other than that I don’t really view Restless as a major work of mine. It definitely shouldn’t be viewed as my debut album in my eyes. It got some solid looks but I have bigger plans ahead trust that.
Can you talk us through your work schedule? – How is it you manage to hold down school, a social life, and still manage to regularly put out material?
Well school’s over now thank the heavens but before I graduated my day was like this. Wake up, school til 230, gym til 4, homework and other random shit until like 6, then music and working on my artistry til sleep. Nowadays in summer it’s more like wake up at 11, hope I’m not too lazy to go exercise and whatnot, then come back here and make music. It gets hard in the summer to stay focused though cause my boys are always trying to go to the beach or on a boat or something real enjoyable. So that’s what I’d say the hardest thing is right now, putting work before bumming out under the sun (Which is mad fun don’t get me wrong).
Why is it your latest release Restless got put out for free? Is this something you think an independent artist should do?
Yeah most definitely. I don’t really need money at the moment. My beats take care of that. So with my rhymes I’m just trying to get as many people to hear them as possible and jump on board with my movement. I also think like, you can get tremendous amounts of free music on the internet and the majority of upcoming artist put mass amounts of music out for free before they drop an album. It wouldn’t really be cool at all if I charged like 6 bucks for people to hear Restless when they can get a download of other works like say, Acid Rap, for free. I just don’t think I’m in a position to profit off my rhymes right now – I have to get more out there.
You just got accepted into USC School of Music – How much do you think this will affect the current rate at which you continue to make and put out music?
Not sure at all. One of my biggest concerns at the moment actually. I can either go out to LA, enroll and meet amazing people to work with and actually put out some awesome shit, or I can go and become every other college student studying a shitload and getting murked at night. I really hope the first option comes true. I don’t want school to bring me away from my dreams and if that does end up happening and I do become just your standard in debt college kid, I might have to make some changes.
Do you believe music is the art form that connects us as human beings the most?
Yes. We listen to the African station of Pandora when we’re posted and I can get seriously into those. People in like Germany and Netherlands bump my shit as well and they don’t know what I’m saying. It’s all about feel. Music speaks every language.
Finally, a great majority of your audience comment asking for tips and advice, whilst you cant get back to every single one of them, is there any general advice you could give aspiring musicians, especially young ones with similar busy lifestyles?
You just gotta take your craft seriously and if the passion is really there everything will work out. I don’t feel like I’ve mastered anything yet so I don’t know if I’m in a position to give some sick advice but just keep doing things you love and stay positive, things will work out.
We here at The Two Way Radio would like to thank Felly for his time.
You can check him out here:
But don’t forget to also check us out on Facebook and Twitter too!
Interview – Luke Bartlett
Photo – www.facebook.com/fellymusic