Artist Interview: Felmax /// Tobi

Q: Love the Obito sample. Walk us through the creation of your latest track, “Tobi”.

FELMAX: Love that you can spot that! So for “Tobi”, my inspiration was obviously Obito, which I’ve mentioned prior is my favorite character in Naruto. His story is insane, so well written. I love how he has everyone thinking he’s Madara, how he tells Sasuke about Itachi. Love his fight with Minato. His character is just amazing. I actually wrote that to a compilation of his best moments in the show as well as the last fight with Itachi.

That song was actually a really important tune in my production journey because I started experimenting with more “bleepy bloopies”, which has become a much more prominent sound in my latest creations. When I wrote the tune, I had what you hear now but I called one of my best friends Ronnie (Gladez) to give me some pointers and he mentioned to just swing everything and once I did that it pushed it to where you hear it now so big shout out to Gladez!

Also, it’s his birthday so big birthday shout out to him.

Q: You recently released Seventh Form EP, which the title comes from one of your favorite anime/mangas, Demon Slayer. On the last track of this EP, you pay homage again to Obito from Naruto: Shippuden. How has growing up on anime and comics influenced your artistry?

FELMAX: First of all, absolutely love this question and again, I love that you pointed that out! To be completely honest, growing up on Comics and Anime hasn’t just influenced my artistry, it’s influenced my entire life. I feel like the anime I watch and have watched always has such good underlying messages as well as the comic books. Whether it’s Dragon Ball or Spider-Man or Demon Slayer Or Batman or Constantine, X-Men, Jujutsu Kaisen, they all share a similarity in which it’s always about the main character having to push through everything in his or her way to achieve a goal and not stop until they’re there. As a child, seeing that over and over again just stuck with me and it taught me to push through everything no matter how hard. In my music, I get a lot of inspiration from visuals and I like to have something in the back while I work on music and I always try to write music to what I’m watching and I always end up with something that I feel cohesive! As an artist, it’s my way of paying homage to the things that shaped me to being how I am now.


Q: I can hear your passion for horror scoring in “Tobi” especially in the way you build suspense in this track’s opening. What sparked your passion for horror and are you interested in transitioning into film scoring? Are there any film composers who inspire you?

FELMAX: So I’ve always naturally gravitated towards darker sounding keys and stuff that just felt sinister. More of just darker scales, growing up; however, I was never into horror films because my parents said they were bad lmfao. Now I’m like wtf some of the best movies are actually horror movies and have such a large appreciation for them; however, I can’t mention this without mentioning my beautiful amazing and incredibly supportive girl. <3 She LOVES horror movies and dark stuff and she got me into that world and I absolutely owe that to her! Now when I’m writing music, I like to think of what would she like and it makes it even darker! However, I’ve always had a massive appreciation for scoring and yes most definitely want to dive deep into that in the next coming years. My favorite composer right now is hands down Ludwig Goranson. He’s just a monster his creative process is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Of course, Hanz, John Williams, Junkie XL, Elfman, Colin Stetson’s also has some next level stuff as well.


Q: How do you approach starting a new track? Do you usually wait until you’re feeling inspired or do you just sit down and see what comes out?

FELMAX: So my approach for every tune is definitely different, but if I had to narrow it down I always start with a good drum selection and just start going through sounds. Rarely ever do I have like an idea and then go develop it. It’s always more of a let me just experiment and see where it goes. I think doing that gives me room for the possibility of anything works and allows me to try different things and completely detach from the song to best get the best version of that song possible.


Q: Your music covers many genres. Does your approach differ depending on which genre you are making?

FELMAX: Oh most definitely! The process is entirely different from every genre; however, I do find I always start laying down SOME sort of drum foundation and then moving from there and changing the drums accordingly.

Q: You started out in the underground hip hop scene in Miami and then gravitated to electronic music. What drew you to electronic music?

FELMAX: So what drew me to electronic music was the energy! The complete control I saw DJs had when performing that’s something that I feel is unmatched. However, I see myself working a lot more in hip hop, believe it or not, and think it’s funny how that worked out.


Q: You’ve received support from major artists like Tiësto, Steve Aoki, Bassjackers, Krewella, and Martin Garrix. How does it feel knowing that so many huge artists in electronic music support you and your music?

FELMAX: To be completely honest it’s quite insane to see artist from Tiësto to Excision play my stuff just because it’s kind of a wide range of artists but it tells me I’m moving in the right direction! It’s an amazing feeling knowing some of the top dogs in the game have supported me. It makes me wanna keep cranking out more tunes to get to them so they can play more of my stuff!


Q: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out?

FELMAX: So a few things! Definitely simplicity is key. Also, the consumer doesn’t really care about the stuff we think they do. Not every song has to be the BEST song to have ever existed in the entire face of the universe and writers block isn’t the end of the world!

Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant

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