DJ Felli Fel: Successful Moonlighting

DJs have long been the backbone of Hip-Hop music. Recently we have witnessed a surge in DJs stepping from behind the tables and into the limelight as recording artists and producers.DJ Felli Fel is now stepping into that same arena, armed, and poised to take over. The South Carolina native is currently one of the […]

DJs have long been the backbone of Hip-Hop music. Recently we have witnessed a surge in DJs stepping from behind the tables and into the limelight as recording artists and producers.DJ Felli Fel is now stepping into that same arena, armed, and poised to take over. The South Carolina native is currently one of the top rated DJs in Los Angeles attracting over 1.6 million listeners per day on Power106.  While Felli’s DeeJaying career is obviously at an all time high, there is still no motivation to kick his feet up and relax.With the success of “Get Buck” and the recently released “Finer Things,” the entire world has it’s ears fixated on what Felli Fel will play next.  Adamant that he can thrive and be relentless in both markets, Fel took time out with to discuss his different perspectives as a radio DJ, and the reasons behind his decision to sign with So So Def/Island Urban Music  What’s going on man?DJ Felli Fel: Everything’s going good man, thank You’re on fire now.DJ Felli Fel: I’m trying to  So let’s start with this “Get Buck.” You have a lot of different artist looks on that song. What was your thought pattern in putting that together?DJ Felli Fel: I did the record and I was with Akon in Vegas at the studio. We were both out there for All-Star weekend. Basically, he wanted to get into the studio and I was working on some stuff, and he heard that track.  He loved that record, and he wanted to jump on it. It just came together from there.  Once that hook was done, I could get a good gage of who [I wanted] on the record.  I picked Diddy because the record was kind of like a club kind of record and Diddy can do that. The first thing I had to do was pick artist that didn’t have projects that were currently out. Just from the beat and Akon’s hook, I knew this record had the potential to be a big record, on the radio and in the club, but not if there were artists on it that could prevent it from getting played. Diddy’s project was over, I knew he would sound good on the record, and it was just a matter of him liking it.  “Diddy loved it, he jumped on it.  The next person I thought of was Ludacris, because I felt the record needed some depth and Luda’s got such a strong presence and not just from a lyrical standpoint, but he’s a character. I thought he would do that track justice, which he did. The record was pretty much done, but it wasn’t slowed down at the end. I didn’t do that to the record until the very end when Akon, Diddy and Luda were already on the song.  I wanted to do something different. I felt the record was cool but, it needs something else. I got that idea from being a DJ. It was a house record in the late 80s that slowed down from like 125 beats per minute to maybe 60 beats per minute.  I always wanted to do that to a record. It had never been done to a Hip-Hop record and the first person I thought of was Lil Jon.  It kind of gave you that feel that it was time to get Crunk.  I was actually recording around the corner at a studio in Hollywood that’s like five minutes from where Jon stays at.  He was like “Come over man.” I did and we partied for a minute and he knocked his part out, and it was a wrap.  I go with Vibe and feel, and all those people felt  Singles kind of dictate the industry these days.  Did that open up the door for you to do more things?DJ Felli Fel:  Well actually the offers came in like immediately when the record started getting played. What happened was we just sent out an email. As you know s**t has changed. It used to be you’d have to press up vinyl or press up Cds.  Nowadays, if you got a hot record, and the right email contacts, you’re blasting it off to all these emails. If Djs like it, they are  gonna play it.  I’m a firm believer in knowing the importance or a record growing organically. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need somebody working it or promoting it. We really just did an email blast. There were people following up on the record and making sure the Djs got it but, for the most part, when Djs did hear it, they gravitated to it and played it. Within the matter of a couple of weeks the record was getting spun at multiple stations around the country. But primarily most of the offers came in within the first three weeks but it took me about a month or two to decide what I wanted to  Why did you end up with So So Def?Dj Felli Fel: I ended up rolling with Jermaine (Dupree) because I think he saw my vision as a producer/DJ, but he had a new situation. He had new and fresh ideas that he was bringing to Def Jam.  Not to mention that I had known him for years.  I just felt the vibe that we had made me comfortable with him.  Most importantly, I needed to be under a big umbrella.  Obviously, Universal/Def Jam, has a s**t load of artists under the same umbrella. Whereas if I would have gone to Warner Brothers or Sony, they don’t necessarily have a lot of artists. So I wouldn’t have had a lot of leverage when it came to clearing  those artists.  I got a lot of artists to choose from to work with.  So I guess that answers why you can get Neyo and Kanye on a track as well.DJ Felli Fel:  I had Ne-yo’s part done before I did the “Get Buck” record. Ne-Yo didn’t jump on it because I did [that record], he liked the record.  I was doing multiple records at one time, but yeah, I was definitely in the mind state of where do I go after this.  I had to come with something as big [as “Get Buck”].  I had to come with records that are big records. I have other artists on this album that are superstars in their own  Kanye is arguably the top rapper now, Diddy is always huge always, how do you top that?Dj Felli Fel:  I don’t want to name the other artists that I’m trying to get on this album .( laughs) I could name you a slew of artists that I’m trying to get on this album like Ciara, E-40, Rhianna, possibly Nelly.  I’ll just put it to you like this. There’s a record I’m trying to do with two or three individuals, and this record, as far as star power, would be even bigger than “Get Buck” or the “Finer Things.”  How does being a Dj influence your production?Dj Felli Fel: You know what man, it plays a lot into that. All my life my job as a Dj has been to keep people on the dance floor. I gotta play those songs that will keep them dancing. Or I gotta be a Dj on the radio that I feel will keep people listening. So the way that bleeds over into being a Dj and a producer is now my job is to make sure that I make records that keep people on the dance floor and keep people listening.  When I make a record, my ears are tuned to the Club and the radio. Basically when I finish a record I ask myself, if I got this in the mail from a major label, would I play it? If the answer is no, for the most part, I’m not f*****g with it. I’m in my own lane as a Dj because I’m making records that are not only star studded, but they are radio and club friendly. They are feel good party records, and I think that’s where it’s at  What sets you apart from the other Djs that are doing albums?DJ Felli Fel:  One of the things that makes me different is the fact that I actually produce the music.  Everything on my album is done with my fingers and with my ears. It’s nobody coming in and giving me a beat or playing something. The only thing that you’ll hear that’s not me is if somebody is playing the guitar. Other than that, it’s me. That’s obviously still producing. At the end of the day, these other Djs are still producing, they are just not performers.  I can perform these records in the studio. So that’s one thing that sets me apart, and I’m very proud of that.  I think the other thing that sets me apart is that I have records that are a little more worldly.  I’m not trying to limit myself.  For the record, I’m not trying to take anything away from these other guys, but I think my records are a little more Universal. I’m not just trying to get play in one particular region. I’m trying to do big records. I think “Get Buck” was  a record that was big overseas.  That’s what sets me  Do you think that radio experience has given you a slight advantage?DJ Felli Fel: Well I think so. Being on the radio, your ear gets tuned to a certain sound.  That’s coincidentally the type of music that I like to make. I don’t like to see my ratings down, so I gotta keep playing s**t on the radio that will keep people listening.  With my music, I don’t like to see bad numbers on the charts. I want to make music that people gravitate to. Being on the radio is an advantage because my ear is tuned to that lane.  You now wear several hats, and are very successful at all of them. Do you think you’ll have to make a decision to focus on one thing, or can you juggle both?DJ Felli Fel:  Well right now, I’m able to juggle both. Fortunately I work for a radio station at Power 106, in Los Angeles, that has been very cooperative in my extra-curricular activities. Recently, we talked about working out a new situation for me which would open up my schedule a little bit more. It would entail a lot of pre-recording in my show. So if I have to go out of town for spurts of time, that’s an alternative. But, do I see myself one day walking away from radio? Everything changes.  I have a passion for radio, and that record deal might be gone tomorrow. You know the state of this industry. Nobody’s selling albums. When Jay-Z hasn’t broke a million records, that’s a problem.  That would be really hard for me because I have an equal passion for making music as I do for playing  Give me the details on your album.DJ Felli Fel: Well basically, the name of the album is called Go DJ and they just gave me a April [release] date. It looks like we’re going to put out an EP, more than an album.  Jermaine and I were talking and basically this might start a trend. Our theory is, why put fourteen songs on a project and potentially waste these songs and waste some of these favors.  We can just put five to seven smash hits on one Cd.  But I’ll have more artists on this album on five to seven songs than most would have on a whole album.  You’re already dealing with a lot of politics.  To do an album with fourteen songs and have superstar artists is a whole other thing. To do a record that has like six songs with superstars is more realistic. It also allows me to focus on doing hits as opposed to throwing records on as album fillers. If you listen to a lot of these current album that are out, what are you gonna find, of songs you really like? Maybe three? I already got two.  How will you market this record differently because sales are way down in the industry?DJ Felli Fel:  This is a different time, this is a different era. We’re no longer in a technological evolution, we’re in the middle of the revolution. Everything has changed.  Not only has technology changed, at the same time we’re on the verge of a recession and our economy sucks a**. It would be different if technology changes to the point where  lives change, but it’s another thing when we have a bad economy at the same exact time. People don’t know what to do right now. They don’t know how to market things. If they do figure out how to market it, it doesn’t make sense financially. Speaking for the music industry, people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off saying,”What the f**k do we do?”  So Jermaine, myself, his crew, my management, and Def Jam are all kind of feeling our way through. It always goes back to how good the record is. That’s what I love about Jermaine and L.A. Reid.  They can listen to a record and say, “Oh that s**t is a monster, let’s move on that.” Where other record labels, I think they just don’t f***in get it. I think that the decision to go with Island/DefJam/SoSo Def was the best decision I could have ever made. They’re gonna find niche and that lane to not only survive but to profit in the midst of this technological revolution and borderline economic recession.  Anything you want to add?DJ Felli Fel:  Man, just the Go DJ album is coming and it’s gonna be a party.