Felix Jaehn talks about comeback and mission to promote safe spaces in nightlife
Welcome back, Felix! How did you spend your break?
Thank you! I was offline quite a bit and had lots of downtime. I did some gardening, some traveling and I also partied a lot at many raves. Of course, I also worked on music. Basically, I did everything that I wanted to do in the present moment - without having to think about a calendar or a diary. It was like: Okay, I don’t even care what I’m doing in two days. I can just do whatever I want to do now.
Usually, people return from their travels different from how they left. How has travel changed you?
I definitely feel more confident. I’m more centered and I know better who I am and what I want. I also really used the break to reflect on the past ten years of my career and also to figure out how I want to proceed with the next ten years.
We can hear that change, too! What inspired you to change your sound so much?
Over the last couple of months, my music generally got faster and faster and more ravey. I definitely feel that it is influenced by going out by myself and being at parties without having to work. Apart from that, I spent lots of time on Soundcloud and discovered new trends and new artists.
Was there anything special that blew your mind on Soundcloud?
I discovered Butschi from Leipzig in Germany. There is a really cool bubble of Trance DJs and producers in that city right now. Butschi particularly inspired and amazed me. I listened to his music so much while I was in Mexico, hanging at the beach. So I hit him up and we ended up doing a track together. I am super grateful for that.
You being in Mexico – him being in Germany: How did you work on ‘Atme Ein (Atme Rauch Aus)’ together?
It started with me just sending him a message saying: ‘Yo what’s up? I really love your stuff. If you need any help at all, or if you just want to connect: Just let me know.’ And he was super hyped that I reached out to him. Our first call ended up being two or three hours long - talking about life, about music, about the music industry also, because it is his wish to make a living from his music. I was like: ‘I can help you with that. Let’s go! I am happy to share all my experience and knowledge in context with you, so let’s go on a journey together.’ And so we did.
Compared to “Atme Ein (Atme Rauch Aus)”, your new single “All For Love” feat. Sandro Cavazza sounds very Felix Jaehn-typical. Will we be enjoying both of your musical worlds in the future?
Yes, of course - and probably many many more. I am super diverse as a person and so is my musical taste, too. I definitely try to incorporate as much of that as I can into the Felix Jaehn-world that you know. Besides the fast, rave-y stuff of course I still also like the slower dance-pop songs.
Tell us about "All For Love" feat. Sandro Cavazza. What does the record mean to you?
Well, I just love ‘All For Love’ so, so much - and I am a big fan of Sandro Cavazza as well. I am super grateful to be doing this together. I love the energy of this song; I love that Sandro almost screamed the lyrics out. In the studio I experienced it quite often that vocalists sing very quietly - sometimes you can hardly hear it. Then within the production, you would boost the vocal part so that it sounds good. But Sandro is screaming it out and I love that energy! Production-wise, ‘All For Love’ really sounds like a typical Felix Jaehn song, which for me is mainly the combination of a dance production with electronic elements combined with the strings and recorded live cello and live violin. All of that blended together with Sandro to me is just wonderful.
Your musical worlds combined: How will that look like from now on when you play live?
It will be the best of both worlds, I guess. In the past years, I was already experimenting with speeding up the tempo a little bit towards the end. The end will now be a little bit longer, so I guess I’ll be doing kind of half-half: Starting slowish around 128 BPM and then going up to 155 trance music. I think that it will be super fun to start “slow”, which used to be the old “fast”, and then go super fast.
You are already back on stage again. Where will you be playing this summer?
In summer I am playing all over Europe. I’m super excited to be back in Ibiza supporting David Guetta and playing with Robin Schulz. I’m playing festivals in Finland, in Latvia, in Germany of course, in Switzerland, in the Netherlands - basically all over Europe; but just keeping it to Europe at the moment, because I really want to be careful not to do too much too fast again. That is why I am avoiding intercontinental travel for now but in October, I just confirmed my first show in Brazil. So then I’ll probably be doing a little tour in Central Latin and North America.
Is there anything else that comes to your mind when you think about the upcoming festival season?
Yes. One thing that’s really bothering me right now is the topic of awareness in clubs which, to this date, still lacks a lot. That includes several issues like racism, sexism, and homophobia. Unfortunately, lots of people don’t have the privilege to feel safe in a club or festival environment at the moment. I’m really thinking and educating myself about that, hoping to be able to help make a change.
What can be done to avoid people not feeling safe in a club or festival environment?
To avoid that, we need to target all of these topics like for example racism, sexism, and homophobia - of course, there are some more, but to me, those are the three most urgent issues right now. Of course, we have to do this as humanity and society overall - but in particular in clubs and festivals, I’ve noticed when going out myself that more and more venues are starting to have awareness teams that are working at the party specifically for that.
What is an awareness team?
An awareness team consists of people, ideally from all genders, that work at the club, who have educated themselves on those topics, and that is capable of helping victims. Those people are able to communicate well, to talk to victims, and also to the people who harmed others. As a first action, they try to see where they are at and talk to them then. If they really don’t get it, they can also send those people home. If they feel like there is a chance, and the victim is also open to it, they will then moderate and communicate. All of this is happening with the goal to normalize awareness in clubs.
Personally, I don’t go to any events anymore where they don’t have an awareness team in place because it’s so important that everybody at a party can feel safe and express themselves in whatever way they want to while respecting everybody else.
Have you ever felt unsafe or been harmed, too?
Yeah, I have. I have been attacked verbally lots and lots of times for being queer. Most recently, also while going out, unfortunately. That was actually the one party I went to which didn’t have an awareness team. Do you still feel comfortable and confident with your new look then? Yeah, I definitely feel comfortable in my new look. I just love it! It is coming from the inside out. I am finally finding a new side of myself. It took me 28 years to dare to dress like this because the way I was raised and socialized, it was deemed this style was “feminine” and “I couldn’t do this as a guy”. But I can and I feel comfortable with it. But of course at the same time I am aware that the risk of being assaulted or even harmed physically is now a lot higher because people can clearly identify me as queer in society.
Thanks so much, Felix.
About Felix Jaehn
For years, Felix Jaehn has been one of the globally most successful and sought-after DJs and producers. Precociously inclined from a very young age, he has been involved in the realm of music for quite some time. Having won the prestigious Bambi Award for his international success and being voted Best Dance Act at the German 1Live Radio Awards for 4 times in a row, he became the youngest artist in history to receive 2 Diamond Award certifications. Jaehn's remix of OMI's 'Cheerleader' achieved the #1 charting position in 55 countries including 6 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and his follow up single, 'Ain't Nobody (Loves Me Better)' hit #1 in 36 countries. In addition to that, more than ten Felix Jaehn records have racked up over 100 million streams.Since then, he has continuously delivered a stream of infectious and high quality productions that dominate playlists and dancefloors worldwide. From dance pop and tech house to happy rave and trance, his electrifying stage presence has seen him take over the decks at some of the world’s most elusive stages, including Tomorrowland, Parookaville, ULTRA Music Festival, and many more. But what sets Felix Jaehn apart in particular is his ability to create music that is not only catchy and danceable but also emotionally moving. With more than 21 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Felix Jaehn is on his unbreakable path to success in 2023. Having collected multiple diamond, platinum and gold awards all over the globe, his collaboration ‘All For Love’ with Sandro Cavazza is his third release this year, following the international hit ‘Weekends’ with Jonas Blue and his collaboration ‘Atme Ein (Atme Rauch Aus)’ with Butschi and Fairy Mary. Also recently world stars Taylor Swift and Sam Smith chose him as a remixer for their songs ‘Lavender Haze’ and ‘Lose You’.