Feels Are Mixing Electronic Music With Percussion

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Feels is the Perth electronic-percussion duo of Elise Reitze and Rosie Taylor.

With a launch show upcoming for their newest single ‘Prior Engagement’ (released late July) and with a debut EP, ‘Emerald’, in the works, Feels are ready to bring you all the percussive-dance feels this spring.

Tell us a bit about the story so far of Feels? You meet in high school, right?
We met at a high school percussion programme at WAAPA and have pretty much played music together since then. Although we went to different schools and universities, we continued to collaborate in any way we could. It was almost ten years later after meeting that we decided to form Feels and that was that.

You guys blend electronic music with percussion; rhythms must be central to your world on a daily basis?
We are both doing music full-time playing percussion every day. Rhythm is almost inescapable for us… we both use car indicators as metronomes at traffic lights to test feels rhythmic ideas haha. That is pretty standard for most percussionists. The temptation to practice rhythms with your brake/ accelerator pedal is real.

What usually sparks a creative idea that can lead to a new Feels jam?
Something very simple, but effective. It usually takes on solid melody/ chord progression/ beat. Rhythm and rhythmic groupings are always the central focus. Sometimes it will be a single bar of groove or a certain time signature that will be the spark of a track. We will often write without listening or playing anything back and relying on what it sounds like in our heads; sometimes absolute conviction to an immediate idea can really pay off.

Rosie likes seeing Elise write an entire phrase straight into Ableton without listening to it at all… something about that confidence tells me I’m gonna love what happens when she finally clicks play.

You guys have a local show at The Bird in early August to launch a new single ('Prior Engagement'); what do you have planned for the night performance wise? Any special guests you'll drag up on stage?
Our single ‘Prior Engagement’ dropped in the last week of July and this is the live premiere of this brand, new track. The track is the single from our debut EP ‘Emerald’ coming out in the next few months through. We are very excited to be working with Melbourne-based record label Spirit Level, run by Tim Shiel (Double J and Triple J) and Wally De Backer (Gotye).

The night is a showcase of the community group we started WOMPP (Women of Music Production Perth). WOMPP is a platform for women, transgender and non-binary music makers to share and discuss music production. WOMPP is a movement we have started to give more opportunity and voice to this community of talented artists that often go under the radar in Perth.

What is the mission statement of WOMPP?
As we mentioned above, WOMPP is a movement we have started to give more opportunity and voice to this community of talented artists that often go under the radar in Perth. Electronic music can often be a ‘boys club’; common examples are festivals with serious under representation from female acts. All too often you hear the response to this issue being: “There’s just not enough girls making music”.

WOMPP is here to prove that that or any other excuse is just not valid. In Perth, a safe and supportive space is needed for this group of people to share their music and to help it grow and develop. Encouragement is necessary if we want to help shape the future of music and improve equal gender representation within our local music scene.

Tell us about the other ladies who'll be performing on the night?
Well first up WYN is a sick DJ and producer; she is well versed in the Perth music scene playing almost every single week. G*Rey is a singer/ songwriter who makes some very fresh French electronica. Alex and Yell have been creating tunes for quite a while and have a lot of knowledge in music production. You might have already heard their tunes in recent theatre works in Perth. Lana has also been dominating the Perth scene in recent times; her incredible vocals and lush live synths have us in love.

Is the creative work with Feels headed towards an album release at some stage?
This past year has been devoted to putting together our EP ‘Emerald’, which we are very proud of. It’s a five-track EP and includes a feature from a very special friend of ours. We are hoping to release another EP end of this year/ early next… then maybe an album.

Do you have plans to bring the Feels show east anytime soon?
Yes, absolutely! Currently have plans in the works so will hope to lock something in for this year. Really keen to bring our live show over.

Away from Feels you guys are pretty active in the local music and arts scene… how vibrant is Perth's creative hub across music, theatre, dance, fringe etc?
Very vibrant! Perth is an excellent community for the arts and we love making music here. Elise composes for a variety of art practices included contemporary dance, theatre and visual art and Rosie performs for a variety of bands that range from musicals, marching band entertainment and Indian/ African hand drumming groups.

There is a lot going on and heaps of amazing people to work with. We are both regularly involved in Fringe and PIAF and would consider ourselves very active.

You both tutor percussion; is that a rewarding aspect of your lives, to share your knowledge with others?
It is extremely rewarding. Also very exciting to know that there is going to be a really strong group of young musicians making their way on to the scene. One of the greatest privileges as a teacher is to work with a current or past student in a professional setting and see how much they have grown as a player.

Knowing that we helped inspire a kid to pursue music is cool especially when everyone around you tells you music is a waste of time or a 'dead-end job'. Elise also teaches music production and and is excited to see young women shredding on Ableton; this is where it all starts.

Feels launch ‘Prior Engagement’ at The Bird 5 August.


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