Wed, 21 October, 2020
Interview: Chris Murray
Photographs: Amadeus Brzezinski
Feena embodies the spirit of a new generation of music fans finding their feet amongst some turbulent times. Hopeful and uplifting, she's an electric, Edinburgh based talent, harnessing the intricacies of music to inform and inspire her peers. We popped round for tea at Feena’s to chat finding music, mental health, community and noodles.
Orchestra Baobab – Tribute To Ndiouga Dieng (2017)
C: So when do you first remember becoming interested in music?
F: Well I’ve always been interested in music, when i was little I started playing the violin when i was 5, played that for a number of years and moved on to the piano. I’ve always had music in my life and was always listening to music. Memories of sitting in front of my Dad’s hi-fi and stuff, I’ve always been drawn to it.
C: Can you remember any of the records your Dad would put on his hi-fi?
F: A lot of African music and a lot of brazilian music that I've come back to listen to now. We’re reconnecting over artists i would hear when i was little but not really realise that i was hearing or paying attention to. Then hearing them now I’m like “oh my god, yeah I remember this, I love this”. I remember Baba Maal and Orchestra BaoBab, those are a couple that come to mind.
C: What is your favourite meal right now? And what’s its soundtrack?
F: I honestly was deliberating over this more than any other question then I remembered these Korean ramen noodles. They’re really spicy, I think they’re just called ‘korean spicy noodles’ and they have this chicken on the front with fire coming out of its mouth. I’m obsessed with them. I’ve been listening to a lot of ehfm just having on as background music. I think being by myself in the flat at the moment I like to have music on most of the time, or some kind of noise. I was listening to Home Listening last night, or No Fixed Self - that’s one of my favourite shows so I’ve been listening to that a lot.
C: I wondered if you could talk to us a little bit about what radio means to you?
F: It’s a space where lots of people who are interested in music and the music scene, it’s a space where those people come together and meet each other and share music and stuff, that’s not in a club or a bar. I think that’s one of the huge benefits of the station itself is bringing people together in that way, people getting to meet each other. Maybe even people who don’t really enjoy going to clubs but still have that interest in music. Having something small and local with people who are around you I think is really important.
C: What led you to enter the world of DJing for the first time?
F: Well I was first, kind of, garnering an interest in electronic music, just after I was old enough to go to clubs - 19 or something. I remember some of my pals at the time becoming DJs, or getting into DJing, i thought it was a certain type of person that was supposed to do DJing, or you had to be something to try and learn so I never considered it an option for myself. Mid 2018 I just decided to take it up as a hobby, I saw a lot more people who i could relate to.
I remember when I first started playing around with mixing I messaged Adam Zarecki. I thought I'd just shoot him a message just to say I’d enjoyed his track, he gave me loads of advice and information. That was really encouraging. Then he gave me my first gig also. Just generally I think due to the environment becoming a lot more inclusive and less gatekeeper-y I just found myself in a position that it was open to me to take these opportunities.
C: So prior to that were you collecting music, or did you start doing so when you started DJing?
F: I would download music that i enjoyed and listen to it on my phone or on my ipod, back in the day, but I didn't really collect records. Although my dad had always collected records I never really became interested in that until a few years ago. but i was like this is so expensive and a few other things were going on in my life,so i never really nurtured that interest. I had a couple of Burial records and Pete Heller's ‘Big love’, I remember that being one of the first purchases on discogs that I made.
I didn’t really buy anything for a number of years after that, i don’t really know what drew me to collecting them again, it’s a strange hobby or fascination - i think having something physical that you see and hold and put on.
Pete Heller's Big Love – Big Love (1998)
F: At the time I was going through a really hard time with my own mental health and I found listening to podcasts and hearing other people talk about their experiences with mental health and also talking about my own experiences with mental health. I found that really therapeutic. Having struggled with my mental health on and off for years, if something positive was to grow out of that maybe that’s sharing that with other people and creating a conversation around it where i for one can express what i know about mental health and maybe someone will take something from that and find it enjoyable to hear.
C: So you’re obviously part of the Miss World family, could you tell us what it’s like to be part of a collective like that?
F: It’s super wholesome to be part of a group of women who are all very much themselves in different ways, everyone’s so encouraging of each other. Being part of a collective that’s actively trying to work to make things better is very important. If you’re going to have a club night or be a promoter, why wouldn’t it be inclusive or work to change the spaces that we dance in.
C: Do you think there is positive change happening?
F: For sure. I think clubs in general are becoming more inclusive, more places have zero tolerance policies to things like harassment. There definitely has been a lot of improvements, in the scene in general not just in club spaces specifically. There’s a lot more positive encouragement and less gatekeeping. It’s less intimidating in a lot of ways, and having groups like Miss World when i was starting out i looked up to them so much. I thought they’re so cool and they’re so themselves, that was really nice to see and I think even as a clubber or someone who'd like to get into DJing, seeing people who are just themselves and have a platform is important.
Liam Robertson - Village of Killin (2019)
C: What song or artist do you think everyone’s who’s listening to this podcast or reading online should be going to check out afterwards?
F: So in terms of dark bassy sounds, Liam Robertson, there’s an EP and another EP with versions of the first on Redstone Press, the record is called 'Village of Killin'. I think his EPs in particular are very emotive, there’s one track in particular I feel like I'm in a cave when I’m listening to it, it’s crazy.
The other two things I wanted to mention are not artists per say but are compilations on Bandcamp that everyone should go and listen to. The first is the Beirut Relief Fund that Hiba put together, it’s artists from Edinburgh to Lebanon in aid of Beirut; mental health NGOs and food banks to support the country in the long run as well as immediate relief.
I would also recommend the [Open Minds VA] compilation by Mind Yer Self they released, I think a couple of months ago. Again that’s going to mental health charities in Scotland and has some really nice housey numbers from Scottish producers. Definitely two albums I’d recommend.
C: Thanks so much for talking to us Feena!
F: Thanks so much for listening to me ramble about things [laughs], I appreciate the time.