Photo by Carina Najia
The summer of 2020, better known as “the summer of lockdown”, was when my passion for music was at its peak. Lockdown meant that there was simply nothing to do and nothing to be done, aside from pursuing your passions. For me, this manifested itself in my scouring of Spotify every day for hours to discover new artists; and at one point, I found who I thought was going to be the next Masego. I had stumbled upon Feng Suave, a Dutch duo which happens to be made up of two Daniels (Daniel De Jong and Daniel Leonard Elvis), and whose music — much like their matching names — just itched the right corner of my brain. Feng Suave’s music is all-encompassing; you feel it in every part of your body. From the second you listen to the first verse, you’re already a fan, but what’s magical is that you’re not really sure why. The melodies are a perfect combination of soulful and psychedelic, the type of music that gets even better with every listen because you notice something new every time.
When the band performed on the world-wide-web-renowned series A Colors Show a year later, in 2021, I knew I had stumbled upon greatness. I followed all of their subsequent releases, and waited patiently until November 2nd 2022, where I finally got to see them perform live at London's Lafayette. The venue was incredibly intimate, and as eclectic as the crowd standing in it. Audience members fashioned drastic mullets and heavy eyeliner, draping themselves in brown leather and denim vests, waiting for the show to begin.
Feng Suave appeared on stage looking very relaxed at exactly 9pm. They graced the stage in tight tanks and tees, and basic beanies and bucket hats. Everything about them was just so easy-going. They played nearly their entire discography, to a crowd who couldn’t help but sway in unison with every track. Highlights included my personal favourite song, ‘People Wither’, which perfectly describes how it feels to live in your head and drown yourself in your own despair. The lyrics describe this as letting “the sun pour through the window, for no one”. However, what’s so beautiful about this song is that it reminds you that you are never alone in these feelings of despondence. The first lines of the chorus are “I know how you feel", which is a breath of fresh air from the melancholy of the previous verse.
Later, they performed one of their older songs, ‘Noche Oscura’. The song is about searching for peace, "finding solace in just noticing the stars above". This lyric really puts things into perspective: in comparison to the vastness of the universe, we are reminded of how we are so small, and our problems so insignificant. Similarly, finding "shelter in a dream" nods to an attempt at escaping the real world in pursuit of a perfect imaginary fantasy; the instrumental at the end of the song feels like being invited into this dream. At first, it sounds like falling asleep, calm and drowsy, the melody almost similar to a lullaby. As the melody slowly disappears into the strumming of guitars and beating of drums, the music gets progressively more intense and stimulating, and the dream seems to become almost lucid.
Feng Suave have their fans wrapped around the strings of their guitars. They modestly admitted that their London performance marked the most tickets they had ever sold “by far”, but I don’t think that will be the case for much longer. Feng Suave are contagious. Once you start listening to their music, you simply can’t stop.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor