Mile Higher Musicians: Felix Fast4ward
Mile Higher Musicians
The Denver legend speaks on his sonic progression
When it comes to staples on the Denver music scene, Felix Fast4ward is a name that is often mentioned. His eclectic sound, which incorporates global influences, has found a home in the Mile High City among the ever evolving musical landscape. We got the opportunity to talk with Felix about his sonic progression and how he came to his unique stylings. Learn more below and be sure to catch Felix at the Bluebird Theater on April 29 as he performs alongside Masego & The Trap House Jazz Band as a part of the next Red Bull Sound Select Show.
You’ve been making music for quite a while now and play a plethora of instruments. What made you become so musical?
I would say the turntable itself was pretty much the first instrument that got me thinking about being able to play music at some point. Having records & being able to use those in the turntable realm added to the curiosity and made me realize some day I might be able to play the phrases I was finding on those records.
Both your parents are from Nigeria. How has that affected your music?
I would say being able to hear the High Life records and Fela and afrobeat and different unique rhythms added a lot to my preferences. At this point I don’t stick to one genre, it’s going to be something that rhythmically inspires me for sure.
You have a unique and eclectic sound that incorporates music from around the world. What has helped you find that style? How would you describe it to people?
Well, I feel like my taste of it at first was kind of like, I was living near Lamont School of Music and I met friends that were going there who were into fusiony hip hop. It was the dawn of the jam band thing but these groups incorporated a little more structure and a different musical approach. I felt that was the dawn of the hybrid music thing where you don’t have to choose a specific genre and I feel like over time, as far as progression goes, I feel like that’s hard to call, I feel like there’s a lot of groups and it’s growing in the way that people are able to narrow down exactly what they want to do. There’s still hybridization but there is a specific uniqueness that is coming from that soulful musicality type of stuff. That may just be the groups who have attracted me, but I feel like groups like that are sort of the Denver style.
It’s really, just the names change, but I feel like the amount of imagination and execution is still there and that’s what always excited me about the scene here. I feel like where it’s going, it’s just going to keep evolving. It’s like silly putty or clay in that way.
Why did you decide on the “one-man-band” format?
Mostly just to be able to explore. I’ve been in bands before where the leader has really specific ideas and at the end of the day I just wanted to see where my ideas would take me without them being impeded upon. I just wanted to see my vision and I feel like I’m growing out of that and growing into a more collaborative area. That’s the contrast of that idea is that you find your preferences by yourself and then when you go back to the band setting, you can allow other peoples influence to help mold the music.
You play many instruments including guitar, flute, and harmonica. Do you have a favorite?
Well, I want to say the mind. It’s the one that comes up with all the cool ideas. Out of the instruments, I couldn’t just pick one. It’s all about the mind and how it approaches the music.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I would say Steve Howe from Yes, Herbie Hancock, Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, drummers like Jared Quinox, actually a lot of Denver musicians.
Throughout the years, I’m sure you’ve performed many times. Is there any one performance that sticks out to you?
I want to say it would have to be DJ Lowkey. He threw a beat battle at what used to be Beauty Bar and I got to perform my solo set and also perform with Fly Forward which is a side project with Babah Fly and Mike Wird.