FESTPOP INTERVIEW with BILL HAMEL of FATUM
BY ELAINE TAYLOR
FATUM’s “Violet,” Listen Here
FATUM (pronounced “FATE-um”) is the GRAMMY-nominated American electronic dance music act consisting of Chad Newbold, Bruce Karlsson, Daniel Davis, and Bill Hamel established in 2014. With releases on leading record labels, Armada Music, Anjunabeats, Black Hole, Ultra Music, Big Beat/Atlantic and Ride, the group has made a considerable impact on the global dance music scene. With support from fellow artists, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond, The Chainsmokers, Kaskade, Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten and others, FATUM has quickly established a toehold in the international dance music firmament. FATUM’s remix of “Hold On” featuring singer/songwriter, Jes Brieden, earned the group a GRAMMY nomination at the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards for “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical” in 2015. In 2017, FATUM’s original song with vocalist Angel Taylor, “On My Own” (Armind), won in the category of “EDM” at the 8th annual Hollywood Music In Media Awards where the group performed in front of an A-list audience of the music industry’s elite. As a live act, FATUM can be seen performing at major festivals and nightclubs. FATUM has performed live as part of Anjunabeats branded events including at Escapade Festival in Ottawa, Canada and at Anjunabeach during Miami Music Week 2018. The energy FATUM brings to its progressive-sounding music is undeniable.
FestPop: We at Festpop hear FATUM’s just signed a multi-release deal with Armin van Buuren’s label, Armada Music. Congrats! How did this arrangement come to be?
Bill Hamel of FATUM: Thank you! Armin has been arguably the biggest supporter of our records, even the records that Armada didn’t release. We were featured on his last A State Of Trance annual mix CD. Our new release is “Violet” and that single is included on Armin’s ASOT 2018 mix compilation coming-out today [March 30th]! We’re super excited. Armin also included another one of our singles, “Mowgli,” on the ASOT mix compilation! What an honor. Armin is a very smart man with great taste.
FestPop: Was there a specific tune of FATUM’s that caught Armin’s attention?
FATUM: Armin has debuted all of our releases for quite some time now. If we had to narrow it down to one we’d say our track with Angel Taylor “On My Own”. He mentioned how often we had been on his ASOT shows and gave Angel some by talking about the track they did together.
FestPop: You’ve had releases on Anjunabeats, Above & Beyond’s label, as well. Does that mean you’d describe your sound as being firmly in the wheelhouse of “trance”? I detect a very proggy, house-y vibe to your music. How would you describe your sound?
FATUM: This is the question we get asked the most. We always have the same answer. “We sound like FATUM”. Without question, this is what made us get so much attention so fast. We have elements from a lot of genres. That was the goal when the Fatum of us collaborated for the first time. We all love and produced vastly different types of music. Fatum is the common ground we all liked from all genres that we knew would make big records.
FestPop: Changing gears a little, now. Since FestPop is a travel-related blog that centers on, you guessed it, music festivals, can you tell us if you’re playing any festivals in the weeks and months ahead? Any festivals planned for summer 2018 season?
FATUM: Yes, the majority of them hopefully. We have teamed up with super agent Hunter Williams who is credited for putting The Chainsmokers on the map. Hunter and the massive CAA booking agency are working all of the big festivals as we speak.
FestPop: What’s your favorite festival(s) to attend, as fans, if not necessarily as performers? (Name the festival name and location.) What about these festivals drew you to them, specifically?
FATUM: We’d say EDC Vegas. It’s EDC and it’s in Vegas. [laughs] Two wins with that one. Unless you lose in Vegas, of course.
FestPop: As global travelers, what are some of the cities/countries/destinations you’ve most enjoyed visiting around the world over the years? Is there a place you haven’t yet been, that you hope to visit in the coming years?
FATUM: To be honest we’ve played the U.S. cites mostly on Anjuabeats tours. After our GRAMMY nomination, we knew that we had to go full force in the studio to keep that momentum up.
FestPop: FATUM is four guys. Do all four of you perform together at big festivals?
FATUM: We started out with one single song “Words” thanks to Daniel Davis who was recommended to me by personal friend Andy Moor. Dan quickly became our liaison for Chad and me with the labels. When we did the GRAMMY-nominated JES remix “Hold On,” we asked Dan and his good friend Bruce Karlsson of Bad Royale if they wanted to collaborate on this remix. It was a home run obviously and we knew we had something special as a team and the rest is history. Chad is a huge serial entrepreneur but also the biggest fan of dance music of the bunch. I spent the first 14 years of my career touring with BT and on my own. I have my personal productions with major labels that I’m committed to. Bruce and Dan are the “youngsters” as we call them so they are a no-brainer to do the bulk of the touring and I’ll fill in if one of them is not available. In time if we get longer sets you could see the three of us up there. We have a tentative live show that if we focused on we could roll out quickly.
FestPop: What’s your setup like when performing at big festivals, in terms of “bandmembers” and gear setup?
FATUM: Our rider consists of four Pioneer CDJ-2000s linked together, a Pioneer DJM-800NXS DJ Mixer and various video screens for our visuals.
FestPop: Where do you see the U.S. festival scene going/evolving in the next five years?
FATUM: There will always be different stages. Technology changes so rapidly that an artist’s set up could drastically change year to year which creates a better experience for the fans.
FestPop: For the world-weary traveler and music festival devotee who has nevertheless never seen FATUM perform live, what would you say to that music-lover at the next big festival where you’ll be playing? (i.e. Your, “come see us because” reason)
FATUM: Our music, first of all! Our stage setup will grow fast. However, we are minimalists and want the music to get and hold the audience’s attention, not the visuals.
FestPop: What’s next for FATUM?
FATUM: We have the 10 track deal w/ Armada and we just started dropping our new look in Miami during Ultra Music Festival and Miami Music Week. We also have a press agent and radio promoter who works us pretty hard! [laughs]