Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with FATUM

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with FATUM

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, Anjunabeats, Armada Music, Black Hole Recordings, Ultra Music, etc., 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, 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. The energy FATUM brings to its progressive-sounding music is undeniable.

I got the chance to sit down with FATUM’s Bill Hamel.

You guys just released a new single on Anjunabeats titled “Chocolate.” Tell me more about that release and what it’s been like working with Anjunabeats.
“Chocolate” is exactly what you’d expect from us. A banging, big bassline, floor-shaker that this time breaks in o the euphoric section during the break before dropping back into that bassline, as we like to say. Anjuabeats is fantastic! They have the big label reach with the attention-to-detail of more intimate-sized labels. They always care about every release and every artist. They fill you in during the release period and let you know who’s playing it and where. Then post-release, the Anjuna team gives us a nice rundown on what the record did. Above & Beyond hand-pick every release and because of that, they give it full support on their ABGT show. We have done several guest mixes for them.

I’ve seen two guys in the booth… Acts like Cosmic Gate and Tritonal. I’ve even seen three guys in the booth… Acts like Above & Beyond and Glitch Mob. But I’ve never seen four. Tell me more about the setup and how you guys all stay busy during a performance!
99% percent of the time it will be FATUM members, Daniel [Davis] and Bruce [Karlsson]. In the beginning when things took off so fast, Chad and I did a few hometown shows. Bruce was very busy with his other group, Bad Royale, and the same went for Dan with his other act, Judah. Chad hand-picks about 90% of what we play and what goes into our podcasts. He is more obsessed with dance music than anyone I’ve ever met in my 23 year career! I spent the first 11 years of my career touring around the world as BT’s opening DJ, so I’m not that fond of flying in and flying out the next day. But when we play shows in Vegas, for example, rest assured all four of us will be there, even if it’s just two of us on the decks! (Laughs.)

You guys have produced a lot of different remixes. How do you decide what songs to remix? Do you have to get permission from the original artist before producing a remix of their song?
Yes, you have to. Otherwise, it would be a bootleg. Each one of us has our own wheelhouse and this is definitely mine. I received my first GRAMMY nomination in 2004 for remixing Seal. That opened up the door to the second half of my career remixing major artists. When FATUM gelled, it was an easy sell for me to go back to the labels I had worked with and let them know if they needed remixes, we were available.

The only thing better than electronic dance music is seeing a show up close and personal. What can fans expect from a live performance?
We do have a live show in the bag, as well, if it ever comes to that. Not some pre-recorded junk but actual, live instrumentation along with Ableton Live which lets us take any part from any of our songs’ stems and drop it in on-the-fly.

You had a track featured on A State Of Trance. Armin van Buuren is a pretty big deal. What was that like and did you know you were going to be featured on his radio show?
Armin has been a big FATUM supporter since day one and we are so grateful. We knew we were going to be on his album but we never knew we’d be on his show until five minutes after he played one of our songs! Armin is incredible and we’re so thankful for his continued support.

Vegas has become the epicenter for EDM in the United States. What are some of your favorite rooms in Sin City?
Funny, that came up in an earlier question. To be honest, I think it would be easier to name a bad one because we’ve never been to a bad event there. It just really depends on what type of music and vibe you feel like going to, and Vegas has it all.

You were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2016. Nominations are great, but what would it mean to win one? Also, that remix of “Hold On” is incredible. Don’t tell JES, but it might be better than the original!
GRAMMY nominations are amazing because you are being recognized by fellow musicians. That makes the GRAMMYs special. They are not influenced by sponsors. Every nominee from every category really deserves to be there. To win one would be great, but just being nominated is something that most musicians will never get to experience. Regarding a remix verses the original debate. When you get handed such an amazing vocal from such an amazing artist, things can gel like “Hold On” did. Remixing a song that is good to begin with always makes for the toughest remixes to do.

2017 is almost over. Any big plans this winter? What does 2018 look like for you guys?
We’re just enjoying the downtime because the music industry shuts down from Thanksgiving until after New Year’s. We’re also using this downtime to strategize for next year. I think 2018 is going to be great for us!

There are a lot of big names out there. Who are some of your biggest influences? Who are you listening to when not producing your own hit singles?
Wow, well we all listen to such a variety of music outside of dance music that there would be too many genres to list, much less artists. Those genres and influences are what we bring to the table via FATUM. I think that is why our music sounds like nothing else.

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