Atwood Magazine spoke to filous about the joys of collaboration, the 18 instruments he plays, his single “Bicycle,” and what’s next for filous in 2019.
Right now in music it seems like the younger the artist gets, the better they are. Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Sunflower Bean, Mallrat, Let’s Eat Grandma, and Snail Mail are all clear examples that age really is nothing but a number when creating music that’s authentic, raw, and will appeal to a diverse range of audiences. And the list could go on. Another young name that’s generating buzz and deserves to be mentioned is filous, the musical alias of Matthias Oldofredi, who is crafting his unique brand of electro-pop at just 21 years old. filous is a project that manages to display Oldofredi’s own musical fingerprint while also celebrating the magic of collaboration, and to this day Oldofredi has worked with Emily Warren, Mat Kearney, and has remixed tracks by James Bay, Selena Gomez, and Troye Sivan. To say that his future is bright is a severe understatement. “Bicycle”, filous’ latest single with frequent collaborator klei, is a pastel-coloured, blissful pop tune that is everything you want for a Sunday afternoon car ride with your friends.
Atwood Magazine spoke to filous about the joys of collaboration, the 18 instruments he plays, and what’s next for filous in 2019.
Listen: “Bicycle” (feat. klei) [Remixes] – filous
:: A Conversation with filous ::
Atwood Magazine: A lot of your work is based on collaboration, what do you think is so special about artists joining forces to work on something?
filous: Making music is something really personal to me, so when I first started out I didn’t really collaborate with other people. I was scared that as soon as other people get involved with my music, I wouldn’t feel as connected to my songs anymore. After a while of musically isolating myself like that though, it made me stuck in a bubble. I finally realized that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and start to collaborate more.
Starting to work with other artists and writers really opened up a whole new world of making music. I learned so much through listening and seeing how other people make music and gained experience and knowledge I would have never been able to get on my own. Another thing that’s really special to me is that collaborating really helped me form my own taste and style, actually making myself feel way more connected to my music then I did when I was producing and writing on my own. Being in a session with someone else, you really got to open up and let your ideas be challenged by your writing partner. Having to articulate my musical ideas to others and defining what I really want to do, but also being open to compromise and let go of the ideas that don’t withstand scrutiny was super important in my musical development.
How do you choose which artists you want to collaborate with?
filous: I am really open now when I comes to working with other people. The most important thing to me is that I can have a good time making music with them and that we feel some sort of connection or sense that we’re on the same page on what we want to do musically.
How did the collaboration with klei for “Bicycle” come about?
filous: I got know to klei at an award show a couple years ago and immediately was a fan of her unique style, music and personality. We started writing a lot together and she quickly became my go to writing partner. Beginning of 2018 we went to LA together to write some music. One day we got together in a session with the Australian producer Golden Vessel. From the start we had a really great time together and the ideas just started to naturally flow out. We made a little beat, recorded some acoustic guitar and mellotron and then klei got in front of the mic and basically improvised the whole song on the first take. It was really crazy! That was for sure a great day!
The music video for “Bicycle” is so colourful and fun. What was the experience of shooting that like?
filous: We had the most fun shooting the video. Working together with the director Harry Deadman, DP Jesse Lane (he flew from Australia to Amsterdam for 4 days just for the video!) and stylist Ntombi Moyo was super inspiring and they made the whole process feel super natural. Something that was really cool for me was shooting a big part of the video on 16mm film, I always wanted to do that!
Watch: “Bicycle” feat. klei – filous
I also love the choice of shooting half of it on digital and half of it on film, why did you choose that approach?
filous: I am a big fan of old movies and there’s something about the way that they used to use film that makes everything look super iconic and abstract, but still real at the same time. I especially love watching old performances of The Beatles and I really wanted to get a hint of that style into the video.
Currently I’m seeing a trend of electronic dance music also incorporating the acoustic guitar, like on your track “Bicycle” and Mark Ronson’s new song with Miley Cyrus “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”. The acoustic guitar isn’t normally an instrument that naturally goes along with electronic music, it’s quite a warm and stripped back sound, so what do you think it adds to a dance track?
filous: There’s something about the contrast of the clean pumping sound of electronic drums and bass with acoustic/organic elements like the acoustic guitar that’s really interesting and timeless sounding to me. I am always a big fan of combining sounds and styles in a song that shouldn’t work together but somehow do if you find just the right balance. It’s definitely a challenge, but a really fun one!
I’ve read that you play 18 (or more?) instruments, that’s insane! Can you tell me what each of those are when you started learning them? What was the most challenging instrument to learn and which one do you feel the most comfortable writing with?
filous: One of the most challenging instruments for me to learn was the Didgeridoo. It’s such an awkward instrument to play and learning the breathing techniques to be able to play it properly takes ages!
My main instrument at the time is probably the electric guitar. I’ve been writing a lot lately with this weird cassette tape based instrument called onde magnetique though! It really challenges you to come up with new melodies.
How does your sound translate to the live setting? Do you tour with a band or is it a one man show?
filous: My live set up changes from show to show. Sometimes I play alone, sometimes with a whole band! It’s really hard for me to commit to one setting as I always want to improve the experience for the audience and myself. An advantage of that is that you never now what to expect from coming to one of my shows!
What’s the process like for you when you’re writing a song versus when you’re remixing someone else’s?
filous: It’s totally different. When I remix a song I always want to stay true to the original song and artist while still bringing my own voice into the song. Sometimes it comes very easy and sometimes it takes weeks to get into the flow. Keeping the balance just right is very tricky and every song is always a completely new challenge.
When I write a song for my own project most of the time I have a pretty clear vision of what I want it to sound like in the end and the biggest difference probably is that I don’t have to make any compromises.
filous: It kind of just felt right to do and it I think the names suits the music somehow! My brother/manager actually came up with the name one day and I loved it!
What’s coming up for filous in 2019?
filous: Lots of new songs!! I can’t wait to share them all with you.
📸 © Harry Deadman