Interview: Five Minutes with Jerry Folk

Image credit: Connor Limbocker

Norwegian producer Jerry Folk has become globally established over the years, enjoying touring the world while finding himself sharing a stage with Jai Wolf, performing at Coachella and even opening for Odesza. The producer has also enjoyed sinking his teeth into remixes for other well-known artists (Billie Eilish and Charlie Puth, to name a few) however, we feel it’s with his own work that he truly begins to shine. Most recently his released single ‘Everything’ (accompanied by a laid back video directed by Thomas Flått) takes a step away from some of his previous work and marks the start of a new chapter for the producer. The single is a sneak peek of his upcoming debut full-length album which will also be an expression of his side project FENGSEL. 

Stream ‘Everything on SpotifyiTunes

Curious about the dynamic producer with his driving rhythmic beats, we sat down for an exclusive. Find out all you need to know below.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I’m doing music because it’s what I’ve always been drawn towards doing. I like to dream about how a song can sound and a universe for it to be in,  and sit days on end and just make stuff. It’s a never-ending process of getting better at making what sounds good to me, and I like the thought that making music will always be an escape when I want to step out of the real world and make something.  Even if the song turns out really bad, the process still has a chance to be fun and enjoyable. 

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It depends. Some times I have a visual universe I have imagined that I want the songs to fit in. Or a mood. Could be nighttime, daytime, warm climate, cold climate. Then I’ll kinda make stuff that I feel fits into that universe. Sometimes I don’t really have anything in mind before making songs and I’ll just start doing something and see where it takes me. Both works. 

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I make a lot of music with friends and other artists. Specifically, on this track (Everything) my friend Jakob (Bearson) sings the vocals. 

What’s on your current playlist?

My playlist is all over the place as it usually is with people. But recently I’ve listened to a lot of Nick Hakim, Hether and Sault. 

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

When I’m on stage I’m honestly kind of uncomfortable to begin with. I don’t really like being on a stage. But when I realize people are fans and want to hear my songs I calm down and try to give the people what they want to hear and what they didn’t know they wanted but still want. 

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I used to not think about this much and just make whatever felt right but as years have gone I tend to go back to a lot of the same palettes. For example, I’ll have my favourite drum samples in a folder and favourite presets and sounds that I like to use. And those usually end up finding their way into my songs so maybe that somehow makes my sound original. 

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Usually, I’ll be in the studio from about 12PM and just start playing around on the prophet 6 or making some drums. It’ll either go well and I’ll come up with something that keeps me focused for the next hours or maybe I’ll get stuck and end up playing Geoguessr for two hours. I work long days tho, often from 12 PM – 12 AM,  so I always end up making at least a couple of ideas or songs every time I go to the studio. 

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I think when I was fifteen and picked up FL studio back in 2010 I immediately thought this is what I want to do. And I’ve done it ever since. There have been moments that have made me want to quit too but mostly it’s all I want to do. 

What do you try to achieve while you’re playing a set?

Being able to play as many of my own songs as possible and still make it danceable. I want people to dance and to be taken on a journey at the same time. 

Any emerging artists on your radar?

hmm, a lot of Norwegian artists tbh. Lokoy, Safario.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

The past couple of years watching movies and music videos sparks a lot of ideas for me. Thinking more visually about my music makes the creation process more meaningful to me. 

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Most importantly fl studio, a microphone and a MacBook. I use a prophet 6 and a Nord Lead 4 a lot too.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I’ve had a lot of side projects. Folkestad and some stuff on Soundcloud. Right now my new side project is FENGSEL. It’s gonna launch with this single and the upcoming album. It will be released as both Fengsel and Jerry Folk because Fengsel is the universe I want the album to exist in and since it’s a slightly new direction for Jerry Folk.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Worked my ass off, tbh. I just made a lot of songs. I have over 2000 private songs on Soundcloud. There’s a lot of version 2’s and 3’s there but overall just a lot of songs. When I first got recognition on Soundcloud back in 2014, I felt kind of unworthy of the hype so I made sure I worked my ass off to feel like it made sense to me. 

Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This new album, more music videos (my first music videos), the FENGSEL universe on Spotify. 

Famous last words?

Look up Geowizard on youtube!

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By Sarah Britton