Felix Cartal drops his new EP today, (Aug 6) 'Past. Present. Felix,' on Steve Aoki's party label Dim Mak Records, making a large statement with the title, let alone the music. Similarly to his drops, the Canadian electronic music producer-DJ is fast-rising in the dance music scene. Cartal speaks to VIBE about his past punk days, the inspiration behind his new music video and how potential girlfriends can impress his mom:
VIBE: You started producing in 2006. How would you say your music has evolved since then?
Felix Cartal: I think a lot of what I did when I started was influenced by punk music and aggressive music and I wanted to recreate a lot of that energy in my earlier instrumental tracks. I always wanted to write better songs though. As I've gotten older, I've become more confident with my songwriting and have had the chance to write with some other very talented people. I'm finally writing music that I feel can last rather than just something aggressive and youthful that fades as quickly as the original idea of the song.
Before producing, you played bass in a punk band. What are some major differences between performing rock and electronic music? Would you ever consider revitalizing your punk days again?
The biggest difference is when you DJ, you're cueing pre-recorded music. Ultimately (unless you're an idiot), nothing can go wrong once the song is playing. When I was in a band, I was performing with 3 other people and we were all factors into whether that performance would be shit or not. A lot of that uncertainty is removed now. However, there is a crowd-reading aspect that is different now. I have the flexibility of being able to change my set list as I go along whereas in a band you pretty much just played the 10 songs you had written and that was it. As for whether or not I would do something live again, I'm tentative with Felix Cartal. A lot of times live instruments or vocals over a DJ set just feels like karaoke to me. I don't want to do that. It would have to be a new project if I were to do something live again, not something forced onto my DJ sets.
You recently performed at this year's Tomorrowland. What was the energy like there? What was the craziest thing you witnessed?
Such an amazing festival! It was my third year there now, and every year has been better than the last. The stage theatrics are really over the top there. The Main Stage was a volcano that erupted during the peak hour of the night! How cool is that?
Tell us about your new EP ‘Past. Present. Felix.’ There are four songs on the EP - does each one represent a certain point in your life?
I don't see the EP representing chronological points in my life. The title 'Past Present Felix' is more of a statement about moving forward and looking to the future than anything else. The three vocal tracks are quite different though: “Young Love” being the summery pop-anthem; “After Dark” being the darker counterpart to those late summer nights; and “New Scene” is more of a hopeful piece. It's hard explaining music and I'm a bit reluctant to… what's that quote… talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Yeah, that's sort of how I feel about explaining what songs mean…
The official music video for “Young Love” is like an ode to summer. What would you say has been the memorable summer so far?
The scene in the video with the girls shooting a 3 (wo)man slingshot was actually inspired by camping trips I used to have when I was younger. We used to sit in the campsite and launch water balloons at cars driving down into the campsite and our parents would just laugh. Not sure why they allowed this but it's always been a nice memory of youth.
Stalking your Twitter, we noticed a tweet about breaking up with a girl over grammar. What would you say is your idea of an ideal girl? What type of girl would your mom want you to date?
I think someone who has their own goals and is driven towards them is the most important thing. I’m not home too often, so I would like someone who has their own projects to work on. Also having that dialogue to discuss each other's projects would be helpful to both of us, I think. My mom would want me to date someone extremely sarcastic and quick. She would never last at our family dinners without those qualities. She's ruthless!!! (Sorry mom, it's true)
Other than a your new EP and touring in Europe, what else can we expect in the Felix future?
I've been working on a North American tour starting in September revolving around one of the EP singles. The “After Dark Tour” dates should be announced soon! A few more videos are on the way too...