Behind The Beat | Felix Cartal Talks Past Present EP and Announces AFTER DARK Tour
We recently covered the release of Felix Cartal’s latest EP, Past Present Felix and were lucky enough to chat with him a little bit about his new music, the video for single “Young Love” and some upcoming US tour dates! Take a look and be sure to listen to the awesomeness that is Past Present Felix.
OTB: I know you’ve been touring around over the summer; where are you currently?
Felix: I’m currently on a plane from Mykonos to Vienna. That was my first time in Greece and I had 4 days there. It was so beautiful. A perfect mini vacation in the middle of my tour. Plus there were kittens everywhere! I was tempted to put a couple in my carry-on, though I’ve heard that’s frowned upon.
OTB: Summer is definitely festival season and you’ve been at quite a few lately. What has been your favorite festival to date and why?
Felix: The obvious one is Tomorrowland and this year it was really great for me. The Dim Mak tent was completely full and the energy was unreal. The only downside was hanging out with Autoerotique. Other than that, I played Emmaboda Festival in Sweden which was really crazy. It was set in a small town in the forest and the green rooms were individual cabins for each artist. The staff there was so friendly and they really made all the artists feel like family. The crowd was crazy as well, just a total punk rock attitude, starting circle pits and shit. Love that stuff. Reminds me of my youth.
OTB: Your new EP, Past, Present, Felix is being released today; what does the name of the album signify?
Felix: It’s about moving forward. Basically it’s just a clever way of saying ‘ The Future.’ It’s also a bit cocky and sarcastic referencing myself in the title and I’ve always liked things like that. I think it’s a happy medium between being serious and self-aware. That’s where I try to sit.
OTB: The first single “Young Love” has garnered a ton of popularity already; how will the rest of the EP compare to past albums?
Felix: It’s always hard for me to compare EP’s to albums. The body of work is so much different from one another just because of the volume. I really tried to make each song different from each other while still sounding consistent as a package. I wanted to experiment with pop elements in a different way. Also a lot of the lyrics were written by me with the vocalists, an approach i haven’t done on my past records. I was a lot more involved with the vocal this time around, just because it’s been more feasible for me to travel now and work in person with Koko and Ofelia. I love that. The songs feel more honest.
OTB: It was fun to watch the making of the “Young Love” video. How many water balloons do you think you were hit with during that day? The pink one on the video teaser looked like it hurt.
Felix: Haha I wasn’t hit with too many, I was mostly dishing them out. We tried that teaser video a few times and all the takes looked like shit, so I told my friend, “throw this giant balloon directly at my head as hard as you can so we can make this look legit.” I think it worked.
OTB: You’ve had so many great releases, collabs, remixes and live sets this past year; what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your career in the past 12 months?
Felix: It’s more of a personal change I guess, I’m sort of finding more confidence in my sound (finally), I feel like I know my direction more for once. I’m trying to emulate less, and innovate more. I just gotta do ME y’know? Fuck the h8ers and all that.
OTB: I love how you work with these awesome female vocalists that a lot of people haven’t heard of vs. a lot of other DJs who only work with well-known, A-list vocalists. If you could choose anyone to do vocals on the next song you create, who would it be?
Felix: I really want to work with Bat For Lashes. I love her voice / her style. Laura is one of my favourite ballads of the past little while.
OTB: I’m not going to get much into your thoughts on the “rise of EDM” because I feel like everyone else is always asking artists about it. But, I will ask, do you find that your music has been changing a lot as the genre continues to become more popular?
Felix: Yeah I think the saturation of the genre has helped me become aware of what I don’t want to be. I think I’ve always tried to figure out what I want to be, and the process of elimination is a good way of getting there. I’m not into just putting out a single every month on Soundcloud and then repeat x30. I want to make releases that mean something to me, that change and evolve from release to release. My biggest fear is to be one of those dudes who’s stuck in a death sentence of a career that has to write music they hate to appease their fans.
OTB: There are so many artists sampling each other and many tracks that sound alike (Daleri’s laughable mashup is a great example). I feel like you have been able to create a sound that is unique enough that even the newbie EDM music fans are able to say “I know this isn’t Tiesto/Kaskade/Skrillex/
Felix: I’m mostly being influenced by artists that aren’t in the same ‘genre’ as me. Then I can pull from that and try and incorporate it into the electronic world. Scrolling through my iPod here…. Miike Snow, Bat For Lashes, The Knife, Ratatat, M83, XXYYXX, Bruno Mars, The Beatles, A$AP Rocky, Colin Stetson, Coldplay, Godspeed You Black Emperor…. I’m all over the place. That’s how i’ve always been.
OTB: A lot of artists are also taking advantage of using different genres like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” I’d say some have brought awesome new sounds to the genre, but others have been downright awful. I know you’ve got a bit of a rock band past, so would you ever try to put something together that crosses genre lines?
Felix: I’m down for breaking down genre walls. I’m not sure what i’m going to do next to be honest, but I don’t have this grandiose plan to meld rock and electronic music. I think an idea like having a ‘ripping guitar solo’ in a dance track would be terrible and that’s why it hasn’t happened (successfully that is… i’m sure it’s been done [terribly]). I think melding existing genres is actually a terrible way to create new genres.. remember rap rock? Oh god. Somewhere there’s somebody who is like, “‘JAZZ DANCE’ let’s do that! and add a trumpet and a saxophone to a 4/4 kick! No one has ever mixed those things before!” These kind of people are the worst. I think just pull pieces here and there and mix elements, it doesn’t have to be such a cut and dry mix between two things.
OTB: With the upcoming EP out, can we expect a North American tour soon?
Felix: Yes. It’s pretty much all booked. Should be announcing within a few days. It’s called the AFTER DARK tour, named after one of the singles on the EP.
OTB: When I saw you during your 2012 tour, you were in the habit of bringing along disposable cameras to each show that definitely yielded some…interesting results. Ever think about starting to do that again?
Felix: Yes I always loved this idea. The only reason I stopped was because I couldn’t keep up with getting the photos developed and uploaded after every show… I think I need an intern or something.
OTB: Is there a specific country/city/venue that you haven’t played in yet but really want to?
Felix: I want to go to Cape Town because I really want to go on a safari. Basically anywhere I haven’t been I want to go. Classic traveler answer.
OTB: You’re a big sushi lover (I think your hometown of Vancouver, BC has the best sushi); what’s your favorite fish to order?
Felix: Sockeye salmon. It’s so good in Vancouver y’all have no idea!!
OTB: How many 7-Eleven Slurpees did you get on July 11th this year?
Felix: I think just two! I’m very responsible I know.
OTB: Do you workout to your own Weekend Workouts?
Felix: I do yes. Because I made them specifically for that reason, hated going to the gym and trying to make a playlist so I wanted just a continuous updated mix so I didn’t have to deal with that idea. (Ironically, I do have to deal with it now every week since I have to make the mix…. but.. well, it is what it is.)
OTB: What do you think your Spirit Animal is?
Felix: What does this even mean? Like if I was an animal what would I be? I’ve never understood this question. A frog? No… Frog is wrong. Idk.
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