Interview by David Clarke for Vancity Buzz. Photos by Jeremy Jude Lee.
David: Are you happy to be back in Vancouver? What are some of your favorite spots to go/things to do when you’re in Van? Restaurants?
Felix: Yes! It’s always nice to be back. I live in Gastown right now, and love the area that I’m situated in. I’m really into the Baker and the Chef for lunch right now. Sushi spots are also a personal favourite… I’v been a huge supporter of Kadoya for awhile now, but love Sake Maki on Commercial as well. The ramen at Motomachi Shokudo is great too. I could go on forever… there’s too much great food in this city! I can’t keep up.
David: What’s one thing from LA you wish you could bring back to Vancouver (other than In N Out burgers)?
Felix: Consistent sunshine for the summer.
David: What’s next for Felix Cartal?
Felix: My single #YoungLove that came out today is the first single off of my new EP, “Past Present Felix.” It comes out the first week in August. Four brand new songs, all a bit different from what I’ve done before. Also, I’m touring Europe in July and August, and am really excited about Tomorrowland. Such an amazing festival, and I’m excited to share the Dim Mak stage with other labelmates!
David: Dim Mak is hosting a remix competition for your single The Fire (more info: http://joonbug.com/national/frequency/Dim-Mak-Wants-To-Help-You-Get-In-The-Business/piYzGglZmDp). Are you judging? Have you heard any good entries? What else is new at Dim Mak?
Felix: Yeah ultimately we do get to pick the winner! I actually haven’t listened yet, I’ve been waiting for all the submissions to come in before I start listening. Easier to keep track that way. The response has been incredible though. I can’t believe that we had about 25 remixes submitted in the first 48 hours. People work so fast these days.
David: You have roots in punk (formed a punk band in high school), does you still listen to punk? Are there any artists you’re into right now?
Felix: Yes I grew up playing punk music, I think I learned a lot of my songwriting this way to be honest. I owe a lot of who I am to that scene. As for right now, I don’t really listen to punk music anymore. I think a lot of the artists that came from that scene didn’t evolve too much and now I gravitate towards artists that want to keep pushing forward like Miike Snow or M83 or Radiohead or the new Kanye record. Any type of artist that continues to take chances is an artist that I look up to. That’s the kind of music career I want for myself, so those are the things that I listen to and get inspired by. On the other hand, there’s a certain DIY ethic that came from the punk scene that I’ve always tried to maintain in any thing that I do. I’m a firm believer of making what you can with what you have access to, and nothing else should matter. I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve held onto from the punk scene. I remember recording an entire album in a weekend in someone’s basement when I was 16 and I still think that’s amazing.
David: You’re returning to Europe for a tour this summer. How does life on tour differ from life in the studio or in Vegas in a residency? What do you feel you might owe to Europe in terms of getting your start? (his first performances were in Europe while on a UBC exchange)
Felix: Life on tour in Europe is definitely different, and I think the schedule has a lot to do with it. Lots of European clubs; I won’t go on until 3-4am and I find the schedule is a lot harder to maintain. So I find it’s a bit more exhausting to tour in Europe than in North America, a timezone that I’m more comfortable with. I’m not sure if I feel like I owe anything to Europe for my start, I was however fortunate enough to meet the right people while I lived there during exchange to book my first DJ gigs. Touring in europe now is a bit reminiscent now of how exciting that time was for me.
David: What’s your take on Spotify and other services (Rdio in Canada)? Are these services beneficial or detrimental to the artist?
Felix: I grew up in the era of consuming music by downloading it, so I love these types of services. For me, the most important thing has always been getting my music into the hands of as many people as possible. I just want people to hear my music by any means possible. If people buy my music I am extremely grateful, but if they obtain it by other means and share it with lots of people, I consider that just as valuable.
David: For most listeners this will be their first taste of Koko Laroo, can you explain how you two came in contact and provide some background on her musically and personally?
Felix: My friend in LA sent me a demo of her and I loved her voice. I met up with her and her co-writer Kid Rich and got into the studio for a few days to write ‘Young Love’ and another single from my EP ‘After Dark.’ She’s one of the most talented vocalists I’ve worked with. Definitely a ‘one-take’ kind of person, and it’s such an easy process to work and write with someone like that. Really excited for what we made and for everyone to hear After Dark as well!
Rapid fire with Felix Cartal:
Yaletown or gastown? Gastown.
Granville street or main street? Neither.
Japadog or normal dog? Normal, classic, sports arena hot dog