Monday, September 15, 2008
no matter where i am in the world, it never ceases to amaze me how i always manage to cross paths with someone in the music world. this time it was felix cartal. i ran into him playing a show in my little hometown of san diego. i wasn't too familiar with him, so i had to get the dirt on this english major from vancouver in his pumas and his striped cardigan over his striped tee about his love for ghetto-tech, playing for random crowds and what life is like in one of the most visible musical families at the moment.
but first, i'll cover the basics for you guys so i don't have to ask him redundant questions:
name: felix = parent's 2nd choice of name. cartal = mom's maiden name.
best gig ever: glasgow
early years: played in a band that will remain nameless (unless you can sleuth my first blog post ever)
tween pop singers: remixed ashlee simpson and hillary duff
family: under same management as mstrkrft, la riots, laz, the bloody beetroots. ok and now on with the show...
felix cartal: are you recording this? oh wow.
miss toats: ya i have to get all your dirty little secrets on record so i don't forget anything. how do you think the show went? it's hard to know what to expect from san diego.
the soundsystem was complete shit, but the crowd was awesome. the speakers were already blown when i got here, but i tried to see if i could blow them more. and i think i did. i think the show was well done.
i think its always a good sign when i see two girls with hoop earrings, ponytails and shiny heels grinding to electronic music.
anytime i see girls grind i feel like i've accomplished something.
i saw in another interview that you love ghettotech. so then namedrop some tracks for me…
oh i do love ghettotech. one of my best ghettotech experiences was when jesse (from mstrkrft) played an afterparty in vancouver. it was the first time i had met him. he played like five of my songs in a row and then he played ghettotech for the next hour. people were so bummed that he didn't play any mstrkrft. it was shitty for everyone else because they were expecting something different, but i had a good time. the other time was when i saw a-trak play in glasgow and mehdi couldn't show up due to some family emergency. so he had to play for an extra hour and just played ghettotech for the last 45 minutes of his set. i've been pre-drinking to this shit for the last year and was blown away that someone finally has respect enough to play it out to a crowd of unsuspecting fans.
ok then drop me some names. i wanna hear your favorite tracks.
dj deeon - da dik suk. dj assault - yo relatives. have you seen the flash video online for it? there's like a whole flash animation that goes with it. its embarrassingly awesome. and dj funk... you know, i wont even bother saying the obvious cliché ones.
so from ghettotech to popmusic, i've seen that you have dabbled in remixing some tween pop divas (ashlee simpson, hillary duff). not many people are daring to go that direction and play with cheesy 'pop' besides you and teki latex.
ya i totally related to him when he said 'this record is for everyone who understands that britney spears and aphex twin are the same thing.' my favorite thing about remixing pop vocals are that they are produced so well. you don't have to edit the vocal tracks at all. they're all crisp and perfect. they've done all the work for you and autotuned that shit.
so where's your katy perry remix?
someone told me to do that before the track came out. and i was like 'whatever'. i think i've moved on. the end. dead issue.
fair enough. so which came first for you, dj'ing or producing?
i started djing becausec i was producing. and i heard my tracks in clubs before i ever dj'ed. and that was a huge indication that i should start dj'ing.
well, it's also a good way to keep busy and get some money inbetween producing. so you're happy with ableton? don't even wanna dabble in serato/more hands on approach? there's so many critics of only laptop dj's complaining that it's boring to watch.
it's probably the fact that i've never used serato, im not really into learning. i'm comfortable with the computer b/c that's what i've been producing on. and from there i can show my passion with what i've been doing. if you use a program that is super basic and you have no flow to your tracks, it's going to show and people aren't gonna be into you. use whatever you're comfortable that shows off your taste and your style. if you have good selection and put it together right, people will be into it no matter what you use.
so then can you think of anyone who has caught your ear recently?
i've been listening to a lot of alter ego. their stuff is wonky and circusy. i'll listen to them and think 'it's the cheesiest shit I've ever heard in my life' but then ill realize its incredible with an underground vibe to it. maybe its b/c they've been around for a while but i find that theyre still relevant. obviously i have mstrkrft, la riots, laz, beetroots influencing me. they're around and are supporting me so obviously that's going to have some effect, but family aside its mostly been a lot of alter ego.
where do you find your sound developing... into more fidget, house, bassline?
i'd say its closest to my 'venganza' remix. sortof like that wonky sound. my new tracks are sounding a bit different than my past songs. i think the fact that i named one of them 'skeleton' is working more in reverse that i wanted it to. sortof a halloween vibe that i didn't intend for it. i usually name my tracks of where i am in life at the time. 'montreal dreams' i produced right after i came back from montreal. it corresponds with what i feel at the time. i'm sortof pissed that it seems like a spooky halloween track. it's eerie, but i don't think its eerier than any of my other tracks. i don't think it's a gimmicky track, but the name is a bit condescending and misleading.
as a dj who tours alot, you must come across so many different dj's and producers. in your opinion, who do you think is pushing the genre forward in electronic music?
fukkk off. he has kindof an oldschool vibe (early 90's) with an edge to it. he's like straight techno without being too melody based. i can't really incorporate a lot of music if it's overpowered by a melody and i think his is just right. i love the justice album, for example, but i find half of it unplayable because of the melodies. but fukkk off has that edge. he has that rave/4 to the floor sound that i could throw anywhere in my set and make it work.
i feel like laz is a few steps ahead of most people, too. he's pushing things in a different direction, perhaps even into a different genre than what is expected from you guys. most dj's that you would see playing at the same clubs don't start playing songs from his set until usually months later.
he's always had a strong mindset of what he's doing so anything you get from him is going to be quality. he might be playing minimal, but he's playing it well. he's always showing me new shit that's inspiring me too. if people criticize him for that, i don't think they're ready for that. he's not playing that grimey party music anymore, but he's introducing that whole crowd to a different sound.
are you and your whole 'undocumented management' family planning on producing anything together (like machines don't care) or working on any projects?
i don't know if we're gonna produce together, but we're gonna tour together for the mstrkrft 'fist of god' tour along with la riots, congorock, laz, beetroots. it's all family and that's the way it should be.
and last, whats the best thing a groupie's ever said to you?
umm... [declined to answer]
hmm, no one seems to like answering this question. good news groupies, your secrets are safe with your favorite djs! who would'a thought. well that seems good enough for our first 'getting to know you' session with felix. expect to hear alot from this guy in the near future as he's got the means and talent to make some seismic music waves.
also, don't forget to check out my little phone chat with felix where he introduces his new song, 'skeleton' on this week's show on thehype.fm. it airs on tuesday!
Posted by Miss Toats at 10:30 PM