In the midst of British Columbia indie bands and artists there’s one producer who has been climbing his way to the top of electronic music game – Felix Cartal.
Felix Cartal isn’t following in the footsteps of anyone, he’s creating his own path with a unique approach and clear understanding of many genres of music. His business mindset combines with the fact that he both produces and DJ’s to make many say he’s one worth watching very closely in the music industry.
Felix has a fresh sound and understanding when it comes to dance/electronic and pop tying in together for the best of both worlds. He has an appreciation for commercial music while many in the EDM scene don’t. Felix Cartal comes off more as a songwriter and real musician producer than your average DJ. That said he still has the charm and personality to make you want to listen to his unique & stellar production work.
Being part of Steve Aoki’s record label it seems there’s nothing impossible for Felix and we’re ready for another Canadian producer DJ to stand out internationally.
We got to talk with Felix about his future releases, how his name came about, and what it’s like to shoot a music video in one take.
See the full interview below:
1. You’re originally from British Columbia, how has that influenced you as a musician and producer?
I think it’s this west coast casualness that exists, sort of like a laid back attitude compared to the east coast. There’s always this situation of west coast vs east coast. So I think that growing up in Vancouver there’s this laid back energy where you can kind of do whatever you want and I think for me I thought maybe it can be a job instead of having to do something else and I think it contributed to why I followed it through and actually made a career out of it.
2. How did the name Felix Cartal come about?
[Laughs] I wish there was a story, but the only thing is that I like artist names that sound like names, I don’t really like things that are tied to a genre that are weird and cheesy that you might regret if you change your musical genre. I just like it when it sounds like a name and there’s no expectation of what it could sound like when ever you hear it. I like to screw with people and pretend it’s my real name though [Laughs]
3. In today’s world with social media and so many indie artists out there as an aspiring DJ producer what advice would you give someone to get noticed and signed to someone like Steve Aoki?
I feel like I owe a lot to Twitter. I think Twitter is a great place to share music with your contemporaries, so if you’re starting out find people that are also starting out doing similar things, sharing music etc. From there you’re hoping that you know that that person knows someone that can help you climb up the pyramid. I think Twitter is the easiest way to reach people quickly rather than try to find emails or something like that. I’ve reached out to people who I’ve never expected to reply but Twitter can surprise you when they do respond.
4. You said you used to be in a band and then decided to take on producing and DJ-ing. Do you think that’s helped your structure and storylines rather than just making throwaway soulless dance beats?
I think I definitely approach songwriting in a song format – the dance form is sort of like intro, break drop, break drop, outro. In a way I think I was doing song structures originally which unintentionally allowed me to be creative. I always like putting a bridge in a song because I think it needs that, I think it benefits me in doing something a little different – not that a bridge is anything new!
5. What’s one myth about DJ-ing & producing you find to not be true?
There’s a myth that DJs don’t do any work during the week when they’re not DJing at the weekend. People are like “What do you do?” – it’s like I’m working on music all the time. Some of the more successful producers I know work harder than people who work 9 to 5.
6. You shot Something To Live For in one take, can you tell us a little more about the process of shooting a video in one take? What were the rehearsals and planning stages like? Was it hard to get in to character and ignore the action happening around you?
The hardest part for me was that I was responsible for the pace, the camera guy was following me walking backwards and I had another guy playing the song. We basically had these marks along the street, there was a lot of choreographed things, so the hard part was walking at the right pace, speeding up in certain sections etc. For me I was like the guide and that was a bit challenging. We had about forty run throughs before we got everyone there then we had about ten real takes with everyone involved.
6. If you could work in any studio or add any piece of equipment to your own set up what would it be?
Hmm interesting question. I don’t know I think I’d want to go to Abbey Road and just take it in just as a bucket list kind of thing, I’m inspired by a lot of those Beatles records so to go there would be pretty crazy. The weird thing is that I’m such a digital person that it’s almost like I’d rather add sound libraries, for example adding real horn samples, real string sounds – all that stuff that’s like fourteen terabytes and takes up loads of space on your computer. There’s so many sound libraries for Kontakt I don’t know where I’d start sometimes.
7. Is there anyone else you’d really love to work with?
I’d really love to work with a proper top pop star like Britney or Carly Rae or something just because I think it’d be weird. I’d want to get them to something a little darker, something a little out of there zone.
9. Can we expect a full length album sometime soon? And if so what can we expect?
So the first two songs I’m going to put out are going to be on the album, it’s called Life Online. No release date yet, I’m still working on it – hopefully early next year. I sort of had this moment where I wanted to understand what it is that I really love about music. I really love pop music and it influenced me more than I thought it did so I’m trying to embrace that but put my own spin on it – you know not like a Katy Perry record. I grew up on Britney and I’d like to showcase that influence.
10. What is Paradise to you?
Paradise I think is being comfortable enough to do the things you want to do whenever you want to do them. I don’t know it’s a little hippy dippy for me but… working enough to just do what you want.
Artist: Felix Cartal
Single: Something To Live For ft. Nikki Yanofsky
Label: Universal Music Canada
Buy the single on iTunes.
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