Interview: Felix Cartal

Vancouver based DJ and producer Taylor Deitcher, who’s better known under his pseudonym FELIX CARTAL, is dropping his album Popular Music on Monday (through Dim Mak). It’s undoubtedly going to be smashing. Last week his exciting track with Johnny Whitney, Volcano, was released and included a notable remix by Felix himself. The track Popular Music was also released on a couple of blogs recently and the hard-hitting tune Drugs, that has been floating around on the internet for quite some time now, will also appear on his debut. We spoke to Felix a couple of weeks back in Haarlem for his last European tour, during which he also played two incredible dates in Paris and Dublin. A lot of things were discussed – one thing we know is that he’s a sucker for sushi, his favorite kind being salmon rolls. He has an incredible love for the Beatles –he would get into fights with people who don’t like them– and if there’s one person he would like to collaborate most with on this planet it’d be Paul McCartney. He also likes the American comedian Mitch Hedberg, and the suspicous looking Canadian recipe poutine. Fortunately we also got a lot of information on the process of recording Popular Music too and the necessary information on how Felix likes his DJ-sets best and his favorite and least favorite electronic tracks. Delight yourself in this sweet conversation with Felix Cartal and don’t forget to pick up Popular Music on Monday here!

TRUANTS: What’s your favorite track of Popular Music? Felix Cartal: Really, I want to say I´m proud of all the tracks, not just a single one out. I am proud of the album as a whole. It was really hard for me to decide which tracks I wanted to release on my debut. The first single that came out I did with Johnny Whitney from The Blood Brothers and I´m really proud of thic collaboration because he was someone I listened to a lot when I was growing up. There´s also a track I did with Beta Bow that ended up to be quite surprising. It turned into a style of song I never made before so maybe that´s my favourite song of the record. It´s called I Believe In. I don´t know, personally I think all of the songs are good. A lot of a songs that on the album I wrote together with my best friend from when I young so it was interesting to get to collaborate with him. I’ve always written music with him but I´ve never brought him into any Felix Cartal tracks because he doesn´t really listen to club music that much. He´s very folk orientated, we wrote a lot of songs together.

What was your idea behind making this album? I didn´t want to alienate people who like me for my music when it was heavy because my earlier stuff is pretty heavy but I don´t want to make an album of all heavy tracks. You can´t have highs when there´s no lows and on top of it I didn´t want to make an album with just dancefloor tracks. If I wanted to do that I would just put it out as three or four EPs. The idea behind the album was that it sounds like an album from start to finish and that there is a balance between dancefloor tracks and songs. There´s songs on it for people that don´t maybe necessarily love to go clubbing.

You mentioned somewhere you don’t like to sample, what’s the reason behind this? When I hear a sound I’m always interested to learn how to make it rather than just how to digitalize or steal it straight up. Not that I’m saying that people who sample aren’t talented but I think using a sample properly is one of the hardest things ever. You look at Daft Punk who samples some shitty rock band track, and then makes it sound like the most modern electronic record of that time. To say that’s not a talent is ridiculous. For me, when I hear a sound I always try and imitate it myself because I’m interested in how that sound was created, rather than sampling it. And also for copyright issues it’s easier to create your own sound. kend and then there´s still some club songs for people who don’t like clubbing.

How do you approach doing a DJ-set? My DJ sets are a balance between songs that I know people like, and songs that I like they maybe haven´t heard. I have tons of friends that are awesome producers and they send me new stuff all the time and I really want to play it out just because I love it. That’s a good side of being a DJ that you can´t do in a band, playing your friends’ music all the time. Nowadays people are making so much music! I could play a new set every night if I wanted to just because I have so much new music but I try to find the best ones and settle with a set that slowly evolves over time. Selection is way more important than mixing because someone like myself who uses Ableton can mix perfect, it´s what it’s designed to do. Some DJs who use Serato have all their tempos the same on every track, you know. People just kind of get used to it sets sounding more perfect so I think that selection´s the most important part for sure. Haha, next to beat repeat I wish DJs would use a little more imagination when they’re opening their sets. I wish they would just try more new things. Pon De Floor is like the Nickelback´s How You Remind Me of clubs! I love the track, I´m really stoked to see Major Lazer play that track but it’s a bit of an overkill. Same goes with that one Crookers track of everything in the world, haha. No, Let Me Back Up. I love Crookers and Don Rimini but those have been played out too many times.  I don’t want to hear the Soulwax remix of MGMT’s Kids ever again. Or Waters of Nazareth.

What are some electronic tracks that you can never get tired of? La Rock 01 by Vitalic, definitely. It’s proper classic. It’s like the original banger for me, I guess. It’s heavy but not the ridiculous in-your-face distortion kind of type. Heavy in the right way. I still play it every now and then and it never fails. The Sky Was Pink by Nathan Fake. The Holden remix is quite good but the original is fantastic too. That melody is the best kind of melody that is made in an electronic song ever. I couldn’t listen to these songs any time of the day, no. I think there’s a time and place for both of them. The Vitalic one, I wouldn’t put that on for casual listening but The Sky Was Pink is always pretty nice, I think. It’s good to listen to early morning. I think it was a bigger tune here in Europe than it was in North-America because it’s my friends and me back in North America really liked it but I never really heard it in clubs. When I come over here it’s pretty massive which is cool, to see the contrast in the popularity of it.

Which UC-33’er do you think has the most solid DJ sets besides yourself? How did you know I was gonna pick myself? No, haha. Because you never liked music until you heard yourself. I had a lot of people give me a flack for that quote actually! I don´t think people notice the sarcasm or something. Anyway, I really like Para One, he breaks songs down in an interesting way. When he plays it´s not like a DJ but more of a live set. I don´t like using the term live but I think he´s closer to live than me or maybe like what Surkin is doing, although Surkin is a really solid DJ as well. Don´t get me wrong, it doesn´t have to be live. I don´t do it live myself but I just think Para One keeps it really interesting and his productions are great, too.

What’s your favorite DJ in general? Style of Eye, I think he´s amazing. His tracks are like a journey, they start at one place and end up in an other and his album is a great balance of serious melodies but they´re still very fun. That´s the perfect thing to do which is always hard because you don´t want to be too serious and depress the people in the club but you don´t wanna be so cheesy that it´s like corny. He travels the line really well, very intense and melodic stuff but when it comes down it´s still a good party.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? I’m touring like crazy until May at least. And then I´m working on a couple of tracks with a friend from Belgium called Keatch. We have some plans to release some tracks on different labels, it will be an European one. It will be good to have a release on a European label to broaden my profile here as well. Dim Mak is good for North America but I think it´s probably a more North American orientated label. I think everyone expected Keatch and I to make some crazy heavy track together but then it ended up being something else. I think it’s better, less predictable. We’re also going to release three singles from Popular Music this year, and each single is going to have a little plan with each one to make it interesting. •

Soraya Brouwer

LONDON VIA AMSTERDAM - Soundcloud & Instagram

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