Felix Cartal at Life In Color
Life In Color, previously known as Dayglow, is an ongoing electronic dance music tour that is currently traveling across the country. It is infamous due to the gallons of neon paint periodically sprayed into the crowd and its “carnival-esqe” entertainers in the crowd and on stage. When Life in Color stopped in Boston, at the House of Blues, one of our writers Shannon got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Felix Cartal on Life In Color, his career, and his personal time.
EJ: Have you ever performed at a Life In Color Event?
Felix Cartal: Yeah, this is my like fifth one.
Felix Cartal: (Laughs) Yeah.
EJ: Wow! Is there a different energy you get from Life in Color versus other events?
Felix Cartal: It’s like a weird party, not in a bad way, though. I’m just saying it’s like a weird thing that’s really popular. When I try to describe it to people, I say, “It’s a party where everyone goes and gets covered in paint”. And the people say that doesn’t sound very fun at all. But when you go, it looks really fun. But the description is hard to sell to people.
EJ: What do you think about the dancers, are you attracted to that rave scene?
Felix Cartal: Am I attracted to the dancers? ! (Laughs)
EJ: No, come on now. Are you attracted to the rave scene, or do you like the club scene more?
Felix Cartal: I feel like I am too young for the “PLUR” scene, I feel like it’s the early 90s. I know that it still exists, but I haven’t really been attracted to it. Its not that I dislike it. Everyone can [enjoy the music in their own way]. Some people want to get drunk and listen to it, some people do… whatever, some people can go just completely sober and really enjoy the music, some people need to dress up, some people can go in what they normally wear, and I think that’s what happens when a type of movement gets really big, it allows so many different people to enjoy it. I don’t hate on [the rave scene], but its not who I am.
EJ: So what initially attracted you to dance music, making it and producing it?
Felix Cartal: I mean, I was playing in bands growing up, and I would make these electronic interludes for our live shows and our albums. When our band broke up I was in this impasse in my life where I didn’t know what to do and at that time. A lot of the dance acts started coming out like Justice and MSTRKRFT. They were like band guys who were in the club scene. That kind of bridged the gap for me. DJs weren’t just one type of person. And bands like Radiohead were putting out albums at the time like “Kid A” which is a really electronic based album. I was taking lots of different things from it. It doesn’t really matter the type of medium of which you make music, it’s just finding the medium that works the best for you. I didn’t grow up listening to dance music, but I started making it and I didn’t know what I was doing. People started responding because I think a lot of the mistakes I was making out of ignorance were interesting, because they were innovative in a weird kind of way. I didn’t know the structures; I didn’t have a history of it. And then from there, it was about networking. MSTRKRFT were big supporters of me from the beginning, and they just heard my music and became friends with me. Jessie (of MSTRKRFT) did the same transition into dance music that I ended up doing, so having him mentor me a little bit, someone to do the same trajectory as me, it was really cool.
EJ: What’s your favorite venue that you have ever played at?
Felix Cartal: Oh, man.
EJ: Yeah, that’s a tough one!
Felix Cartal: My favorite crowd is El Paso. They really like the music and they know all the songs. They go crazy, but not for no reason. They sing along, they know the work, which is cool.
EJ:Is there any upcoming show that you are excited about?
Felix Cartal:I’m playing in Hawaii on Friday, which I am really excited about. It’s with Steve Aoki and Kill the Noise, and we’re all just hanging out for like 5 nights.
EJ:That’s so awesome! In Hawaii!
Felix Cartal: Yea, it’s nice to combine it with a little vacation time.
EJ:I know that in June, the Weekend Workout became a weekly mix broadcasted on Sirius XM, but how did the it get started? What’s the story behind that?
Felix Cartal:I’ve always wanted to do a podcast, and people always asked me to make them to make them songs for when I go running or go to the gym. I was like, “I’m not going to make you a personal playlist, that’s going to take forever!” But people kept asking me so I thought that was the perfect way to brand it, I think. I feel that fitness and dance music work really well together. There’s energy and there’s builds. There is tension in the music, which is helpful in pushing you a little bit. I thought it was an untouched realm.
EJ:Are there any new tracks or collaborations in the making?
Felix Cartal:I did a collaboration with AutoErotique which isn’t out yet, and one with Clockwork.
EJ:So what do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
Felix Cartal:I just want to produce music for other artists, and touring Tokyo every week.
Felix Cartal:(Laughs) No, I don’t know. I don’t want to limit myself to just making dance music.
EJ:Is there a specific genre you want to branch out to?
Felix Cartal:I don’t know, I still really like pop music.
EJ:Especially today, with artists like David Guetta, they are all starting to do a mixture of pop and house, so that would be cool.
EJ:What’s the hardest thing for you about being a producer, DJ and songwriter?
Felix Cartal: Finding a schedule. I just never have a schedule. Its weird, the more success I have, the more shows I play so I have less time to work on the things that I love. So trying to find that balance is hard.
EJ:Do you have a way that you can balance?
Felix Cartal: I’m sort of always just figuring it out, day by day, and finding new ways to work on the road or new places to work. Sometimes not thinking about it so much and then coming home, your really inspired.
EJ:When are you completely satisfied with your work?
Felix Cartal: (Laughs) My friend always says, “your never finished with a song, you just have to surrender it eventually,” which I think is really true. I could work on a song forever, but you just have to put a deadline on it, and just release it.
EJ:Just let it go…
Felix Cartal: Into the wild.
EJ:So in your little spare time that you DO have, what do you do?
Felix Cartal:Play Squash.
Felix Cartal: Yeah. That’s my weird answer no one expects.
Felix Cartal: Because I am white. I need to play a white sport. And sailing is expensive. (Laughs)
Visit Felix’s blog at http://blog.felixcartal.com