Welcome back to another GDD exclusive interview! BONES reporting here, with another electro dance monster who’s burning up tracks left and right – DIM MAK & Vancouver’s own DJ/Producer, Mr. Felix Cartal. Thanks for doing this with us man, were all excited for you to be here! So Lets get started…
GDD: Lets start with some short-term memory brain functioning, How was Coachella? See (or meet) every one you wanted to? Switch was on at noon on friday and i was not happy about that.
FC: Coachella was amazing. It was my first time going and it was great to be able to do it with the friends I have met in the industry.
GDD: DIM MAK ripped Coachella a new one, what was it like being with your whole crew, ala the ‘DIMMAK Takeover’, at one of the Biggest Festivals on this side of the world? Was it more focus or more fun? You guys don’t usually have everyone together at once all the time so Im sure it was tempting just chilling by the pool all day with the gang…
FC: Ha, funny you say that because we had an amazing house in Palm Springs and I was a bit tempted to just lay out there the whole weekend. But it was amazing, and everyone performed their best, so i think we were focused, but the payoff was fun.
GDD: Whats it like being part of a Fresh young label thats rapidly growing in popularity label as opposed to being a lone wolf? Does it get tiring having to rock parties every night around the world?
FC: I’m really fortunate to be with Dim Mak, a lot of my friends are on the label so it makes sense for me to be a part of it. And traveling can be a bit draining at times, but I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to share my music with people all around the globe.
GDD: When your early single “Parsienne” came out on Missingtoof way back when I knew you were gonna turn some heads. What were you thinking when these songs started getting you into the spotlight and onto a record label? Is it a dream come true? Or did you always maybe want to be an astronaut?
FC: I was really excited that my earliest work was gaining notoriety. I think the fact that I was an amateur at producing dance music helped me do some innovative things form-wise that I was unaware of, and I think that helped to distinguish me from other people in the scene.
GDD: Your signature sounds in your remixes and originals are some of the most grinding synth and howling riffs out there right now… Are you still conducting from good ol ableton? Or what programs or gear are you using now? Is it a different setup when your playing live vs. back at the home/studio?
FC: I’ve actually never produced with ableton, I only use that for live performances. I conduct in Reason, with Protools now, my setup is very basic, just a macbook with a midi keyboard and headphones. And for Live it’s just ableton + UC-33 evolution controller.
GDD: How do you come up with the sounds, beats and loops that make your tracks your signature creations? Any influences from other artists? Or just pure Canadian talent?
FC: It’s just a matter of starting with something simple like a bass-drum and then developing a bassline around it. From there the rest of the song takes form. And of course i’m influenced by other artists, everyone is I believe.
GDD: You’ve recently collaborated on a trak with a one Bird Peterson, how did that little affair come into play and what are we are in for? Is it not quite ready yet or are we gonna get a taste of it at the end of this interview?? Any other collaborations or original stuff in the workings?
FC: We’ve never done a song together! But he did remix my single ‘Skeleton’, that should be out soon- it’s amazing! I have some collabs lined up for my album that will be out near the end of the year/beginning of next year.
GDD: How do you feel about how fast music travels today online through blogs and such? Are you thankful for the internets ability to really get your name and your music out there or do you think its turning into a plague? How do you think the blogs and aggregator sites like Hype Machine are changing the face of electronic music and all the people and events connected to it?
FC: This is one of my favourite things about the industry today. The fact that I can produce a song one night and send out to somebody that same evening and theoretically have them play it in the club THAT same night is unreal. As artists, i think blogs and sites like HypeMachine are incredible because they can connect us on the same level with mainstream artsists, as well as give us instant feedback on tracks we’ve recently produced.
GDD: Who would you say had the biggest influence on bringing the electronic scene to where it is today? Who have you personally been most influenced by? Who did you grow up listening to?
FC: DJ’s like MSTRKRFT, Justice and Erol Alkan do a great job at combining the indie/rock scene with the dance scene because they will play music that is from both sides of the spectrum. I’ve been influenced by a wide-range of artists, from thrashy heavy stuff like Lightning Bolt, to Radiohead who’s combined electronic elements with rock music and to newer stuff like James Holden, Tiga, Alter Ego. I could go on forever, the list of influences is endless...
GDD: Your website FelixCartal.com is a great look on your life on the road and the adventures you experience… have you always been a voyeur of your travels or is this something you wanted to do in part to your success? Anything else your trying to expose or engage through the site other than what its like to have the best job in the world?
FC: The concept with the blog was just a way to connect people who are interested in what I’m up to. I’ve also tried to encourage people for their input so it can really become a conversation between myself and my fans.
GDD: Aside from the adventures, are you getting any time at home soon? What do you love about getting able to unwind back in Vancouver? Or do you escape to somewhere else when you can? What’s your perfect day off
FC: I love Vancouver, and my days off here are amazing. I recently moved to a new apartment and it’s a great place to unwind in the few days I have off to do so.
GDD: What big shows or festivals are you excited about that are coming up? Anybody your looking forward to perform with? Do you prefer making thousands of people go crazy or do you like playing a more intimate setting?
FC: I really like both aspects, whether it’s 5000 people or 200, both have a very redeeming quality. Seeing people up close that are into the music or an entire crowd of people are both an incredibly self-satisfying feeling. I’m heading back to Europe in June and am really looking forward to playing some new cities there.
GDD: And do you, Felix Cartal, possess the need to Dance Dirty? Is the dance floor what really started your drive to become an Electro artist and take the world by storm?
FC: I’ve just really always enjoyed producing, and DJ’ing sort of fell into place after that. So my love for making music is what has driven me into the kind of artist I am today.
GDD: So any words of advice to all those aspiring Djs and Producers out there who wanna live their electronic dream? How do we do it?
FC: Work at it non-stop, and learn your software well. You don’t need $1000’s of gear to do it!
GDD: Well we here at GDD appreciate the time taken to chat a little about the life your living and rocking right now, we sure hope to see you continue your success and as well with the whole DIM MAK crew. We’ve got nothin but love for your banging beats and we hope to see more of you this year back in the city of angels.
– Felix Cartal must have tracks:
[New EP out May 12th!]