Jul 25, 2013
Felix Da Housecat

Felix Da Housecat has remained one of the most iconoclastic figures in house music for two decades, but a period away from the public left many wondering if he would ever be back. 2013 has seen Felix return with a vengeance with a new EP & a weekly party at Space Ibiza. We speak with Felix about all this & more in our exclusive interview.

Felix Da Housecat - Sinner Winner (Original Mix) [No Shame/Rude Photo]
LessThan3: You’ve been living in Atlanta since 2008; what brought you there?
Felix: This producer named Dallas Austin. He worked with Madonna, Boyz II Men, he’s the godfather of my kids. I ran into him in San Tropez On P. Diddy’s boat in 2007, and he was like “You working on an album? You should come down to Atlanta and work out of my spaceship.” When I got down here I already had a place in Chicago, I was living in London, and I had a place in Barcelona. When I came to Atlanta, it just felt really peaceful, and everybody helps each other. So I took a little apartment when I was working on the Virgo Blaktro album and I ended up staying here.
LessThan3: Where did you grow up?
Felix: I was born in Detroit but my parents were originally from Chicago, and after I was born they came back to Chicago. Carl Craig, Derrick May and I were born in the same hospital.
LessThan3: We know you have another new album in the works right now. What’s the plan behind the release? Do you have any big collaborations that you’re working on with this album?
Felix: Right now I have like 23 songs that I just gotta mix. I’ve been recording it since last October, but right now it’s just scattered. I still have to come up with a title for it, too. We’re slating the release for October.
LessThan3: You recently came off a four-year break. What was the purpose of that break and do you feel like you’ve come back with a different musical goal in mind?
Felix: After Kittenz & Thee Glitz and Devin Dazzle I was just so burnt out just from music, people in my ear, touring, that I was becoming the party instead of just focusing. It’s just the traditional story. There is no artist who can stay consistent and relevant at all times. At certain periods of time everyone has to walk away, take a break, and reevaluate the situation. I was burnt out, everything was a blur; I needed to chill out and sit back and get my personal sh*t together. Once I did that I could see so clearly know music-wise, spiritually; I’m just a different person. You could hear it in the music and see it in my face.
LessThan3: It’s always good to be able to get that refreshing artistic start and not feel like you’re just going through the motions.
Felix: Exactly. Right now I’ve got all these songs and I’m just trying to figure out which angle to go about them. I’m thinking about which collaborators I’m going to bring in. I came with the Day & Night EPs just to focus on the dancefloor. The album is not going to be club-based. Its just gonna be a Felix Da Housecat electronic album. It’s not gonna sound like a compilation. Some DJs and producers, they say “I’m gonna make an album,” and it just sounds like a compilation. There’s no story, there’s no concept, nothing, just a bunch of tracks thrown onto a playlist.
LessThan3: DJs become DJs for different reasons. Some are good at producing one-off hit tracks and working a crowd, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can make an album.
Felix: For me, I was never a “DJ,” I started off as a producer and somewhat of an artist. I just started DJing because someone in England told me I needed to. For me, I DJ as more of a vehicle to put a smile on people’s faces–a tool to introduce people to my world of music. There a lot of DJs who take it very seriously like they’re gods or something; I don’t understand that.
LessThan3: What are the messages behind Sinner Winner and I Just Want To Be A Lesbian?
Felix: Both of the titles kind of contradict themselves. That was thought out, but at the same time that’s how I am. I don’t want to be predictable. As for Sinner Winner, as a child I would go to these churches in the bible belt and you would get dressed up and wear makeup, high heels, and short skirts and the pastor would be up there like “You all are gonna go to hell if you drink and you do this and you do that,” and everything he says you gonna go to hell for, the people in his church are doing it. I was so confused! It really affected me as a kid, because I had this fantasy world where everybody would be nice and honest like it was Cinderella or something, and then I realized there ain’t no f*ckin’ cinderella. It’s a hypocritical world run by money and power. Your music could be sh*t, but if you’ve got money your music is a one-hit wonder. Sinner Winner was sort of me coming back to that. My brother and my daughter told me I should put it out, and I was like “They won’t get it, it’ll go over their heads, it’s too heavy,” and my brother was like “well, Felix do what the fuck you want to do. That’s why you make music.” So I put it out and told my engineer that I want the voice in the track to sound like a racist minister from the bible belt.

For I Just Want To Be A Lesbian, that came from a meeting with Romina Cohn at a party in 2002. She made a song called I Want To Be A Resident. I walked up to her, not knowing her, though I did know her music. Tommie Sunshine was with me and he introduced us and I screamed in her ear while she was DJing “I love your song I Want To Be A Lesbian!” and she said “excuse me?” and Tommie pushed me and was like “Felix, it’s not called I Want To Be A Lesbian, it’s called I Want To Be A Resident.” I started laughing, but Romena thought I was insane. I stayed in touch with her and I wanted her voice on my new music, So she flew out to New York and we were working for a few hours and we couldn’t really come up with anything. Finally she was like, “Felix, let’s make the song “I want To Be A Lesbian,” and I started laughing. A lot of people think I made it because I want be a lesbian, but it has a lot of meanings. I don’t want to justify it; I just did it.

LessThan3: You were saying you have a lot of tracks that you’ve been sitting on for awhile that have been waiting to be released. Have the tracks changed a lot in the time you’ve been holding onto them?
Felix: Sinner Winner is a perfect example; it was done a year and a half ago and it was one of those tracks where the bassline stayed in my head and my brother’s head for forever. A guy I work with happened to hear it and was like “wow, why don’t you put that out?” It was one of those situations where I had to go back in and update it. I still have music I made during Kittenz & Thee Glitz that I haven’t used that I want to bring into the album to keep that balance of the innocence I had then. The way I was thinking then is the way that I’m thinking now. I had a free spirit back then and I have a free spirit once again, and a kind of “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude. I don’t mean that in an aggressive way, I’m just fed up with artists making music for the money and not the art. You have artists who make music from the heart and they get overshadowed by the machine. I felt like I had a responsibility to come back and make music. At the end of the day, good music with a good message will always see the light at the end of the tunnel; that is a fact. No matter if it’s an independent or a major machine, nothing can stop a great album. Most of the kids who go to these big corporate raves don’t realize that there is a culture behind electronic music. That’s what I love about Europe; in Europe there is a culture. Don’t get me wrong–America has a culture in San Fran, LA, Chicago, Miami–it’s always been here. But now that the whole hype has been put into play it’s been invested into the machine. These kids are thinking that what they’re listening to is proper electronic music and in my opinion, that’s up to Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, and Green Velvet to show these people the real sh*t. Loco Dice, Carl Cox, Luciano–that’s the real sh*t.
LessThan3: You have a new residency at Space Ibiza; when does that kick off and what sound are you trying to get from that? There are a lot of different types of artists lined up to play.
Felix: People need to hear everything–there shouldn’t be a club where they are just playing deep house or just techno. It needs to be a multifaceted experience. I think the roster for the Clandestin party is amazing because it hits all ages. The other DJs, when they see who they’re playing amongst, they’re gonna realize they have to step up to the table and come with it. They’re not gonna be able to get away with some of the stuff they get away with when they’re playing in somewhere else. This is the opportunity for them to let their hair down and do what the hell they want in Ibiza on a Friday night. I play from four to close, so by the time everyone has done their thing, I’m gonna end the night slashing and educating and taking no prisoners.
LessThan3: If you had one day where you could eat and drink anything you wanted, what would you pick?
Felix: I just kicked the red meat, so I’m just on chicken and fish right now but before I had to kick I went to Brazilian steakhouses a lot. I ate so much in Brazil that I thought I was going to just collapse because I was eating it like every day. You can only get it at a Brazilian restaurant or when you’re in Brazil.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Felix: Machine Gun by Jimi Hendrix, I Want You by Marvin Gaye, or Exit Music (For A Film) by Radiohead.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Felix: I don’t want to sound like Kanye, but I’m just gonna say “Felix.”
Airplay enabled