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Hailing from Vancouver, BC, Felix Cartal has been building up an impressive following the past few years. The Dim Mak Records artist slid through Champaign-Urbana this past weekend to play a show at Canopy Club, and UPC had the awesome opportunity to get an interview. I went into the depths of Canopy Club to find him all by himself in the green room. Find out what he had to say below.


UPC: The Weekend Workout mix is one of the most popular weekly mixes in all of electronic music. Can you give us a little background on what inspired you to start doing that mix?

Felix: Well DJs were doing random podcasts, and I didn’t want this to be like a generic thing like “this is my weekly podcast.” I grew up playing sports and have always had a background in fitness, although that’s hard sometimes on the road. I have friends that would hit me up asking me to make them a playlist to work out to, and I didn’t have time to make all of my friends playlists, so, I kind of had a light bulb moment where I was like “maybe we just brand the mix, like in a fitness way,” because I don’t think anyone else was doing anything like that at the time. I know when I go to the gym, all the builds and climaxes in dance music provide good motivation and when you run, it helps you push that extra mile, pun intended.

UPC: Definitely. Dance/electronic music has been around for a very long time, but is seemingly more popular than ever. As a bigger name in the industry, how do you feel about where it’s headed?

Felix: I think it’s still growing right now, and it’s as popular as it’s ever been in my lifetime. I think a lot of people think it’s a passing trend, but I see it more like rap music, that there’s an entire culture, and there’s a lot of different things that fall under the umbrella. It’s not like a thing like where new metal came in and it was kind of just one thing… Like after the kids get tired of bangers, they can chill out to deep house or they can go even more left field and listen to stuff that doesn’t have that rhythm, but it’s still electronic music at the end of the day. I don’t know, I guess there’s a lot of shit under that electronic umbrella, that comes from having a long history and also the ease of the DIY ethic of it all.

UPC: No doubt. On that note, with the amount of resources out there, do you envision DJs getting younger and younger? How soon before we have 10 year old DJs?

Felix: [Laughter] It’s hard to say. I remember growing up skateboarding, there was always a 13 year old kid who could bust out a 360 flip so easy. There’s always gonna be that right?

UPC: Phenoms.

Felix: Yeah I definitely like the younger kids getting into it. It breathes competitiveness into it all which is necessary.

UPC: What’s one of the biggest differences between playing a show in Europe and the US?

Felix: [Pause] These questions are so tough.

UPC: Sorry…

Felix: No, tough questions are a good thing, because they require thought… Well when I started, Europe was a lot crazier, and now the US, and North America in general, is a lot crazier. There’s sort of a novelty excitement here right now, you can tell young people who haven’t been exposed to this music are coming, and you can feel that in the audience. I think it’s really hard to generalize with shows in Europe, and it’s really hard with North America too. There’s shit shows and good shows in both. A city can be great one time and then the next time it could be awful. But there’s a history and culture in Europe, especially the UK where they’ve had music like this on the radio forever, whereas it’s new here.

UPC: There’s definitely more of a mainstream/radio presence over the pond.

Felix: Dudes like Chemical Brothers are massive. Like, those dudes were on top 40 radio… and we never had any dance artists. Maybe pop artists that had slight dance vibes, like Madonna. So the main difference is that people are more used to DJs over there, I guess.

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UPC: I know it’s only February, but festival season is right around the corner. You know which ones you’re playing yet?

Felix: I’ve got a few but I don’t think I can tell you which ones. I am doing a festival back home in BC called Squamish Festival. Headliners are crazy. Eminem is headlining.

UPC: He’s a legend. Changing pace, what’s the craziest thing one of these PLUR raver girls has done to get your attention?

Felix: I had a girl who was tweeting pics from the hotel of my lobby, then when I came back in my room there was sushi in my room waiting for me, from her. She actually wrote this long note and it was very genuine, and I’m trying to be nice about it, but I’m like “how the hell did she get this shit in my room?” She must have known someone who worked there or something, because when I checked out the next morning, she was down in the lobby waiting for me.

UPC: You should start checking into hotels with a fake alias, like Michael Jordan.

Felix: Twitter is scary sometimes.

UPC: One of my favorite things about electronic music is the fact that DJs play each other’s music, which is very unique to the genre. What are some of your favorite artists that you’ve been playing recently?

Felix: Henry Fong has been killing it. Super nice dude. He did a remix of my song “Fire,” with Clockwork, who opened for me on tour in 2012.

UPC: Clockwork has been blowing up! You taking credit for that?

Felix: [Laughter] Definitely not. I told him on tour “you’re gonna surpass me on this tour” and I think he definitely has.

UPC: Dude, between that and his RL Grime stuff. He’s been killing. 

Felix: Definitely.

UPC: What’s the one piece of advice you would give an up & coming DJ who is working hard every day trying to make it?

Felix: That’s tough. The scope of everything has changed so much since I started. I think there’s a level where you wanna self promote but you’re not being an asshole. You gotta find your homies who will support you, buddy up with them, and grow with them as a team. That being said, there’s no one way to do it. Gotta network to get work.