The Sound City festival is one of the biggest music events ever held in Liverpool and is attracting some massive names to come and play in the city. But non perhpas as big in terms of international reputation and influence than Felix Da Housecat, the man who spearheaded the second wave of the Chicago House scene.
We catch Felix as part of a big round of international interviews, and he’s a little fatigued by being bothered by the likes of us, but still seems chilled. “I don’t know were I’m going to be next week man,” he says. “Now I just tell my manager, ‘don’t tell where I am playing until like two days before, otherwise my brain just can’t handle it.’”
There’s a reason he’s in such demand. Twenty years ago, a young Felix Stallings Jnr was taken under the wing of acid house pioneer DJ Pierre in Chicago. Their studio tinkering resulted in 1987’s ‘Phantasy Girl’, a hefty underground hit. Despite this early entry into the scene, college and the objections of his parents got in the way of Felix finding early success, but he remained a respected figure on the underground dance scene throughout the 90s. It was the 2001 release of his critically-acclaimed ‘Kittenz and Thee Glitz’ album though, that gained him mainstream recognition, and remix work with superstars like Kylie Minogue and Madonna.
The influence of the electro sounds he pioneered on ‘Kitten and Thee Glitz’ can be now be heard all over contemporary dance and pop. What does Felix think of the effect his work has had on the music scene?
“Yes, it’s everywhere now,” he says, “but that for me was like seven years ago. Now if I make that sound it seems like I’m copying. It’s like when Daft Punk came out, once everybody started taking vocoders and that stuff, now it sounds like Daft Punk is copying off them. That’s why you got to try and not repeat yourself as an artist, and take things to the next level.”
Indeed, he’s released two studio albums since then, and he’s now keen to get back in the studio to work on his fourth.
“I’ll be starting on the pre-production tomorrow when I get to Atlanta,” he reveals. “I think everybody doubted me on ‘Virgo, Blaktro…’ [Last album] so I’ve got to go back to my roots, where I came from. Because people now they stealing from me, all these hip-hop artist trying to steal my sound. It’s just crazy; I got to prove myself again. I’ve got to get back in that mode.”
Felix has played Liverpool many times, going right back to when we first fell in love with the sounds coming out of Chicago, a city with more than a passing resemblance to ours. “I’ve haven’t played Liverpool in ages,” he says, “but I’ve got a lot of good memories man. Most of my memories are of Nation back in the day man, and my memories of the first times I was coming over. But a lot of people aren’t realizing that Liverpool and Manchester have a bigger responsibility for the music scene than London did at the end of the 80s when House kicked in. You gotta let that be known man.”
We’ll do our best man.
By Kenn Taylor
Chibuku Presents: Liverpool Sound City Closing Party
Felix Da Housecat, Pendulum DJs, Steve Bug, Phason Vs.Valve Sound System, Lemon D & Dillinja, Skream, Rich Furness, Yousef, Dom Chung.
Chibuku Ticketline: 0161 8321111