Felix da Housecat is one of those rare, charisma-oozing characters, whose musical and mental eccentricity come from a genuine place. He’s never afraid to take a risk to reach new ground. It’s this blend of qualities that has kept him in such high reverence in the electronic field for two decades now, and which has ensured that his music has been a consistently captivating force. An ever-moving target, his various incarnations have seen him morph from resolute acid and techno warrior to avant-garde nu-skool electro-disco pioneer to the man who gave one of the world’s most famous rappers a new lease of house-infused life.
How do you feel about people like Paris Hilton DJing now?
Well, I know Paris so she’s always been in to electronic music but people are so used to seeing her in a Hollywood lifestyle. They can’t fathom her DJing and it’s the same with Puff. He’s heavy in to electronic and he’s harder in to techno than I am. People were so used to seeing him in a different light so over the years, when people actually see him performing at DC10 and Amnesia and he’s going hard, then they realize that he’s actually good and same with Paris.
What’s the most unique hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
That’s kinda a blur, I’ve stayed in so many diff cites and hotels. I would say it’s more like the experience, sometimes I can barely remember yesterday and each city and hotel brings its own dimension or experience. I can remember staying in Brazil in someone’s home in a village with no windows and barely any internet, I was completely shut off from the world. I thought that was pretty cool. In beginning it freaked me out, but then it became very peaceful.
What was the worst job you had before you were a successful touring artist?
Mmm I can’t really look at it like that, or a worse or bad job, because you have to start from somewhere. But I remember working at a concert theatre when I was 18 picking up garbage, condoms, tampons, and all kinds wild sh*t after working a Grateful Dead concert. One time I can remember making pizzas at this spot called Edwardos after flunking out of college and upsetting my father, he was like…”go get a job”, to teach me responsibility. I think all of this prepared me for the real world, instead of the cinderella fairytale theory. It was a sense of reality and pushed me more to become a successful artist and producer.
What’s your favorite band/music right now outside of the dance music industry?
I’ve always been into more music from 70s and 80s. Like right now I’m listening to Marvin Gaye Come Get To This as I do this interview. I’m always listening to more of my influences or basically learning from my forefathers. It could range from Sly and the Family Stone to Hendrix, and from Prince and the Revolution to Thom Yorke/Radiohead, Zapp & Roger, Culture Club…it’s pretty much all over the place.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals or superstitions?
Not really. Each show brings its own experience. I’m usually quiet before my sets so I can prepare to take on the energy of the people, because it’s all about giving your all in each set and leaving everything you have on the dance floor. If I’m nervous before a show, which sometimes is common, I may have a shot of mezcal to take the nerves off and then BLAST OFF!
What’s your lamest claim to fame besides DJing?
I started my career as a keyboard player and producer so I always considered myself an artist and producer first and then DJ second, so at 14 years old my claim to fame came very early as a kid. I worked with DJ Pierre on Fantasy Girl, which was my first record ever recorded in 1985-86.
What’s the strangest cultural thing a promoter has ever taken you to do?
That’s a good question, they pretty much offer me to go out for dinner or see the city but most of the time, I’m at the hotel resting for the next show so sometimes I barely have time to see the city.
What is one place that a visit home isn’t complete without?
Usually when I’m in Chicago it’s visiting my parents, brother, sister and my 16-year-old daughter – that’s first on my list. Then everything else pretty much falls into place.
What are your hobbies besides DJing?
It’s strange because I really don’t think I have a hobby. Music was more so my hobby as I really didn’t take it that serious in my early years because I wanted to be an artist/illustrator and create sci-fi comic books. I was heavy into art and drawing, and music kinda took me away from that. I was also a graffiti artist.
The biggest regret or missed opportunity with respect to your music career?
No regrets everything usually happens the way it’s meant to be but I wish I had listened my managers on some decision making when it came to my contracts. My situation may have been different but everything is a learning curve.
Describe your dancing style?
Jack jack jack your body…move your body…move your body…move your body.
Most bizarre situation you’ve ever found yourself in?
Being stuck in a jungle without and power, without pay, without WIFI, without a hotel room…
What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done while performing?
Stopped the wrong deck and pressed start again. I’m sure we all have done that. Also taking the microphone and throwing it into the crowd, and leaving it on so people can say whatever they wanted whilst music played. Also yelling at the light man to keep the mood dark, which isn’t that embarrassing =^,,^=
What’s the best interview question you’ve ever been asked (besides this one)?
Where did I get my name Felix Da Housecat and of course this question.
The strangest thing you’ve ever eaten while on tour?
Pussy! no just kidding.
If you could spend a day with anyone on the planet, who would it be?
Me myself and I… I love enjoying the silence.
What do you like to spend your money on?
I don’t really worship money, I’m not like a spender type dude.
Go-to hangover food?
Greasy Chicago burger or coconut water.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happening from the DJ booth?
I’ve seen it all.
Weapon of choice?
HOUSE MUSIC all night LONG.