FelixThe1st is not slowing down. You may know him from his dance background, or more likely from his Own Brand freestyle with friend and collaborator Dreya Mac, which went viral on and offline this year. Amassing close to 100 million streams on Spotify alone, the UK artist’s quick witted lyrics, flow and sauce has secured himself a spot as one to watch.
But that’s before we even get into what’s coming. Never one to take things too seriously (unless it’s the size of his hoodies), we caught up with Felix in the run up to his new release, WHO’S ON WHAT. Dropping on the 29th of this month, keep reading to find out Felix’s take on visuals, fashion, and his stance on blocking & deleting.
Cracking the music industry is notoriously tough – can you take us through your journey from starting out til today?
I knew that I always wanted to be in music – but I kind of just kept myself to myself and didn’t necessarily worry about ‘cracking’ it. It’s more about figuring out what you want to give to the scene if you know what I mean. At the time I didn’t really know, so I kind of just sat on it, kept dancing to bring in money, then when I felt like I was in the right mental state I just started hitting up every producer I knew, went to the studio and tried to keep it organic. I think that’s the most important thing – not trying to build a brand off lies and staying true to yourself.
Who would you say are your most unlikely inspirations? People who others wouldn’t necessarily see tracked in your work?
Rex Orange County would be one. There was a whole year where I’d only listen to his music and I was really in my feelings. Music that makes you feel something is just different – I really appreciate what he brings to the table. In my newer music you see a lot of King Krule – he has such a unique sound which is important to me. There’s no one you can compare them to, it’s what makes them so different. The ease in which he does stuff resonates with me.
Lyrically and emotionally, Frank Ocean – his cultural impact is unparalleled. He’s able to be a part of Odd Future and make the music he makes now which is a completely different vibe. He’s not like his peers – he can be around a certain crowd but he also has his own ear, makes his own sound.
What’s your favourite lyric by yourself, and your favourite by another artist?
From my stuff – “she wears my jumpers, yours too small” cah them mans jumpers are too small bruv! I wear that extra large so she can wear my ting. It’s calm, we can share, but need it back.
From someone else, recently I’ve been screaming this one. Len said “you can’t spell ‘music’ without us. And I see.” Are you mad? Goodness gracious bruv. That’s crazy.
Are you known to block and delete?
Not really, I don’t really give a fuck. I don’t really get too involved in the social media thing. Actually I’m a liar. I did when I was younger – it’s one of those things, I do a lot of deleting, it’s just easy. But don’t get it twisted, if it’s needed I’ll block.
Talk to us about WHO’S ON WHAT – how did this project come to be?
I was just at the studio, the vibes were right, had a couple maggies, a little Wray, or something rum. Probably a cheap ting. I was just doing my thing, all my guys pulled up and we were just talking shit. That’s how most of my stuff comes about.
I wasn’t actually 100% willing to release this one, but it was the energy from all the other people there that made me just wanna release it.
We love the video’s concept as breaking news – highlighting the song’s themes as ones to be shouted about. How important is the visual aspect to your work, and how did you approach the video for this track?
I’d worked with Dylan on a previous project, and I feel like he really understood my eye. When he came to me with the news concept, it just worked, and it grew from there. It was cool to bounce off each other and add the cool and stupid things that form the Felix universe.
The visual is just as important as the music to me. A lot of people learn visually – I did in school. It’s all good giving people space to imagine, but I also love giving people the whole narrative and showing them what’s going on in my head. It’s a way to be creative and do whatever I want.
You’re involved in the fashion space too – can you describe your favourite fit at the moment?
When I came back from LA I was rocking a lil white vest, eating good that day, feeling strong. If you have a little nice white vest, some nice bottoms to complement it. A little bit simple, it’s been hot. Winter times, hoodies are coming out.
If WHO’S ON WHAT was an outfit, what would it be?
It would be one of those big suits yeah that have muscles attached to it. Massive muscle suit with tatts, and chest hair.
A lot of our audience are emerging artists looking to break into the scene. What’s one thing they should know when starting out?
The most important thing is to work on yourself. Don’t focus on what other people do. No point competing or comparing, create your own path. No one is going to want it or push it as much as you.
Lastly, what’s next for you?
Everything, don’t worry. Keep active, keep your eyes peeled.
More on CULTED
See also: CULTURAL CONNECTIONS: THE YOUTH OF DELHI & LONDON SHAPING THE TWO CITIES
See also: BACK TO SCHOOL? HERE’S HOW TO MAKE AN ENTRANCE