Songlighting with J.R. Price
Welcome to Songlighting with J.R. Price in this second edition we will be diving into the abyss of circuit house vitality with the new independent art made by Felix III. You may have seen our artist of the week performing around the country as either the artist-in-residence for Outsider Fest, SXSW with the Bushwig Fam all the way in Austin Texas, or even luxurious venues like The Sultan Room. Now Felix is busy setting the dance floor on fire with his work in the studio with his dear colleague Trevor V, an instrumentalist and dear friend who collaborated on the III’s new post lockdown pandemic sound. Which explains this new wave of creation from Felix III.
“The Sounds I Make” (available on all platforms now) is the latest single release from Felix. He explores a futuristic approach to the classic techno model. I would compare the song to “I’m too Sexy” by Right Said Fred and also “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi and the Biz. But with a more domineering energy. It verges on full dance epic, while grounding itself in a deep crease of feeling lost in the sea of a dream. Major questions come to light in this dancehall anthem for any artist struggling to be heard. He confesses the sacrifices he makes to create and dive into his art, sacrifices like love, life, and even other aspirations. I think anyone with a goal that drives them can relate to this sentiment, of putting more into something than you should. The ultimate sacrifice of life is wasting your minutes on a failed exploratory.
The song also commends the artist with a self awareness of his accomplishments, explained through poetry. He may have had to pay the price, but that is what makes his lovers shake, the oceans quake… the world turn. Without art, there wouldn’t be the beauty he desires, there wouldn’t be a reason to continue the conquest of living in a world destitute of sound. A conquest I personally resonate with as an independent artist, but I also feel like any purpose chaser sees the light that is shining at the end of Felix’s tunnel. There is hope, there is love, and when all is silent… we know who will make the sounds that break the silence!
“AFTER HOURS” the first single from Felix III caught my ears, as another trance emerged. Beckoning a lover to join your demons all night, as you do good things for them, and escape together into the after hours of the night. Lyrics feel sultry and the bumping bass line ignites a sexual tension between his voice and the rhythm as he yet again dominates a drive toward an epic beat drop climax that marinates with techno drums and outer space synth waves. I would compare this song to the indie queer film music icon Eric Allaman, best known for his work on the dark Scify saga Dante’s Cove, I specifically hear the relations in the queer series’ theme song by Eric “Dying to Be With You”. This endless driving beat, with a nuance of eternity in space. Recapitulates the meaning of the song, that you will spend forever with your lover, even if it’s for just one night. The haunting line “I’m just a cherry stem, under your tongue” while being overtly sexual, also shows a desperation and isolation in the seduction. Feeling used and sexualized too much, and making me question if Felix feels too much pressure to be perfect for his demon lover. I think the song fights that battle, is he giving too much to his partner, and not enough focus on himself? Is he just a cherry stem? However the video contradicts my theory. (Watch HERE)
That brings me to the most fascinating avenue of Felix III’s art form. The visual. The two videos we can see are full of symbolism and quick changing light flares and high art captivations. In “AFTER HOURS” despite my interpretation of his song, we see him kissing his own reflection, as he is being filmed. This is a paradox to my theory. I think he can be misconstrued by his partner as self righteous or even narcissistic, but that is something he feels forced to be maybe. Again, this is speculation, because all high art can only be subjugated by the artist themselves.
I wanted to draw the lines out of what the energy is of his music. I feel like when I am listening to these very heavy percussive system overloads, I want to dive down the rabbit hole of the Matrix swallow the blue pill and be transformed into a super human who can face any speculation or judgment and make my own decisions about my epic saga through action and entertainment. I would compare this to high upper drugs, and dance floors in dark crowded hole in the wall bars full of shirtless boys and a lonely disco ball depicting an endless night of wonders beneath a belt buckle.
My favorite part of the music he creates are these dance sections, with a synth through line that drags the melody hook you crave throughout the rest of the song. These dance breaks remind me of techno Gods like The Disco Biscuits, specifically their song “Who’s in Charge” because it also creates this electric saga in outer space, the same way I feel Felix III does in his music. As a critique of his work, I do have to concentrate on my longing for more melody. I do know that the genre doesn’t lean toward a beautiful scale of catchy vibrations, but I feel as though Felix tends to avoid singing to drive a point across. This can read like the artist doesn’t trust their own voice, but it also could be a stylistic choice. That being said, I think these songs create the atmosphere they aspire to. I just wish there was more singing, and less bold statements. Never the less, turn this on with a disco ball over head, and I’ll be just as sweaty as one of the mainstream dancehall hits!
I had the honor to interview Felix III where I got to ask the questions, we all want the answers to about his process and his views on his music and why he makes the choices he does!?! Here were the answers, and I wasn’t prepared, but am pleasantly surprised by his motivations and influences.
J.R. Price: What are your songwriting influences and inspirations?
Felix III: I try create new sounds and textures within my songs. I spend a lot of time playing with individual sounds trying to add emotion to all the digital layers.
My inspirations are Giorgio Moroder, Kate Bush, Dark Scandinavian Electronica, Deep Space, Old Hollywood amongst other things.
J.R. Price: What about those specific writers or songs move you?
Felix III: I seek out artists that make me feel things that have been laying dormant. In a phrase, or a chord progression, or lyric, and from my ear to my belly the lava starts to erupt. And a really good artist leaves me erupting, whether that is alone on the subway or dancing freely in a club.
J.R. Price: If you could have written any song that already exists, what song would it be and why?
Felix III: Hounds of Love, without a doubt. I’ve never grown tired of this song. And its frenetic energy is both free and vulnerable.
J.R. Price: What is your favorite lyric moment that you have written? What inspired it?
Felix III: “You say you’re caffeine-free, since ’93. But you you miss the juggernaut of my sweet tea.”
I’ve been on both sides of this coin. Doing something I know is bad for me, and having someone do something that they know is bad for me.
I had an image of this caffeine-free coke can from the 90’s, and it kept coming to me. I imagined someone sipping it in an elevator to hell. They were trying to keep up appearances, but the minute the door to hell opens they give in to the true Bacchanalia.
J.R. Price: My favorite lyric from what you have released thus far is:
“I’ve wasted, the best years of my life, To make the sounds I make. To see the ocean quake. To feel my lovers ache. To touch the hands that shake. To feel the first earthquake. To make the sounds I make.” – The Sounds I Make, Felix III
J.R. Price: What does this mean to you, and what do you want your fans to know about this song?
Felix III: That so much of an artist’s life is spent in doubt about whether we’ve made the wrong choices, if we’ve had the right kind of success. If we are living the way we ought to be living. Every sound we make either from sadness, happiness or lust, etc. is what makes us who we are, and we should celebrate all of it. I want listener’s to free themselves on the dance floor to this and go wild!
J.R. Price: What is your writing process? Where do the songs come from? How are they brought to life?
Felix III: I see pictures in my head for the music concepts. So my songwriting is more like scoring a film. I see the images of what I want the song to be about and I make music to accompany the images.
They are brought to life through my piano. I play around on my piano with a bunch of lyrics and create melodies until there is this magical moment when the melody and the piano hit me deep in the heart. When that moment happens I know I have the beginning of a song. And then I create textures and other layers to add to it.
All the songs come from my experiences. I create worlds for them so those feelings can finally leave my mind.
J.R. Price: What is your biggest obstacle in bringing your songs to life?
Felix III: Money. We don’t talk enough about how the starving artist cliche can actually paralyze artists from creating.
J.R. Price: What is your biggest hope for your music? Why do you write songs? What does it mean to you personally to continue this artistry?
Felix III: I want to find my audience that connects with the songs. I wanna grow that into a sustainable career where I can see the world, meet other artists, and use all the talents I have to make the world a more beautiful place.
I write songs, because I have an endless well of memories and experiences that need to be released.
I was born an artist, so I don’t really have a choice on the matter. I wake up and the only thing that makes me truly happy is when i’m creating.
J.R. Price: If you couldn’t write or listen to music for 1 year, what would you do? Would you find other passions? Would you isolate and recoil? What would you do without music for one year?
Felix III: I imagine I would be fine. I’ve always been a resilient person so I would just carry on and try new things. If I were lucky I might even discover new skills or interests along the way.
I mean through the pandemic I learned to drive in NYC, ride a bike in NYC (both of which I was against out of fear), and learned to enjoy the beach! I also learned to love myself again.
So, I’d be fine. You don’t need music to dance.
J.R. Price: Despite your influences, how would your best friends describe your music?
Felix III: My friends have described my music as haunting, cinematic, chaotic, and emotional. one of my friends said he puts on my music when he’s going to hook up in a scary place.
J.R. Price: Here is the greatest debate among all songwriters, are you ready? Lyrics or melody first? Why?
Felix III: I always write lyrics first. Poetry was my gateway drug into music when I was a kid, so the words have always mattered to me greatly.
J.R. Price: When did you start writing, and did it come naturally or was it a decision you made and worked hard to achieve?
Felix III: I started writing poetry when I was around 11 years old. It came very naturally to me. Music, however, did not. The desire to want to do it, came naturally. I taught myself how to play piano on an old electronic piano, and the melodies came. The passion was always there, but the melodies and skill were rough for a long time.
I’m still working hard to achieve new skills and evolve the songs. That part never ends.
J.R. Price: What is your latest release? Where can we listen to it?
Felix III: The Sounds I Make – You can listen on all streaming platforms! Also use it in your tiktoks so I can go viral, plz and thank u. Listen Now
J.R. Price: What are you working on next? Any spoilers? I won’t tell!
Felix III: I’m working on finishing several songs in the studio. I’ll probably release one in September, which I’m really excited about. I’m also working on a script for a movie I’m shooting in the fall. There’s no title yet, but I promise it’s gonna be wild!
J.R. Price: Where can we follow you?
Spotify – Felix III (Click Here)
Instagram – @ohfelixiii (Click Here)
but join my mailing list. That’s where I put all the goodies. 🙂 (found on his Facebook account HERE
This concludes my interview with independent musician Felix III. I hope you follow Felix’s music and socials and continue to keep tabs on Rock the Pigeon: Songlighting with J.R. Price as I discover more indie artists and discuss their songwriting process and put a spotlight on their works as a creative outlet for more independent work. I hope in a world full of Nightmares, you be a Daydream! I love you!