“A true original” barely begins to describe the look and sound of this Brooklyn based performing and recording artist. Never fitting in easily to any scene, Felix Flores aka Felix And The Future nonetheless has legions of fans and admirers. And with a BNA under his gorgeous belt, Felix is now about to conquer the fashion world as well! [Cover photo: Michael Ryterband]
Thotyssey: Hey Felix! Thanks for chatting with us today!
Felix And The Future: Hi! So glad to chat with you. Pardon if my responses are delayed; I’m on a train ride to pick up my pup, Señor Pintxo de Tortilla, Esq.
Aw, I hope Señor is well! So, last weekend was pretty cray for nightlife in NYC. I know you performed at Bushwig… where else were you?
Most of the weekend I was stuck inside doing final tweaking to my forthcoming single “The Sounds I Make” and simultaneously sewing frantically for my debut collection of The Mexican-American Ponchos for the Phluid Project. I did pop out to see the James Bidgood exhibition at the Museum of Sex, and for the BBQ at Metropolitan to see some drag shows. I watched To Wong Foo also… that one only gets better with time!
I took a few months off this year for some R&R and to regroup. During August, I hopped back in and played about four shows before Giant Fest. I’m feeling excited about playing again. That show at Giant Fest was particularly special. It’s so rare that the vision you have for a performance lines up with what actualizes. [Producers] Senerio and Will Sheridan gave us complete freedom to do whatever we wanted, and I ran with it. I’m happy you caught the set. Honestly, there are few performances I’m more proud of than that one. It was enjoyable for me as well! I rarely “live in the moment” as wise people always advise us to.
Yes, it can be very challenging to do that sometimes! Well, you also looked divine. Elaborate costumes have always been a part of your repertoire… are you completely hands-on with all of that?
Yes I make all my costumes. For me, the visuals are as important as the music. They all do their part to enhance the story and experience. Sometimes I borrow pieces from designer friends, but mostly I just make them.
So as not to confuse unfamiliar readers: “Felix And The Future” is all you, it’s not a band or group.
Felix and the Future is all me! I have a drummer and sometimes a keyboardist for live shows, but yes… I write all the music, direct or co-direct all videos, and make all the costumes. Pretty much all aspects. The name kind of came to me during a really bad period in my life when I was involved with a lot of bad people. Felix and the Future was the beacon in the night helping me find more beyond that moment.
Let’s backtrack a bit… where are you from originally, and what music and art were driving you early on?
I’m from Nowheresville–the kind of town that you see in movies like Fried Green Tomatoes. I was always into music: Janet Jackson, Ace of Base, the Fantasia Soundtrack, Heart, Joni Mitchell. Those were some of my childhood favorites. I was also a ballet dancer. I danced until I was 17, when I moved to NYC. I used to wash the mirrors every day before and after class to cover my free scholarship at the dance conservatory that I was a part of. First I wanted to be a singer, but everyone told me I had a terrible voice and I stopped singing until I moved to NYC.
In the performing world, weirdly, people are very quick to criticize a singing voice that isn’t completely commercial.
You’re right. it’s difficult for people to grasp things that are outside traditions. Like the voice.
What inspired you to actually start singing, despite that criticism?
Well, when I moved here I sold my computer and bough a piano and started writing songs. I was always into poetry, and as an early teen I was deeply moved by the plethora of piano-playing songstresses. So it only made sense that I’d start singing again. And when I did, sure enough people said, “I love your songs, but you really should find a singer.” And I would politely reply, “Just give it time. you’ll get used to it.”
Your voice kinda reminds me of Peter Murphy and the goth / glam rockers of the 70s and 80s.
It’s funny you say that because my mother was obsessed with KISS, one of the ultimate stadium hair/goth/glam groups. But, as for Peter Murphy, I’ll take the compliment!
How did you find yourself among the monsters of Brooklyn nightlife?
Probably much like a lot of them… no one else wanted me, lol! But mostly, I started going out and seeing shows that felt raw and exciting to me. For NYC being such a major city, there’s a lot of mediocrity happening. And when you see something that moves you, you just gotta be part of it.
Also, I never felt at home with just traditional music venues in New York. I wasn’t a member of an all-white, four dude band playing rock music. Nor was I hip-hop or a traditional singer-songwriter. Somehow, monsters in wigs lip-syncing to Bjork or Patsy Cline felt more my style.
Totally! You’ve also put out a bunch of really elaborate, eye-catching videos for your songs. Do you have a regular team on board to help with the production of these?
I do have some core collaborators, but they’re not always available and so I’m always working with new directors and cinematographers. But most of the big ones I’ve done have been with the three directors that I often work with. It’s really hard to find people that you connect with in such a deep way… so when you do, you try to work with them as much as you can.
But a few of [the videos] I actually just shot on my iPhone, like “Schoolboy.” Because sometimes the set is there, and you’re on vacation, and you’re like, “okay, that castle is calling my name, so we’re taking a break from vacation and we’re gonna get some footage.” And you’ve coincidentally packed a costume just for that occasion!
I understand that the lyrics and concept behind your song “Karen” actually came to you during a wandering journey through Southeast Asia.
Yep. I was on a train. and she came to me and said, “it’s time to work out some of these demons, Felix.” So I bought some watermelon from a lady selling through the train window at the next station, and started writing it.
Do songs and lyrics generally come to you that way… randomly inspired by your surroundings? Or do you also draw a lot from your life?
That song came from real life, but was triggered by my surroundings. I would say all of my songs come from my experiences, and they are released in a variety of ways: nature, solitude, watching a movie, listening to a song, and more. and I try to go to the piano as quickly as I can before I forget it.
The scene in Brooklyn has changed a lot since you showed up… most of the performers were originally rooted in a punk and abstract art aesthetic, but now drags and parties are a bit more hip hop influenced with a “street” look and even full-on pop princess fantasies. Is this an inspiring or frustrating development?
All things change. This is inevitable. I think through changes, we find new ways to express ourselves. So, I would say it’s inspiring, because it also means that not all the headliners are white kids from art school. It means that a lot of queer, POC performers are getting their moment to shine. This is good for everybody. My music, my performances, are their own thing. I love an audience that doesn’t necessarily get what I do, but are excited nonetheless.
In fact, you won a BNA for Best Singer two years ago! That victory must’ve been a great feeling.
I was very surprised, to be honest. It was a great night. I didn’t think anyone was listening. Up until that point, I wasn’t booking any festivals (except for Bushwig… love you, Bushwig). No one wanted me to play. Then suddenly, I was in California doing a full tour with Enrique Jesus Hernandez and it was a very exciting moment. I use my BNA Brick to throw at the haters!
So tell us more about “The Songs I Make”… how long has this song been a work in progress, and when do you think we’ll be able to hear it?
It was actually a pretty fast song to make. It’s the first single from my new album (Title still in the works, but maybe called Pink Planet… don’t quote me on it.) I actually started writing the album in 2017, before I released my last album in 2018. It’ll be released this fall. It’s been a little slow, because my video has taken a while to edit. Also, things got delayed because I was working with a label, and things didn’t work out as expected and those hiccups always take time. I’ll tell you this: I’m gonna let myself go buck wild on this album. But I’m in the mastering stage now, so it’s gonna release soon!
And as you hinted at earlier, something major will happen at The Phluid Project on Wednesday, September 18th. Tell us what you’ll be doing there!
Well, I started making The Mexican-American Ponchos a year ago. Then I got picked up by the Phluid Project to do a small collection for their e-commerce, which led to a pop-up, which led to a full event at their store. So we’ll be presenting 10 to 15 new Ponchos, and I’ll be playing live. It’ll be a fashion, music extravaganza. La Zavaleta will be making an appearance, as will Alrahi III. The Phluid Project has been so supportive and excited about what I do. They basically were like, “do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t ruin the furniture.”
Amazing! What else should the children know?
Go check out my songs that I’ve already put out, and follow me on Spotify so you get notified of the new tracks. But more importantly: support local, independent musicians. And not just the ones that write music for playlists… the ones who are exploring unchartered territory.
Thank you, Felix!
See Also: 1 Thot Minute With Felix And The Future (5.2.2020)