When last we spoke to this dynamic musician, he was winning his first Brooklyn Nightlife Award. These days he has new music on the horizon, a unique new digital live show and a vastly original fashion line… that may have just been totally ripped off in a very public way. The multi-talented Felix And The Future lays it all out for us. [Photo: Joe Kramm]
Thotyssey: Hello again, Felix! How has your quarantine been?
Felix And The Future: Hey! My quarantine has been most likely fine. It started out intense, and I’m finding my rhythm now.
I’ve been enjoying your weekly “Felix’s Playhouse” (Saturdays 6pm on your Instagram), where you chat with the children and perform your original music, all in the most fabulous of fashions! There’s a Sexy Queer Downtown Mr. Rogers vibe happening and I am here for it. How have you been enjoying giving us digital theater?
“Felix’s Funhouse” has been really cathartic for me, and challenging. Coming up with material every week has pushed me way outside my comfort zone. I don’t have the time to make things look and sound flawless, so there is a rawness to the show because it is LIVE! I finish each show with a cover song on the piano that I usually learn the night before.
But I do it because I’ve found new forms of expression with this weekly format. I get to have my favorite musicians be guests, and [let them] do what they wanna do. Honestly, there’s an intimacy to digital live shows that is unique. This really resounds with my inner isolationist.
I bet! And I love the colorful setting, with the dramatic staircase.
Thank you! It’s my apartment and workspace. That staircase goes to a tiny room that I make all my music and sew my costumes and ponchos. My boyfriend and I love making sets. Also he’s an interior designer, so the two of us try to make our home a special place.
What do you think the future of this show might be once the quarantine is over?
I was thinking about that. I’ve also been considering making this a YouTube series. Honestly the possibilities are endless. I’d have the guests actually come into the space, rather than just virtually.
Aside from music, fashion design is another world you’re part of. You’ve created The Mexican-American Poncho line. Tell us about what that is, and what inspired it.
My original conception was created as a tribute to my upbringing, straddling two cultures. I’ve combined the classic American varsity Jacket with a traditional Mexican Serape or Falsa into unique cross-cultural expression. Each poncho represents a piece of my own experiences growing up Mexican-American in the Midwest.
When you grow up in the middle of two cultures, you are neither this nor that–kind of like cultural limbo. The line is an expression of that. It takes the beauty of and artistry of the Mexican serape [and merges it] with the idealism of the 1950s varsity jacket- but with a modern mentality. I made one for myself when I was on tour a couple of years ago, and the interest created the line. I just made a bunch and sold them, and have been evolving them since.
I make all of them. I source the jackets in the USA, and get the serapes from Mexico. It takes me about seven hours to make one jacket. There’s a lot of construction for each one. And I use markets, social media, and word of mouth to distribute them. I was also selling them for most of last year at the Phluid Project, which has now closed.
Jonny Cota, winner of Amazon Fashion’s competition ‘Making The Cut” has a design which is unarguably quite similar to this signature product of yours. Many observers have been telling you this. What do you think happened there?
I cannot confirm all the speculation surrounding the similarities to my original piece. and I would never accuse a designer outright of copying. I will say this: I unequivocally invented the Mexican-American Poncho myself. It had never existed, to my knowledge. Before I started selling it, I did heaps of research. To my knowledge, I was the first. My ponchos have been seen all over markets in California, New York City, and Austin for SXSW. I had a pop-up at The Phluid Project that did so well, I was asked to be a regular brand carried in the show for most of last year.
Many people had created ponchos before me. I was obviously not the first. But I was the first to create this hybrid.
These things certainly can happen by accident and coincidence… but if falls onto the responsibility designers and major distributors to research what’s already out there.
In the world of fast fashion–just like fast food–the quality, and integrity suffers at the mercy of shaving pennies off each step of production. When I look at my Instagram analytics for the images of my ponchos, they are bookmarked hundreds of times by unknown people. Often times these Instagram bookmarks end up on mood boards for these global brands that just have to put shit out and then make it fit in their “concept” for the season.
I will also say this: there are artists and there are curators. Often times curation gets confused with artistry. Especially when there’s a dollar sign attached to it.
[Above: first and third images are Felix’s designs, second and fourth are Cota’s.]
Are you just trying to figure out what your next step should be at this point?
As with everything during this pandemic, i’m just taking it one day at a time.
Maybe somebody out there reading this has good advice for you!
If anyone out there has some advice or connection, let me know. You know how to find me. I’m all ears.
Okay, in closing: how about some good advice from you, regarding artists who are trying to express themselves and be constructive during these very limiting and uncertain times?
My advice: don’t take any advice from memes. Just let your mind wander wherever it wants to wander, because it might never happen again that you have the time to daydream (or day-mare? is that a thing, because we are basically having day nightmares nonstop right now). If you want to make work, then make it. But just having time to hear your own thoughts is good enough.
As for me, I just finished writing my first ambient album. I’m also about to release a cover song. And I’m finishing up my next Felix and the Future album for the fall. As well, as making ponchos. So for me, i’m working really hard, but also spending many days doing nothing at all. Except for defending my brand from The Man. Also, support local artists.And #fuckamazon. Just look at how they are treating their employees.
Thank you Felix, good luck!
See Also: On Point With Felix And The Future (9.17.2019)