Queer, Mexican-American musician and composer FELIX III releases his new video for “The Sounds I Make” today. FELIX III’s music focuses on giving into carnal pleasures at the cost of mental wellbeing – and centers around unlearning the damage caused by poverty, homophobia, higher education, heartbreak and the great sadness of not living up to the American Dream that we are conditioned to believe in as our ultimate goal.
Of “The Sounds I Make” and its accompanying video, FELIX III says: “This song is about dancing away your problems. ‘The Sounds I Make’ is my lyrical mantra. It is facing the things you aren’t happy with in your life, and letting them go. Every sound you make is a chance to grow, learn and expand your potential. I used Big Room style beats with rave-ready anthemic synths to drive the song forward, much like life. Then I used a modulating vocoder to change my voice as the song progresses like the way we change our points of view as we mature and grow wiser.
The video is shot vertically. We want you to watch it on your phone, just like everything else. “The Sounds I Make” was shot in a swimming pool, a bathtub, and at the ocean. I wanted to capture the vulnerability of being in and beside a body of water. Water can be both healing and dangerous – one minute we are floating at the top, and the next we are under the waves. Being in water is also a place where we cast aside inhibitions and expose our bodies. As the ingenue in the video, we wanted that voyeuristic side of the starlet in the swimming pool gazing at the Hollywood producer debating how far he would go to get the part.”
FELIX III is the official artist-in-residence for OUTsider Fest – an Austin-based transmedia nonprofit that celebrates the bold originality and creative nonconformity of the LGBTQ+ communities through the presentation of provocative, overlooked and out-of-the-box film, dance, theater, performance art, music, writing and visual art. Through OUTsider Fest, FELIX III will be the recipient of the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts Grant). The residency began with a performance earlier this year and will continue with the presentation of a semi-surreal feature film to be shot this year and premiere in 2023.
How is Felix III and how do you define?
Felix III is your personal soundtrack when you’re doing bad things.
What is the story behind your name?
I’m actually Felix the third. I’m named after both my father and my grandfather.
How did your music career begin?
When I moved to NYC I sold my computer and bought a digital piano and taught myself to play. I banged on that thing until songs started coming out. I spent a few years playing shows that honed my performance skills, but did not foster an audience. It wasn’t until the pandemic happened when I revamped everything and got an artist residency with Outsider Fest and then got booked at SXSW. This is what I consider to be the beginning of my career and being taken seriously.
What are your influences?
I’m inspired by film scores, Kate Bush, Klaus Nomi, Giorgio Moroder, and my chihuahua named Señor Pintxo de Tortilla.
His music focuses on giving into carnal pleasures at the cost of mental wellbeing. What is the message you want to put out to the world with your music?
We all do things we aren’t proud of in moments of desperation, struggle or need. My songs chronicle the things I’ve done. And by singing about them, I’m releasing my own self-judgment into the world. Turning them into something positive, and hopefully something people can relate to.
How challenges like poverty and homophobia led you to “The Sounds I Make” which is an ode to dancing away all of your problems?
I was shamed as a kid for being femme – my voice, my hands, my free-spirit. I was shamed as a teen for being poor. The shame stays with us until we take control of it and decide we are more than the labels people have given us. The Sounds I Make is a reminder that all the different sounds we make in life are part of our story. And the story is still being written. I am an unstoppable force of creativity, and I have always been.
What is the importance of music to your life?
Music gave me the courage to be myself. Music is where I channel my Leo Energy. It is where I’m most bombastic, chaotic, and fun. Music is like wearing a wig… you never know what you’re gonna find until you put it on.
How do you manage to grow, learn and expand your potential through music?
When a track is finally released it is the last step in a long process of songwriting, collaborating, delegating, and connecting with other humans. Many times those steps are fraught with obstacles and you have to make decisions that challenge you in order to make progress. A good collaboration makes you a better artist. A bad collaboration makes you a better negotiator.
Is there enough queer music representation nowadays?
Tell me about the video of “The Sounds I Make”. Why is it shot vertically?
We spend most of our days looking at a vertical phone. Why not make a video that is formatted specifically for your phone?
What made you decide to be an official artist-in-residence for OUTsider Fest?
They have championed me for a few years during my development. They are gonna let me do whatever I want and encourage me to take major risks.
What are your dreams and your future plans?
I want to tour the world. I want to score movies. I want to meet other amazing artists and future collaborators. But in the immediate future, my plans are playing a show at 3Dollarbill in NYC on July 20th, and getting people to listen to my new track “The Sounds I make” which just came out!
FELIX III will perform at Brooklyn’s 3 Dollar Bill on July 20.