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Felix Da Housecat

Felix da Housecat is a hard-working producer, vocalist, DJ, and label owner whose gritty, hypnotic music draws from his Chicago house heritage as well as synth pop and electro-disco at their most glamorous. He became an underground phenomenon during the 1990s, releasing acid house and techno club hits like 1993's "In the Dark We Live (Thee Lite)" and full-lengths such as 1995's Metropolis Present Day? Thee Album, going by a laundry list of pseudonyms including Thee Maddkatt Courtship and Aphrohead, in addition to running the Radikal Fear and Clashbackk labels. 2001's Kittenz and Thee Glitz arrived at the height of the electroclash scene, and its success propelled Felix into the spotlight. He continued releasing conceptual new wave/funk-inspired albums like Devin Dazzle & the Neon Fever (2004) and He Was King (2009). His output since the mid-2010s has alternated between darker, back-to-roots material on his Founders of Filth imprint and more mainstream club tracks, including singles with Benny Benassi, Dave the Hustler, and David Guetta. Felix Stallings, Jr. was born in Detroit, but his family quickly moved to the Chicago area, and he first encountered house music on the radio during the 1980s. An introduction to Chicago legend DJ Pierre gave the 15-year-old Felix the kickstart he wanted, and he played keyboards on Pierre's 1987 single "Fantasy Girl." His parents discouraged his growing club lifestyle, however, and after high-school graduation Stallings left the scene entirely to attend Alabama State College. Over the course of a few years, he lost all interest in house music, though his girlfriend got him back into it. After calling DJ Pierre (who had moved to New York's Strictly Rhythm label), Felix began mixing and producing again. He debuted on Strictly Rhythm with a 1992 single called "Watcha Want," under the name Wizdom. He traveled to the London to meet with record executives, leading to the release of "Thee Dawn" on William Orbit's Guerilla Records and "What's Love About" on Freetown Inc. Singles also appeared on labels like Bush and Djax-Up-Beats. His popularity soared in Europe, and his first full-lengths appeared in the form of 1994's By Dawn's Early Light (as Thee Maddkatt Courtship) and Thee Industry Made Me Do It! (as Aphrohead). Not long after Stallings formed Radikal Fear Records, the label became one of the top house imprints in the world, thanks to releases from Mike Dunn, DJ Sneak, and Armando, as well as Felix himself. During 1995 he released the full-lengths Alone in the Dark (as Thee Maddkatt Courtship) on Deep Distraxion and Metropolis Present Day? Thee Album on Radikal Fear. Hot on its heels came the label collection Radikal Fear: The Chicago All Stars and a Housecat DJ album titled Clashbackk Compilation Mix. In 1999, the productive Stallings released a self-titled Aphrohead CD and another Maddkatt Courtship LP, the highly praised I Know Elektrikboy (on FFRR), which marked his shift towards a more retro-futuristic sound. The year 2001 saw the release of Kittenz and Thee Glitz, which became one of the most successful albums of the electroclash era, thanks in part to the Miss Kittin-featuring hit "Silver Screen (Shower Scene)." The breakthrough helped Felix gain mainstream exposure through articles in glossy magazines across the globe -- not to mention remix work for the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears, and Gwen Stefani. While working on a proper follow-up, Stallings put together a pair of mix albums (2002's Excursions and 2003's A Bugged Out Mix), additionally releasing albums as Aphrohead and Rocketmann (a self-titled effort recorded in 1995). The conceptual Devin Dazzle & the Neon Fever arrived in 2004, featuring contributions by Tommie Sunshine, James Murphy, and Kate Wax. During this time, Stallings was nominated twice for the the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical, first for his reworking of <>'s "Lost Love" in 2003 and again in 2005 for his remix of Iggy Pop's "Motor Inn." After collaborating with Diddy on 2005's "Jack U vs I'll House You," Stallings released Virgo Blaktro & the Movie Disco in 2007. Two years later, he returned with He Was King, which also traded in danceable synth pop with a heavy Dirty Mind/Controversy-era Prince influence. Stallings' next album, Son of Analogue, was released free with the April 2011 issue of Mixmag magazine. Over the next few years, the wild lifestyle and grueling schedule of a DJ on the road influenced Felix to "hit the reset button" and get sober. Considering himself "Thee Former Mezcalateer," he returned to the scene in 2013 with a series of electro-disco EPs, including Sinner Winner, co-released by his own label Rude Photo and the Brooklyn imprint No Shame. For 2015's introspective Narrative of Thee Blast Illusion, Felix collaborated with dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry. Aphrohead's Resurrection appeared on tech-house label Crosstown Rebels. In 2017, Felix established Founders of Filth and began releasing EPs closer in spirit to his early material, crediting some of the tracks to Aphrohead and Thee Maddkatt Courtship, and featuring legendary Chicago house vocalist Jamie Principle on songs like "It's Your World." He also released Thee Glitz Part Deux (Remix Edition), collecting 24 remixes of his singles from the early 2000s. He began releasing a series of Cats Love Velvet singles with Kristin Velvet in 2018, paying tribute to the beginnings of acid house. He released several disco-house singles around 2020, including songs with Dave the Hustler and Chris Trucher. "Berlin Sanfrandisco" with Benny Benassi and Steve "Miggedy" Maestro appeared in 2021. Spinnin' Deep issued the rave-influenced "Obsession X" (with Dave the Hustler and Erire). "Dazzler," an acid house track with Gettoblaster and Devon James, was released on Founders of Filth. David Guetta released an updated version of "Silver Screen (Shower Scene)," co-credited to Felix and Miss Kittin, in 2022. Felix also collaborated with Dave the Hustler and former Prince DJ Lenka Paris on the single "Go Hard."
© John Bush & Paul Simpson /TiVo


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