Who is Dirt Crew's Felix Leifur?
What do the names Detroit Swindle, Brame & Hamo, Mano Le Tough, Chymera, Tigerskin and Till Von Sein all have in common? The general answer, by any discerning fan of real house music, would be ‘they’re all seriously dope producers, give me their music NOW’! What they also have in common though, is that they all fired out their earliest releases on the superb Berlin label Dirt Crew Recordings.
Now joining this esteemed list of music makers is the Icelandic producer Felix Leifur. Coming Straight Outta Reykajvík, Felix crafted his sound and skills sampling from his dad’s old record collection, with his productions soon turning the heads of Iceland’s most respected house label, ‘Lagaffe Tales’.
“Their music has probably been used more in clubs than drugs and alcohol!”
“Their music has probably been used more in clubs than drugs and alcohol!”
His groovy and incredibly raw style now sees him push out the superb 5-track ‘The Sunday Club EP’ on top talent spotter label Dirt Crew Recordings. This sleazy, funk-fuelled trip to just the right side of leftfield deep house, is sure to hit the spot with DJs who purvey the finer sounds of the underground spectrum.
When an EP of this quality drops at the Traxsource HQ, everyone turns around and takes notice. That’s why we decided to sit down with the main man from Iceland to find out more about his hometown of Reykajvik, the release, and exactly Who is Dirt Crew’s Felix Leifur?
Congratulations on you first release on Dirt Crew. How did the link up with the label come about?
Thanks! I’m really happy with it, but it was pure luck on my part I guess. I sent my friend Tommy Hudson in Manchester some tunes to check out and before I knew it, he had sent it to Tom (Hidden Spheres). He then sent it directly to Dirt Crew and they loved it, so before I knew I had received an email from them. Really lucky I guess; perfect timing.
Were you a fan of the label before you signed The Sunday Club EP?
Yes, it is one of my all-time favorites. They’re the label in the house community that when they release, it’s impossible to miss and always quality. Their music has probably been used more in clubs than drugs and alcohol! Ha!
Dirt Crew have been instrumental in helping launch the careers of the likes of Mano Le Tough, Chymera, Till von Sein, Tigerskin, Detroit Swindle and Brame & Hamo. How does it feel to follow in their footsteps?
Wow! When you put it like that, it’s pretty surreal for me! I’m from Iceland, so this is a personal accomplishment just to get the music out of the country. I had aims of releasing on a big label this year, but wasn’t expecting this.
What equipment did you use for ‘The Sunday Club’ release?
I don’t really have much of equipment, I just go by the classic rule ‘it’s not about what you have, it’s how you use it’. I used a lot of records for sampling, Dave Smith’s ‘Mopho’ for all kinds of sounds, plus Ableton. That’s all I need really, but I have my eyes on some stuff.
What is the dance music scene like in Reykjavik today?
It’s really blossoming at the moment, although hip-hop is the most popular sound. Everyone is a rapper, and many are really good at it too. Production wise, the house scene is a small one that really just consists of few people, but we have loads of great DJs who are really good; world class in fact. It’s never a dull moment in town here!
Iceland has had some much-publicised financial problems. How did this affect the people in regards to going out and the dance music scene in general?
A crisis like this always has good effects on music scenes I think, as this marked a new era of dance music for us. Some people lost their jobs or worked less and had more room in their lives to make music. A few new labels started to pop up releasing some great stuff and people started throwing all kinds of different club nights around town. In general, there was just a much greater demand for dancing and nightlife. Now we also have loads of great music festivals that have sprung up only in recent years like Sónar Reykjavík, Secret Solstice Festival and All Tomorrows parties.
What kind of house sound do the people of Iceland relate to the most?
It just depends on the season really! Our winter can be quite cruel and daylight is not something we get a lot of, so that really does have an effect on people musically. The warmer weather brings out happier vibes of course, as we have almost 24 hours of daylight during the summer! It also just depends on what’s hot in the underground. The underground music is really the ‘mainstream’ here, as people in Iceland are generally really into music and respect it. We’re quite lucky with that.
Where and what clubs did you get your musical education from in Iceland? What DJs?
Kaffibarinn and Paloma are my two top clubs for house and electronic music in general. I have played there a few times and it’s always been great. They also have the best music in my opinion. The DJs are all really really good and it is impossible for me to choose any few that educated me. I don’t really listen that much to dance music, it kind of takes my focus away. I do keep track with one eye on what’s going on, but I mostly make music for myself to listen to. I’ve found it the best way to keep the inspiration going.
Are there any up and coming Icelandic DJs and producers we should be looking out for?
Yes of course, there is most definitely Intr0beatz. He was a hip-hop producer for many years and turned to house around 2013 I think and has been doing great stuff since. He has released on Shur-I-Khan’s Dark Energy Recordings and is currently releasing at Closer to Truth which is a great and fresh label. He just gets better by the day. Then there is Viktor Birgiss, who’s been producing and releasing for a while and runs the label Lagaffe Tales with Jónbjörn. They are also one of the reasons I’m into house so you should really check them out. Plus, of course Áskell; I can’t praise him enough. He is a great DJ/producer and runs the label BORG with Ómar. They had some fantastic releases.
DJ Kári, he’s been DJing since I was born and I really admire him. The Sunday Club EP is even named after the house nights he throws every couple of months on Sunday nights, which was also one of my first and most fun gigs. If you’re ever in town, you should check if Símon Fknhndsm is DJing (which he most definitely will be!) He’s one of the greats in Reykjavík to me.
Do you have any tips on cool places to visit in Reykjavik? Bars, clubs, restaurants? Be our tour guide!
Well for pre-drinks I would always recommend Loft Hostel Bar. It’s located at the best location downtown and the atmosphere is amazing. They have live music and all types of events that you can think of. Clubbing-wise, Paloma is a techno/house club which is fantastic to go to after midnight to dance. Kaffibarinn is THE house club of Reykjavík. It’s cozy in the day and early evening but just turns into a house party after midnight. It’s also quite small which makes it more fun. I’ve never had a dull moment in there.
Prikið is the hip-hop centre of Reykjavík, it’s also the oldest club in the city by far. Tivoli is also a new house/hip hop club that opened recently. They do fine cocktails early in the evening and great parties after midnight. Húrra is also nice and spacious, they play mostly alternative music. They also have a concert venue for bigger bands and stuff which is very nice. The beauty is that all those places are so close to each other, you will have no problem changing venues if something bores you.
Reykjavik is one of the world’s most unique cities, so it’s great to see producers like Felix Leifur planting their flag on the global map with a Dirt Crew Recordings release. House music knows no boundaries, with the sound and scene popping up and creating diverse pockets of creativity all over the world.
That’s the power of the underground.