Felix Leiter is an international DJ and house music producer who has developed his DJ craft throughout a 14 year residency at Digital, Newcastle. Felix has supported the world’s best DJs at the influential club week in week out, and has Felix released music on renowned labels such as Strictly Rhythm, Solotoko, Ministry Of Sound and many more. A tireless work ethic, peerless local reputation and no small amount of talent has led to DJ bookings around the globe, from The Arches to Pacha, Ministry of Sound to BCM in countries including Japan, Germany, Thailand, Dubai and many more. With Felix’s productions being championed on BBC Radio 1 and by taste-makers including Mark Knight, Roger Sanchez and Idris Elba, his latest Stand Up For Love featuring the vocal talents of Rion S lands on Ki Creighton’s Under No Illusion imprint this September: a slick, sultry, deeply evocative house cut ripe for dark basements and proper ‘lose yourself’ dancefloor moments.
Welcome to DMC Felix – how’s the year been for you so far?
Hi DMC, Thanks for having me! It’s been a year of two halves I guess…The first half was pretty grim DJ wise, so I threw myself into a new project… I launched a YouTube series called ‘Show Me The Sample’ where we explore the samples that have helped to create some of our favorite dance floor hits. As the summer approached we all started to get excited, planning events and booking in DJ gigs… I’ve been really busy since July and it’s great to be back!
As a long-time Newcastle resident, what are some of the things that make the music scene there so vibrant?
It’s a small, big city, so everything is so compact! You can walk from the train station to your hotel, favourite restaurants, bars and clubs! The Geordies have a work hard, play hard attitude… So the city is always bouncing, seven nights a week!
What do you think you’ve learned as a DJ being resident at a revered club for such a long time that DJs who are always playing different venues might not?
That’s a great question! I think playing big rooms can be daunting when you’ve not done it before, so spending so much time there has been great preparation for playing other big clubs. As for being a resident DJ, I guess the flexibility, DJ’ing wise it can teach is fantastic, from playing 6 hour sets to warming up for all kinds of different acts to then following those headliners too. But maybe being a jack of all trades can be restrictive too?
You’ve released on a pretty big variety of labels over the years… and quite a few different styles? Do you have trouble concentrating on just one genre? Does it get boring for you?
I think it refers back to your previous question actually! Over the years, at Digital I DJ’d alongside the artists that were selling tickets at that time, so I took inspiration from them all. Going into the studio knowing I was playing with Armand Van Helden one week inspired me one way, then Purple Disco Machine the next week! The pandemic has given me more time to focus on one sound which has been strangely helpful and will hopefully shine through in future releases.
Is there a focus or particular direction you’re going to be taking from now on?
In my mind, I’ve always tried to make dance floor focused House music that incorporated vocals somehow. I’ve always tried to create a track that could inspire a moment on the dance floor, one that people would remember once they’ve got home!
You’ve played alongside some of the world’s biggest DJs over there years – has anyone really made an impression on you, in terms of technical prowess, tune selection? Who’s the best you’ve ever seen
I always love seeing DJs who make it look really easy… Like they’re not even trying! Local legend, Patrick Topping always springs to mind in that category. I’m sure he is trying, but it looks so effortless, I love it! One night I was lucky enough to spend hours in the booth, with pretty much just me, Sven Vath and the lighting jock. His track selection was immense, the connection he had with the crowd was intense and his mixing technique, perfect every time! It really left a lasting impression on me and inspired me too. If I was going to queue up and pay to see a DJ, it would have to be Denis Sulta, he’s such a great performer, really engaging and not bound by the ‘rules’ of DJ’ing. Pure unadulterated FUN!
Your latest single Stand Up For Love lands on Under No Illusion… how did you hook up with the label on the release?
The label boss, Ki Creighton was our resident DJ at the first club night I ran as an 18 year old with my best mate, Matt Tyson. He’s killed it with Under No Illusion Recordings so it seemed the perfect home for this track. I’d recently interviewed NightFunk for my podcast, so I asked if he would remix the track, his productions are so slick I was buzzin’ when he agreed to do it.
It’s a really slick deep house cut with a fantastic vocal… is this what we can expect from Felix Leiter from now on?
I’d like to think all my future releases are ‘slick’ DMC… So yes!
What else do you have coming up this year?
I’m really excited about my release schedule going forward, tracks coming on Solotoko, Sola & Nothing Else Matters to name a few… Plus a big remix of a classic track that I’ve snuck onto a big package coming soon on Altra Moda!
Finally, what’s the best record you’ve heard this year that’s completely flown under the radar?
I don’t know if it’s flown under the radar… But I’ve been hammering ‘Supernova – If I Tell You (Original Mix)’ in pretty much all my sets since July!