Felix Cartal Debuts New Sound on 'Keep Up' Feat. Steph Jones: Listen

Stephanie Vu
Felix Cartal

Felix Cartal has dropped his first single, “Keep Up” (feat. Steph Jones), for electronic label Physical Presents. "This is an important release for me,” he says. “It’s the first on my new label and it debuts my new sound, which I've been honing in on with the remixes I've done the first half of this year.”

The Canadian producer and DJ, who most recently remixed tracks for Kiiara, Wafia and Selena Gomez, tells Billboard he developed his new sound after making a promise to himself to essentially only work on music he likes. It led to a new “chiller vibe” on his own material.

“I've always made electronic music and I've always loved pop. The catalyst for me this year was taking time off from touring, spending every day in the studio, and changing DAWs [digital audio workstation] to a completely new setup,” Cartal says. “I was a bit creatively drained, so I made a resolution to only remix music that I loved, and only make songs that I personally would want to listen to.”

“I decided to reach out to a few artists I truly believed in and asked to remix their records.  That's how I connected with Kiiara and Wafia.  While working on the remixes, something just clicked in me.  It was partly due to the new production setup I developed, but also just the process of working with those vocals helped me approach my own songs in a new way.”

Now the man who released his first EP, Skeleton, in 2009, followed by two albums, 2010’s Popular Music and 2012’s Different Faces, has zeroed in on a sound that makes him happy and feels more personal.

“I've been writing things more naturally now, trusting my gut way more, and that's why the new songs have a chiller vibe. I think my collab with Kaskade, ‘Fakin It,’ was a special moment that really solidified my new sound and vision.”

Cartal had a writing session with Jones in Los Angeles recently and “she built ‘Keep Up’ after that,” he says, adding that Kevin Fisher (a.k.a. Sweet Talker, who has worked with Chris Lane, Olivia Holt, American Authors and Pentatonix) was also a part of the writing process.  Jones is featured on Tritonal’s “Blackout,” currently No. 9 in the Dance/Mix Show Airplay Top 10.  The lyric is about helplessly and unapologetically falling hard for someone.

“Her voice is a mix of pop stuff that I'm really into but has this indie quality too,” Cartal says of Jones.  “I love that the lyrics don't feel cheap or like they've been used before.  That combined with the melodies just made it obvious to me that this song was going to be something special.”

"Keep Up" is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and other music streaming services. Preview the track below.

"Keep Up" Lyrics:

No I'm not gonna calm down
Can't see straight when you come around
You put your hands on me
All of my walls give up
Tumbling and tripping, I been there
Million miles a minute
I'm freaking out
Something's telling me this is love

If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
Like a river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up
If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
Like a river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up
Can't keep up, keep up
Can't keep up

I can't keep it a secret
Going from wanting to needing
Water is rising
And I'm in over my head
Fill my lungs up, I breathe you
Skin on skin all the time
Slowly you pull me
I'm hanging by a thread, oh by a thread

If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
Like a river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up
If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
At the river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up
Can't keep up, keep up
Can't keep up
Can't keep up
If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
Like a river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up
If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
Like a river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up
Can't keep up
If my heart is working over time
And I don't, I don't, I don't know how it happened
Like a river running through my mind
Can't keep up, keep up, keep up, keep up