BACKSTORY: Louie Pastel and Felix met in community college but dropped out to pursue music full-time. With backgrounds in production, guitar, rap, and live performance, the duo learned to craft a sound that meshes elements of rap, rock, and R&B
FROM: South Central, Los Angeles
YOU MIGHT KNOW THEM FROM: Their debut project, BOY ANONYMOUS, which dropped without warning in May 2021, or their story-driven, action-packed videos for the singles “HEAVY METAL,” “FORCE OF HABIT,” and “SITUATIONS”
NOW: Having released their five-track EP Red Hand Akimbo in October 2021, the duo is preparing for a slew of summer festival appearances, including sets at Boston Calling, Gov Ball, and This Ain't No Picnic
Louie Pastel and Felix of Paris Texas are just as surprised as you might be at the level of success they’ve achieved over the last year. It’s not because they think their music isn’t any good—they meticulously try to make sure that it is—but rather, the two best friends’ approach to crafting their clashing, experimental sound has always stemmed largely from the objective of having fun. When the LA-based duo unexpectedly dropped their electric, punk-infused debut track “HEAVY METAL” in February 2021 with a violent B&E music video, it wasn’t part of an elusive release strategy intended to create a bombshell reaction. They just didn’t think anyone would be paying enough attention to care.
But the internet did, and by the time Paris Texas released their self-produced eight-track project BOY ANONYMOUS in May 2021 to critical acclaim, they were already on the rise. In the months prior, Paris Texas introduced the world to “SITUATIONS,” a groovy, industrial rap track with a 2000s video game visual, and “FORCE OF HABIT,” an electric guitar–heavy tune that Louie says was actually an accidental byproduct of his attempt to make a “Steve Lacy–type beat.” He explains, “When the song came out sounding like rock, I just thought, ‘Damn, maybe I'm just really bad at R&B.’”
“In both our childhoods, we were the entertainers of our friend groups. Even now, when we get together, sometimes it’s too much. It gets to the point where people stop finding us funny and don’t know what to do with themselves.”— Louie
Long before Paris Texas dropped BOY ANONYMOUS, they were experimenting with rap and composition through live performance. Felix had grown up in South Central and Louie in Compton; although the two initially bonded over their obsession with Florida cloud rapper Robb Bank$, Louie attributes much of their early friendship to the hours they spent working (or at least employed) at the campus student center together.
However, it wasn’t long before Louie decided he wanted to pursue music as a career and dropped out of college. Shortly after, Felix followed suit. For three years, Felix and Louie slowly crafted their musical style through underground shows in South Central organized by their friends. “Being a recording artist and being a performing artist are two totally different skills,” Louie says. “The one blessing we had of performing a lot before recording was knowing what we were capable of live.” Performance has always been a part of Felix and Louie’s personas—even before the two met. “In both our childhoods, we were the entertainers of our friend groups,” Louie says. “Even now, when we get together, sometimes it’s too much. It gets to the point where people stop finding us funny and don’t know what to do with themselves.”
But just because Felix and Louie are having fun doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely serious about their work. The two recorded most of BOY ANONYMOUS in 2019, a time when putting together a full-length project wasn’t just an idyllic goal, but a necessity. While recording the project, both Felix and Louie quit their day jobs (which at one point entailed working at 7-Eleven together), and Louie alternated between crashing on Felix’s floor and sleeping in his car. The duo finally released BOY ANONYMOUS nearly two years later.
“Just let the music speak. You don’t need a crazy description for it to go wild.”— Felix
Although Felix says the reception to BOY ANONYMOUS has been “bananas,” their approach to making music remains largely the same—and the two are committed to the ethos of experimentation, even if by accident. “Everybody’s just like, ‘This feels so new,’” Louie says. “But for me, I’m like, ‘Please don’t give me that responsibility. We’re both still learning. We’re still trying stuff out.’”
In October 2021, Paris Texas released their five-track EP Red Hand Akimbo, the bulk of which they recorded over the summer. The EP is bookended with a raspy-voiced narration recorded by one of their close friends (the duo promises fans will figure out who), and it includes a track co-produced by Kenny Beats. “I didn’t want to get a gold star just for being ‘rock,’” Louie says of Red Hand Akimbo. “I wanted it to be interesting. I mean, Felix raps a lot on this shit. He can basically rap over anything.”
Paris Texas has no plans of slowing down. But before anyone else attempts to describe their future projects and sounds as “new,” Felix says, “Just let the music speak. You don’t need a crazy description for it to go wild.” FL