So Felix, where are you and what are you doing at the moment?
At the moment I’m sat in my office in Crouch End chowing down on pineapple and coffee, taking a brief rest from mixing my new solo album.
Where did it all begin?
I started playing music when I was eight, tooting with gusto on a knackered old trumpet at school. Then when I was ten my parents gave in to my relentless begging and bought me a drumkit. My family is rather musical, so luckily there has always been a pretty substantial cache of instruments littering the house for me to play with. I got into playing the guitar a year later, and eventually got on speaking terms with the piano that had heretofore sat lonely in the corner. I then spent my school years permanently in the music block, skipping from the drums to the piano to the guitar, chipping slowly away at them in order to hone my skills. I then started writing music when I fourteen, and had been playing in bands of various descriptions since I was eleven, but when I was fifteen I joined my first proper band, The Shakes. We played at school and all over the south at various venues and recorded two albums of our own stuff. It was such a learning curve doing those years of gigs, and the memories are very precious. After school I went off traveling round the musical shrines of my heroes in the deep south of America, and when I came back I joined Rocketeer, bringing with me a heap of new music and styles I had picked up on my travels. I now make it my mission to learn a new instrument every year in order to expand the possibilities for songwriting.
I enjoy wearing a suit in some form or another whenever I leave the house, but I often clothe myself in things I happen upon in charity shops, vintage stores and foreign market places. I am also very lucky that my Swedish grandfather’s entire twentieth century wardrobe now fits like a glove. So I’m sorted for slacks and golfing attire. I dubious about wearing mass-produced clothing, but that is coupled with the fact that I find the idea of blindly following trends quite cynical and boring. I applaud those who, through exercising a little imagination, are able to subvert these trends and dress distinctively without adhering to some idealized archetype of “fashionable”.
Favourite Item ever worn?
I’ve worn some pretty awesome garments whilst doing musical theatre that I have loved. I wore a sort of all-in-one enormous floral nightdress thing in one show that I still have and occasionally break out in bored moments. I also have a kilt, which is fantastic for relaxation. But my favourite thing is something I found through a dealer on the internet. It’s a floor-length French army wool coat from the 50’s. It’s just magnificent. I like any clothing that really changes the way you hold yourself when you wear it. I like the feeling of elevating myself to the garment. I love a shop where you can tell the assistant isn’t thinking, “Would you like to buy these clothes?” but rather, “Are you fit to wear these clothes?”
Hear you’re quite a Sailor?
It’s true that I have done really quite a lot of sailing, but honestly I can’t stand it. While many good friends of mine relish the challenge and the thrill of manoeuvring these enormous craft about the ocean, I have only ever found it to be cold and miserable. Also, my astonishing lack of natural nautical talent renders me a massive hindrance on any boat. Hence why I often end up as ballast and sandwich attendant for the voyage. Get me on a boat with a massive engine and I’m golden, but putting my faith in the wind has never yielded anything but damp torment.
Members of your band?
In the band we have Hugh Carter on rhythm guitar and van driving duties, his brother Benny on drums, their cousin Francis Bevan on lead guitar and Tom Heaven on keyboards and trumpet.
Where from now?
We’ve just released a new video for our upcoming single “Leave Me”, a song I wrote about a particularly eventful night of my life. And we’re gearing up to go back into the studio in a couple of months to record our first album. Also, we’re very excited about the prospect of a European tour next year, as well as many gigs around Britain in the coming months. Also, we’re doing a few festivals around the place and several gigs in our native London.
Aside from that, I’m getting ready to launch my new solo album entitled “Dawn Breaks, The Monster Wakes…” which is a collection of weird and wonderful songs that I have been writing this past year. I am planning to perform these songs in theatres to backing tracks with the addition of two good friends of mine, Ellie Cowan and Tash Hodgson, on backing vocals. Also, we are going to benefit greatly from the marvelous designer Macki, who will be providing our costumes. I am about to head up to Edinburgh to play in Jack Whitehall’s show, “Backchat”, which should be a cracker. As well as all that, I am preparing to bring a magic show I co-wrote with the very talented Mr. Neil Henry to London for a couple of runs on and off the West End. I am also writing a variety of musicals with various wonderful people, and working on other little musical things as they come in. Information about all of these things will soon be available on my nearly-finished website, www.felixhagan.com. It’s really quite a busy time.
In the shower do you wash your left armpit or right armpit first?
I usually spiral outwards from the chest. Usually this approach takes in the left
If you could fly away somewhere where would you go and why?
Excluding the obvious choice of flying my lady off to a tropical paradise, I would probably jet off to Liverpool. I spent an incredibly happy time of my life there and I often miss my brethren with an almost tangible physical pain. Failing that I would find the most remote and windswept castle in Scotland, fill it with instruments and spend a month writing in beautiful isolation.
David Bowie springs to mind, purely for his strict adherence to his own ideas. I love people whose stylistically “outlandish” decisions are backed up with creative substance. In terms of actual sartorial elegance, my magical colleague Neil Henry’s father, Dr. Robert-Louis Abrahamson, is perhaps the best-dressed man in existence. He also presents a beautifully graceful podcast entitled “Evening Under Lamplight”. Look for it.
Would you spend that on a lucian Fraud?
If I had several million pounds to spare, the acquisition of paintings is on my list, but far below more pressing matters such as building a castle and having my own zeppelin.