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Paris Texas Propel to the Skies with MID AIR

The genre-bending duo talk us through their new album, which finds them inciting chaos from the skies, with no plans of planting their feet on the ground. 

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There’s an adrenaline that comes with being airborne. It’s like it symbolises the wonder of life. Extreme enthusiasts propel off mountains on snowboards and blast off dirt ramps on motorcycles. Frequent-flying workhorses city-hop, fist-pumping the air as they close business deals. Vacationers cradle over-packed suitcases from plane passenger seats, ready to explore a land unfamiliar to them. Excitement and euphoria occur when you lift off because you know the possibilities that await you when you land. However, Louie Pastel and Felix, who form the rap juggernaut Paris Texas, are not interested in the ground at all. Their latest album is called MID AIR because they want to stay there. As they join me on Zoom, Louie explains why the earth’s atmosphere has become the duo’s new abode. “Up there, it’s all about cool tricks,” he says. 

Gravity becomes more of a distant memory with every song on MID AIR. This is because of the fearless moveset these dynamic rappers possess. They barrage through genre boundaries with the grit of a boxer, pulling no-punches as they unleash sounds in combos. Flows spin like Tony Hawk’s 900 on ‘Earth-2’, to the tune of dizzying, distorted guitars. Braggadocious bars come in barrages on ‘Split-Screen’, bouncing off meteor-like trap drums that plummet into the mix. The duo warps through a portal between alt-rock and intergalactic rage rap on ‘Lana Del Rey’, manoeuvring with a Han Solo-like precision.

When it comes to being daring, Felix poses the question: “Why use your parachute when you can be like Superman or Spiderman?” Louie sees taking flight as their only option, saying “We are weird goofy dudes and we’re forever stuck this way, so I don’t think we even have the capabilities of trying to make a radio song or attempting a safer route.” Neither member of Paris Texas sees a future in planting their feet, so they float together. 

Louie and Felix have had their eyes set on occupying airspace since they met. The pair found comfort in the clouds of cloud-rap in high school, bonding over their love of Robb Banks’ mixtape Calendars. As they began to explore music together, Paris Texas became the spaceship they were building to venture into the skies. They’d engineer their creations from Felix’s room, listening to all sorts of music and trying to replicate it without being too on the nose. Between creations, they’d wind down playing video games, a loop Louie once compared to a “Sleepover from when you were 15 years old, hanging out with your cousin.” The improvisation of these sessions would go on to become rocket fuel for their shuttle, culminating in standout tracks like ‘FORCE OF HABIT’ from their debut project BOY ANONYMOUS, and ‘RHM’ from the follow-up Red Hand Akimbo. 

MID AIR is Paris Texas’ first full voyage into orbit. Gone are the video game breaks, a switch-up they both attribute to being “Grown as fuck now.” They’ve left Felix’s room in the wake of recording at studios, and with every move they make, the spaceship becomes a little more shinier. But even though they’ve changed environments, their process stays the same. They still alter formulas that power the Paris Texas engine, so they can speed up, slow down, spin around, and hit listeners with jarring trajectory changes. This alchemy accelerates the execution of their cool ass tricks. “Everything we do is challenging and new, which allows us to find new avenues of creativity to explore. Sometimes we’re not even conscious of what we’re doing, and sometimes we make mistakes, but I think that helps. Either way, a new idea is going to be found,” Felix tells me. 

With no floor beneath them, Paris Texas finds comfort in their trust for one another. They are tandem as they traverse the open-ended horizons of their artistry. While their friendship formed in the name of music, it is strengthened by their oddball personalities. Louie is accepting of his weird characteristics but often wrestles with them. “Sometimes I wish I could be the guy who just cooks a barbecue at home and watches a basketball game, but it feels impossible,” he proclaims. Their partnership is what quiets the inner struggle with themselves, allowing them to embrace it. “As you grow older, you begin to appreciate your position as an outcast and the experiences you can gain thinking outside of the box because this is what ultimately moulds us,” Felix explains.

In accepting their natures, the stratosphere has become a safe haven for the duo away from the stresses of trying to understand the world around them and trying to make the world understand them. Above the skyscrapers of record labels and streaming services, they find a space to vent their frustrations in the form of art. This is highlighted in one of MID AIR’s standout tracks ‘DnD’, a Kenny Mason-assisted frenzy of food-for-thought lyricism that finds them cycling through the trials and tribulations of life and the music industry. In the first verse, Louie raps, ‘What the fuck rap? They love singin & croonin’, a bar he breaks down as a criticism of modern hip-hop’s elitism. “My theory is that we’re often not classified as a rap group because we don’t dress and act a certain way,” he says. 

“People wonder why rap is in a weird place sometimes, but look at what everyone is doing. They put the same shit on Rap Caviar every day, and there’s a weird mob mentality aspect to it. This is me putting my conspiracy hat on, but it’s like they only pick certain things to appeal to one certain demographic. We’re rapping about really similar stuff to these other artists, so why do we end up on anti-pop every time?” 

Thus, Paris Texas remains airborne, away from the bustling pandemonium of life below them. This is where they feel the adrenaline of a snowboarder, the fist-pumping hype of a workhorse, and the excitement of a vacationer. They invite us to join them on MID AIR and witness the world they are creating amidst the clouds. From their spaceship, the pair polymerise musical ideas that blur genre lines and pay homage to their oddball characteristics. They have no plans to touch down because the destination lies within the journey itself. In the words of Felix, a lack of landscape is “The landscape where we can change things.” 

But what happens if they crash? Well, Louie ain’t worried about that at all. “Crashes are something I can deal with, I’ve had many crashes in the past. We can just pick ourselves back up.” For now, the cool tricks in the sky continue.

Follow Paris Texas here for more and stream the new album ‘MID AIR’ here.

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