Paris Texas: thrilling and gloriously unpredictable alt-hip-hop duo

The LA musicians recently dropped their disorienting-yet-fascinating ‘Red Hand Akimbo’ project, and now have their eyes set on… Christmas number one?

If we were ranking 2021’s most impactful debuts, Paris Texas would easily be troubling the top three. The LA alt-hip-hop duo delivered the musical equivalent of a roundhouse kick to the head back in February with their debut single ‘Heavy Metal’, which fused a filthy blues riff and buzzsaw distortion with louche bars detailing feelings of self-doubt, paranoia and pure, unbridled bloodlust. Thrillingly, this sense of wild claustrophobia was exacerbated further by its accompanying video, which depicted the pair being taken hostage and variously bloodied and bound to chairs, dragged by cars and being buried alive in the woods.

When their debut project ‘Boy Anonymous’ then dropped in May, it only confirmed what we already suspected: namely that the creative partnership between rapper Felix and producer Louie Pastel – who first met in junior college eight years ago – is one of the most exciting we’ve witnessed in years. Operating at the intersection of post-hardcore and hip-hop and conjuring their own grisly visual language, Paris Texas have already garnered favourable comparisons to clipping., Death Grips and Brockhampton, who they’re booked to open for across the US in 2022.

Paris Texas don’t fit any particular mould, a fact further underscored by their latest project ‘Red Hand Akimbo’. Released last month, the five-track collection often finds the duo exploring heavier, rock-influenced territory: take searing opener ‘Dr. Aco’s Miracle Bullets’ or the low-slung swagger of lead single ‘Girls Like Drugs’. Add in the production of more warped music videos and some pretty surreal skits, and the latest instalment in the Paris Texas story is as disorientating as it is fascinating.

Fresh from a trip to London to launch the EP – where they also reportedly hit the studio with the likes of Mac Wetha and Karma Kid – Paris Texas took time to chat with NME about the band’s origins, their pitch-black visual world and their ambitious plans to take on Mariah Carey in the race for Christmas number one. No, really.

-Gemma Samways

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