Detroit based enigma Jimmy Edgar has been polarizing opinion since an early age, and while he’s no longer the 15 year old wayward star child who spun alongside Juan Atkins & Derrick May it would appear the advancing years haven’t curbed his natural eccentricities. You only have to read the opening paragraph on his Facebook profile to realize that both in mind and music Jimmy Edgar is anything but conventional, with a style that is a paradoxical mix of, early analogue fizz, sleazy 80’s sexual desire and futuristic dance floor magnetism.
With his 3rd full length LP ‘Majenta’ about to drop on Hotflush Recordings and an eagerly anticipated live performance at this years Glade Festival on the horizon we managed to bring him back down to earth for a few questions…..
BBB: Firstly lets get Detroit out of the way, having read previous interviews it would appear that whilst Detroit has clearly been an influential force, you were never fully aware of its distinct imprint until you started to travel. In your opinion does Detroit live up to its perceived legacy, a legacy that many eulogize about despite having never set foot on its broken streets?
Jimmy Edgar: For me, its not about living up to it. I don’t think you could travel from your home and then be disappointed by all the delusions of Detroit being “untrue”. I think its quite surprising for people who have this imagination to actually see Detroit. I feel like then it all makes sense, seeing the physical depression and lack of resources; on the flip side, creative attitudes and beautiful architecture, its quite romantic to me. I appreciate Detroit, I always loved it, not sure if other people have this where they grew up. Its hard to put into words.
BBB: Since 2010’s XXX you have been splitting your time between Detroit and the thriving Berlin scene, was it a musical pilgrimage of sorts?
Jimmy Edgar: I’m like a digital troubadour. I enjoy making people move, and control a dance floor.
BBB:….and how would you say it has influenced the new record ‘Majenta’
Jimmy Edgar: Alchemy, cosmic laws, UV spectrum colors, galactic communication, hypnosis, meditation and mysticism.
BBB: Majenta still holds that distinctive analogue powered sexual deviancy of previous records, however since your last record we have seen a wave of new producers break through with a mix of bass and House that unashamedly references the past, many whom have released on Hotflush Recordings. Having been amongst those original pioneers do you feel that the present day producers are living up to their legacy?
Jimmy Edgar: Its not for me to have such raw judgement on people and their motivations. You’re talking politics. Some people should stop making music because they are doing it for the wrong reasons, other people are amazing at what they do no matter which time or place. We live in a different time of innovation, very fast time where things change quickly. Who knows, we may be perceived as pioneers of the physical to digital era of music. We started making music that was purely virtual, the first generation to make music completely with 1’s and 0’s. How will this look to people of our future? I imagine holographic bands playing at some point and then a 2 dimensional image comes up and its our music, before the time of new technology.
BBB: Of the current crop has anyone caught your interest musically, and if so for what reason?
BBB: I’m more watching new artists and film designers, fashion. I make so much music I don’t really listen to much outside except when I’m out. Been really into my friends; Kenneth Anger film remixes, Paul Ruiz’s very moody oil paintings, Richard Gray illustrations and Esther Boskaljon, a really amazing fashion designer that recently got in touch with me.
BBB: We read in a previous interview that you felt fashion and colour were the true inspiration for your music, however your sound has a very distinct Kraftwerk meets 80’s synthesis quality to it. What records do you regularly go back to for inspiration?
Jimmy Edgar: I love dance mania. Electro funk records, and trax.. those are the classics. I love Kraftwerk and stuff but Id probably most likely pull some R&B dance music from the 80s, even though I’ve played myself out on it, you can hear it in my music.
BBB:……. what is it about these records that captures your imagination?
Jimmy Edgar: Its just good music, soulful and futuristic sounding. I’m bringing these great elements to a more sound of now. I love this clean, tight sound.
BBB: Often with electronic music these days it can be very throw away and lack any true conviction beyond the dance floor. Would you agree with this, and if so what would you say provoked and informed your forthcoming LP?.
Jimmy Edgar: Yeah but mostly because there are too many shit musicians getting away with releasing music, its disposable. The good part is the talent actually shines through. There’s a true lack of effort and inspiration in our generation because we grew up listening to people tell us we are pieces of shit, change that and see what the kids come up with, I guarantee it.
BBB: We have been lucky enough to hear the new album, and it is genuinely a great record, however it feels much straighter and less retro in construction than previous records. Why is this?
Jimmy Edgar: I’m moving towards more futuristic music. I’ve been on a path, a very specific one that is taking me through my life. I was working with 80s, and now 90s, my next work will be completely fresh and unique. This is my attempt, a journey. I feel strong enough to be able to create really new and fresh dance music with sounds not done in the digital realm. Also I was always working on analog equipment, that has now changed.
BBB: You have a number of live shows over the summer season including Glade Festival, what should we expect, any surprises?
Jimmy Edgar: I am doing an LED performance. I programmed my tracks into millisecond synchronization to every sound in my tracks. Very bright lights with colors and kind of animation. It was a big project I’ve been working on all year to perfect.
BBB: Finally, when you’re not making cosmically illuminating music do you have any surprising pursuits to fill the down time, we’re quite partial to a little DIY…
Jimmy Edgar: Yes, I’ve mentioned it a bit but I’m almost finished with my first film. The only thing I can say right now is that its largely inspired by what I mentioned above, for MAJENTA, “alchemy, cosmic laws, UV spectrum colors, galactic communication, hypnosis, meditation and mysticism”. All the dialogue is formed using embedded suggestion techniques of hypnosis, so its scenes are based on hypnosis inductions. All the actors are fashion models, so its really strange and awkward acting, but its a very moving story in my opinion.
Thanks for talking to us, see you at Glade
Jonny Cassell (BBB)