Like any artist with a particularly fascinating backstory, electronic musician Jimmy Edgar has one hell of a mythology built up around him. Take a quick glance at the media coverage related to his career, and you’ll soon discover that sex is the major sticking point; these days, the distinction between Edgar’s mythology and his reality is absolutely unavoidable, especially to the musician himself. This is Blueprint sat down with the Ultramajic head honcho to talk about his influences on visual art, mysticism, magic and the unique sound he’s created to date:
1) What facilitated your transition into the realm of straight forward dance music/club oriented production (further illustrated by the establishment of your club focused label Ultramajic & even your shift to a more dance music driven booking agency), as opposed to a career path originally geared more towards live performance/artistry and less of an emphasis on four to the floor, dance floor focused material?
JIMMY: There are a couple things that changed in my life, and most importantly I realized the importance of Djing and the effects on people. Live performance wasn’t my true passion, I am much more passionate about Djing, even though I still play a lot of my own music. I think if I ever do a live show again it will have to be epic, and I am working on one but I cannot say when it will be ready. A live performance should be 100% visual and that’s the path I will go towards. Djing has had an impact on my music production too, and that explains my straightforward approach to music making now. I still work on other styles of music, but I just don’t have a plan to release it for the time being.
2) As most people know by now, you are a highly renowned visual artist & photographer. Can you explain the relationship between some of the themes that are prevalent in your visual art and your music? There are obviously lots of references to the occult, mysticism, magic and, of course, sex.
JIMMY: I read a lot of books about Egypt, magick, hypnosis, metaphysics, sacred geometry, tarot, the list goes on. I have found these artworks to be really inspiring and the symbolism behind them. I have always been intrigued by the mystical, and what some call the “mystery teachings”. It’s both a way to communicate lost knowledge and to make something visually appealing and fresh.
3) Tell us more about your label Ultramajic and what’s next? So far your first year has been pretty exciting, with strong releases from yourself, Aden, Danny Daze, Matrixxman & others. From what we’ve gathered on the internet, there’s a lot of exciting material coming from not only yourself but from some other artists like Sophie, Chambray & a few others maybe you can tell us about?
JIMMY: Yes, we are releasing consistent music and doing all of the artwork. This is our passion project to combine the music with the visual element; we wish to create an entirely new domain of creativity. As long as we have passion, focus and integrity then anything has been possible with Ultramajic. It’s sort of our limitless manifestation project.
4) What’s your take on so called “Outsider House” – the umbrella term given to the current crop of House (& some Techno) music that follows a very DIY, “Punk” rooted ethos, but harkens back to early 90s House & Techno music aesthetics – lo-fi production, tape hiss & distortion, limited vinyl only releases, & other stylistic signatures recalling late80s/early90s Chicago & Detroit? Basically like punk kids pressing up house music on vinyl when a few years ago they probably would’ve been recording punk tapes, to sum it up.
JIMMY: I love it. A good friend of mine from high school, Ice Cold Chrissy, is doing it. He is the one that sort of turned me on to it. It’s like listenable dance music, for people who don’t go out to the clubs very much, which is why it doesn’t get much attention in Europe and also why it’s more valuable in the states. I think it’s very cool. I have always been a big supporter of interesting trends, I still think witch house, vaporwave, and sea punk are genius… as far as collectives go, you can’t trace it back to one artist really, they are collective consciousness trends coming and going with the flux of peoples communities. I think its something to celebrate as humans.
5) To segue into a another related topic, the “Outsider House” movement has also given another generation of dance music fans direct exposure to “Ghetto House” labels, most notably Dance Mania. Although Dance Mania is a Chicago based label, Detroit also has its own “Ghetto” based dance music variant “Ghettotech” championed by labels like DJ Godfather’s Databass & of course the almighty DJ Assault. A strong ghetto house aesthetic seems to be prevalent in your music, especially with the way you utilize vocal samples. Can you explain your relationship with this kind of music and how it influences you as a producer & DJ?
JIMMY: All I can say is that these styles have been massive influences on me ever since I was a small child. ‘New Dance show/The scene’ was watched in my home, when I was little. Also, 105.9 and 97.9 were what I listened to growing up, on the weekends. It was all “booty”, which is what we call it in Detroit. I used to record it every weekend because I loved when they threw in funk tracks and Dopplereffekt. The radio DJs in Detroit were so good. Dancemania was a big influence on my music too; I used to buy all the DM records I could when I lived in Detroit. I had about 100 of them, if not more.
6) Did you have any sort of relationship with the late DJ Rashad? We actually booked him for a show a month or so before he passed and they turned him away at immigration. DJ Spinn ended up making it through and gave us some good insight into where the footwork scene is going in Chicago and how it’s being supplanted by Drill & Bop rap music and there’s nobody really carrying the torch for the youth. Seems pretty sad since that music was able to evolve and grow and persevere in Chicago for so long.
JIMMY: I was actually in Chicago when he passed. Rashad was a great friend, we would frequently play gigs together. The reason why Rashad was, not only a pioneer of music, but a great person is because he wanted to bring people together and inspire people, granted it was through his own name and gain but what he brought to young producers was a real gift. I have no problem with death; he has simply graduated to next level. I love his music and we celebrate his life.
7) We heard you recently made the move to Los Angeles. Obviously you’re absent quite often due to your tour schedule, but how do you find the “scene” out there (if you could say there is one)? With so much creative people living out there, it seems like an ideal hub of energy for you to draw upon.
JIMMY: I live between LA and Berlin. I have not participated in any scene because if I am in LA, I am working. So, just like Berlin, I’m definitely not the best person to ask about the scene. My “scene” is traveling around the world and djing in a different city every night of the weekend. I am in LA because I enjoy fitness, good food, nice weather, and my art/music studio. I don’t even have a car, and I’m from Detroit, imagine that.
8) Lastly, what have been some of your personal highlights over the past year?
JIMMY: We just had Ultramajic one-year anniversary, and we have done a few parties. I have done some amazing shows this year so far. EDC was very cool to see, so massive and the production. I don’t normally look at the past; I am always focused on the future with big plans. Thank you.
– Matthew Owcharget tickets