Dada bar has Detroit funk-sex DJ Jimmy Edgar on Friday night. Edgar is a young guy who started early, DJing at warehouse parties and whorehouse parties when he was 15. By the time he was 18, he was releasing on the UK's Warp Records -- he put out two albums there, before moving to !K7 and then Hotflush Records for last year's LP Majenta.
His music is a mix of Detroit funk, Kraftwerk stabs, Metroplex beats and the sort of vaguely tongue-in-cheek sex vocals that you might here on Prince record. Here's one of his tunes, from last year's album Majenta.
Like many of the city's musicians, Edgar left Detroit and now spends most of his time in Berlin. Away from the studio, he's known as a photographer and graphic artist, and has crafted his persona into a piece of art in itself, fawned over by journalists and fans for his tales of epic drug use, sexual adventures and his dabblings in past life regression and hypnosis.
Putting all that to one side, his music at times soars to great heights. It's dark, angry, funny and blunt, a linear successor to Dopplereffekt's stark, funky compositions. Earlier this year, he released a compilation album (unmixed) with Detroit granddaddy Derrick May and the two have just come off a big tour to support it. He's a busy guy so we couldn't get him on the phone. We sent him some questions instead and he just got back to us.
Jimmy Edgar: Unfortunately, Detroit sort of split up with my generation. I had friends who made music too, but we have our separate things going on. Kyle Hall, Seth Troxler, Kris Wadsworth, Coyote Clean Up... they are my contemporaries and we all knew each other before we had success. We all just decided to go our own direction.
JE: Most people I knew left because the economy is so rough. I miss it in a way but there's not much for me there besides nostalgia.
JE: It seems to me it was our struggle that taught us our work ethic and inspired our sound. I put in years of hard work with people and had cool small underground scenes but it just stayed that way, which is fine... It wasn't for the masses.
JE: No, that's true. We used to do parties in a place called The Whore House and it was still in operation, apparently. It's Detroit, not that surprising.
JE: Balance and harmony is everywhere, especially in artwork. We can put ourselves through hell but always there comes a time when you realize enough is enough. I was on the constant search for inspiration and found it this way. I was falsely led to believe I had to be in turmoil and suffering to be inspired. That's definitely one way to approach it though.
JE: Yes, I enjoy taking risks and working with a record label you make sacrifices because it's a team effort. But now I subscribe to the notion that I need to feel my work is amazing otherwise no one else will. It's a new philosophy of mine and [it's] tightening everything up. It's part of the balancing idea.
JE: It's not really relevant to my music career so I shy away from it in interviews... but we're all born with knowledge, it's whether we are open enough to tap into it or not. When you open the door for perception and knowledge, it mysteriously leaks through... It's a lot like the law of attraction, a universal law.
JE: Everything I do is visual. Sounds are colors in 3D space — 4D if you count time. It's more of a feeling but I attribute it to visual color, always. It wasn't until recently that I realize not everyone does this.
JE: I don't notice it unless I talk on the phone in that ear. Funny how our brains make up for it.
JE: Oh yeah, that's my style. I'm a freestyle DJ, I don't plan much. I play with the crowd, not for them. Of course, I like to get people hyped but it's not always appropriate.
Jimmy Edgar is at Dada bar on Friday night with support from Shanghai's Stockholm Syndrome. 100rmb on the door. More here.