THE BIRDHOUSE 098: Jimmy Edgar Interview

Fellow Detroit native Jimmy Edgar is talented well beyond his years, and well beyond the studio. In addition to his genre-spanning productions, he's also a director, photographer, and multimedia artist; he's at his best when he's able to combine his myriad interests on one project (but more on that below).

Edgar's 2002 Poker Flat release "We Like You" caught the ear of Warp Records. The label promptly signed Edgar, where he put out the fantastic Access Rhythm EP in 2004. By that point, he already had at least three alter egos through which he could explore different sounds. The sonic experimentation has continued ever since, with releases and remixes on K7, Hotflush Recordings, Get Physical, Bromance – and even Dirtybird. (His remix of my track "Lay It Down" is a must-listen.)

At the end of 2012, Edgar co-founded Ultramajic, conceived of as "part record label, design house and metaphysical portal". He not only releases his own music on Ultramajic, but creates the art, directs the videos and controls the overall creative aesthetic. He's a true polymath and as smart as they come... but still knows how have fun and cater to any crowd. Case in point: he rocked the BIRDHOUSE stage at Electric Forest last month.

Even though Jimmy will be playing a different stage at HARD Summer next weekend, I'm still looking forward to catching his set – and am excited to have his guest mix on this week's radio show as a preview. Hit play on Episode 98 and scroll on to learn more about Edgar.

THE REAL

How did your music career get started in earnest?

My first audio recording was me and my sister making fake commercials and singing. My boombox had a vari-speed recording so I was doing all I could to mess with it. There was actually a glitch where I could record extremely slow and I love editing from tape to tape. My next love was a vintage VHS video and making movies. I love effects and editing, hooking it up to a TV. I felt very creative and utilizing camera tricks and analog tricks was so fun to me. this somehow progressed into music and somehow I was doing the same thing, just way more musical and rhythmic.

Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?

I was born around 7 Mile and John R in Detroit. Lived all around Metro Detroit until I was 22. Yes, Detroit had a heavy influence on me, I suppose some of the qualities still influence me.

How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?

Not once. My motivation might be one reason I’ve gotten out here so much. On top of all that I don’t even consider myself a musician, I feel like an artist [making] hybrids of music and experimenting.

What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?

The Oberheim MATRIX1000 synthesizer probably defined my sound more than any other piece of gear.

When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?

In Detroit, I wasn’t as interested in techno as I was interested in Warp Records' late '90s output. So, I was inspired by all that… I wouldn’t say [it was] emulation so much, I felt like I had something to say musically but in my own style. Coincidentally, that music ended up getting signed to Warp when I was 18 so that was a really astonishing manifestation. They just happened to hear a really small release I did.

When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?

Go to a forest.

Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?

In my studio, mostly I prefer to be alone but collaboration can be very exciting. I also love to take breaks and work on other creative-type endeavors. I've recently gotten back into filmmaking and animating for Ultramajic.

Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?

Basketball.

THE REST

Favorite and least favorite words?

I analyze my words frequently. I prefer to talk about what I love, not what I don’t like. I notice too many people focus on what they do not like.

Favorite animal?

Cheetah.

Favorite guilty pleasure song?

I never have guilt about something I like! I love to defend what I like and I always have reasons.

German or Detroit techno?

Detroit.