Digital alchemist Jimmy Edgar took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Wantickets about everything from his new EP “Mercurio” to his idea of the perfect party. Part-time fashion photographer, part-time music genius and full-time artist, Edgar breaks down the dichotomy of the American electronic music scene and describes how Berlin has changed his personal view of music altogether.
Read Jimmy Edgar’s refreshingly insightful thoughts below and be sure to grab a copy of his new EP “Mercurio”, out now on his own label – Ultramajic.
Wantickets: Thanks for taking time to answer these questions Jimmy!
Jimmy Edgar: Pleasure is all mine.
W: What came first, your career in fashion photography or music?
J: My career in music came first. It was the easiest because everything flowed so naturally even though I never planned on being a musician. I always envisioned myself as some kind of multimedia artist and I incorporate different styles whenever the opportunity presents itself. Photography was always a hobby, though I did shoot some campaigns and covers of magazines. I didn’t like the politics so I decided to just do photography on my own. This year I discovered I prefer airbrushing and 3D rendering to doing photography. I’ve become a bit withdrawn from the model industry, since I was generally shooting new faces at agencies. It’s a bit boring at times unless you find someone who is really willing to go all out crazy for that photo.
W: What is it like straddling the world between photography and DJing? Do you wish you had more time for one or the other?
J: I always wish I had more time for art. This year I have been concentrating on my airbrush paintings and 3D rendering, and I am working exclusively with Pilar Zeta who is my art partner. We do all the artwork for my label Ultramajic. I will always find time to do other creative activities.
W: You just released your EP ‘Mercurio’, can you tell us a little about the title and your artistic direction with this release?
J: The project is the second of my EP series on Ultramajic and it’s influenced by the philosophy of inner alchemy. “Mercurio” is the combination of air and water, which makes steam of vapor. I wanted it to feel like dance floor music – very steamy, cloudy, moist. A lot of my old work was focused on sexuality, but I have moved on from this to discover something deeper about myself and the possibilities of my music. There is some sort of digital mysticism about the new projects too – so I wanted it to be completely engulfed by it and intact with the artwork supplied.
W: You are a man of many performance names and projects – or so the internet world have us believe – what do you believe are the merits of artists adapting multiple performance aliases?
J: Well, I have released music under different names and projects but more recently I feel its better to concentrate all your effort on one project and that is Ultramajic for me. I think its a bit strange when artists will release under so many different names, and I feel that it really waters their efforts down and you start to not know their sound. Luckily I have developed all my sounds so they are quite distinguished; this is something I work very hard at. If anything, the internet doesn’t mention a lot of the stuff I am involved with, but I am quite happy with this. I like all my work to be compartmentalized so that it’s specific and solid, shiny and slick.
W: In a few words, what would you say are some major differences between the ‘Creepy Autograph’ sound and the Jimmy Edgar sound?
J: Creepy Autograph is a rotating group that has other members and I am not always involved so its completely different.
W: Growing up in Detroit and living temporarily in Berlin seems to have had an obvious grimy techno and house influence within your music. Do you feel that any specific artists have inspired your work?
J: I like all the usual suspect Berlin DJs that get notoriety here. Hanging out at Boiler Room, PBar and Berghain really influenced my music. It’s very clear to see how it has changed since the four years I have been here. Before, I think I didn’t quite understand European dance music. I have developed a certain patience with DJs and now I like to hear the entire journey. There is just not really room for these vibes in the USA with how DJs are booked and promoted. Most of the time you hear a DJ play for an hour, and they are either playing ten tracks or thirty tracks way too fast. Club culture here is the norm, you are not a raver if you go to a techno party because everyone does. In the US, if you go to techno parties you are labeled as a clubber.
W: From Tokyo to Berlin to Los Angeles and beyond, do you have to change your set to appease the varied music tastes of each region?
J: Of course, any good DJ will do this. Most of the time I use my intuition, but a lot of times I am gauging the crowd and constantly feeling their response. I am not always trying to impress the crowd but I am looking to give them something unique, whether they like it or not. I probably show off a bit more in the USA when I am mixing.
W: In recent years we have seen a huge commercialization of electronic music, or to use the USA coined terminology – “EDM”. What are your thoughts on the direction of this scene? Do you think the age of the DJ can survive?
J: I love how EDM is always in quotes; that’s how unserious people actually take it. I was in Europe while the whole finger quote EDM shit has happened. I don’t really have an opinion on it. I love new music and new genres so I will not sit here and hate on Deadmau5 and Skrillex – I don’t really care. If anything, this is the music that other people will find my music through – just like how when we were kids we found out about Aphex Twin through Crystal Method or something. I love everything; it’s all part of the process. It can only help what my friends and I are doing. More people should support smaller labels of course – but it is what it is.
J: We were childhood friends; helping each other throughout the entire journey to get to where we are now. More importantly we’ve inspired each other this whole way. JETS is exactly what it says – Jimmy Edgar and Travis Stewart. It’s such good vibes and so effortless when we work together – its really amazing. We are both constantly impressing each other which keeps it higher. To work with someone who is a good friend, an admirer and an idol is a blessing and we both feel strongly about it. We have big plans coming. We’re both busy with our solo projects but seem to be able to make time when we are in the same city.
W: Last questions, for fun: What’s your idea of the perfect party or show?
J: The perfect parties I remember were back in Detroit with about 300 people, mostly friends. They were down in art spaces and people dressed up making it really special. Detroit always had the most raw parties that were just a small group of people. The city really gets a bad wrap because it’s in shambles, but there is some amazing underground stuff going on there. It’s a shame that from my generation there weren’t so many musicians. Ghostly, Seth Troxler and Kyle Hall were the people I grew up around and we were all doing different things. Otherwise, I can’t really tell you what a perfect party is – but it definitely starts with people excited to be there – without that you we don’t have much.
W: If you were not a DJ or photographer, what would you be?
J: A Plastic Surgeon.