How difficult is
it for you as a musician coming from Detroit? Do you
feel the weight of the musical heritage of artists like
Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson et al?
It’s not really difficult at all, I honestly didn’t
ever think about it until journalists starting rubbing
it in my face. Yet, I still don’t think about
it, but it’s my current environment, hard to escape.
I think everyone incorporates their environment, unless
they plan on using drugs to enter altered environments
- something I do anyways. It’s a balance. I also
didn’t know how cool Juan, Derrick, and Kevin
were until later in my teens. I’m not at all trying
to keep any scene or style alive; I’d like to
be separate from that.
You started playing music early. Can you explain
how you got started and what your earliest influences
and inspirations were?
I started on a few different paths leading to today.
Originally I got into playing jazz percussion and drum
set, never took any lessons, but played in bands around
Detroit. Around the same time I stole a pair of turntables,
this story I’ve told a few times before. I just
wanted to play all these records I had, and seized the
opportunity. I was also interested in these tape manipulations
I was doing, so I started combining all those things
and making music, picking up instruments, fucking around,
and shit like that. Then I happened to walk in a pawn
shop and find some more dusty old things that made noise.
I still use the same shit.
You used to DJ with Juan Atkins and Derrick
May at the tender age of fifteen. How did that happen
and how did you feel performing alongside such legendary
Hm yes, how tender, playing in strip clubs and whorehouses
at fifteen. Probably should’ve been robbed a few
more times and raped. My music just got out, friend
to friend; an older brother of mine was a big party
promoter in Detroit. I guess it was his big opportunity
to get someone to play for really cheap, to take advantage
of me. I didn’t care, and I just thought Juan
and Derrick were local guys. Even though, I respected
them and looked up to them.
You talked once of ‘trying to capture
the essence of Detroit’ in your music. What do
you feel is the essence of Detroit?
It’s not something I try to do consciously so
much. It’s more of a feeling that I create that
is reminiscent of my childhood; just not the typically
‘la la la’ childhood, a bit more ghetto
or urban. It’s hard for me to put it into words,
but Detroit is a definite influence and something I
will always have captured in a personal emotional way.
Once I start thinking about it too much, I get sick.
Are you still based in Detroit?
Yes, I live right along the outer red light district.
What does the track title LBLB Detroit
I’m sorry, but it’s a secret. Whatever you
imagine is what it is. Though the new video is done
and featured on jimmyedgar.com; I wrote the concept
and it was developed by Christos Chrestatos, a new NYC
I can’t tell if the album is very serious
or if it is not a bit tongue in cheek sometimes. Which
It’s very serious, but I sorta made the album
on a lot of drugs and in a weird part of my life. I
don’t mind if people take it serious or not, it’s
meant to be whatever it is to you. I love how the feedback
has been excellent and horrible; it was my intention
to be loved and hated, I’m extreme, so the extreme
is favorable. Kinda makes sense.
Does your music represent your personality,
or is there some kind of ‘alter-ego’, in
that the tracks with lyrics often come from the point
of view of a macho kind of guy. Are you a macho kind
It’s very much my personality, a bit dark, mysteriously,
and sexually influenced. I didn’t know it made
me feel macho; I’m not macho at all. I’m
quite sensitive and have many real life alter egos.
One of my egos is wearing this fake moustache and female
underwear, that may be as macho as I get on a dirty
weekend. Most of my artwork has a similar vein running
through it, and it’s my expression; an extension
of my personality traits.
There is a very sexual element to your work.
What’s happening there?
True. Sex, as we all know is a powerful element; I’ve
managed to integrate that theme and play with it in
different ways. Something that always interested me.
Sex themes are something that always inspired me; and
yes, from experiences. Probably why I conduct satanic
orgies while painting minimal artwork.
As a musician, designer, and clothing label
owner you are entering into the empire building mould
more commonly found in the hip-hop community. Why do
you choose to explore so many media?
I’m not trying to be a business entrepreneur;
I’m just trying to make art. I find different
mediums help me influence other ones, so it’s
a nice rotation of inspiration and motivation. I also
like to apply ideas of fashion design into music; graphic
layouts into films; film ideas into music; and so on.
I haven’t made much money doing other art forms,
so that might indicate it’s not from a business
Is music for life, or is it just one project
among many that you might move away from as your interests
Music for life. Always been and will be. It’s
my most connected form of expression, I feel at one
with it; being able to control and manipulate. It’s
probably a control issue. That’s also why I use
other mediums, I can’t be head deep in music all
the time or I start to lose track and end up in rehab
A number of electronic artists - Autechre for
example - are very keen to point out the influence of
hip-hop in their work. With you the cross-over is more
apparent. How strong is the hip-hop influence in your
material and what do you take from hip hop?
I guess I used to claim to be influenced by hip-hop,
but now that I look back I don’t think I was that
much. I certainly am not so much. I guess I just sort
of go about producing my music in a similar way. In
no way do I think the message of hip-hop is cool. Mainstream
hip-hop makes me sick. I seem to get stuck in ‘genre
naming’ by the tools I use to make music. I use
a 909, I’m techno… I use sampled beats from
vinyl, I’m hip-hop… I use MAX/MSP, I’m
experimental… I don’t give a fuck, I play
the shit like a guitar, I really don’t feel the
need to say what I’m trying to say by being a
technical fucking computer nerd. I only call for that
when it’s needed; it’s about the song ya
know, not the experiment.
I read an interview from a while back where
you explained that you had only been listening underground
hip-hop from the seventies and eighties. Is this still
the case? Can you recommend any tunes for us?
Yeah for sure… I found some really nice rare vinyl.
Case & Case’s Donna Tonight, Former’s
Lover Time, and 1SHOT’s Eye Level
Do you still feel that modern hip-hop is still
all about money, cars and girls – or are there
any artists nowadays who you feel are helping to move
things along in a positive way?
Maybe Kanye West, but I could be entirely wrong, maybe
just because his videos reminded me of MK12. Could mean
quite the opposite I suppose. I really don’t pay
attention to that stuff.
I’ve read that a lot of the tools used
in the production of the album are custom made. Can
you tell us anything about this?
I’m always changing the equipment that I use.
That was so, in the past. I was into custom software
and custom analog, and the integration. Also combining
digital sound with modular analog was something recent.
But Color Strip was mostly done on older equipment
and recorded on tape, that’s why you might think
it has a retro sound. I was trying to do something new
with it. In the end it all goes into a computer for
You strike me as someone who would always be
able to entertain himself no matter where you were.
If you were forced to live on your own on a desert island
what would you take with you to make sure you didn’t
Well, in response, I couldn’t decide really. I’m
sure I could find something on the island. I’d
probably build brush fires and turn sand into glass
sculptures, or try at least.
Can you tell us your top five albums of all
I would, but then I’d have nightmares about ten
more that I should’ve named.
Email interview February 2006
Thank you to Jimmy and Katie