Next stop in my series of interviews with some of the greatest electronic producers of our time is… London (again!). Edward Upton aka Ed DMX aka DMX Krew aka… numerous other aliases is waiting online to e-mail him my questions. The boss of Breakin’ Records and one of the most prolific electronic artists of the last 15+ years has always interesting things to say about his ‘analogue world’!
CHAIND D.L.K.: What impresses me more about you is the fact that, browsing your discography, i found out that there’s really not a break in releasing music since your first 12inch on DAP Records, 17 years ago! And we’re not talking about a release or 2 throughout a year; your back catalogue is huge, a real… pain in the ass for the DMX Krew/Breakin’ Records collector! Dare i ask if there’s life beyond music?!
DMX Krew: Yes of course but making music is my favourite thing along with friends and loved ones. I’ve got hundreds more unreleased ones and lots of new stuff coming out in 2012. I can easily spend several days making music without seeing anyone apart from my family.
CHAIND D.L.K.: Many new electro producers mention you and your label as a main influence in making music, alongside the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Newcleus or Egyptian Lover. Truth is that when the “Sound Of The Street” album came out on Rephlex, the interest in electrofunk was almost nonexistent. I mean i can’t recall any artist producing or any dj playing electro at the time, apart from Aux 88 and Dave Clarke (whose X-Mix Electro Boogie was also pivotal to the ‘rebirth’ of the genre). Everybody was into rave, drum n bass etc. So my question is: did you do it on purpose? Did you decide to go electrofunk because nobody else was doing it at the time? Or you were always into this kind of music so there was no question about the musical path you were about to take?
DMX Krew: That’s nice to hear. I had been trying to make more straight techno stuff, but also I’d been listening to lots of Juan Atkins and Drexciya and Shiver (don’t forget Erik Van Den Broek for 90s electro…) and that led me to dig into all the 80s electro funk and so on. I kind of realised at some point that I was never going to be better than Robert Hood or Jeff Mills at straight techno and I should find my own musical space. Like you said, nobody was doing that kind of electro. The few people who were doing electro were a lot darker, like Aux 88 and UR. I was going for the Arthur Baker / Paul Hardcastle vibe but in a very naive and amateurish way.
CHAIND D.L.K.: You have been experimenting with many kinds of electronic music: electro, synth-pop, italo-disco, techno, even dubstep to name but a few. Can you tell us what’s next on your list? And what do you think of the current electronic scene? Do you find it interesting or boring? Do you feel that ‘everything’s said and done’ or is there something new, original lurking in the underground?
DMX Krew: I just do tunes really. Right now working on more “pop” stuff but the next releases to come out will be electro and the kind of weird synth dance music I’ve been doing on recent Breakin’ releases.
Right now there is more stuff getting released than ever which means a lot more shit. Music was always 99% shit, but now there is so much it’s really daunting to look for the good stuff. I’ve been enjoying lots of old stuff like Beach Boys Pet Sounds, loving some of the compilations Honest Jon’s are doing like the Unity Sounds one and the Shangaan electro one, also I like the darker acid house inspired stuff like James T Cotton, D’Marc Cantu etc. I go through waves of being bored with it all and then finding new stuff. Right now I am extremely enthusiastic but more about making tunes than listening to others. I find it really hard to listen to records because if they are good I wanna make a track with the inspiration, and if they are bad then I would rather be making a track…..
CHAIND D.L.K.: You keep releasing vinyl although this market becomes more and more limited and the labels (at least the underground ones) are losing more and more money (i can tell from my own experience ). I wonder why you haven’t completely give up for the convenience of digital. Maybe because vinyl cut is a ‘fetish’ thing for you, something you just can’t live without?!
DMX Krew: I just like it, and I DJ with it. But more and more of the stuff I like isn’t coming out on vinyl and also I get sick of looking at all the records filling up my house so I dunno how much longer it will go on.
CHAIND D.L.K.: Are you still ‘all analogue’? And what’s your current equipment?
DMX Krew: Yeah a load of old analogue & digital synths, a few drum machines, a sampler, a fairly big analogue desk, 80s and 90s effects units, also Ableton on a Mac for recording and editing but no soft synths etc.
CHAIND D.L.K.: Do you own an Oberheim DMX?!
DMX Krew: Sadly not.
CHAIND D.L.K.: If i judge by the number of gigs you play throughout a year, djing must be quite a passion for you. Or is it just because in our times that’s where the real money is?
DMX Krew: I dunno about “real money”, I could earn more working in a supermarket but this way I get lots of free time to make music and I get to play loud music sometimes. I love playing but I am over all the travelling by now.
CHAIND D.L.K.: Is there any particular tune of yours that when you drop it on your set it drives people crazy?
DMX Krew: I wish! Depends on the crowd, I make and play so many different styles. I rarely play my own records but last year at Bloc weekend I did a set of my own records and it was really amazing to see how many people knew the records and were singing along to things like Street Boys.
CHAIND D.L.K.: Could you please name your top-10 electrofunk tunes of all time?
DMX Krew: I dunno. What is electrofunk really? Here are 10 good tunes anyway:
Kraftwerk – Tour De France
Hashim – Al Naafayish
Cybotron – Clear
Art Of Noise – Close To The Edit
Rhythim is Rhythim – It Is What It Is
Herbie Hancock – Rock It
Drexciya – Aquatic Worm Hole
Aphex Twin – Analogue Bubblebath
Prince – Let’s Pretend We’re Married
Egyptian Lover – Egypt Egypt
CHAIND D.L.K.: Your plans for 2012 and maybe a message to your fans.
DMX Krew: Try and make the best music of my life
Visit DMX Krew on the web at:
[Interview: Evangelos Zacharopoulos]