INTERVIEW | JIMMY EDGAR
It is impossible to put Jimmy Edgar into words. A liaison to old school house? Of course. An ambassador of the dance floor? Definitely. A true innovator to the scene? Absolutely.
Born and raised in Detroit, his skills
developed while mixing beside legends such as Kevin Saunderson and Derrik May. His accelerated education within club culture is what defines his sound today; an esoteric mix between hip, funk, house, and techno. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Jimmy, gaining insight on the man behind the music.
What is the first instrument that you picked up?
Raised in the city of Detroit, what lead to you learning piano in your hometown’s Baptists churches?
Through friends, but it was the cheapest and best way to learn piano.
At age 15 you were mixing along side Detroit legends such as Juan Atkins, Derrik May, and Kevin Saunderson. How did you come in contact with them and how did it help you develop as an artist?
I made a big separation between this time and when I got signed to Warp, this was because I didn’t think it was special. Yes, I was young and it was actually happening but to me I was just hustling. My best friend Nels was also making music alongside me, and his older brother had money and was putting out our early records and having us play his rave parties. Looking back it makes sense now but at the time we were just having fun.
Huge fan of your 2004 EP No Static. What went into the making of this release?
Thank you.. not much really. I sampled some vinyl and made some tracks with it. I went to school
for about 6 months and this guy Dre rapped on my minidisc recorder in exchange for a joint, in my 1990 Cadillac. Hence, the low quality.
Is there a relationship between the track, “Morris Nighingale Theme,” and your alias, “Morris Nightingale?”
You take a deep, philosophical perspective when approaching all of your projects. When did you get into philosophy?
I was always into it, but more on the metaphysical end of it. I love quantum physics too. It doesn’t always correlate to music, but when it does I find it fascinating. For instance, a bit off topic, but how sacred geometry relates to music and perceiving music as 4D substance. I’m doing a lot of writing about it these days, normally when I am traveling. I plan to make it into a book but its a daunting project and who knows when it
could be complete, I am taking my time on it.
While living in New York you went through what you have described as an, “emotional turmoil and a psychic awakening.” Would you mind elaborating?
I was in a very destructive relationship both with someone else and myself. We got into drugs together. Its a long story, a lot of my friends died. It ended very badly and somehow I pulled through. Life is amazing now though, and it was an essential experience.
You have been a part of many side projects over the years. What kind of approach do you take when working on a side project versus doing a project under your own name?
To be honest, side projects are more or less a thing of the past for me. Today
I like to put all my focus into things that deserve it, instead of spreading myself too thin. This is why I started Ultramajic.
You’re venture Ultramajic launched in 2013. Described as a label, design house, and metaphysical portal, what lead to Ultramajic’s creation and what can we expect in the future?
We are on our 22nd release and its been really great. Pilar Zeta and I do all of the artwork, and I do all of the A&R. We are currently building a webshop with some exciting stuff. Its idea is just to create a fun environment, with good music, and we love to explore metaphysical and transhuman ideas. We think its great to create an entirely new domain of knowing by bringing together otherwise different ideas to create hybrids. We love new age ideas but the art and branding always sucks big time. We like to think of ourselves as the ones who rebrand these thoughts and ideas to bring back young interest. theres a huge gap in visuals for young people interested in all kinds of spirituality. we never like to come off as preaching, we are just lifting the veil on the secret teachings from the mystery schools so people can have access to them and do what they want with the information.
You’ve spoken about using your label to recognize the relationship between Detroit and Atlanta vocalists. Can you elaborate?
Yes, we are working with a lot of vocalists, we have great tracks to release in the next year so were about to go full throttle with vocal music.
You are a proven artist on multiple mediums ranging from cinematography to graphic design. How does working with on
multiple platforms help you develop as an artist overall?
I consider myself an artist because thats what i want to be, so mediums don’t matter. most of all, i am a student for life. music is my passion but i love all types of expression. for me, all forms of expression whether its emotion, music, art, visuals, literally everything is vibration. this is a quite new age idea but i feel its true, or at least a valid analogy. this is because when you realize this then you strive to harmonize everything…. most prevalent in music, but it works with color, form, and even the words you use to speak.
How have you enjoyed living in Berlin?
I enjoyed it very much, I had a lot of fun times. I never thought I would live in europe but i just found myself there for 5 years. For me, it was time to leave, recently. Berlin taught me so much about dance music, a different side to what Detroit would have shown me.
Describe to me how your Metaphysix series is inspired by the Seven Hermetic Principles of the Universe.
Its pretty obvious once you look into the principles. For instance, METAPHYSIX RHYTHM was heavily rhythm based. I prefer to let people make their own interpretations. We honestly don’t like to get too heavy on concepts because they come off as pretentious. We like to be wide open with this kind of stuff and not let anyone get left behind in the mumble of words. We prefer its focused on the artwork and principles, as thats the face of the music.
You have found sustained success staying while staying true to yourself as an artist. What kind of advice do you have for other artists that don’t want to fit a certain mold?
Wow, thats a tough ending. I went through so many phases of learning. The best advice I could give now is to do what you love and love what you do, its so basic but so true. I stuck to my guns and things happened because I believed I was important and what I was doing was worth it. On that tip, anytime I did something I didn’t want to, or focused on too much ego then thats when it started to go to shit. This topic requires a whole interview, I could talk about it for hours but most important is to find your love, quiet yourself to see if its real. Be careful as its quite easy to convince ourselves from our real path.