It was the product of Edgar's chaotic personal life, a youth heavily informed by Jack Kerouac and Bauhaus. But now, in 2012, things have changed. Edgar cleaned up. Kicked drugs. Started meditating. Made songs like "Sex Drive" and "In Deep." OK. Some things will never change. But as we caught up with Edgar in advance of his appearance at this year's Tauron Nowa Muzyka festival, it's clear the process by which he's making it has transformed considerably. The same goes for his outlook in life in general. Almost uniformly sunny, the livewire performer couldn't stop talking about his happiness with the "reality" he's "manifested." That, and a young Mexican girl in a tequila factory...
You said in an interview that you weren't incredibly happy with your album earlier this year. Are you happy with Majenta?
Yeah, in general I am happy with it. I was just saying that it was just a different process because it was kind of fast and raw, and I didn't spend so much time thinking about it like my last album.
Why did you change the process?
Because when you overthink music, especially for me, it can have that really brutal, ultra-edited sound. I just wanted a bit less of that. I am a very meticulous person, so that's the only reason I felt uneasy about it.
Do you listen back to it?
Yeah, I do quite a bit. I listen to my music a lot. There are just two tracks that make my skin crawl. Other than that, some of it is really good, some of my best work. Most of all it's just being comfortable, feeling good. Being upset doesn't really help in the creative process even though some people think it does. It's really counterproductive to feel like shit when trying to be creative. In general, I worked out a process that works for me so I can do something anytime. Not everything is amazing, but I can at least get a lot of work done that I can use at some point.
Sometimes, but when I feel inspired and think I have something amazing, I have to finish it, I will do it until it's finished even if it means being anti-social and working all night.
I read that you don't sleep very much anyway, right?
I've gotten a lot better at it these days. I started meditation a couple of years ago, and I have been doing it more and more. It's definitely made me a more balanced person. I don't get frustrated anymore really, and that used to be a key emotion in my creative process.
You said earlier you can't create when you are frustrated or upset and now you're saying…
I can. I just don't prefer it. I don't like to be upset any time, let alone when I am trying to make music. But I can't say that it doesn't happen. But I will say that I have noticed that it's more counterproductive than when I was 18 and I needed to create all this drama around me to have something interesting to write about and feel, I have kind of gotten over that ten years later.
Why do you think that was the way then?
I look back at the people that I idolized and the books that I was reading, my fascinations; they all had to do with ultra-emotional people, young people that were a wreck, young people that died young, drug addicts. Kerouac, Naked Lunch, stuff like that was really inspiring to me which kind of led me to hallucinogens and experimenting with other drugs. I have always been a big David Bowie fan, Bauhaus was one of my favorite bands, Killing Joke and stuff like that.
When was the moment where you decided that you needed to start meditating?
After I left New York and cleaned myself up, I realized I was searching for something. I had been experimenting with meditation when I was younger. I was doing it when I went to sleep when I was younger. And my mother... I grew up with her talking about aliens and meditation-esque ideas.
Is there a particular type of meditation that you do?
Basically it's like a hybrid; everyone develops their own technique when they get into it. I am huge David Lynch fan so I went to one of his lectures and he was talking about transcendental meditation. But then I found out how much it cost and all the bullshit like how they were parading around trying to save the world and it really put me off. But I am still into meditation; I just thought it was bullshit that you had to pay for it.
What was the most surprising thing about meditation for you?
How easy it is. People's first excuse is that they don't have time or they are too stressed out to try it, which is pure irony.
So it's helped your music making process. Has it helped your creative process in general?
Yes, in general, it's one of those things like hypnosis and neurolinguistics, which I also studied for a couple of years and have a certification in. I mean, I got into it because I didn't believe it.
I'm also a bit suspicious of hypnosis.
It's 100% real. I thought everyone was faking it. But I realized how really narrow-minded that is, because when you think about it, humans are susceptible to all kinds of hypnosis every day. Television is number one. That's the most obvious form of hypnosis. Just look at people's eyes when they watch television.
Neurolinguistics is a pretty active form of hypnosis, while television is pretty passive.
It's like unobtrusive hypnosis. It's conversational influence, which people do all the time. It was funny. When I started studying it, it was all very natural to me, I just realized how much we all do it when we want something.
I recently watched a documentary by Louis Theroux where he focused on hypnotism.
Yeah, I've seen that. Did you see when the guy tried to hypnotize Louis and Louis was really unaccepting of it? That will happen if you don't want it.
Is that a common problem?
About a third of people you could have under hypnosis easily. It's about distraction and moving attention to what you want. There are so many techniques to do that. The second third are analytical people like you or I who are going to overthink it and be skeptical. Some of these people—if you know them and if they trust you—would be able to do it. The other third you would have to use a technique to keep their mind busy. You would have to distract them by using a lot of confusion. But, yes, there's a percentage of people that would refuse it. That's counterproductive in my opinion, because they aren't accepting the experience.
this drama around me to have something
interesting to write about."
What is hypnosis good for?
Suggestion. But you can help make really powerful changes with people. I have helped people quit smoking. I've also done a lot of past life regressions with my friends which allows people to connect with their subconscious. Whether or not they connect to a past life, they're often dealing with a problem that's happening in this life, so if it's externalized as some different character sometimes it's a little bit easier for people to accept. That's a little bit debatable...
I always find it interesting that everyone used to be some sort of King or Queen in their past life.
That's not true actually. I have met a lot of people that were Cleopatra, but I have definitely run into people's past lives that were totally boring. I did a past life regression with my best friend—who is now deceased—and he went straight to a life where he was a little girl in a town near Mexico City. He actually got a birthdate and it was like 100 years ago, and she had died in a tequila factory super young. After we came out, we thought it was so intense. He said it felt so real, and then we did some research and we found a newspaper clipping of a girl who was the same age...
Personally, I am very open-minded with these things, but I also know that there are other dimensions that we don't know of and can't conceive of as humans, so who am I to say whether it's real or not? What's real is what's in your mind anyway. There are so many different cultures—even ancient cultures—that have totally different perceptions to what we do in our society. There's probably cultures that have surpassed us in different ways we can't even imagine.
You seem to do a lot of collaborations. Why is that?
I like to inspire people, and I like people inspiring me back. I also like stepping back sometimes, because when the ego gets involved who knows what's going to happen next? Me and Machinedrum just finished a four track EP that we are putting out pretty soon, and it was such a beautiful experience because he is one of my best friends and we have always tried to make music together but just were too busy. We both felt so good about it.
What does you and Machinedrum sound like?
That's the interesting thing about collaborating with someone. There is always this different dimension. With me and Travis, I think we are both continually trying to impress each other. I think that's a good thing because we both do really enjoy each other's music. It's not really like a dude contest. We are both different artists, so it was so natural to come together. We are the kind of friends that finish each other's sentences and stuff like that.
When did you first meet him?
In person was in Japan when I was 17. It was one of the first places that we both went to. We met on the internet, though, because we were working with the same label.
It's really interesting how things have evolved from those days. I don't think you could have expected back then to be both living in Berlin in 2012.
Yeah, I couldn't have dreamed what today would be like. But we are kind of living everything we manifested through the years. I could speak for a lot of my musician friends: the goals that we had back then have been exceeded today. That's pretty amazing. I say that not to brag, but to get it into people's minds that it's true what they say, "If you really believe something then you can achieve it."
I like saying that because I hated hearing that so much when I was younger. I was like, "That's such bullshit." But if you give it time and patience, and if you really put your mind to something you can have anything you want. Most people want terrible things for themselves unfortunately. I come from Detroit and there's a lot of negativity there. People manifesting really shitty realities for themselves. Some peoples are just gluttons for torture, because they think that's the only way they can learn something.
What is the reality you're trying to manifest now that you have overachieved? What does the next 4/5 years look like?
I don't know. I'm just taking it one step at a time. Nobody's perfect. I am definitely not perfect, and that wasn't the point of what I was saying. I still torture myself just like everybody else does, but I just think that I am more at a point that I would rather try to have a positive influence rather than focus on shit.