We enter the mind of an unofficial warlock.
Magic, clairvoyance, supernatural passions, interstellar envoys—Jimmy Edgar's biography makes it plain that he's operating beyond our earthly realm. He's recently found a way to merge these lines of alternative thinking with his work in music and art: his label Ultramajic is, by his description, a "holistic multi-sensory experience." It's a place where he can release his increasingly techno-influenced music, and present, in collaboration with the designer Pilar Zeta, an otherworldly visual aesthetic that's influenced by old science fiction magazines like Omni.
Around the time of his last album, Majenta, which was released by Hotflush in 2012, it felt like things were falling into place for Edgar. He told us about the balance he'd found in his life through meditation, after the tumultuous early years of his career. Ever since he signed with Warp Records as an 18-year-old, Edgar's music has flowed freely. He built his name with a sexualised brand of electro, as heard on the albums Color Strip and XXX, while work with labels like Semantica and Nonplus has kept people guessing. The same is true of JETS, the side project he began with Travis Stewart, AKA Machinedrum, in 2012. The pair have released only one EP, but their fantastic live shows, which start at 80 BPM and build blazingly to footwork tempo, have made them an established force.
Edgar has gone to special lengths on his RA podcast: his 90-minute mix, which begins lightly with an air of mystery and ends up as a full-on jacking session, was cut to vinyl to give it a "subtle but unique" quality.
What have you been up to recently?
I'm writing you from Cairo right now, it's basically empty at the moment. We got to spend some time in the Kings Chamber, completely alone. Other than that I have been traveling for DJing every weekend while working on my new artwork and trying to control the new label, Ultramajic. Very busy, but this year has been really productive so far.
How and where was the mix recorded?
This mix was a long time coming, and went through seven or more revisions. Yet, this mix has been the catalyst of a great improvement within my ideas about DJing. I recorded the mix in my home studio in Berlin. I had the idea to try something new with the recording of it, and I decided I wanted to try and cut the entire mix on vinyl. This is exactly what we did with my friend Tim Xavier. We cut the recording onto about six dub plates and remastered it. The sound now is very subtle but unique, especially knowing some of the tracks I used were low quality mp3s and unmastered, unreleased music.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
The idea was to make a mix that was listenable yet reflected my DJ sets in a more "sit down" way. I really wanted to pave this way for a new sound we are developing with Ultramajic that combines the dub and techno arrangements of Berlin, with the rawness of ghetto vibe and soul of Detroit, and also some unreleased tracks that reminded me of this very particular sect of '90s music that was robotic and funky—Yaz comes to mind. I really like making hybridized mixes. It was also important that each track was tuned to the next one, and this brought in a whole new set of problems because of how mixing tracks both pitched and unpitched, but it was more important for the sound, so everything worked out perfect.
Have you had the opportunity to focus on visual arts of late?
Yes! This year is going to be about artistic integrity, precision and focus—something I feel I didn't develop so much in the past. I have devoted myself to finishing one project at a time, since I like to start a lot of things at once. I have a five-piece series that is finished, all I should say now is that it's airbrush styled 12x16" and fits in well with our Ultramajic design aesthetic.
I just launched my new website jimmyedgar.com with artwork up there. I also just photographed the campaign of my design partner of Ultramajic, Pilar Zeta. We did their first editorial in Los Angeles, I have a tight deadline to retouch them and all will be revealed in a few weeks.
Were you guys conscious of messing with a classic when you did the JETS cover of "Midas Touch"?
Yes, this was a big pressure for me, personally. Travis, maybe not so much, but this song was my childhood. Yet, in the end I had to stop comparing us to the original and realize that we were trying to do something different with it. For me, though, the original is one of my all time faves, and I wanted to just approach it with respect.
What are you up to next?
Developing a new visual show and concentrating on building Ultramajic into a very finely tuned and visually appealing collection. Thank you very much for this opportunity, I hope you enjoy the mix.