Two minutes and thirty-six seconds into our very first conversation, and Jimmy Edgar’s talking about his sex life. I kind of am too. Rather than social perversion though, it would be unnatural to talk about much else – sexuality is the overlapping theme of the various artistic disciplines Edgar so deftly creates within: techno, house and electro production, fashion photography, and design. He’s probably got his dick in other pies I don’t know about too. Right now though we’re concerned with XXX, his newest album under his own God-given moniker. With a name like that, we all know what it’s about, right?
So Jimmy, your album’s called XXX.
It’s really about the concept of symbol. The X is an alchemiac symbol that’s used for several things, including the pyramid. It represents forbidden knowledge, you know. There are all these Masonic connotations involved. Now through investing different energies and meanings into those three Xs it represents explicitness, sex, porn, all these things.
Bridging sleaze and sexuality with something a lot more cerebral seems to be one of the aims of your work.
I like to explore the border between classy and sleazy, definitely. That’s why I enjoy fashion – the politics of that scene is ridiculous, and I’ve removed myself from it, but I’m still attracted to fashion and its possibilities. For this album I put myself through this… pseudo-performance art thing. I stayed celibate for months so that all that sexual energy would channel straight into my art and my work. You know, focus energy, so that thoughts would materialize into reality. I’ve noticed that, especially with ex-girlfriends, they materialize out of thin air and strangely they’re exactly what I want at that time – I wanted to try that out with my music. I don’t think my music is about sex, it’s about the tension, and that energy that exists around sex.
Not meaning to broach any awkward topics, but this album is on K7, and the last album [Color Strip], which seemed to have done well, was on Warp. Hmm?
Uhh. That was a… pretty mutual decision. I wanted to leave Warp with my track [I Wanna Be Your STD] on that Warp 20 collection and… I don’t want to start saying things I don’t want to say so let’s just say it’s much better for everyone. I’m enjoying K7. I’m working with mature adults, yet younger people who. Well. Who know what’s cool. And I know they’re actually working on my album right now.
Perception is obviously important to you, you take on different pseudonyms and personalities, something which is at the core of fashion.
Sure. It’s good to change your style every day depending on what you want to be. This particular project, under my own name, is very much ripping myself open and picking different pieces out.
It’s funny, because for most people the point of Techno is that its devoid of persona. And actually, Techno, especially the Detroit niche you create within, is typified by how far you can stretch what is in fact a really, really small template. XXX sounds like you relish working with the restrictions, though.
It’s interesting you ask that – whenever I’m making music, I’ve found that if I start into any kind of straight techno beat I just can’t finish a song. I always try to do something different structurally, have more going on. Plus, putting a personality out front. Well, that’s an ego thing. I’m a Leo.
Jimmy Edgar’s XXX is out (not on Warp) right now.
Words: Daniel Gray