Eddie C has been up to a lot in the past year. After releasing his first full length, Parts Unknown, he set about touring and does not seemed to have let up. The globe trotting DJ recently relocated to Berlin with his wife. We were fortunate enough to have him answer some questions about his journey through sound and time…
To most music heads, you popped up out of nowhere. As a DJ/producer/human, tell us where you came from… and how you ended up in Berlin.
Yeah! Who the hell is this guy anyways? People always say they expected someone ‘thuggier’. Berlin is an obvious choice. There seems to be more going on here than most places. It’s still reasonably affordable, although my wife and I still haven’t found a permanent home… going to see some more places today, one of which is a converted horse barn with coal heating. Should be interesting. Not so different from Banff after all! There are plenty of amazing record stores here as well and lots of Canadian folks too (from my past life, which makes it that much more surreal). I grew up in Southern Ontario in various places near Toronto and moved out west to the Rockies in 2000 for a change of pace. Canada really isn’t the best place to live if you want to make a living as an artist. That being said, my aunt is doing pretty well for herself as a painter/visual artist and she lives up in the far North even more remote than we did.
You’ve been into the DJ scene for a while now, what sparked you to finally release your own music in 2009?
I’ve always written music as well, just as a hobby. ’08 or ’09 was the first time I ever sent anything to anyone. After the move out west, I wasn’t really buying new records anymore. By complete chance, Canada’s largest used record shop was just an hour’s drive from my new home. (That’s a really short drive by Canadian standards). I was really getting into digging and Hip Hop again. When I was making music it was mainly Hip Hop inspired for the first half of the last decade.
Around ’05/’06 we were living in Victoria on Vancouver Island and I had a residency every weekend at a great lounge spot there. I was trying to do whole nights of mid-tempo music of all genres and eras.
It felt like an ignored tempo at the time. It was a fun challenge playing all genres, trying to find records in the 100-115 range. It must have been a feeling that a lot of people were having because all of a sudden there were these great new records from people like Mark E and Lindstrom & Prins Thomas riding that tempo. Like many others, I was also heavily into Madlib and Jay Dee. Heard a lot of things from Jay Dee that was clearly Hip Hop but had that 4/4 kick too. I was really trying to emulate Dilla for a while. But it’s so impossible.
He’s clearly one of the best producers of all time. When I tried writing Rap beats with a 4/4 kick, it just ended up sounded like slow dance music no matter how loose I made it. I ended up contacting Mark E over Myspace because I had bought some of his early records and really enjoyed them. I think he sent some tunes of mine to Jisco and they asked if I’d like to do an EP.
How did you get involved with all these underground edit labels like Wolf, Jisco, Home Taping? Seems like such a grey underworld.
Grey indeed! Sketchiest people in the music business! That’s a complete lie… I couldn’t have asked to work with more honest, passionate people. Nobody’s making any money selling records these days. All the records that are out there are for the love only.
You’re going to get quality almost every time. How much better is it going to a record shop and sorting through the weeks releases than sorting through 100s of shit mp3s by yourself at home!? I can’t stand that.
How did I get in contact with these labels? Not sure really, they all started sending me emails I think. People seemed to enjoy the one on Jiscomusic, and just started contacting me directly. Karat actually contacted me just because of my Myspace page before I had any records out. Crazy chance. My first release was supposed to be the one on Karat.
How did you end up on Endless Flight for the album? What’s the feedback on album been so far.
Same deal, Toshiya had heard some of my records and asked if I had any tracks for an EP. The EP did fairly well and he asked if I would be interested in doing an album. I’ve had some pretty good feedback…
it’s a whole different avenue doing an album. But honestly, I put it together pretty quickly. It was made up of pretty much half older material and half new stuff that I had unreleased. I organized it into ‘listening’ form and offered it to Endless Flight and they went for it. I’d really like to do a second and put way more time into it.
I used to make full length Hip Hop instrumental albums, about one or two a year just for fun. There’s a label in Japan that is interested in releasing some of my older stuff but I’ll have to think about it.
From listening to the album, you can ascertain several dj periods from your life. What role do beats and downtempo play in your current music?
Thanks! It’s nice to hear a variety of music in any circumstance and to not be tied to a particular style. Often when I’m booked to DJ I think people generally think they’re gonna get a slo-mo night which is rarely the case. I love all kinds of dance music.
I guess I have been trying to approach dance music from a Hip Hop standpoint in my production. Lately I haven’t been listening to any Hip Hop at all though. Strange eh?
What equipment do you use in the studio?
Really cheap stuff, anything that’s affordable.
I really like the diverse range of your samples… what’s your thought process on using samples?
I really enjoy picking records at random not really knowing what’s on there… sometimes you can just tell there’s gonna be some ill strings or something though when you’re digging. I just let karma do it’s thing most of the time to be honest. Complete random picks from the collection. Often album cuts that I have never even listened to. I really try and remember all the places I get samples from but after a while it just gets lost. Thanks for calling it ‘sampling’ by the way.
This whole ‘edit’ thing is way off sometimes. Editing is using ONLY the original recording and reorganizing it. I really haven’t made too many ‘edits’ in my life.
You still dig for records? Any good digging stories?
Yes, whenever I can… really excited to get into it here. I was at Recordland in Calgary once and met DJ Shadow in there in the Oldies section. It was right after ‘Scratch’ came out too and I had just watched the film for the first time. He bought like 300 records.
Love that place! The owner is an older Israeli guy who always asks me if I need a gun before I go get cash out of the bank machine so I don’t have to pay tax. He then proceeds to tell me what a rip off artist he is. Every time. There are so many records in there it’s insane. He has a garage out back completely filled with just military records.
How is Berlin?
It’s good. I can definitely see how techno has thrived here. And how something like the Zodiac Free Arts Lab could happen. Heard of it?
Look it up! Crazy. It’s a great place right now for music.
what were you like in high school?
Extremely thin and hyperactive. I ran the school radio station like David Silver.
favorite places to eat
Street food after-hours in a country I’ve never been before. Or wine bars in Italy. Or BBQ turkey legs in Detroit.
5 top dj songs
right now or of all time? I’ll do right now… totally random by the way, they’re in the bag.
I.M.S. – An English ’93 (Emergency)
Wofa Yaw – Krupa Surprise 1 (Oketeke)
DC LaRue – Do You Want The Real Thing (Casablanca)
Spekter – Pipe Bomb (Sound Signature)
Legend – The Journey (Dance-Sing)
5 top listening songs / albums
I’ll do some German ones how about that?
Can – Ege Bamyasi
Manuel Gottsching – New Age of Earth
Eberhard Schoener – Trance Formation
Cluster – (anything by Cluster actually)
Harold Grosskopf – Synthesist
word on the street is you like asian girls, true?
My wife will likely be reading this interview.