Interview: Edward Upton (DMX Krew)

DMX Krew: “I am interested in gear because it can give you a vibe but I know it's not a substitute for ideas and practice”

DMX Krew told Data.Wave about his new record Party Life, recalled his work with Rephlex, and also talked about gear and jazz.

1. Hi Edward! Tell us about your new album Party Life. How do you manage to be so productive?

It's sort of a compilation of vocal stuff that I have made. Most of the tracks are pretty new but there are a couple from the 00s. I have always liked writing songs but never really been happy with my singing so I mostly stick to electronic/clubby tracks but it seemed like a good time to release some songs again. I don't think I am as productive as I used to be but anyway it's not an effort, making music is what I want to do so I just do it. Getting ideas is not a struggle. These days the struggle is finding time to get in the studio in between playing a lot of shows and being a parent.

2. What do you think about your work with Rephlex? Has Richard's approach to release music differed from all the other labels you've worked with?

It's a long time ago! I like quite a lot of the tracks we put out. It was a fun time in my life. I didn't really deal with Richard, more Grant who handled most of the label stuff. I think their approach was always based on having fun and releasing interesting music and never on making money or being part of a scene or trying to be popular, which I think was a very healthy attitude. 

3. Will you continue to work with Hypercolour? 

Hope so. 

4. What musical trajectory are you interested in at the moment: moving more towards electro, braindance or is there totally new territory you'd like to explore? 

I always just try to keep it interesting for me. I am interested in harmony and old fashioned "music theory" ideas within electronic music but I also like caveman techno music and songs... I like to mix up 2 or more different ideas or styles and try to find something original that way. Each track is different from the last I hope. 

5. Do you attend any music gigs and how do you follow the local scene? 

Only if I'm playing. There isn't really a local scene where I live unless you are into bluegrass or folk. 

6. A lot of people say that the process of collecting the modular synths is a disease. Is it really the same with traditional analog synths? Can you personally stop yourself from buying any new stuff?

Yes, I rarely buy anything, but I already have quite a lot of gear. You can see on the internet that there are a lot of people with a compulsion to buy stuff but I don't have it. I am interested in gear because it can give you a vibe but I know it's not a substitute for ideas and practice. I certainly don't look at modular stuff at all. Still have a soft spot for old synths but bargains don't exist any more and they are really starting to get unreliable as they reach 40-50 years of age. Maybe I should start buying 90s/00s synths? There are always cool sounds to be found in the unfashionable stuff, which of course is how we got acid house etc. But I think I can get any sound I need with what I have. People get obsessed with needing to have some exact sound that they have heard, but all you need is a sound that works in the song. You can easily make a great track on just a computer, or on a couple of modern synths. When people ask me what synth to get, I just say that they are all good.  

7. Do you continue to do mastering?

Yes, very reasonable rates (laughs). 

8. In one of your interviews, you mentioned that you listen to jazz. What bands and artists do you like?

I love Chick Corea / Stan Clarke / Return to Forever, I also like piano stuff from Earl Hines to Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal. I can't say I have anything like deep knowledge of the music but I enjoy the harmony.

Questions: Ilya Kudrin
Photo by Artaud Ancel