All of us at Sleazy Beats are huge fans of Jiscomusic. The label has now closed down to concentrate on the new offshoot, Under The Shade. We want to somehow commemorate this occasion, so we've caught up with the artist behind some of our favorite Jisco edits, Canadian DJ and producer Eddie C.
We were lucky enough to catch him between skiing trips to grab this interview. Not only did he share a wealth of information with us, but he also put together an exclusive DJ mix for the blog! Check out the tracklisting... it is full of all that mid-tempo disco goodness that we freak out over.
1. Dry - Bass (cassette)
2. Linkwood - Hear The Sun (Firecracker)
3. Pal Joey - Santeria Samba Groove (Loop D' Loop)
4. Mark E - Beat Down (Running Back)
5. Frank Booker - Who's Next (Untracked)
6. Trus'Me - Drilling (Prime Numbers)
7. Kai 'KZR' Alce - Lollipop (Editions Disco)
8. Tensnake - TheThenUnknown (Runningback)
9. Tony Allen - Moyege (Mark's Disco Dub) (Honest Jons)
10. Double - Woman of the World
11. Sun Palace - Rude Movements
12. Studio - Life's a Beach (Prins Thomas mix) (INF)
13. Max Essa - Drive Time (Bear Funk)
14. 6th Borough Project - Just a Memory (Instruments of Rapture)
15. Eddie C - Make It Better (Jiscomusic)
16. Ashley Beedle - Party Line (Disco Deviance)
17. Dam Funk - Latrifying (Stones Throw)
Let's start with Jiscomusic, the label that released your first record. The initial eight releases on the label were from UK artists. How did a guy from Canada get hooked up with Jisco?
I couldn't have asked for a better label to work with! I was definitely a big fan of all the records coming out on that label before mine. Mark E's stuff was and is especially inspiring. I try to send music directly to people who I think would enjoy it. I think I just sent a few things to Mark and he passed it on.
What are your thoughts on the label closing shop?
Hold on to those Jisco records folks!!
Do you think you will be releasing your music on this new label we've heard about, Under The Shade?
I hope so! They've got some serious material already lined up for that label.
Can you tell us about any other upcoming releases?
It's very cool that people are digging the stuff I'm making... I still can't believe it.
There's a few new releases on the horizon, (I hope)! I did an EP for Karat before the Jisco record and it should be out very soon; a 12" on Flashback also out very soon; a digital EP for Pawn Shop Records from Toronto which is out now; a limited edition 7" series of beatdown soul with Colin (The Mole) and Koosh (these will be heavy!); a remix for se62 on Deep Freeze; a Doors remix on Hairy Claw, and an EP with Wolf Music. Unbelievable. If these all come to fruition...
Tell us a little bit about your music. When did you start producing?
I used to make pause-tapes when I was a kid, I did a terrible edit of Rock Me Amadeus in '87. I learned everything about music from late-night Toronto radio in the late '80s. As soon as I started buying enough records, I was making mix tapes and giving them out to friends. In High School I started a Midi music course in the music department using Cubase and a Roland JV-30. A friend of mine had an Ensoniq EPS, and he brought that in to the school in like '92. I remember distinctly hearing the "Funky Drummer" loop on there that he'd sampled; I lost my mind! I recorded lots of material between '93 and '95 and then nothing until '02. I was at University for the last part of the '90s in Kitchener-Waterloo. I had a radio show there and met some incredible DJ's. Mike Shannon ran a club night there that I played at a bunch. I loved techno for most of the '90s and by the end of the decade started buying older music for the first time.
By '02 my wife and I lived out west and I was getting back into Hip Hop quite heavily. I produced probably 15 albums worth of rap beats between '02 and '05. In '05 we moved to Vancouver Island for a couple of years, where I was lucky enough to work at an amazing used record shop. Nathan Jonson (Hrdvsion) worked at the same shop; still talk to him all the time. I played weekends at a restaurant/night spot in Victoria that's run by Tyger Dhula from Cobblestone Jazz, really miss that place! Most importantly I met a couple of guys, Christopher and Koosh, who had some unreal disco records. I was already DJing a lot of beatdown stuff from all genres at the time and gradually moved from Hip Hop production slowly into disco-type stuff at the same tempo. A couple of the tracks on the Karat record that should be out soon were some of the first non-Hip Hop tunes I did.
What kind of hardware or software do you use to make music?
I use a bootleg copy of a program that I got from a guy in Haiti in '02. I also have a Micro-Korg and a DX-7 and some other random gadgetry. I love vintage drum machines. Really feeling the Alesis HR-16 at the moment. Now that I think about it though, I feel like I knew more production techniques in High School! I know what I use is crap and there's better stuff out there. Eventually I will force myself to learn something modern, but I do enjoy that challenge of being limited. I never use Midi any more. I like to play bass-lines or any synth lines live with no quantizing. I also record some of my own percussion over some tracks.
Do you mainly focus on edits when making a track?
If I'm sampling a loop or something, I rarely let the program do the "time stretching" or whatever. I'd rather loosely beatmatch everything on the turntable. I love sampling, it just reminds me of the stuff that first got me into music in the first place. A lot of the time I am just sitting in a chaotic pile of records and just grab something at random and let karma do it's thing. I'm amazed how well that works sometimes. I've also written tonnes of original material, but am always a little hesitant to send it to people. Sampling is like using training wheels, I'm going to try to slowly accumulate more hardware and focus more on original material, but I think I'll always do sampling just for fun.
Which do you enjoy more, DJing or production?
Good question. I like production that sounds like DJing, if that makes sense. (Not that my stuff really does). I love really choppy edits like "Never Fade" on Moxie and "Listen to the Music" by Popular People's Front. That shit, I love to DJ that shit. I love low-fi stuff that cuts vocals right off so it sounds like a complete fuck up. Dilla was doing lots of great work like that. "Donuts" is a masterpiece. Actually, I think what we need to see more in DJing is live edits. This used to happen all the time. How come people don't try to make a track like "Adventures of Grand Master Flash"? Terrence Parker still DJs like that, Harvey too every once in a while. I think turntablists just got way too good at what they do, so you'd never see a turntablist doing a simple edit now while they're DJing. I'm pretty sure that was the point of Hip Hop-style DJing in the beginning; to highlight the best parts of the song. Maybe there's some people out there doing this and I just haven't been exposed to it.
That being said, I love all styles of DJing except this "mash-up" business. I could listen to somebody like Q-Bert or somebody who doesn't mix at all and think they're equally skilled just in different disciplines. Watching footage of old Jamaican soundsystems blows my mind. I had a great friend, David Judah (RIP), he was from Port Hope, but played a lot of Toronto's best reggae/dub nights on one turntable.
Are you a digital DJ, a vinyl purist, or somewhere in-between?
100% vinyl. I love records, sometimes more than the music. I guess some of the mixes I've posted have some digital tracks on there, but I've never played anything but records while DJing out. People can use whatever medium they like, but records are for me.
What artists or labels are you exicted about right now?
Dam-Funk, absolutely. Incredible DJ, phenomenal production and methodology. Omar S, Theo Parrish, Kenny Dixon. I listen to a lot of Detroit, Chicago, New York, German, British and Jamaican stuff new and old. Mark E, The Revenge undoubtedly; Red Rack'em's shit is dope, his radio show is especially ill. Disco Deviance is amazing, Philpot Records, Running Back, Golf Channel, Cole Medina's shit is dope, Social Disco Club, The Mole, Koosh. Ray Mang does some of my favorite edits. I would love to check out one of Harvey's Sarcastic parties. I'm a huge fan of David Rodigan and I like Gilles Peterson's show a lot.
I just bought that Intrusion Dub of Linkwood which is probably going to be my favorite record this year. I like watching Redbull interviews and reading Wax Poetics. Obviously I buy a lot of older music as well. There's an incredible used record store about an hour from my house run by an old Israeli guy. He's got over a million pieces in there. It's pretty picked through now, but when I first moved out here it was such a phenomenal cache. I saw DJ Shadow in there once, he bought like 300 records. I actually found a second copy of Mark E's "Scared" on Jiscomusic there last year for $3.
Last let's talk about you. Your blog Red Motor Bike recently mentioned that you've seen the 1978 movie "Rockers" over a hundred times. What is the story behind this obsession?
Computing is still new for me... I never thought I could "blog". I will try and update it a bit more than I have been! Yeah, I love reggae and that era of reggae especially. I think I would be completely content hustling 45s by CB 200, actually, I think Horsemouth is riding a 175. I'd rather do that than DJ or make music any day! But my wife "tink dat we 'ave more important ting to tink bout right now than to buy a motorbike."
Is the movie where the blog gets the name from, or is there something else going on with motorbikes?
When I got the Trus'Me album, I was blown away at all the "Rockers" clips... man that was correct. Yeah, I must buy a bike pon this business.
What else should people know about Eddie C?
I live full-time in Banff, Alberta, but am originally from Port Hope, Ontario, both very small towns. Skiing is an obsession for me and I try to get in around 100 days a year. Detroit is my favorite city; I used to go there as much as I could when I lived in Ontario. It's incredible there. There's parking lots with trees growing through the cement. Beautiful old abandoned buildings everywhere. A photographer's dream town. Not to mention the best music history of any city. My friends and I used to drive down for all the Plastikman/Richie Hawtin parties which were extremely inspiring and very very intense.
I DJ for a living here in Banff which is a blessing and I almost make enough to survive, so it keeps my days free for whatever. Banff is everything you picture Canada to be: bears, beer, hockey, skiing, long freezing winters, cowboys, mountains, lakes, endless wilderness. I love my wife who is a very talented photographer and we try to get in as many interesting travels as possible. I have family all over the world and need to visit them more often!
Juno still have a few copies left of Eddie's spectacular Jisco Record
Also make sure to check out Eddy's brand new Bounty EP on Pawn Shop here
Keep checking his myspace for fresh tunes