Interview: Todd Edwards set for Electric Frog Easter Weekender 2013
Line-up features Simian Mobile Disco, Andrew Weatherall, Todd Terje and Pan-Pot
Easter and resurrections go together, in which case Glasgow’s finest serious clubber’s weekender has chosen the right time to stage a comeback. Just when it looked like the two-day Electric Frog event as was had given up the ghost in the face of persistent licensing issues, scaling back to a series of one-off indoor parties, the mighty SWG3 seems to have corrected matters. Across three indoor rooms the party will be focussed less on live bands and more on a high-quality collection of DJs. Undoubtedly the biggest draw will be production duo Simian Mobile Disco, still touring last year’s third album Unpatterns, with other delights including a back-to-back set from Andrew Weatherall and Ewan Pearson, German techno duo Pan-Pot, Chicago house icon Derrick Carter and Norwegian disco interpreter Todd Terje.
While all of the above are familiar but always-welcome draws in Glasgow, the first Scottish appearance by New Jersey’s Todd Edwards deserves particular attention, his distinctive vocal cut-up works in an upbeat disco-house style on labels like i! and Nervous would go on to influence artists like Daft Punk (with whom he would later collaborate) and UK garage originator MJ Cole.
‘I didn’t DJ that much at all when I started out,’ says Edwards. ‘I had incredible stage fright, so I didn’t start until my early 30s and even then it was only at certain events. So now I’m doing what young producers do at the start of their career.’ He says he would make music alone as a young man, producing in his room and not sampling the clubbing delights of New York just across the Hudson.
‘When I was 13 or 14 I was really into computers as well as music,’ he says, ‘learning programming on my Commodore 64. Then I bought an old DJ mixer and a cheap tape deck, and when I added a keyboard it was like I’d made a really cheap multi-track recorder. I made my first full track on that in high school.’ He says it was ‘cheesy pop’, but hearing Todd Terry got him into house music and the dual influences of Masters at Work and Nightcrawlers producer Marc ‘MK’ Kinchen helped hone his style – as well as another less likely sound.
‘I remember listening to Enya and loving it,’ he says, ‘so I became inspired by that idea of using a voice as a musical instrument, filling up the backing track with micro-channels of vocals. I really just wanted to have my own style so people would recognise a Todd Edwards record, but it took off way more than I could have expected.’ The way the sound was adopted so completely into UK garage came as a real surprise. ‘There was no internet back then, so I’d find out through magazines what was going on. People would tell me I was big in England but I didn’t really experience that until many years later.’
Yet all this time, Edwards wouldn’t get out and enjoy the fruits of his success. He talks engagingly and at length of recording vocals for the track ‘Face to Face’ on Daft Punk’s Discovery album and - now based in Los Angeles – speaks of his desire to do more vocal work and get into soundtracks. ‘But if I look back on my career so far,’ he says, ‘it feels like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve had a few landmarks.’
The Electric Frog Easter Weekender is at SWG3, Glasgow, Sat 30 & Sun 31 Mar.