French electronica legend Mr Flash headlines the Ed Banger label showcase at Yugong Yishan tonight, Saturday, December 18. Ahead of the show, we talk to Mr Flash about his new EP, Nutella, Mos Def and just what makes Ed Banger Records tick and tock.
For an EP, Blood, Sweat & Tears, is extraordinarily eclectic. What, if any,
theme or process unites the tracks?
My life IS my influence. Everything i do is mainly me and the things I left or I'm leaving. Each track I make is a page of my life. Dreams ... souvenirs ... strong .... sad ... love ... violence ... epic ... nostalgia ... passion ... pain ... It's all in there. It's all Blood Sweat & Tears.
What is your set up for producing Mr Flash tracks? What software do you
Basically I'm a drummer since I'm a kid and been to the french musical conservatory for a few years. I seriously don't use any softs or computers, just vintage instruments like analog keyboards, drums or samplers.
"Couscous" has Arab and Mediterranean flavors. "Flesh" feels like YMO on
virtual steroids. Do you usually start your tracks with a genre or specific
feel in mind?
Not really. It depends more of the mood I'm into and the period of my life. I sell adventure, exoticism and emotion—hope, sex and heroism, flamboyant, fun and ambition. I remember my life when i was a little kid and I try to build things with these eyes. Today I’m an adult who remembers his dreams and hopes of his childhood. And I like it: to still have this in my mind. All those pictures I grew up with: eyes full of dreams, drums, rainbows, school fights and pancakes with Nutella.
Has your experience working with major international releases like Mos Def influenced your approach to your producing? How?
No not specifically. Connection with Mos Def was made through Downtown Records and Pedro [head of Ed Banger Records]. Mos came to Paris and was looking for some fresh beats for his album, then he had a beat CD from me in his hand and fell in love with ... that's how it all began.
Radar Rider was the first release on Ed Banger. In what way has that album, and you as one of Ed Banger's star producers, shaped the identity of the label?
I don't have the arrogance to think that RR or me has really "shaped" the identity of the label. I'm a simple actor of the label. Pedro IS the boss and he makes the link in between all of us. After all, he chooses the members. I think it has more to do with our identity, originality or difference, that he chose each of us.
What about Ed Banger keeps you with the label? The community? Other
artists? Pedro would beat you up if you left?
I have the pretention to believe that we are each unique on the label. Quentin (Oizo) is best at what he's doing, Sebastian, Feadz, Mickey Moonlight or me ... It's the same for all of us. Integrity and difference keeps us always on the run to try something new or try to push hot things. ... We only do what we know the best, and we have with Pedro the chance to express and do it quite easily and fast ... No reasons for any of us to quit.
If you had to choose three words to describe Ed Banger Records what
would they be?
Sidechain, Versatility, Bangers
What kind of music did you first really get into as a teenager? How does
that still influence you today?
I grew up in the south of France where i was a bit of a dreamer child. My father used to play piano during the 60s in a cinema for soundless movies. I learnt some rudiments of music and magical tricks from him. Mother and father had a huge record collection full of '70s jazz, psyche, rock and disco thangs. I inherited it. Even at those early days, I collected records from all around the globe, especially spiritual jazz, exotic, rock and all sort of bizarre electronic weirdness. My love for old records still influences me now.
So, much about electronic dance music centers on high-end production.
What's one track from at least a decade back that you have thrown this
Tons of ... but tstsstsss—I can't really name any to stay fair.
Why did you decide to play Beijing? What have you heard about the scene
here? Anything your particularly looking forward to doing in China?
I decided to play in Beijing because I had never ever been in China and hope to have the opportunity to discover a bit of your culture, history, musical scene and food. Maybe i'll be able to bring back some old records if lucky too ... See you there!
Where: Yugong Yishan
When: Sat., Dec. 18 10pm