Audio:

DMX Krew: Bloc08 set

Long time Bloc collaborationist steps up

Ed Upton, aka EDMX and the one-man production machine that is the DMX Krew, is something of a Bloc veteran having played our Bloc prototypes parties in Brighton way back when and appearing at every single Bloc festival since time began.

 

Preferring to let his music do the talking rather than courting media attention, Mr DMX has dropped everything from acid, electro, italo, synth-pop, ghetto-house and beyond in a career that spans three decades. He is – to our minds – one of the most vastly underrated artists to come from our fine shores.

 

Examine the evidence. He has released a whopping great six full artist albums on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label and dropped killer 12”s on Tiga’s ultra-hip Turbo, DJ Hell’s legendary International Deejay Gigolos and Spectral Sound. Just last year, Munich’s uber cool disco/italo revival label Permanent Vacation – home of Kathy Diamond and Sally Shapiro among others – even dug out hard-to-find, lesser known DMX Krew classic ‘Come To Me’ and granted it a full vinyl release. Given that the track originally surfaced on 1998’s ‘Nu Romantix’ album on Rephlex (way before italo was being worn like some cheap mock vintage belt by East London’s fashion set), it gives you a little indication of just how ahead of the game he was.

 

We snagged the Bloc veteran to talk Italo, his new Rephlex album and breaking into Salt N Pepa’s dressing room at last year’s festival.

 

You’ve been producing – pretty prolifically – since the mid 90s with releases on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex, your own Breakin’ Records label and MPC Trax to name just a few. Did you have a particularly musical upbringing? How did you get into production?

 

Not really but we had a Bontempi organ in the house and from about ten years old I had various Casios etc. I was into buying records from about nine years old. When I got older I got better keyboards!

 

Synth pop and electro-funk are huge influences on your sound. What is it about those sounds that really talk to you?

 

It’s probably just my age isn’t it? As a kid I bought loads of chart records, and now I look at them they are all records with synths and not records with guitars. I never thought about it at the time or realised but obviously that’s the sound I liked without knowing why.

 

You were one of the first artists outside of Detroit to release ghetto-tech tunes on the MPC Trax label. How did you first get into that sound?

 

I picked up some Godfather & Assault records in Munich around 1997 and liked their version of electro.

 

What’s the most prized piece of equipment in your studio?

 

Probably my Rhodes.

 

Your label Breakin was responsible for the first release from acid don and Bloc favourite Ceephax Acid Crew – how did that signing come about?

 

I went to his first gig. Railway Raver also played. At the end I asked him if he wanted to do a record and he said OK.

 

Which artists do you most respect?

 

Kraftwerk, Prince, Aphex, James Brown, Drexciya.

 

You broke into Salt N Pepa’s dressing room at the last Bloc… did you find anything interesting?

 

No, I just sneaked in to ask them to do a shout out to my mate Angela who was dressed up as Salt N Pepa.

 

What was the last CD or vinyl that you bought?

 

No idea. Probably something old, though.

 

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

 

New Rephlex album called ‘Wave Funk’ out next month, new Breakin’ 12″ soon, a pop 12″ (‘The Game’) on Permanent Vacation, lots of touring!

 

- Ed DMX went abseiling with Allan McGrath

 

If you’ve yet to check out Ed’s amazing podcasts, rectify that terrible error by hitting this link now. They’re firm favourites in our office and will be yours too soon enough.