Todd Edwards on Working with Daft Punk and Being Dubbed "The God"
Courtesy the artist
By Wanz Dover
This Saturday It'll Do club will host U.K. garage legend and Daft Punk collaborator Todd Edwards for his first visit to Dallas. Far from a household name in America, Edwards has been a major player in dance music since the mid-'90s when his remix of St. Germain's "Alabama Blues" became a club staple.
Edwards channeled inspiration from other house music heroes with signature sounds like Todd Terry, MK and Masters at Work to come up with his own unique style. It's a style that has been a huge influence on U.K. garage, house and the deeper garage influenced dubstep. A few years ago Edwards was outed for performing vocals under different aliases on every track of Daft Punk's Odyssey which had been a closely guarded secret for years. His last effort with Daft Punk, from their Random Access Memories album, earned him two grammy's this past year.
Edwards is often tied more to the U.K. scene, where he is affectionately referred to as "The God," but he is actually born and bred in New Jersey. Although Edwards was aware that some people knew his music, he only discovered how revered he was when he began to DJ overseas in the early 2000s. Up until that point he produced his tracks largely unaware of how much impact he was having on the British dance music landscape.
He was kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of his trip to Dallas.
DC9 at Night: Has winning a Grammy changed much in your life? Was winning a Grammy ever a goal?
Edwards: I think it had more of an impact on a personal level. Aside from being surreal and having one of the best nights of my life, it made my parents proud. My mom was a local hero for a week or two. The mayor of the town where I grew up gave me a proclamation and my mother accepted it on my behalf. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I still crave the approval of my parents, especially after the unquestioning support they have given to my career for the last 20 years. I can never repay them for all the help they gave me.
How did you meet Daft Punk?
Before they put out Homework, they came to NYC and wanted to meet. We discussed music and a possible collaboration. I hadn't heard from them when they released Homework and assumed they had changed their mind. I'm happy to say that they gave me a call when they were starting to work on Discovery. It was quite an adventure.
You are often cited as a major influence on a lot of the current Bass music (dubstep) scene. Have you connected with many of those artists? Do you have any favorite producers in that scene?
I discovered that some producers were citing me as an influence when I was interviewed in 2008. I honestly wasn't that familiar with dubstep at the time. However, it was reaffirming for me because at the time I just came off of a two-year hiatus and was jumping back into making music. I took this discovery as a vote of confidence for the next stage of my musical life.
After being in New Jersey most of your life you recently moved to Los Angeles. Has the relocation had an effect on your music or how you create?
It has had a major impact on my work. I've been very inspired by the L.A. house scene as well as other musicians that I have gotten to know. I'm continuing to open myself up to growth in other genres as well. I've especially grown personally. You never realize how much there is to learn until you are thrown into a new environment. I'm not just speaking of growth in music but in maturity, learning about myself, others, and how to become a stronger person.
Have you always been a singer? How did you get started singing?
I used to love to sing when I was younger. I intended to be a singer. I was too influenced by close friends, however, who used to tease me about my singing. I was such an insecure young producer that I wound up just using my voice more as an instrument than letting it take center stage. It's only been in recent years that I considered singing more. Can you guess why?
How did "The God" nickname come about?
That title was given to me by my biggest fan base, the English. I'm thankful that music I did impacted people 3,000 miles away from my bedroom studio.
You have accomplished so much in your career. Where do you want go from here?
I'm currently working on an album in which the focus will be on good songwriting and my singing. I'm tackling different genres on the album, but I will not forget to make house and garage versions of these songs as well. I really want to get into film scoring, too, even if it's on an independent level. I love the idea of expressing the emotion of a visual with music. It's something that I'm very eager to do.
TODD EDWARDS performs with DJ Red Eye, 10 p.m., Saturday, May 17, at It'll Do Club, 4322 Elm St.,214-827-7236, $15