But by 2007, Edwards was so exhausted from the music that he left the stage and took a nine-to-five customer service. It wouldn’t last. Six years later, Edwards was at the Grammys, where he won an award for his work on Daft Punk’s 2013 LP. Random access memories. In 2019, he landed No. 1 on Hot Dance / Electronic Songs with “You’re Sorry,” and while a 42-track compilation of his work was released earlier this year via Defected’s Masters of the house series, Edwards is convinced that his most prolific years are yet to come.
It starts tomorrow, with the release of Edwards’ remix of the 1998 classic Fatboy Slim, “The Rockafeller Skank”. The clean, beefed-up edit is the first in a series of remixed classics from Fatboy Slim, called Everyone loves a remix, released via Skint Records in the UK.
Here, Edwards reflects on his family, his career and where he keeps his Grammy.
1. Where in the world are you right now and what’s the setting?
I am in London at the moment. The weather is quite warm, cloudy and sunny. I was in the hotel room to catch up on sleep after three nights of concerts. I love sleeping.
2. What is the first album or piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
I believe the first piece of music was a single from “Dance With Me” by Peter Brown. Nostalgic!
3. What did your parents do for a living as a child, and what do they think or think about what you were doing and doing for a living now?
My father was a carpet seller. He was actually the best among his peers and won awards for his sales quotas. My mom has been a receptionist at a technical school for over 30 years, honestly she could run the place.
My parents have always supported my musical career. I wouldn’t have had my first sampler without them buying it for me. They also tolerated that I live at home for manner too long and explosive music all the time. To date, they always don’t fully understand what i’m doing, but they’re proud of me though. Funny, my dad asks if people know who Daft Punk are, then tells people who know his son has worked with them. Oh daddy.
4. What was the first dance music show that really blew you away?
He was the first EZ 4×4 DJ in Romford. It was my first real DJ set. Video of my reaction to the crowd cheering my intro track went viral and showed my poor execution of a throwback. I knew I was successful in the UK but seeing the reaction from a crowd was a new level for me.
5. If you had to recommend an album to someone who wanted to get into electronic music, what would you give them?
I can’t say there would be a definitive album, because the influence would have to come from everywhere. I would recommend Homework by Daft Punk, all remixes and original tracks from Masters at Work, MK and Todd Terry from the 90s. Also, I would recommend UKG by TuffJam, MJ Cole and Wookie. Oh, some of my own songs too.
6. What is the first item other than equipment that you bought for yourself when you started making money as an artist?
Good question. I bought myself a Nissan X Terra SUV. Paid for it up front. Until then, it had always been used cars. I loved this SUV.
7. What is the last song you listened to?
Frankly? Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer”. It was written by Sia. I never get tired of it.
8. You grew up in New Jersey, and now you’re based in LA. When did you move and why? How do the two places compare in terms of artistic communities and electronic stages in particular?
After playing Club Called Rhonda party a few times in LA and meeting so many wonderful people, I already wanted to move there. Then I worked two weeks in LA with Daft Punk for their Random access memoryalbum of s. I called my mother during that first week; she could hear the calm and happiness in my voice and said, “You must be there. There is nothing for you in New Jersey. I will miss you when you leave, but I would feel worse if you stayed. That summer I packed a truck with all my gear and drove across the country to move to LA
9. “The Rockafeller Skank” is obviously a classic. How do you approach the remix of a song so beloved in the electronic music canon?
I approached this remix differently than usual. I had just finished a week of concerts. I was so inspired by the vibe when I performed at the Defected Croatia festival. I wanted to make sure that my remix would be more of a club track than a radio track. For a while, I wanted to make a track that used samples to create the tension of a track, rather than the standard “snare drum roll and riser”. It was the first of the current and future tracks and remixes that I will discuss with this technique.
10. What was Norman’s reaction when you gave him the edit?
Norman sent me a nice text message. I was honored to just remix this classic, but especially since he loved the remix.
11. You are often cited as the sponsor of UK Garage. When you were so influential, did you know what effect you were having? Was there a particular time when you realized your influence?
I knew when I started to hear my influence in songs from other producers that my style had an impact. Honestly, I was just trying to develop a sound signature so when you heard my tracks you knew who it was. I never imagined it would help influence a scene in a place 3,000 miles from where I lived.
12. As you said, you have been particularly successful in Europe. Have you ever wanted to make a big crossover hit in the United States, or just become more famous in the United States?
Yes. When I was successful in Europe, I didn’t think strategically about the areas I had an impact on. Now that I’m older and much more centered, I see the potential to reach new fans and territories. This is something that I intend to accomplish. Of course, the style of music that I make is not really the kind that appeals to the masses. I don’t know if I could make this kind of music and stay true to what I love to create.
13. House music has become the dominant genre on the American scene in recent years. What do you think ? Have you ever thought that you would one day see it happen?
This is only my opinion, but I don’t think the dance music you hear on American radio – at least the stations I listen to in LA – is what I would call house music. It’s more of a pop producer’s interpretation of what house music is. I think it’s great that it brought attention to dance music in America, but the last time I heard real house music played on the radio was in 1991-92. Heard the Masters At Work remix of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Saint Etienne, the MK remix of “Push The Feeling” by Nightcrawlers and “Hear The Music” by Todd Terry, to name a few. only a few.
14. You’ve worked twice with Daft Punk – on “Face To Face” by Discovery, then on “Fragments of time” of Random access memories. How do these two experiences compare?
Working on these projects has been two adventures for me. Being a part of the behind-the-scenes music creation, along with storytelling and marketing ideas, inspired me. The work on “Face To Face” was done in my home studio and in Thomas’ home studio. “Fragments Of Time” was recorded at Henson Studios in Los Angeles. There were also legendary musicians passing through to record on RAM. This is an example of two geniuses taking their success and reinvesting in their craft to make more great art. It also shows the freedom and musical assets you can afford and the talents you can work with when you are successful. Honestly, I could take several pages as I grow in my experience working with them.
15. You won a Grammy for your work on Random access memories. Where do you keep it?
I keep my Grammy on my piano, which is actually my mom’s Baldwin piano that my dad bought for her when I was three. She told me she was selling it and I almost cried. This piano means so much to me, and she was kind enough to leave it with me and take it with me to LA
16. Surely there was a pretty epic Grammy afterparty the night you won. What did you do after the awards ceremony?
Daft organized an amazing afterparty! I was pretty drunk and spent time with the people I love the most. I miss the celebrities who came. Madonna was there, actor Chris Pine was there, and many more that I was too drunk to see. [laughs]
17. Who is your favorite DJ / producer?
DJ EZ is my favorite DJ. He has amazing skills and plays CDJs like a drum machine. When it comes to production, Masters At Work tops the list. I am always inspired by Kenny Dope’s drum lineup. Thomas Bangalter and Guy Homem-Christo are geniuses. Although Thomas is a dear friend, it’s hard not to put him on a pedestal. He can be so deep in his conversations that if I didn’t proactively follow everything he says, I would get lost. I haven’t met anyone else in my life that I can say that about. I haven’t met any other artist with his energy.
18. What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
The best business decision I ever made was to take a two-year hiatus from music in 2007. I had a love-hate relationship with music. There were lows that matched the highs, and sometimes I was going backwards instead of advancing. After two years of working as a customer service representative, I appreciated who I was and where I truly am the best version of myself. I am a music producer. Whether it makes me rich or poor, this is who i am. So, at the height of the US recession, I quit that customer service job and got back to music. In less than five years, I was standing on stage with Daft Punk winning a Grammy. I made the right decision.
19. Who was your best mentor and what was the best advice he gave you?
There was more than one person who gave their opinion. The first was Andy Tripoli, who produced the Latin Freestyle group The Cover Girls. He said “Eat, sleep, and fuck music.” I did this for a while. However, this advice was not perfect. There was no balance, and it’s certainly important to take some time off when you need a break.
My recently deceased uncle Albert told me to be careful to be like a tank. A tank destroys everything in its sight. As a person, we can find the negative in everything and even destroy the positive. Growing up, my dad always told me that if I had to do a job, do it the right way. As a producer, I strive to make the best music I can and keep improving. These core beliefs helped make me who I am today.
20. What advice would you give to your young self?
Believe in what you are doing. Eliminate negative people from your life and don’t be afraid to leave bad situations for fear of the unknown. Fear hinders growth. Whenever I let go of my fear, I took a bold step forward. And love yourself.