A pioneer of every sound possible, Radio Slave has probably made you dance to his beats at some point in your life. ROB CHADWICK chats to Matt Edwards about his early days, his label Rekids and his new Fabric compilation…
It’s hard to believe how far Matt Edwards’ Radio Slave alter ego has come since its earliest days. Matt, a man of many monikers – such as Quiet Village, Sea Devils, Matthew E and Rekid – created Radio Slave as a tongue-in-cheek temporary project for remixing more mainstream tracks. His earliest remix subjects were hardly underground – Kylie, Gwen Stefani and Elton John all had their pop given a techy twist courtesy of Matt. But now Radio Slave is one of the most respected names around. His busy too, what with his label Rekids, his special mix project for 3 Mobile, and his new mix album for Fabric. We caught up with Matt to find out more…
How did you come up with the name Radio Slave?
There was lots of remixing of music that was being channeled through the radio – like Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head – going on, so I thought it would be fitting to use that name and it caught on. I’ve stuck with it all the way.
When did you first get into the scene and start making music?
I into clubs in the early 90s, had my first gig in London down at the Milk Bar in ‘91, and that’s that. It got to 1993 and I met a couple of guys who had a studio and we starting making music and bouncing off each other. Further down the line my break was with the remixes of Kylie Minogue and Gwen Stefani, and then with my own No Sleep EP series after that in 2006.
How how has Rekids grown over the past few years?
Since we [Matt and label partner James Masters] started Rekids back in 2006, we’ve tried to go from strength to strength. The My Bleep EP went down really well, and we set that as a platform for future developments and productions. We’ve managed to push artists like Toby Tobias, Spencer Parker and Luke Solomon through the label. And through that we have produced some really exciting and groovy beats in the house and techno scene.
Just so we don’t get confused, you have had a string of different monikers. Can you tell us about these?
It can be confusing, I know. Where to start? Well, Sea Devils is my outfit with my good friend Tom from Cagedbaby. It’s a more poppy and groovy outfit from my usual vibe. Quiet Village is another project with another good friend of mine, Joel Martin, but it’s a bit more drawn out and niche with influences of the old. I guess I just like making different types of music.
What can we expect from your Fabric compilation?
I’ve just laid the foundations of what I’ve played out over the last year, tracks from all over the world. I’ve also hinted to the listener at the kind of set I’d play at Fabric, so it ties in well. It’s very mixed tempo and techy in areas, and I’ve even thrown in some re-edits of my own from Rekids. I’ve just tried to create a bit of action on the album and hope it works.
You also have some unreleased tracks on there…
There are two new tracks from me on there, yeah. There’s also a really fresh track from Boola & Nergu, and an unreleased one by one of our latest signings on Rekids, Nina Kraviz. She’s a Russian girl, who’s very exciting and instrumental, like Moodyman.
You live in Berlin now. What’s that city got that other European cities lack when it comes to underground music?
The huge source of energy that the city has in the underground scene is a huge bonus. There’s always such a buzz at the venues and events. With the high standard that the clubs have set and the respect they have gained, it’s hard to beat it in the UK. And even further afield in Germany, in Frankfurt and Mannheim, there are some great clubs. It’s not just Berlin.
Why you think vinyl still rules over digital there?
Underground is really underground here – that’s why. Vinyl has that implement of underground. And some of the clubs don’t even have CDJs, so vinyl is sometimes the only option.
How do you judge a crowd, choosing what tracks to play down the line?
It’s so hard to judge crowds these days. You used to able to play what you were comfortable with, but now I feel as though the knowledge of the fans is of such a high standard that you need to study them as you go along. I’m getting booked for a lot of techno events at the moment, so that kind of narrows the gap in that department. But I think I make music for soundsystems, so I’m quite luck I guess.
Fabric 48: Radio Slave is out on September 14. Matt has also created a special mix inspired and influenced by his DJ sets in Tokyo for the 3 Snapshots series. Visit www.3Snapshots.com and register for a free 3 Snapshots: No.1 Tokyo CD/DVD. Visit www.myspace.com/rekid and www.fabriclondon.com