Real Talk: Jimmy Edgar

The veteran producer speaks on longevity and the importance of loving his work.
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'Real Talk' is a series of artist-penned essays that appears on XLR8R from time to time.

Next week, Jimmy Edgar will issue Fabriclive 79, his contribution to the vaunted mix series and the latest chapter of what's become a rather lengthy career in dance music. Although he certainly got an early start than many of his contemporaries (being raised in Detroit has its advantages), there's nonetheless something to be said for Edgar's ability to stay active—and relevant—for such an extended period. Following a lengthy stint in Berlin, Edgar has now settled in Los Angeles, and continues to operate the Ultramajic label with some help from his friend and collaborator Machinedrum. Even after well over a decade in the game, Edgar shows no signs of slowing down, so we asked him to put together some thoughts on how and why he's managed to stick around so long.

Longevity is one of the most relevant topics today. We are living in extremely fast times; how can an artist manage to keep up with this pace of life? What sacrifices do we have to make to keep up with the times? I can only shed some light from my personal experiences and perhaps a bit from things I have seen, from colleagues of mine.

[quote align="none"]I find it very curious that it's 2015 and a lot of people are cutting the bullshit out of their lives.[/quote]I just turned 31 and this means I have been DJing and producing for over 19 years, traveling internationally as a DJ for 14 years, and working hard for 40 years. I am exaggerating on the last part of course, yet when I joke about that, what I really mean is that I have made a career out of working probably twice as much as any normal job. The only fact I can surmise from this is that I love what I do. I have spent most of my life dedicated to studio production and this is where my heart is. Over the past 10 years, I have concentrated more on the DJ aspect of what I do because I find it challenging, fun, spontaneous, and more relaxed (compared to other kinds of live performances that I once did).

 Photos by Vitali Gelwich

Photos by Vitali Gelwich

Success is all about perspective. I believe to have any sort of success you have to love what you do. If you don’t, then the answer is plain and simple: look for something that gives you chills. As an example, people ask me how I find the time to make music when I am traveling so much. The answer is pretty easy; I miss it so much when I am away that I spend all my off time working on new music. It's good for me to take a break so I can recollect my ideas, because otherwise, I would be in the studio 24/7, literally. Again, success is all about perspective, but if you are achieving realistic goals and believing in yourself, I think you're doing pretty well.

One thing I heard when I was younger was "you can do anything you want if you believe in yourself." That phrase was embedded in my head, and even though I didn’t totally believe it, I still knew there was some kind of truth in it. There is a real disconnect about that phrase that I think most people don't understand initially. It is true though—if you look at "belief," "passion," "dedication," and "focus" as some kind of tetrahedron of manifestation, something you can embody and BECOME, then you are dipping into the metaphysical ideas of making magic happen. I have always been interested in metaphysics and the fundamental ideas of some of these practices make sense to me. For instance, I learned hypnosis and became certified in multiple levels of NLP (neuro-lingustic programming); at the time, I wasn’t aware how much it would apply to my work as an artist. The fact remains that belief is one of the main components in the equation. The question is: how are you able to genuinely believe in yourself? It's something everyone has to discover on their own.

[quote align="none"] You simply cannot fake it online anymore; the new generations are too keen and clever and can see through it. You have to be yourself and do what you love.[/quote]I find it very curious that it's 2015 and a lot of people are cutting the bullshit out of their lives. They're realizing that their time is more deserving of things they love and positive energy. It's interesting how social media has opened this. We are very sensitive to negativity these days, and I think the days of the internet trolls are extremely numbered. We are starting to take more responsibility for the space that we create, even in the virtual world. We are realizing that even the internet domain counts for something. The most common New Years resolution I have been hearing is that my friends are focusing on the things that they love. You simply cannot fake it online anymore; the new generations are too keen and clever and can see through it. You have to be yourself and do what you love.

Think about the reasons why people get burned out and quit doing amazing things. Longevity will only last as long as your own fuel persists, and what is better fuel for the fire than your own love and passion? All you have to do is allow it through. Let it be your meditation.