Outspoken, ambivalent and head strong, Matt Edwards AKA Radio Slave has become a defiant symbol for the true art of DJing and the real passion behind electronic, machine based music. Never compromising his sound or ethics, the vinyl champion has never been one to shy away with his opinions. A two-decade long career, his remix credentials, burgeoning Rekids imprint and reputation for weaving together some of the most inspiring and unique techno sets found anywhere have maintained his status as a true DJ fueled by a love for music. Continuing our three part series featuring three modern day techno pioneers, for the 101st podcast, Matt steps up to offer a snapshot of his personal tastes and musical direction on this vinyl-only mix, packed with forthcoming exclusive releases from the Rekids family. Pulse sat down with Matt and chatted about his special mix and his future plans one rainy night in London...
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What have you been busying yourself with lately, Matt? Coming towards the end of the year, I’ve been touring a lot and just finding more time to go into the studio. I’ve been working on a few records due for next year, one is with Thomas Gandey and it’s an album inspired by our live show. Then James and I have been busy with the Rekids family and we’re also starting another imprint that’ll be part of the same family called Double R – a sister label if you will. It's a vinyl only label and it's there to promote and offer a platform to young and talented artists.
You seem to focus heavily on remixing – what is it about remxing that you love? I love remixing, especially all the pop stuff; you get sent the parts of the tune, so you can really get stuck in and dissect them and see how people make a record, which is quite eye-opening. When I first started, remixing stuff gave me a lot of help and training on how to multi-track vocals and stuff like that. My love for remixing also comes from my interest in hip-hop and being obsessed by films like 'Wildstyle' and idolizing people like Grand Wizard Theodore. I’ve always been a fan of the cut and paste aspect of music. I guess remxing is similar to that, except you’re sampling someones work and it’s legal ha ha.
Any big remixes coming up that you can tease to us? I’ve done one for Ian Pooley & Spencer Parker which is included on the mix and coming out on Ovum which I love. I’ve also got something coming up iwth Quiet Village and lots of other remixes in the pipeline.
Tell us more about these forthcoming albums in 2013... So of the two albums coming up, the first is with Thomas Gandey / Cagedbaby and it’s based around a live show that we did for Red Bull Music Academy in Berlin. He’s done a lot of the piano on my remixes and stuff and I've known him for a while now – we’ve always worked together so it seemed natural. We found this balance of making this arty, new-wave thing mixed with house and stuff. It’s also all machine based. The second album is going to be an original artist album from me.
And the second artist album is your first artist in eight years... I guess a lot can change in that long a period... I made the first album in 2005 so I’m finally releasing another artist album on Rekids which is coming out next year. As we all know though, things have definitely changed since my first album. The only way you can make money is by touring. Even so, I’ve taken on less gigs as I wanna have the time to be creative in my studio as that’s what really drives me. It’s a really difficult game to play as obviously you need to have some sort of visibility and stuff so people can book you for gigs. It’s all about social media and Facebook likes rather than the actual music you release and that bugs me. I have a lot of friends who are incredibly talented DJs and artists and they just don’t get bookings. It’s a shame if you really are true and proper lover of music, as there’s so much bad music out there and it's winning people over regardless.
For the second of our Pulse 100 podcast special, what can you tell us about the inspiration for the mix? How did you approach it? It’s a pretty relaxed mix actually - I don't think people are going to listen to a podcast in a club. They’ll listen at home or on route to work, so I kept it quite relaxed and trippy. Saying that though, there is nothing old on the mix. There’s an Underground Resistance track on there that Mike Banks gave me, that’s probably the oldest as it came out last year. A lot of young artists appear on here too - It starts with Vince watson and a new track coming off his new album which we’re releasing next year on Rekids. There's also something on there from Solomon coming out on Rekids next year and a Fred B remix of Nina Kraviz, forthcoming on the redux of her album next year. All of the stuff I've used - apart from stuff given to me - is vinyl only as I don't really support digital music. Actually, it's mainly the suppliers I’m not down with, to be honest. I buy everything from Hardwax, Juno and Decks in Germany. I guess the mix is a good showcase of where we're at with the label.
You've been in this game a long time - dare I ask - how do you feel about the music industry at the moment? Are we all at the point of no return? I think I've been quoted this year a lot but it's been a great year for this so-called EDM movement and, really, it's got nothing to do with me or the world I exist in. It's a bit sad though; friends of mine, that are selling themselves short - it's sad because it feels that the music is being left behind. It's about selling units. As cheesy as it was back in the '90s with handbag house and stuff they still cared for the music. I'm a professional DJ and I like to play club music and I feel like I'm fighting a battle of quality over quantity. I'm also a record collector and a fan of music and that can never be taken away from me. In that way, you have to ignore stuff, but it's hard to shut off and do your thing as everything is so public these days... we've got this supermarket of music that's just full up of crap.
So is running Rekids a really difficult battle? Do you feel like it's becoming a race? Yeah it can be for sure. There's apparently a lot of DJs turning to vinyl at the moment, and that's complete rubbish. A good record shall sell 500 copies across the globe - meaning 500 people in the world have that track and that's it, even though the track is supposed to be some big dance-floor bomb or something, it doesn't add up. A lot of countries don't even have record stores so go figure.
And the positives of it all? On the plus side, especially this year, there's been lots of great music available from these talented and fresh producers. A lot of the music I buy is from people I've never even heard of before. It's a global thing and you've got people making good music everywhere. In my day (ha ha) you'd have to dig and search deep for music; now you can learn everything you wanna know about Italo-disco in five minutes on YouTube. People can learn faster and take more in these days.
I think people should stick to their guns, although I'm not prejudice against how people buy or consume music. For me, I have my ways of doing things and that's just the way I do it - put it this way, if I was twelve years old, there's no way on earth I'd buy records. I'd just take it all off the internet for free [Laughs].