New York's Edgar has been through the music industry machine. Having signed to a major label as a teen and toured the world before being spat back out of the vicious cycle, they were left angry and inspired.
Fast forward to 2021 and Edgar joins the collective of artists managing their own labels, alongside friends they run 22TWENTY - allowing artists like Oracle Sisters and Madge to create the music they want to create with the genuine support and backing they need.
Most recently, 22TWENTY released Edgar's own ‘wHAT a HooT’ EP - a collection of enigmatic, against-the-grain tracks effortlessly showcasing their years of creativity and industry expertise.
Following the release, we caught up with Edgar to learn all about the journey past and present.
Hey! How’s it going?
As of 11:56am est the red,white and bluez version of 'BBC News on cocaine' aka CNN has a headline grabbing line which reads 'Gas stations in the Southeast run out of gas as people panic buy fuel.' So things are super smooth over here. It's never a bad time to talk music and avoid the madness, so appreciate you wanting to chat about something I love so much.
Tell us a bit about yourself - when did you decide you’d like a career in music?
I think I'll start thinking about having a 'career' in music when I'm 65 and find the courage to tell my family I do music stuff for a living. I've heard there are easier lines of work. It's a strange thing because my first feelings of wanting to make music during my time here came when I was so young I can't even recall the 'moment. I was always a bit of a dreamer so thoughts and moments were vague and all over the place. I remember thinking 'What else would I do?' when people asked me why I wanted to be a lifer in the career of the damned. I remember a vague hazy dream of being a few months old with a bad fever and my Dad spinning 'Rocky Racoon' - that was my first memory of music. My latest memory is listening to John Cale sing 'Barracuda' in my kitchen last night and now I'm hungover. So it all comes back around to a headache but I wouldn't trade it for a clean, green, Windex fresh dream of doing something 'normal.'
You’ve done the whole major label, world tour thing - what made you decide to start on this new project as Edgar?
Well EDGAR is my middle name, that's a start. I wish it was my first name. Anyways, now it is in this world. The thing I love about EDGAR is I didn't decide to start this. It just started on its own. I stopped thinking like a performing monkey at the Sunday circus thinking what does that guy want to hear? Should I swallow fire for the EMI guy in the suit who doesn't know who Karen Dalton is. Record labels just want a recreation of a recreation...I had to change the channel eventually. I just stopped thinking and started being. Listen I'm often a wreck and overthinking many things, but finally I'm not doing it for one of the things I love most, making tunes. By the way touring is a fucking casino dream, gambling each night not knowing what is going to happen. It's a shot of adrenaline but it can also make you mad. They should read a bill of side effects like they do for big pharma companies before you go on a tour across the US. You're gonna get super high and feel better than ever but you also may have chronic back pain, constant irritability and an irrational fear of listening to Political Talk Radio in Arkansas during a tornado named after a woman like Wanda or Jane.
You’ve got a new EP out - talk us through ‘wHAT a HooT’, where did it come from and which is your favourite track from it?
It's a fucking great question. 'Where did it come from?' That is a big one. I'm not even sure I know. My studio is in a room that gets very dark at night so I would think the hoot came from really zoning in and zoning out. The words were very of the moment in time in which I plugged in the mic and thought 'ok sing something.' I tried my best not to say 'I have to say this!' and instead thought 'oops what am I saying? Should I say this?' When I doubt the things I'm singing, it's probably the best thing to say. Whatever art someone is making, it is probably best when it is something you'd only do when the doors are closed and you don't want anyone to know or see. Like looking at porn. Writing a song is like looking at porn. You hope no one saw it happening and there are way too many advertisements.
Would you say it’s a good representation of what’s to come from future releases?
I think so, but I'm not sure. I mean yes, because it's me so yes. But I don't know. I think maybe that is a question for you when you and I hear what comes next. I can say it will be soon, I have a lot more tracks in the Apple screen machine.
You’re based over in New York, what’s the ‘in thing’ in the NY music scene right now?
I may not be the best person to ask. I'll tell you this much. I don't want to be the 'in thing.' That is for sure. I don't want to be the 'in thing' because that creates an expectation of staying as that 'thing' and once you create that expectation it is very difficult to be a genuine artist. I don't want to be a flavor of the moment dripping out like an ice cream cone. Perhaps I'm better suited answering what the 'out' thing is. I think a lot of the artists on our label 22Twenty are 'out' meaning they think within themselves and not of what is cool right this given second. I love that about the artists I get to speak to and collaborate with. Check out Martian Subculture, he knows what's up. Go type his name on the all knowing Google collector, it'll be worth it.
Any upcoming artists you’re really into at the moment?
I remember seeing Aldous Harding in a small club in New York 5-6 years ago and almost crying. There is a new artist who maybe no one knows yet called Scout Gillett. Does a bit of folk, does a bit of fuzz, does a bit of croon, but really melancholy and beautiful tunes, gave some similar vibes to that Aldous gig. Let me just go at a few songs. Check out Fat Trout Trailer Park 'Gold', Go Hawaii 'Powwow' and the trusty old Martian Subculture 'I'll Be Gold.' Lots of gold in there.
What would the dream Edgar visualiser look like? Any particular director/creator you’d recruit for it?
https://www.usdebtclock.org/ My track PAID OFF was influenced by our species' incredible ability to consume and dish out like a carousel of stuff. I think that same vibe can create a lot of good in our ability to act when needed but the consumer mentality has definitely gone a bit too far. Do we need Lifetime Sizes of Cheese Puffs? Yeah I don't know. Anyways, the real-time US debt clock is featured in the music video for PAID OFF and the insanity of it all could definitely be a visualizer for the track itself. The director would be Ronald McDonald.
What’s next for Edgar? Anything fun in the works?
Lots and lots of music. I made sure to record a bunch of tunes before releasing the first one. I didn't want to have to play catch up once something was out so just lots of tunes. I'm excited to chat with you again about the next batch.