Radio Slave, aka Matt Edwards, is one of the world’s greatest remixers. He talks to Leigh Livingstone about globe trotting, living in Berlin and heading Down Under for New Year’s…
Do you prefer “Radio” or should we call you “Mr. Slave”?
I’m a slave to music. The radio part comes from doing edits of pop tracks. I guess I am more “Mr Slave” than “Radio”.
Where did the name Radio Slave come from?
It was basically from doing edits of pop records and starting off doing remixes of Kylie Minogue. It was like I was a slave to pop. It’s something that has morphed and changed over the last 10 years but that was how it started.
You have quite a lot of alter ego’s, which is your favourite to be?
I love each of them in their own sort of way and that is what’s great about having different aliases is that you can jump from one to the other and get immersed in each one in their own different way. I do the Quiet Village stuff with my friend John Martin that is just kind of exotica stuff; sometimes it’s a really great breath of fresh air to do that sort of thing after making techno as Radio Slave.
How did you decide that producing music is what you wanted to do?
I kind of fell into it, I’ve always been a huge record collector. I was so passionate about music but I actually studied as a designer in fine arts and I started as an art director. It wasn’t something that I planned to do, I just kind of fell into it. I fell in love with music.
Do you have a favourite song that you’ve remixed from other artists?
I was always really influenced by artists like Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush and I would love to remix more of those. I’ve remixed Kate Bush but it was more like a bootleg thing. If I could work with artists like that I would be incredibly happy. There were production values in the music that was produced in the 80s or early 90s that is completely missing now.
How did your Rekids label come about?
It was around 2005/06 and I was extremely frustrated with a lot of labels, especially in the UK. I was living in Brighton at the time and my brother in law, James Masters had just finished working in his corporate job and we just sat down and the time of German minimalist sound on other labels were taking over and there just wasn’t any labels in the UK. We just decided, “let’s start a label”, and combine all of our abilities and just get things off the ground. With James’ experience in the business side it made it really easy and that was how it started.
Why did you move to Germany?
I just wanted to have a break from the UK and it just seemed like the best place to move to. At the time I had only deejayed a few times in Berlin and now I have been here nearly five years and I love this city. I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else. It’s an incredible place to live.
Do you speak German well?
No, but the thing with Berlin is, its just full of people from around the world. People are moving here from Mexico, Italy, Spain, wherever and its just a little melting pot of young people that come here because it’s a very free and cheap environment.
You’re playing Space Ibiza’s Kehakuma event on New Year’s Day. Have you been to Australia before?
I’ve actually been to Australia quite a few times. I was a tutor at the Melbourne Redbull Academy back in 2007. I have quite a few friends there, I love coming down there.
Will you have any down time while you’re here?
Not this time, I’m only staying for two or three days, I think I do four gigs in two days and that is it. I will probably come back. This year I was at the Rainbow Serpent Festival, which was amazing, and I got to stay in Sydney for a few days and see friends.
What are the differences between playing Euro festivals and Aussie festivals?
Australian culture is always really different, but the Rainbow Serpent festival was amazing. It really made me itch to come back. It was quite hippie but really cool and down to earth, people were really interested in music. I think before that I had only really seen the commercial side of Australian festival culture and this one really blew me away.
Do you have any NYE plans?
I am DJing in Adelaide on New Year’s Eve.
Any New Year Resolutions?
Not yet. Maybe just to stay healthy and carry on doing what I am doing.
What is coming up for you in 2012?
With the label we are working with Nina Kraviz and really excited about releasing her album, she’s just become a really big star over the last year and we are really eager to push her album. Then we have loads of other projects, working with young artists and doing lots of parties. Trying to sell records. Personally, hopefully I am going to release a couple of new albums in 2012, so I need to stop traveling so much and spend more time in the studio.
What is the one thing that you never travel without?
My toothbrush and my records. I do this every weekend, so I travel really, really light. I am usually the first one on the plane and the first one off. I don’t even check luggage in.
Radio Slave plays Space Ibiza at The Greenwood in North Sydney (Jan 1). http://www.spaceibizafestival.com.au[spaceibizafestival.com.au]
To win a double pass to Space Ibiza, http://www.tntdownunder.com/competition/81782.html[click here].