If you need a shining example of the raw talent in UK Garage you need look no further than Ed Case. Making his mark in drum & bass a few years back he decided that in order to push it forward musically he had to look in other areas. Fast forward to the year 2001 and a Gorillaz remix has put him amongst the Garage elite. We caught up with Ed backstage at the Pepsi chart to find out where that name's from, why he never uses samples and to get the lowdown on the debut album.
Q: First and foremost - where's the name come from?
A: Well basically, when I was about 13 I used to go out with my older brother to these festivals and raves (like when raves first started happening) and his mates started calling me Head Case cos' I was too young. It went from there and my names Edwin so I just shortened it to Ed really.
Q: Before UK Garage you were a big name in the Drum & Bass scene?
A: That where I came from but when drum & bass took a twist for the worse and it became much more DJ music rather than something that people could go out, buy and actually listen to then I started making UK Garage. I'd been playing piano for 7 years so I wanted to make music as well as beats.
Q: Do you think UK Garage could go the same way as drum & bass or is it here to stay in the mainstream?
A: Well there's definitely a big underground garage scene and what you're hearing in the mainstream is not necessarily what's getting played in the clubs. I don't really like to label it personally, but I think the tracks that I'm making comes from the underground then it blows up to the mainstream.
Obviously you're going to get bands that are put together and whatever. But if someone's actually going into the studio and making a track and its from the heart that should be it. If its a brilliant track then its a brilliant track - doesn't matter what it is.
Q: It was the Gorillaz remix that got your name into the mainstream though wasn't it?
A: You know I've been making music for 3 or 4 years now and I do a lot of different styles of music. It all came about cos' Damon Albarns got a unit next to us in the studio, he played us the Gorillaz album and I really liked. So it went from there to talking about doing remixes and "Clint Eastwood" was the one I chose.
We done it in a night with Sweetie, Damon came in the next morning and said wicked. That was it and it got a mind of its own really - totally out of control!!!!
Q: Who do you look up to musically because Garage, or even drum & bass, hasn't got the history that would come easily for a rock band?
A: I respect a lot of musicians coming from a lot of musical backgrounds. I love a lot of Cuban music and South American music. There's a guy called Ruban Gonzalez who is one of the best piano players in the world, but he's Cuban so he's not classical if you know what I mean. There's people from other types of music I like - I mean I love Coldplay and just appreciate it for the music!!!
Q: You've got the album later in the year. What can we expect from that?
A: I've got a mixture of tracks on there. There's the underground track like "Who?" which was good because basically I didn't want to come out with a watered down track after signing to Columbia - its still got the edge of what i've always been doing. The next one will probably be completely different. What I like doing is taking it somewhere else and being a bit innovative with it. Whether it goes in the chart doesn't matter - I'm not looking at that pressure at all.
The albums about 3/4's of the way finished. There's a few people I've got to link up with. There will be something on there for everyone - MC tracks, R&B garage!!! Listening tracks are really important cos' albums should be for people to listen to - its not just for a club or a party so there's some brilliant songs on there.
Q: Collaboration wise what can we expect then?
A: Sweetie, Elizabeth Troy - its gonna be all good!!! There's also people I've been working with for 3 or 4 years that are going to be just as good as the well known people. Its not about getting names on the record - its about making quality music and quality songs at the end of the day so if I don't like them they won't be on the album no matter who it is!!!
Q: One rule you've always stuck to is to never use samples - you must be about the only guy who doesn't in dance circles?
A: I make the riff's myself and hopefully they're good enough to stick in people's heads. I try to be quite simple with it but use a lot of sounds so when you put it together its doing something really complicated. I've got a lot of ideas to get down at the moment so in truth a lot of remix and production work is being turned down at the moment - i just need to concentrate on my own stuff for a while.
"Who" is out now on Columbia