The Glitch Mob is a three-piece electronic music group from Los Angeles, California. Rising from the LA underground, one-third of the legendary music group, edIT (born Edward Ma) is an electronic music producer and DJ who just happens to be in the hot seat this week. Currently putting the finishing touches to their 2010 album ‘Drink the Sea’, we present an exclusive interview talking about his creative process, Asian films, and what lies ahead. Read below for the full Q&A…
Over the years how has your live performance progressed and what challenges had to be overcome with 3 different people performing at once?
edIT: Well when The Glitch Mob first began we started as a three-man DJ tagteam set and over time we have evolved into performing our own music live. I guess the biggest challenge we have always continue to face has really been the limitations of computer processing power and the limitations of Ableton RAM. When we first design the Drink the Sea live show we were experiencing some problems with crashing and I had sent this to my buddy Houston. He had told me the only live set that he had seen that were as large were running for Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas. Needless to say we had to to go back and simplify our live set a bunch. I think technology has really been the one largest limiting factor in all of our live sets.
Can you talk a bit about your live setup? What are you guys actually doing up there? How much room is there for improvisation?
edIT: Okay so this is something that I’ve planned to cover in multiple videos right before going going on tour but I’m going try to make this sound as simple as possible. We use Ableton Live for my live shows and we sample a lot of the melodic elements and percussion elements from our songs and we used Abletons sample instrument to play those back live. So as many elements as three people can perform at one time that’s more playing live. And anything that three people can’t play out once all that gets thrown onto backing tracks. The beauty about using the computer is that you have the flexibility to change roles as much as possible. In The Glitch Mob it’s possible for anyone of us to play bass lead synths or percussion all-in-one song. Regarding improvisation we do improvise live every night we play. [For example] A drum solo that is completely different. I’m hoping that for this upcoming live show we can have a lot of those moments.
Prodigy ‘The Fat of the Land’ was one of the first CD’s I purchased growing up. It was really exciting knowing you guys had an official remix on the re-issue. What is the creative process like on creating remixes. How hard is it to update the track to present time while still keeping the integrity of the song?
edIT: Will first off I’m really humbled and honored that over the years we’ve become really well-known for our remixes and we become very sought after remixers. These days were very busy so we can’t always attack every single remix that gets offered to us. So when we do do a remix we really try to make it count. Now when the Prodigy and XL records approached us about doing a remix we were all really excited about it. I think the only criteria that we had was that we wanted to remix BREATHE and luckily Liam came back and he said he’s down for that and we got included on the reissue record. The creative process for making a remix is completely different every single time for us. I think the most important thing is really all about giving the remix what it needs. Sometimes this could be just as simple as sampling one tiny element from the song and creating an entirely new song out of it or sometimes like in the case of the Prodigy remix you really want to pay homage to the original song but at the same time you want to give it that signature Glitch Mob sound, attitude and flair. I considered to be one of the greatest electronic songs of all time and we try to make it even better but at the end of the day we try to rise to the challenge and I think we did an alright job.
What are some other dream songs you would like to take a swing at remixing?
edIT: For me, personally, “Roads” by Portishead’s, “The Water” by Fiest, and “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone.
Were you surprised when Glitch Mob really started taking off?
edIT: The answer to that is yes! I was surprised, I really didn’t expect the Glitch Mob to come this far. To me, the project really started out as three good friends making music together, having fun, and playing some shows. I had no idea it was going to catch on like this and I’ve said this countless times in many interviews–I truly believe that the secret ingredient and the magic of the whole Glitch Mob experience really is the fans and the community of people around it. Without them, The Glitch Mob would just be three guys making music, in a bedroom together. I’m really grateful to fans first and foremost and just for the opportunity to really get to do this in my lifetime. It is truly been one of the greatest joys of my life.
Word on the street is a new album is almost finished. Could you tell us a bit about your mindset going in with this project and what you set out to accomplish?
edIT: Yes the new album is on its way but I’m not to give away anything I will let you guys determine what the record means to you.
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
edIT: I really love one Kar Wai Wong’s Ashes of Time, and ChungKing Express. Johnnie To’s PTU was one my favorite Hong Kong Cop dramas of all-time; Election and Triad Election. Steven Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle is one of my favorites. Jackie Chan’s Armour of God is what got me into the martial arts genre. I also named my Dog after Miike’s Ichi the Killer [laughs].
The last album you worked on was described by Boreta as an album meant to be listened to as a whole. There are also albums that are meant to be listened to in headphones. How does this affect your live shows if people are now migrating not to just the dance-tunes but the narrative tunes as well?
edIT: Drink the Sea was really meant to be a headphone listening record and I think one of the greatest challenges we experienced was how to translate that live. I think by the second Drink the Sea tour, we ironed out all the kinks and we were able to to learn from the first Drink the Sea tour on what would work the best for live shows. As an artist since it’s important to recognize that every tune can be played live but some tunes are going to work in certain shows better than others and it’s important to know what kind of shows you’re walking into and what kind of live set is going to work the best on that given night.
What did you think about the Grammy performance with Foo Fighters and Deadmau5 last year. I ask for two reasons — one being if you saw it as a progressive step in electronic music breaking into mainstream and also what your stance was on playing live on television. Would this be something that would appeal to you?
edIT: I personally thought it was a really good step in the right direction. Electronic dance music is huge right now, arguably the biggest form of music but it’s completely absent from all the late-night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno etc. I think one of the main reasons being is how do you present on television without it [being a] DJ club scenario with people dancing in partying. I felt that DeadMau5 and Foo Fighters performance was a real good first step at kind of earing people into what Electronic music is in this day and age. As far as television performances, we have on G4TV’s Attack of the Show and it is something that we would definitely welcome in the future.
Lastly, tour dates for 2013….can you let the cat out of the bag? Any new locales you haven’t had a chance to perform in that you are aiming to visit?
edIT: Well, all I can say right now is that our tour is going to kick off this fall in the United States and beyond that nothing is really been confirmed yet, so I don’t want to talk about it yet. Peace!
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