Todd Edwards: The Making of a Legend

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Ahead of his headline set for our 15th Birthday, we take a look at the life and achievements of one of the most prolific and talented producers of our generation.

For garage and house fans alike, Todd Edwards is nothing short of a hero.

Todd (aka The God) Edwards has cut it as a DJ and producer for over thirty years. Often cited as one of the founding fathers of UKG, he is renowned for his swung beats and heavy micro-sampling that has earned him the support of many of music’s greats, from Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel Christo (Daft Punk) to the legend that is DJ EZ. Ahead of his headline appearance at Great Suffolk Street for Backto95’s 15th Birthday, we take a look at the life and achievements of one of the most prolific and talented producers of our generation.

Hailing from Bloomfield, New Jersey, Todd’s upbringing was pretty much that of your average American. His father worked as a wholesale carpet salesman and his mom stayed at home until he hit seventh grade. While music was a part of his childhood, it wasn’t until High School when a friend introduced Todd to House music that he got exposed to the type of tracks he would end up producing. Worlds apart from the tracks that were being played out over the airways, House music opened his mind to whole new sound and offered insight into the independent music scene of the time.

Growing up Todd often experimented on his mother’s piano, and it was through this practice that the drive to make music and create truly flourished – leading him into his DJ career. His first release, a remix of Marisha Jones’ “Come To Me”, was released in 1992 after a guy from his local record store approached him about making the track. The piano and sax infused anthem is nothing like much of his back-catalogue and stands out as being a House track. Having previously said of his first record that he’d like to bury it, we’d happily disagree. It definitely echoes the beautiful Garage sound that was later developed.

It is not surprising to learn that much of Todd’s inspiration came from the House music masters of his generations. Artists like Tony Humphries, Masters at Work and Todd Terry, are all counted as great influences. In fact, “Saved My Life”, the Todd Edwards classic that really put him on the map, was influenced by a Little Louie Vega gig he’d been to the night before - the shuffly beat and heavy use of sampling that you so often hear in his Garage tracks was actually an emulation of the MAW sound.

Another somewhat unlikely source of inspiration came from female singers Bjork and Enya. According to Todd, the female artists inspired him to think outside of the box and got him singing on his own tracks. While most people think of him as a producer, Todd has featured on a number of his own tracks and those of others, most notably, Daft Punk’s “Face To Face”. “Face To Face” was released as the fifth single from Daft Punk’s 2001 album, Discovery, and shot to number one in the US Dance Charts. The song features Edward’s signature “cut-up” style, whereby short samples are edited together with spaces in between, creating this futuristic sound, with Todd’s soulful vocals bringing everything together for this truly unique track.

With a string of hits under his belt, not forgetting his remix of St Germain’s “Alabama Blues” and Sound of One’s “Am I Am”, Todd stepped away from the limelight when he reached 35, before entering the scene again two years later. The continuous success of the UKG scene and his status as a Garage God has certainly ensured that he will be around for some time, and is never in short demand. In recent years, he has remixed everyone from Disclosure to Jessie Ware to Netsky and on 12th February 2016 dropped a remix of Cerrone's "Funk Makossa" that you can listen to here.

To finish, we've put together our top five Todd classics that are guaranteed to set the party off on our 15th Birthday on the 5th March.

Check it out.

1. Kim English, "Tomorrow" (Todd Edwards Dub)

2. Todd Edwards, "Push The Love"

3. Gruv'n Disco Affair, "You Don't Want To Lose It" (Todd Edwards Original)

4. Indo, "R U Sleeping" (Todd Edwards Mix)

5. Todd Edwards, "Incidental"