Eclectic Method is one of the more diverse acts on the music scene today, merging genres with a barrage of video sampling over original electronic beats. On any given evening, the trio- comprised of Geoff Gamlen, Ian Edgar and Jonny Wilson- remix a vast cross section of digital media from the past half century through use of digital video jockey equipment. Their work has garnered a wide range of attention after years of solid touring, from the likes of Phish to Quentin Tarantino. In the following interview, the Method’s Jonny Wilson discusses possible inherent social critiques, the group’s work ethic, and their approach to a residency at Brooklyn Bowl.
How did Eclectic Method first come together?
Me and Ian [Edgar] met in Bosnia, while I was working on the Ninja Tune Tour. We met Geoff [Gamlin] in London. Basically there is a pop band in the UK called Dodgy who was working with Geoff, and they told me that he was working on performing video live. We were all interested in the same sort of thing, and we started making remixes at the end of 2002.
Eclectic Method seems aimed to produce a different form enjoyment out of the recycling of varied media imagery. Is the result meant to be objective in its scope- as in these images just are what they are- or is there meant to be an intentional subjective reaction to the audio/visual?
Sometimes the combination of our imagery is quite random. Sometimes we really mean a certain message and that message doesn’t quite come through, and other times the message does come through. Sometimes we are quite random about it, and a message creates itself. We are re-contextualizing, and that is what we love doing. We love taking stuff, such as an artist like Miley Cyrus and ramming it over a really killer techno beat, stuff you are not expecting or used to.
What sort of editing software is used on the fly?
When we perform live we use Pioneer equipment. Specifically Pioneer DVJs and a Pioneer SVM Mixer. The DVJs allow you to scratch audio and video simultaneously, and change the speed of it and jump around with it as if it were a video drum machine- so we can remix the content live. We have two of those decks, basically allowing you to cut between those two decks live. If you imagine a hip-hop set up with two turntables, we use the same technique except that we have four turntables.
Do all three of you interchange roles, or do you each specialize in a specific role?
When we are playing live, we swap around a lot. In production we sort of all do composing, and some of us take different roles. Sometimes me and Geoff will compose more for audio and video, while Ian will do more video and lots of collecting. Ian is sort of our crate digger. Crate digging for what we do is way more complex that DJ crate digging. Such as finding video files of the Rolling Stones, or finding a cappellas by Bob Marley, just finding bits of videos that haven’t been seen for a long time. It takes a lot of research, and a lot of hunting.
Have you guys ever run into copyright issues?
A lot of people ask us about that, but really we’ve only had about two videos taken down off of YouTube. That was pretty much it. No issue. If we use somebody, and somebody ends up seeing it that response is usually positive. We take the mixes, we put them online and don’t sell them- so it’s not like we are robbing people. The most recent example is [Quentin] Tarantino. The Weinstein Company saw it, and started using it to promote the Inglourious Basterds. Also we are using 10-20 second clips, so we are not exactly ruining the plot for the film. Really what we are doing is making people want to go and watch the Tarantino movies again. More than anything, in the modern age with the Internet and YouTube, what we are doing is promoting their stuff rather than robbing it.