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Guest Dose: Delroy Edwards

Delroy Edwards introduces you to L.A. Club Resource with this guest mix.
Morad Janeb
Courtesy of the artist
Delroy Edwards introduces you to L.A. Club Resource with this guest mix.

There are a number of reasons why the 26-year-old, Los Angeles-based producer recording under the moniker Delroy Edwards stands out from the pack of young guns who've begun impacting the American house music underground over the past half-decade.

First, there's the sound of Edwards' tracks, and those released through the L.A. Club Resource label he co-founded in 2012, which are antithetical to usual club productions, substituting clarity and brightness, for thick, punk-y, tape-hiss textures. It is, likewise, fair to call his DJ'ing approach an "anti-style," valuing cut'n'paste atmosphere and vibe over seamless perfection. Meanwhile, his personal pedigree — familial (real name: Brandon Avery Perlman, son of actor of Ron Perlman), creative (growing up making noise music in L.A.'s passionate underage punk scene, before being expelled from Cal Arts' prestigious music program), cultural (moving to New York at age 20 and falling under the wing of Ron Morelli, whose L.I.E.S. label was then reshaping the sonics of non-mainstream dance-music) — exemplifies how privilege can feed experimentation and progressive thinking, instead of commercial values.

"I don't make my music to be heard," he says when we speak by phone. "I make it because it feels good, without the notion of trying to make a buck. And then I have the gift of actually having an audience that wants to listen to it." Since his 2012 debut EP on L.I.E.S., 4 Club Use Only, the amount of people who've clamored for Edwards' music has grown by leaps and bounds.

Delroy's new album, Hangin' at the Beach, presents his style in grand excess. Compiled as a lo-fi collage tape, its 30 tracks span 52 minutes, mixing stripped-down drum-machine soul of original Chicago house, with the sonic curiosity he self-describes as both "conceptual" and "computer-challenged," and the cultural reference points of an (almost) lifelong Angeleno.

Though Morelli's influence is undeniable, Edwards says the foundation of his sound can be attributed to a lesson accidentally learned while still a teenager, from one of his older sister's friends, also the first person to play house music for him:

"He gave me a drum machine, and showed me how to use it, and opened my mind to a really simple idea that most people take for granted: With cables, sound goes in and sound goes out, so if you have inputs and outputs, you can really just keep making chains of sound, and use whatever you want to make 'music.' That notion blew my mind at the time. It's what made me think about experimenting with weird sound really early on. It made me go, 'This is fun, I can mess around with my hands and record with a VHS player, a tape player, a boom-box, with anything.'"

This youthful curiosity became intertwined with L.A.'s local musical energy: "I grew up with a lot of the [local radio station] KROQ punk-pop/new wave vibe, New Order, Joy Division, Depeche Mode — a lot of that is still in my brain. But I would also go to noise shows, see the Haters, Smegma, wild stuff like that."

Yet Los Angeles does not simply assert an aesthetic environmental impact on Delroy's music; it has sown the seeds of civic pride, the main reason he relocated back to his hometown and started the label here.

"L.A. has inspired me so much. I'm here to add to it, to give this city some variation in music," he says. "That's why I chose the label name, L.A. Club Resource, so that it was impossible for L.A. to not get a piece of the credit, that when people hear the music — my own music, or all the music by people we put out —it creates something that hasn't been seen before, and it's immediately associated with the city."

For this month's Guest Dose, Delroy Edwards provided a DJ mix that is also an introduction to L.A. Club Resource.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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