It's a difficult line to tread – to experiment with sounds and push electronic music boundaries on a pop record.
But Detroit's 22-year-old electronic music evangelist Jimmy Edgar has done just that on his debut album 'Color Strip'.
Hauntingly poppy, yet avant garde and futuristic, 'Color Strip' could well be in Kraftwerk's territory, was it not for its decidedly catchy vocals, melody, and rhythms, that punctuate throughout.
Jimmy, already a well established electronic music producer with releases on Poker Flat and Isophlux, is now Warp's new hope for 2006.
With a career history that defies his age, Edgar is also an accomplished graphic designer, photographer, and fashion designer with his own clothing brand.
Here DJmag.com talks to Jimmy Edgar about how drugs have influenced his music, DJing in whorehouses, and sex.
1. You said that you made 'Color Strip' whilst on drugs. How do you think drugs have influenced your music?
They erase all the clouds of reality and let me tap into a true something, whatever that is.
Mainly, it's just about focusing when I have a million other things going on.
I start doing things I really want to do instead of thinking about it too logically.
2. You want people to either love your music, or hate it. Why?
Because either way it would have invoked a strong emotion and that is kind of the intention of a lot of things I do - to express and reinterpret some kind of extreme.
I think I would be most disappointed if I got a lot of mediocre and middle ground comments and feedback.
3. Do you think you're able to express yourself enough through electronic music?
Completely, I feel at one with it.
My inspiration comes in feeling and making those feelings through music so other people can touch what I felt, it doesn't come off like that because my music isn't totally emotional, but there is a common human feeling and truth about it.
I'm in tune enough to be able to be true with expression and use different mediums to express a feeling or scene I need to portray.
Avant garde & original: Jimmy Edgar
4. You DJed alongside Derrick May and Juan Atkins when you were 15. How did happen?
They and the promoters heard my music and started booking me.
Is there a better way for a white boy punk to make money than to play in some dirty whorehouse raves for free?
It was fun, although looking back, extremely dangerous for my age.
I was sneaking out and had my older friends drive me.
5. Why does sex feature heavily in your music?
It must be my Scorpio rising side.
I don't know, I just know it's something that is on my mind a lot.
I'm not a sexaholic, I just tend to create scenarios in my head a lot.
My imagination runs to the gutter a lot.
There's a darker side to sex and relationships than we think, and I like to expand on these subjects.
6. What achievement in your life are you most proud of?
I don't prefer to look back on achievements like that, I would rather look to the future and concentrate on bigger goals.
I don't work hard to have pride about what I've done, I'm proud but prefer to try and stay humble about it.
There's a darker side to sex and relationships than we think, and I like to expand on these subjects
7. Name something you're ashamed of, and why?
Sometimes my music, because I'm shy.
Getting used to having it public is a strange thing.
That's probably why a lot of my projects now are operated in secret.
I have other personalities too.
8. You're only 22-years-old, but you've achieved so much. What advice can you give to young aspiring DJs and producers?
Well, first off, I hate when people say 'You can be anything you want to be if you try' because it isn't always true.
With that, you have to have motivation, inspiration and dedication.
With those things it's still extremely hard.
Follow your dreams if you have the will, don't waste your time on something you're not crazy about.
If you work hard enough you will get what you want, but if you treat it like work, it's not worth it.
Do what you love and then success will follow, because it's the love you put into your work that shows.
9. If you could change one thing about electronic music, what would it be?
I think it would be better if electronic artists expanded on the kind of equipment they used.
We see too many trends in electronic gear follow the music.
Try something new and unique.
Good music can be made on anything, and should be.
10. What do you think of laptop DJs?
It's whatever, I don't think anyone likes seeing someone checking their Myspace profiles for new messages from hot girls during a set.
If you're gonna act like a performer, then do something magical.
Laptop DJs should be hidden in a black box because it's distracting and very unflattering what they are trying to do.