Eclectic Method’s Jonny Wilson, infecting Virgin Mobile’s FreeFest with his hypnotizing concoctions
Eclectic Method, formed in London in 2002, is a unique, forward-thinking act that combines both audio and visual elements, remixing them to create a single artistic entity, intended to satisfy two of the five senses.
Eclectic Method – featuring London natives Jonny Wilson, Ian Edgar and Geoff Gamlen – helped pioneer the emerging art of audio-visual mixing since first cutting U2’s Mysterious Ways music video with the Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic as an experiment back in 2002. The trio’s audio-visual mash-ups feature television, film, music and video game footage sliced and diced into blistering, post-modern dance floor events. It’s a cyclone of music and images mashed together in a world where Kill Bill fight scenes and Dave Chappelle’s Rick James rants are ingeniously cut and looped over bootleg samples, DVD scratches and pumped-up dance anthems. It’s a real-time subversion of technology and media performed live on video turntables for what LA Weekly called a “mesmerizing” sensory overload.
With sampling issues becoming less of a problem these days, and with the mashup craze in full swing, Eclectic Method has come along at just the right time. Besides, in this day of information overload, Eclectic Method is good for our ADD.
How long does it take to come up with a finished video?
It varies. Most of the videos, they really take ages “collecting,” like looking through the movies for the parts that are good. And then being creative and making the piece can be like half a day. But you might just not feel it, or find the right part. But yeah, the show we do, people ask how long it takes to collect and it’s really hard to answer because we might use something we collected in 2003 – or last week.
Do you watch a movie and say, “I have to have that!”
Oh yeah, I watch movies in video editing software. So as I watch it I mark the bits that I want.
Eclectic Method’s Robots
So Ian left the group. Do you want to say why?
He just wanted to do other things, but we had been together a decade.
Could someone else come on board eventually?
No, what we do right now is we work with motion graphics people and producers in the studio to make the AV tracks and I’m hiring motion graphics people to do special effects and stuff that’s like, you know, I can’t do everything.
Who inspired you?
Lots of people, but the video stuff, initially Coldcut, and getting involved with Coldcut, they did a track called “Timber” in 1997, which was like chainsaws and wood chopping, but I met them and they got me into loads of other people and introduced me to EBN in New York who pioneered the 90s, and did the U2 Zoo TV Tour. They were doing video mixing before all the hardware existed, they had to find their own software. One of the pioneers, Greg Deocampo, went on to make AfterEffects which did most of the music videos of the 90s. So yeah, Coldcut, EBN, Xstatic, and then music, people like Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, stuff like that. I want to emulate what they do live but then add a whole element to build people up. Like when they’re hearing a song they love, they’re also seeing it.
You’ve worked with U2, right? And Fatboy Slim? Who else?
Yeah, we’ve worked with Benny Benassi, Public Enemy and Chuck D…
I love that you love Chuck D, he’s one of my all time favorites.
I worked with Chuck D on Outta Site earlier this year, which is a song about the media.
See Outta Site Eclectic Method/Chuck D compilation:
You guys were featured in the documentary Copyright Criminals. What do you think about the sampling controversy?
It’s changed. You know we’ve worked with Public Enemy and they had so much trouble with sampling. They’ve sued and been sued, so they’ve been on both sides of the equation. Really, with us, every year has become less of an issue. Like now, with YouTube, we have basically never had a Cease and Desist. We don’t go out to offend anyone except Buju Banton, who is homophobic and it’s bullsh*t. He made a song about it (Boom Bye Bye). So Britney Spears, Gaga, I love all that music. I love all kinds of music.