Like really really really really really really really a failure. I dropped out of college to make music, but then I stopped making music.
Like not even an epic failure, just sort of like a sad, pathetic failure… A real epic failure you could really get behind, like “I tried this big thing and it failed and I lost everything,” no I just like frittered my years away doing nothing and being in dead-end relationships and dead-end bands & stuff.
…And then suddenly I was like twenty-six and I wasn’t doing anything. That just seemed like a little too old to be doing nothing.
I went to therapy with an amazing person. And I told them, I’m just like ‘I’m not good at my life, I’m just bad at it. I don’t care what you tell me, I just want to not do this anymore.”
I started just, like realizing how, I was lazy. But lazy never felt right when I heard that, when I said it to myself. It wasn’t that I was lazy it was that I was really afraid. I was really afraid of failing.
All my life I’d been precocious, and, y’know I was supposed to be smart. And I was supposed to be creative. And I think hearing those things makes you scared, that you’re going to do something stupid or do something uninteresting. And nobody will see you as creative anymore.
I’ve never been given any credit for being hardworking or diligent y’know… So like all these credits were based in attributes that I had no control over. It’s like being tall ‘Oh congratulations, you’re tall’ it’s not even anything to get excited about..
So I realized that I had kinda been so afraid of failing, afraid of looking bad, that I just didn’t do anything. I did nothing. I could claim some kind of safety in doing nothing. But then I decided, ‘Well, no, that’s pathetic’ and I knew I needed to start working against all of my instincts and start doing things.
So that’s where I started a record company and started building a studio… I started to become aggressive and started engaging culture. Which was fun. I’d never engaged culture before that.
All of a sudden I was DJ’ing. I felt cool, and I threw parties. Then one night I went to go see a band and somebody else was kinda playing the records I was playing and like nobody else was playing the records I was playing, y’know, that was my thing… So I got really mad and I got really defensive. I was like “Wha- who the hell is this? Some 22-year-old…”
And I got really embarrassed, being like ‘These aren’t your records, you didn’t make them, you just play them… You just own them, you can’t be proud of yourself for just owning them.’
But I was mad at the same time, because I was like ‘No, I know that kid was at one of my parties’ and it was a really dense conflict that I couldn’t resolve, and that’s where “Losing My Edge” came from…
It came from this… I didn’t have a good answer, but I was angry. But I was also really pathetic for being angry. But also kind of, there wasn’t really a right or wrong, y’know I was right and wrong and this kid was right and wrong. Everybody who was there was right and wrong. And it felt really dense, and like easy to write from, easy to make something from.
And, so, I made that song and everybody thought it was terrible. I remember playing it for people and they’d give you this face…like (does a speechless sort of reaction)…Y’know kinda like they don’t want to say anything and then ask you like about technical things, like ‘Oh, what’s the, what are the drums?’ and you’re like ‘Ok, you don’t like this.’
It was the first time I’d made music where I wasn’t trying to be another thing that I was supposed to be. I was just trying to be myself as much as I possibly could, and I was actually rewarded for it, which was remarkable.
This was transcribed by me, Joshua S Lundquist from a video interview with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, for Swedish online mag PSL.
I hope they don’t hunt me down and punish me for posting this, I really am not intending to capitalize on James Murphy’s fame or PSL. I imagine the interview, despite not being transcribed, is still copyrighted. But it’s a great interview and I think what he says is important for a lot of people these days. Or just important for a lot of people my age to hear. I hope James Murphy would agree… Maybe I’ll mail him and ask if it’s ok to publish this…