Dumbo’s superstar DJ is the subject of a career-charting profile in NY Mag, which gives the DFA hero credit for making NYC’s stagnant turn of the century rock scene (“rockers in skinny ties and black leather preening like jesters”) interesting again. Described by collaborator Rob Reynolds as “an accountant in a Division III tight end?s body with an artist?s heart and soul,? the jujitsu master’s transformation from NJ punk rocker to scene-setting, genre-melting, downtown ambassador are chronicled in the must-read piece. Credit: drugs. First, for helping him concoct a new sound at his legendary West Village parties:
“I used to take two ecstasy pills, break them into quarters, and put them on the corners of the two turntables, and work my way through them as a D.J. set went on. I played Donna Summer, Kraftwerk, Public Image Ltd., the Beatles, the Stooges?anything. It really felt like something was happening.”
Next, for bonding with DFA’s other half, Tim Goldsworthy, over body-moving beats:
Gradually, Goldsworthy brought Murphy around to the pleasures of dance music. Drugs helped. Goldsworthy remembers the first time Murphy took ecstasy: ?The D.J. put on ?Tomorrow Never Knows????the Beatles song with booming drums on Revolver??and James was there dancing with his eyes closed. Everybody formed a ring around him and started chanting his name. James looked out and was like, ?Yeah!!!!!???
And finally, for maintaining intensity and giving good quote about his 30th birthday:
He took to his role as a cult hero and devoured anything that would keep him charged. ?My 30th-birthday cake,? he says, laughing, ?was 30 lines of coke on a Roxy Music record.?
While profiling Murphy’s many successful endeavors — from being an in-demand remixer to running a style-shifting label, the article also mentions one of the NIKE-commissioned composer’s few failed efforts: churning out a hit for our Brit.
The legendary Britney session, however, was a bust. ?It was very strange ?we were both lying on the floor, head-to-head, working on lyrics in a notepad,? says Murphy. ?She seemed eager to please, but it went nowhere. She went to dinner and just never came back.?
Not surprising — just another in a long line of missteps for Spears — but we wish we had a pic of them lying on that studio floor.
These days find Murphy eschewing illicit substances while home with his model-turned designer wife and French bulldog Petunia (oh and racking up 9.2’s for kicks). Somebody put James and Brit in touch again; sounds like she could use his direction more than ever.