Aphex Twin, artist alias of Richard D. James, is arguably the most widely known Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) musician; he’s made popular the form of electronic music that incorporates blips and beeps. Despite his notoriety among artists who are stereotyped as being the “dudes wearing hoodies making beats in their mom’s basement,” he gets away with some of the ridiculous demands and actions typically attributed to a rock star. Let’s take a look:
• First off, his name. The reason his alias is Aphex Twin is because he had a brother, named Richard James (no “D.”), who was stillborn. The cover of his *Girl/Boy EP* features what appears to be his grave — actually, it’s his brother’s. • Rock stars sometimes destroy their guitars — James once ended a live show by chopping up a live microphone in a blender. • Ridiculous demands? He’s all over that, too — at the height of his popularity in the late ’90s, he was tired of being constantly interviewed, so he stipulated that all future interviews would have to be conducted in a helicopter. After too many were still happening, he started requiring that he be flying the helicopter at the time — with no pilot’s license. One or two still happened, with him flying. • Rockers buy wack shit — he has lived in a converted old bank that he purchased, and is known to own and drive around a surplus British army tank. • If it’s rock and roll to not care what others think of you, he’s set there. When Madonna asked him to remix a song of hers, he sent back a tape of a track he hadn’t released yet, calling it a “remix.” • He’s probably one of the most narcissistic guys ever, and certainly one of the most in the usually faceless electronic music scene. Most of his videos, especially the most popular ones, feature nearly every actor with his face instead of their own; in “Come To Daddy,” he is a bunch of children, in “Windowlicker,” he plays stereotypical rap video chicks, and in “Donkey Rhubarb,” he lends his face to many multicolored bears.
Overall, Richard D. James is a character not only known for his terrific music-making ability. His popularity can also be attributed to the fact that journalists absolutely love him (and the extensive amount of material he can provide for them). James is way more of a rock star than the lightweights of today.