So, we had a chat with Goldie…

6 03 2011

As has become tradition, Nottingham is treated to an especially ridiculous drum and bass and dubstep lineup every February as part of Detonate’s birthday celebrations. This year’s 12th birthday saw Goldie, Andy C, Nero, dBridge, Toddla T, Lenzman and Boddika, amongst others, pass through Nottingham for one of the biggies of the year.

We managed to grab Goldie for a quick chat.

B: How was the set?

G: On the back of a US tour it was a pretty fucking good set to be fair. It was pretty good. I find it really good because I don’t play music at home so I find it very difficult sometimes trying to put a set together. So I’m on the road and I’m trying to work out ‘oh that tune goes with that tune, oh ok…’. When you go on the road in the US you kinda have to really try and fucking put your sets together, and you work out every night trying to get it together really nice and you know what I kinda used a bit of the stuff I was doing out there, and slipped in a few new things and it worked.

B: I heard a bit, a couple of oldies, couple of newbies, a bit of everything.

G: When you hear that, it’s the spectrum of the music, I’m 45, I’ve been involved with this music since I was 29, so 16 years. For me, 16 years is a circumference. You gotta play a lot of music. I play stuff from 12 years ago, stuff from 15 years ago, stuff that’s current, stuff that ain’t even out yet! That’s what I do.

B: You’ve gone from being a drum & bass DJ / producer to now, something completely different. You’re beyond a drum & bass DJ.

G: Did I just play tonight, or…? Did I miss something? Just because I’m outside the box does it mean I’m not allowed to be a…?

B: No, but I think you’ve gone beyond being a drum & bass DJ.

G: Well if the music determines that in the first place, my music will always determine that. My music was always a little bit leftfield, it was always a little bit upfront, it was always that. So my character will exceed that anyway, it’s part of my life. If you DJ ‘your life’, then it reflects your life. That set reflects my life. And my life is very diverse. So, should my set be the same?

B: Of course, I’m not saying that in a negative way in the slightest…

G: Am I being defensive?

B: I think you’ve gone all-out defensive here.

G: Am I… It’s worth defending this music, isn’t it?

B: Of course it’s worth defending.

G: I’ve had many a person trying to interview me trying to go “So what’s next?” – oh actually he’s already got that question written down!

B: That’s coming later!

G: Can I ask you a question? What will you be doing in 15 years on the 6th April at 10.30?

*brief silence*

B: Personally, I’d like it to be something…

G: No, what do you think you’re going to be doing? You don’t really know, do you?

B: No, of course I don’t.

G: Neither do I. There’s not a future, it’s whatever you do today that makes the future.

B: Of course. When I say what’s next, my question of ‘what’s next?’ was ‘what’s next in the 6 – 12 months’?

G: OK, well if you put it like that.

B: I’m not asking what’s happening in 15 years, because no one knows what’s happening in 15 years.

G: On the 22nd March there’s a programme going out with me and Prince Harry called ‘Goldie’s Band by Royal Appointment’. It’s going out on BBC 2 on primetime Saturday night. 3 episodes, 1 hour long each, which is me discovering real musicians in this country that are under the radar, like drum & bass heads or people that are not quite ready to stand in the queue and get their teeth whitened and lose 20 pounds on fucking Simon Cowell’s fucking ’quest’. That programme took a year to make and it’s finally being aired. And I’m doing TED.COM which is really really beautiful website. I’m doing TED.COM next month, we’re doing a lecture there for seventeen minutes. If you can keep me quiet for 15 of them, I’ll fucking bless you. So I’m doing that on TED.COM, and I’m going to be conducting a piece of music called ‘Oblivion’ on the evening with a small orchestra. And that’s what I’m going to be doing. Apart from that, I’ll be on Xbox tomorrow morning, trying to get my stats up after prestiging last night really badly, on my second prestige, getting owned by some kid who’s 9 years old from Texas.

B: Would you say that’s your second love after music, Xbox?

G: Well, Call of Duty man. You know I got owned regularly on CoD. There’s even clips on youtube that say ‘GOLDICUS999 getting owned on Xbox’, so I’ve obviously arrived in the Xbox world with bad cause. And I’m there, you know making my excuses going “yeah you know if I’d never fucking DJ’d you guys would be dead!”. Because if I had time to do that, you know because some people live their lives on that. When I go online sometimes, there’s guys that’ve been online constantly, for years, online.

B: So a question a lot of interviewers like to ask a lot of artists is ‘if you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?’ – you’d be doing Call of Duty?

G: To be honest, if I wasn’t doing music, I think I’d probably be doing sculpture in a barn somewhere… or I’d probably be a social worker, or I’d probably be conducting an orchestra.

B: We touched on the last couple of questions on things you’ve done outside of drum & bass. Obviously, you’ve got a TV personality as well, and there’s the art. Do you think there’s ‘different Goldies’ doing different things?

G: To be honest, you can meet a different Goldie on any given day. I can walk into Waitrose and get stopped by two 70 year old going “that was an amazing piece that you conducted of Rakhmaninov”, or they can go “that’s the geezer from Big Brother!”. Or you get some guys in a work van going “MUHURWEEEEE” but you don’t know quite what he’s said, but it was something that kind of made sense, and he’s said you were down, somehow. I like having these different characters. I like having the different ability to be able to be a different person, because on any given day, if I wake up tomorrow, I might want to paint. Tomorrow I’ll probably lie in, go to Bikram yoga which I’m 10 months in, doing it 4 days a week. I love it, it’s very addictive, but it takes away all my other addictions, and I enjoy that. I haven’t done my best work yet, by any means.

B: As a musician, as an artist, or both?

G: ‘Artist’ covers all of that to be honest. Next year, we’re doing timeless for orchestra, with the National Youth Orchestra – 80 players, 80 national choir, 10 unbelievable principal players are going to be playing the original synths from that album. But we’re going to expand the whole score. We’re rescoring it because Timeless is like a slight-of-hand magic. It’s like ‘can you see this magic?’, but it sounds epic on two speakers. It’s still coming out of two speakers. I’ve been in a room where you hear 80 players coming at you with sound and it’s fucking amazing. If that was my sound, then I think we can learn from that. I can learn from that.

B: So that’s the next big thing. So when I ask “what’s next?”, I’m not asking what’s next in 10/15 years, I’m asking what’s next in the next 6 months.

G: To me there is no time, it’s all the same thing to me. I’m 45 now, I wouldn’t have expected to be DJing to kids half my age, if not younger. I mean I spent 5 years in a wilderness because I didn’t know the fuck I was. I didn’t do what most people do, get marry, fucking get divorced, pay loads of money…

B: What do you think the difference is now for kids getting into drum & bass and raving from when you got into it?

G: Well the difference is now, the attention span. People listen to one tune on an album. They don’t want to listen to an album. The attention span’s because of iPods, because of technology, it’s all very  quick. They need the serotonin release very quickly. You can do that, and you can go from A, to fucking B, very quickly, and just play tunes that are in first gear, second gear third gear, first gear, second gear, third gear. That’s how it sounds to me. But when you can go first, second, fifth, third, fourth, sixth, first, second, third, fourth, you expand the whole thing and for me it’s about expanding people, educating them. When we were first making music, the DJs that believed in it were playing it. They actually said to me “don’t worry about it”, and I went “people aren’t dancing!” – “don’t worry about that, we’ll dance in a year’s time”. When Terminator got first made, Grooverider went “don’t worry about it”, everybody stood still and walked off the dancefloor, and I went “what the fuck’s this?”. Now, we’re playing the crowd, which is a good thing, but you have to be able to lead. You have to be able to lead a crowd into an oblivion that they don’t know.

B: So are you saying that drum & bass, music, has lost its patience?

G: Look, the first five tunes that I played tonight, no one knew. Not even the guy standing next to me knew them. I only barely knew them because I just received them from people – bless, thank you. But after that, you start to go back in time, forward in time, because you have to be able to do that. The thing is with me is that people sometimes come out to watch me play because they like to watch the ‘goldfish effect’, they’re like “that’s him, on Eastenders, he’s playing music”, and you reel them in. That fucking allows me to play what the fuck I want. It’s bit of a cop-out, but it allows me sometimes, being this person that they think I am, it allows me to be someone different. It allows me to wear my fucking stripes on my sleeve and it allows me to play what the fuck I want. Some people are looking at their watches playing what they think the crowd needs. People shouldn’t be needy so much. It’s a want. You need to want that tune. ‘I wanna hear that tune again, I heard him play it once, he never played it again for like three weeks then he played a shit set, then he played it alright then he played it again in a really great set’. You know, I don’t play that well as a DJ. I play how I feel, and I feel great to this week. And I played a blinding set. I’m not gonna play great sets every… I’m not a fucking robot.

B: One of the Goldie sets that stands out for me is from the last ever drum and bass night at The End. I remember standing there thinking this isn’t a ‘good’ drum and bass set, technically, but the tune selection was out of this world and you were loving it on another level. I remember seeing you at the end when Fabio was playing…

G: … and Fabio played Terminator twice. That takes me back to the melancholy of Fabio and Grooverider back in the early days. Grooverider played Terminator, but Fabio played Sinister, then Fabio played Terminator years later . He probably played it when I wasn’t there, but him playing it then was a homage that was, for me, very special. And that’s what creates the music. Why do we like music from the 70s? Because it wasn’t full of technology because it was full of soul. I think Exit records, Metalheadz, Soul:R, 31 Records is where we’re from, from the soul of the music. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea by any means, believe me it’s not.

B: Going back to that night at The End, I think near on every DJ finished on Inner City Life. Everyone wanted to finish on it at their last tune at The End because that venue was such a special place in everyone’s in hearts.

G: It’s weird because we’re becoming like mo-town. I’ve been in the US played 8-9 gigs, and I’ve finished with two tunes that I could never play ever before. Timeless, in its entirety, into Horizons. And that mix for me, I couldn’t even think about that when I was younger. It goes right to the drop after 13 minutes, then Horizons comes in and it’s like game over. That was a beautiful moment, like I’ve become the master of that game. It makes it all worthwhile.

B: You’ve always been working on your classical music, one way or another, including your work for the Proms. Do you see yourself doing more classically music?

G: Like I said, back to Timeless. As soon as I finish notating Timeless and we have 120 bodies in a room, with 10 principal players playing you Timeless live from the cuff. Game over for me.

B: Do you see that as the pinnacle of your career?

G: I can go out after that and fall asleep forever. I’d be content. I’ll have done my bit.

And with that, Goldie disappeared back to London.

Check the audio here;

[audio http://dnburn.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/goldie-interview.mp3]

(via The Drum and Bass show on URN)

Get at Goldie on twitter @MRGOLDIE or his blog

Get at Detonate on twitter @DetonateUK or the website

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