DADDY G (Pop + Rock Greece 2006)
P+R: Imagine a young person nowadays, who fortunately hasn’t heard any theories about trip-hop before and who’s going to listen to MA through Collected for the very first time. Do you believe that he’ll appreciate MA more?
G: When we started 15 years ago, our music was really different compared to other stuff released then. I believe that he can do this journey back in time through our songs and realize that this is the kind of band that didn’t follow any certain rules. He’ll hear that new wave of soul style we wanted to bring.
P+R: 15 years ago, people weren’t aware of thunderous bass lines and full of smoke atmospheres. Do you feel that you’ve revealed a big secret, which is used by everyone today, well, almost everyone, in a good or in a terrible way?
G: We didn’t necessarily start a kind of mysterious music. It’s due to our nature, our DJ culture that we all carried. We wanted to bring all this music backround in the studio and finally managed to bring to surface our most simple and direct music ideas.
P+R: Is the fear of repeating yourselves something that will always concern Massive Attack?
G: No, because you just put your last work to sleep and you look straight forward. There is no slight reason for repeating either Blue Lines or Protection, you just don’t stick to that thought, because you’ve already thought what you’re gonna do next. There’s no other way.
P+R: Did the three of you-now two-have had to overcome many of your personal issues to manage go on? Is greater Massive Attack image stronger than members individually?
G: Massive Attack was and always will be a project of a whole, not just one person’s thing. It’s a project in a continual movement, which takes advantage of the special talent each member has and adds to it. Mushroom, for example, was a valuable member who brought his knowledge about soul in the band. But in Mezzanine time, he wanted to stop because he didn’t want to broaden his sound, so he chose to do what he loved more. We went on though as we see the whole thing as an experiment that should go on.
P+R: Do you believe that Mezzanine was a turning point for Massive Attack? Having overcome this point, do you think that you can manage everything now?
G: Sure it was a turning point, as was each and every MA album, 100th window included. It was a crucial period. Maybe Mush left the right time, helping us this way…
P+R: Honestly, what do you think about 100th window?
G: I enjoyed it…It wasn’t the kind of album that I’d make, but D had had certain ideas so he expressed them as he should I think. As I said, Massive Attack is a continually developing project, so it’s expected to change from one album to another. With D being responsible for this, we’ve had this change. And with me being present now, reggae and black sounds will come back.
P+R: You used a lot of samples on Blue Lines. On 100th window they were not so many... Massive Attack continues a transformation, in a special way, to a more conventional band?
G: Indeed, we began as a DJs base that used heavy samples, since this was the tool, the ‘weapon’ of that time. Of course our experience in music was limited then. Nowadays, with the help of technology, we can make music, we can create the sound we’ve got in mind, avoiding samples….I do love samples personally and I don’t mind them being a base of a song, especially when it’s a hip hop song.
P+R: Explain me how differently does a dj see music compared to a musician?
G: You know, I’m an obsessed fan of music. As a dj I play the music that I like. So I put together sounds from old vinyls that I keep in my mind. I see music as a fan, I make it as he would make it. I use my favourite riff, then add some melody to it and go on like this…I think our borders are more broaden compared to a musician’s who probably makes music in a certain way.
P+R: Although an obsessed fan of music, like you said, you’ve put some priorities in your life. You were on a break during the 100th window time, so you could be closer to your family…
G: I’ve served music for nearly 25 years. And yes, it’s a priority to my life. It’s good to change though and there’s nothing more rejuvenated than having children. Watching a human growing up…If you ask D the same question, he’ll tell you that music is his life, because he doesn’t have children. It was inevitable for me to change my priorities.
P+R: There’re valuable things in life a member of a band has to live without…
G: It’s not that simple…You’ve got to be devoted and determined to go on ‘till the end. Music is not just recording an album, there’s tours, promotion, etc…
On the other hand, Massive Attack gave me the opportunity to travel around the world, to meet fantastic people, even unique people I’ve always admired. Horace Andy, Liz Fraser, Tracey Thorn…I mean, I used to buy their records when I was working in the record store, what more can I say…?
P+R: It must have been around 1984, when you said that two albums that you should have made then were Smith’s Meat is Murder and Cocteau Twins’ Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops….(he laughs). You must love Liz then. So, that’s why you’re working with her again?
G: Since Mezzanine time, when we worked with her for first time, Liz had moved to Bristol and now she’s a part of us, a neighbour, which has made things much easier for us. We wanted to collaborate with her again, of course… Liz surely is the best singer we’ve ever worked with.
P+R: Do you feel a part of a big music evolution?
G: Yeah, you could say that. Since we started listening to music, we’ve liked punk, reggae, the Clash, the Pop Group, Mark Stewart and then hip hop came and expanded our fantasy even more. And at the point you hadn’t even realize what was going on, there came Roni Size with his dnb! There is always something coming after you, which will be added in the long glorious music list…
P+R: While listening to Collected, I remembered I against I. Is there any chance of you making a hip-hop album, to show some Americans how hip-hop should sound like?
G: I don’t think so, cos hip-hop is American. During the Wild Bunch time, we thought we were living in America. But we were living in Bristol. (laughs)
P+R: Yeah, hip-hop may be American, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Americans use it good though…
G: I’d disagree with that, coz mainly this country evolved it best to the point that it is today…OK, I heard a German reggae band recently, Seed, who give you the impression that they’re the best in the world. It surely can happen, someone who takes up with a genre and put it high… the authenticity of hip-hop remains American though.
P+R: What kind of collective was this notorious “gang”, the Wild Bunch?
G: We were a company of 5-6 different guys, which split up later and everyone went on. It was a unique platform which helped everyone to do their own stuff later, Nellee Hooper with Soul II Soul, Tricky with his own music…Those lot ideas were a benefit for all of us through all these years.
P+R: Mushroom believed that music has to be something simple and D believed exactly the opposite, that you have to take yourself out of any comfort, to be exposed.
What do you believe?
G: I think truth lies somewhere in between. That’s why I’m still here and Mushroom isn’t (laughs). Indeed, music has to be simple, but D is right, cos if you are not exposed, it just can’t work. Music is like a fantasy, you have to get out of your body to enjoy it. And if you want to give something that will last, you’ve got to reveal even more of yourself…
PART 2: THE NEW ATTACK
P+R: Tell us about Weather Underground. What will it be like?
G: I think the second collected cd gives a good impression about the ideas we could try.
P+R: May I guess that Horace will be on hand again? Whatever happens, he’ll always be there, right?
G: We’ve been his fans from the beginning. He’s been with us since 1990 and I think he should be considered as a basic material of the band. If he can collect his pieces (laughs), yeah, I think he’ll manage to be present on this album as well.
P+R: When should we expect it then?
G: This time, next year I think.
P+R: What is to be expected after your moving to New York for the recordings?
G: Well, recordings in NY will surely have an impact on the album. But there’s enough time ‘till the final mixes, so we’ll see what it’s gonna be like…
Part 3: Massive quiz: Daddy G puts an image next to each MA album:
G: Space. Coz BL was an open space that gave us the opportunity to think. It wasn’t a space full of ideas. Each piece had a space to breathe…
G: Claustrophobia! (laughs). We had to pass half of our time in Nellee’s tiny studio. We were so many people squeezed in there…
G: Something mechanic. Metal maybe…It was our first contact with guitarists, so…
G: Oh my God! (laughs) P+R: Nothing? G: Nothing...(laughs). Oh! Glass, coz it’s so fragile. A glass box, in which D isolated himself in, somewhere higher from the ground…
*Thanks to Emily for interview and translation.