- biting thru
Actor, artist, designer, dj and now film-maker,
Goldie has found success at them all. Jan Goodey talks
to the man.
has crammed so much into his 37 years - painting,
graffiti, jewellery design, music, deejaying, acting,
writing, film - that it should be no surprise he talks
way beyond the speed of sound.
sentences are interpersed with buzz words: 'ballgames';
'kinda'; 'know what I mean' - landmarks which help you
navigate a verbal landscape of the brilliant to the bizarre.
Bowie has said of him: "Goldie could make a go of
almost anything he turns his hand to. He has got so much
talent in a million different areas."
almost as if he has that many ideas colliding in his brain
that thoughts are forced out involuntarily in bite-sized
gobbets. And that's not the gobbets of the drug raddled
either; Goldie steers clear of the heavy stuff these days.
He's gone from Walsall b-boy, to Buckinghamshire resident
with new wife Sonjia Ashby (fashion designer and former
lapdancer) and daughter in tow. Don't be fooled though,
he still lists Miami as his other address, smacking of
that urban edge that is indivisable from the Goldie persona.
the last three years he's been working on a film - Sine
Tempus (Without Time) - which is due out next summer.
"I want to make the most outrageous British fucking
film that's ever been made, and hopefully it'll do some
correspondence, it'll give some people insight into living
in an urban environment and respecting it. I'm quite pleased
to have something that I'm happy with. The film has been
a massive thing for me." It follows a bunch of street
kids, one of whom lives the latch-key life, without his
parents, using music instead as grounding. This is loosely
based on Goldie's own upbringing in care homes. He only
met up with his heavy drinking Scots mum 15 years after
going into care at the age of three, and as for his Jamaican-born
dad they had a brief but unhappy reunion in Miami when
he was in his late twenties.
has co-written, helped cast and direct the piece. He won't
be acting in it, he leaves the acting for more mainstream
projects such as Eastenders where he played a villain,
and similar in a Bond movie, and in Guy Ritchie's gangster
flick, Snatch. He's relieved that the current film is
almost in the bag and he can get back to concentrating
on the music, "It's been irritating for a while,
three years without an album, null and void. The main
situation was getting to grips with what's going on in
my life. Now I'm back in the driving seat. The new album's
taking shape, obviously dropping terrorism from the title
[Sonic rather than Sonic Terrorism, due out in 2003].
does he see the future of sampling and music tech? "I
don't know, looking into the future is quite hard to do
you've just got to carry on doing what you do on the cutting
edge and then you will become the future. I mean if I'd
said I was going to make trance ten years ago, I wouldn't
have known, it's just one of those things that you have
to push the envelope, whatever level that it's at. The
future for the music industry obviously is very difficult
with people downloading music and everything - ballgames,
know what I mean. The control's coming more and more into
the artist's favour. I've kinda done everything I want
to do with music. I've not put it out just for the sake
of putting it out, I've put it out for the sake of integrity."
of which, I've read previously that he is an admirer of
David Sylvian, one time of the band Japan. "Yeah
he's one of the guys I'd like to work with, cause obviously
I sampled David many years ago. I like David's voice.
Whether that'll come to anything I'm not sure." It's
this left-field approach to music, breaking barriers down
and looking for the smaller scale vibe that's marked Goldie
out as innovator as well as ghetto superstar. Only Goldie
could have melded breakbeat with classical singing way
back in 1993; tracks like Adrift and Angel sung by Diane
Charlemagne. He explains it thus, "I enjoy films.
I don't really read, but I look at things like Magnolia
and La Haine and cinematic things like Zhivago. I look
at classical pieces of work and I look at classical music,
like the classicist thing I did with Mother (track on
Timeless 1994) which changed the fucking system and which
with Timeless - it was challenging the music for what
it really was then."
the same with his deejaying. Eschewing residencies at
Ministry or Cream he set up the legendary Metalheadz Sunday
night sessions, at Hoxton's Blue Note. "Well I've
always believed in small clubs, it's where the music just
flies, I mean you can't take music forward at a rave.
It's just the same thing all night. With a smaller club
you sort of respond as the music grows. Small clubs you
feel free to have a laugh after a week's work. I mean
you've proved that with Blue Note. I see people on the
street "Oh just been to Blue Note it's fucking great',
like a computer operator, film engineer, editor or a guy
who lives in Hackney, it warps a generation. That was
what I found that was quite prolific about Metalheadz,
you attracted everyone, which was quite a call."
In the same breath he gives tacit support to the free
party scene, "Yeah it's kinda cool, go partying doing
for someone brought up in the era of punk, two-tone and
new romantics it was punk which lit his fuse; you couldn't
really picture him in an Elizabethan ruff, kilt and eye-liner
a la Spandau Ballet. "Yeah I was into GBH, the Pistols.
I just like that kind of explosion that happened. I mean
at that stage I was incarcerated, I wanted to get out."
And it was the same attitude which led him to set up shop
in Miami, throwing everything up in the air and seeing
where it landed. "I was getting into jewellery designing,
T-shirts things like that, doing airbrush T-shirts, heavy
trucks. That kinda low rider thing when it first started
in Miami. The guy I worked with just happened to make
gold teeth and we shared a booth [Goldie started engraving
the teeth as well]. I mean anyone in Miami doing any kind
of art form is interesting. I learnt about centrefugal
casting and all that kinda stuff."
latest move is into writing. The Nine Lives autobiography
with the last chapter written exclusively by himself (
the rest ghost-written by Paul Gorman) is unputdownable.
It charts his roller coaster ride and includes all the
gory details drum "n' bass heads could ever wish
for. Although he doesn't glorify the football violence,
the gang-banging, or the cocaine addiction which took
him two years to beat in the mid-Nineties. What would
he say to kids on the south London estates, kids that
carry knives and do drugs as a matter of course? "Thing
is, there's always someone worse than them going to be
out there. So you've got to be prepared to back yourself,
back out easily. If you're not, these are the people who've
died. The best way you can do that is that you don't have
to resort to that, especially if it's nothing of any significance.
If you're gonna back out of considering a robbery then
I've got more respect for that guy, than the one who bashed
it out on the street with somebody. Because at the end
of the day that argument's not worth your life for. If
you think that that is worth it then you're thinking very
narrow and not looking at the bigger picture. What about
their families, their children what about your own families,
fronted a documentary, Gangs of the World earlier this
year for cable channel Bravo. He did it not only because
the old urban gang scene was of interest, but also because
of "the social implications'. "I wanted to show
the seriousness of the gang related, the multi cultural.
Just like ruckus on the street and mobile phones on the
street, there's a loada wannabes out there and people
have to understand that that whole thing: if you live
by that, you die by that."
does he ever feel that he's moved on so far, that the
world of way back then doesn't have relevance? And here
you get the real Goldie, "Nah that's not a problem
at all (snarling). I've got dogs I call everyday. So it
hasn't really changed (laughs), hasn't changed at all
appears at Borders, Churchill Square, on Nov 13, 6.30pm
to read and sign copies of the book Nine Lives. Free tickets
copyright The Insight 2002