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Goldie

Author: Andrez
Sunday, 1 January 1995
Never Mind The Bullion - As a cultural icon, Goldie fulfills a number of needs. He's literally The Face of contemporary drum 'n' bass, he's dated Björk, he's bigger than Grooverider, and he helped kick-start the legendary Metalheadz label. He also almost became the first person, in six years of interviewing for Zebra, that I almost hung up on.

Given Goldie's status in the world of drum 'n' bass, and contemporary music in general, this was always going to be an interview that I looked forward to and that I researched as thoroughly as possible. Even after I'd read the tales scribed by journalists from previous encounters with the man; stories etched in conflict, an aggressive stance, and a sense of arrogance. Goldie, it seems, never has been an easy man to interview and perhaps it adds to his sense of celebrity mystique that he's so ungiving and somewhat confrontational in his interviews. You get the sense when you read these articles that he's already decided he doesn't want to be there, that he'll be misunderstood, and that he has little respect for the music journalists he's dealing with.

The cover story of Wax magazine in January 1997 asked 'Has Goldie Lost The Plot', while Muzik that same month carried his own declaration that "I was a car crash waiting to happen". These commentaries were the outcome of his second album Saturnz Return; the culmination of a savage critical mauling and his fall-out with Moving Shadow boss (and Goldie's studio engineer) Rob Playford. The honeymoon period following his debut with Timeless was over, but Goldie's own star continues to burn just as brightly. He's bigger than Grooverider in the eyes of the big wide world, and it's not just because of his libido or that set of teeth.

When the conference call is initially connected, Goldie does warn me. "I don't like doing interviews," he says down the line from London. So when I ask him what he's doing right now, his answer is a condensed one that takes him all of nine seconds to recite - "I'm in the studio making an album right now, I'm DJing quite a lot, and we're doing the [Metalheadz] club on weekends" - and when he's finished talking you're left with the feeling that he has nothing else to say and really doesn't really want to be there at all.

The working title of the new album is Sonic Terrorism. Given that it's been two years since the release of his last album Saturnz Return, I think it would be appropriate to ask Goldie what he feels are the differences and similarities with his previous work. "Well, there's always going to be differences," he snaps in an agitated manner. "I mean, what's the difference between Timeless and Saturnz Return . . . - There's always going to be a difference. I've gone forward. That's what I do. I'm a creative artist. I always move forward and never do anything the same. Things move on. It's obviously going to be different."

I hate to read things into a tone during a telephone conversation, but it's apparent to me that Goldie is annoyed by more than just the question. When I endeavour to put it another way - what directions he feels he's taken with the new album - he seems a little more giving. "It's a very grassroots direction I'm looking at; I don't want to adhere to anybody else's musical direction. I'm doing what I want to do. There's African drums, Latin American drums, and more." His response stops dead then and there, and I'm left kind of stumbling over my next question. Throughout there's silence from his end. It's eerie.

The question goes thus: if he were to rifle through his record box right now, during a DJ set, what producers would tend to crop up- "Hmmm," he finally murmurs. "Oh, man . . . Dillinja, myself, Lemon D, a couple of Grooverider's mixes, Matrix, some old classics . . . what else- . . . different things, man."

This man's been famous now for half a decade. When Goldie released his debut album Timeless in 1995 it literally b
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