2nd Gen: 'All Musicians Are Morons'
Sunday, February 11, 2001"They are, man, they're all fucking morons. I think Socrates once said it; 'Poets will never understand what they've written'." Self labelled 'sound sculptor' and Novamute priority signing Wajid '2nd Gen' Yaseen spoke to mezz this week about his much hyped debut album 'Irony Is' and new single 'And/Or. Mixing industrial strength noises into hip hop grooves and/or Speedy J style broken beats, the album is original, innovative and surprisingly listenable, despite Wajid's classically mixed up musical roots. Singing Indian devotional (backing) vocals from the age of 7 he turned to the noise punk of the Butthole Surfers and Sonic Youth as a teenager, eventually joining agit-popsters Fun-Da-Mental several years ago. He became a solo 'producer' and signed to Novamute some 2 years ago.
Mezz: The new album's press release says you were 'operating outside the boundaries of style and genre, how specifically-
2nd Gen: "I wanted to avoid any shitty lo-fi sounds, the album is heavily distorted but it's mainly top-end distortion, though it's well crafted. I could have easily made a cold slab of noise with which I could have coshed people over their heads but I wanted to entice them in first. I got bored shitless of slabs of noise, with is also part of the reason I recruited James from Gallon Drunk (infamous cult West London rockers) to sing on one track."
Mezz: Do you consider your music to be principally entertainment-
2nd Gen: "Yeah, though when I started out it was originally just for me and if anyone else liked it, that would be cool - that's a redundant cliched statement and an old skool one but it's really how I started. Making music is about changing the way people think. Have you been to a concert or seen an exhibition or read a book where you're changed afterwards- Well this is what happens to certain people after they've seen our gigs. And that aspect thrills me."
Mezz: There are few explicitly Asian sounds on the album, yet presumably your name is connected to immigration…,
2nd Gen (interrupting): "That's not my intention and it's not why I chose the name. It's either about second generation Asians or 2nd generation Jewish holocaust survivors but it's also used as a term meaning 'sound source'. If you take a sound such as a click (he clicks his fingers) when you morph (change/edit) that click it becomes the second source or 2nd Gen."
Mezz : You've printed some explicitly political though quite pessimistic lyrics on the sleevenotes, what's your approach towards politics-
2nd Gen: "I try not to get involved in 'head-on' politics, because I have real problems in understanding it and being able to deal with really big ideas. Politics to me is an everyday matter; fucking going down to the shops to buy some bread is politics. I wanted to take it towards really solid, ordinary, inane situations. Fun-Da-Mental, ADF (Asian Dub Foundation) and all the other politically astute bands have their thing of addressing political imbalance and that's good. But it's not my voice - it feels too idealistic."
Mezz: I heard some rumours about you misbehaving with Fun-Da-Mental when you were last on tour with them in Sweden..
2nd Gen: (laughing) "That was in Norway. We did a gig in Trondheim and the sun wouldn't fucking go away, it was during their 24 hours a day sunlight period (being in the Polar Ice cap). We played this gig, finished about 3 in the morning, stepped outside and discovered was still light. We found it really disorientating, we'd already been indulging in that whole tour thing of sex, drugs and rock & roll stereotypes. It was really puerile stuff, but I admit I ended up walking naked down the street."
Mezz: How do you view the prospect of hearing 2nd Gen music on adverts a' la Moby-
2nd Gen: "Moby's been amazing, he's in the Guinness Book of Records because of it. I've got no qualms at all. Some film in the States is already using one of my tracks. I don't min Tags