Kwes/DRC Music Interview

Kwes is an artist I’ve been keeping tabs on for quite a while primarily because he’s developed a really unique sound and he seems to have the knack of associating himself with similarly adventurous and individual fellow travelers (especially the mighty Micachu!). This interview was conducted for the DRC Music compilation which found him joining Damian Albarn, Actress, TEED and several others for a whirlwind visit to Kinshasa – unfortunately there were some recording issues and I don’t have the full transcript but since the interview never appeared here is what I do have and for once it’s a reasonable length!

How did you go about recruiting the musicians /divvying it up??
“To be honest we didn’t go with any big plan in mind it was pretty much a case of letting it happen and going with it. For the main part we recorded stuff and then went off and sampled it and chopped it up or whatever and then sometimes we’d get the musicians or vocalists back to do more stuff later on. But really there was no set way of working and I helped out with one of Richard Russell’s tunes, Actress and me worked together.”

No real egos
“Not at all.”
Which tracks were you involved with?
“Departure, Three Piece Sweet, Customs.”
How was local response?
“It was pretty amazing really, when people heard what we were doing they sort of flocked to us.”
Did you know much about Congolese music prior to this project?
“You know I knew very little, apart from Konono who you mentioned, and Staff Benda Bilili I really didn’t know much and I’m not sure I do now really but I was completely blown away by what I heard over there.” Continue reading

Mala Digital Mystikz Interview

Looking at the date this is from around February of 2011, though I suspect it may be quite a bit earlier, the interview was conducted for Real Groove. Wicked long and involved answers on this one, I’d previously done an email interview with Mala before his first visit but his personality and passion didn’t really come across as strong over the ether. Having DJ’d with him a couple of times and been fortunate enough to sit down and  have a good old reason with the man, I maintain that he is one of the most important producers and DJ’s to emerge from the UK in the last decade. If there’s any doubt about that the Mala In Cuba album should clear that up and firmly establish him at the top of the crop.. Mediate on the bass weight and  maximum respect to a true original!

How are you feeling about the current state of dubstep? It seems to be heading down a bit of a rabbit hole?
“(laughs) Yeah, everyone just did the obvious.”

Do you find that disappointing?
“Not really. I never saw myself as dubstep, I never saw myself as any creator of dubstep, never saw DMZ or Deep Medi as dubstep I just saw it as soundsystem music, I just saw it as a continuation of what people were doing in the jungles days, it was that spirit, it was that continuation of spirit and attitude, more than a name or a particular tempo, even though we were all working around the same tempo. To me it was obvious that this was going to happen, I think about a lot of things that have happened and fair play to ‘em. A lot of people want to badmouth someone like Rusko but fair play, if thats what his ting is, thats his ting. You know what I mean, he hasn’t taken anything away from me. Sometimes I don’t know why people take things so personally cos its not like, I don’t know man, people say a lot of thing, people say a lot of things about Magnetic Man but I know where all of them man come from, I know how hard they’ve been working since day one. Benga and Skream were banging out tunes when they were 13 years old, their tunes were getting played in clubs when they were 15 and they were playing in clubs when they were 18, so of course they’re going to end up selling a million records and getting something in the charts because its their blood you know, its not like they’ve necessarily switched up their vibe or changed as people or anything like that. Continue reading

Kurt Vile Interview

November 2011
Got to love those artists who worm their way into your affections over a number of years and albums, it might not be the instant sugar rush but those doors that are harder to unlock often lead to more rewarding places. Catching Kurt Vile, just woken from a doze in a tour van was a right treat, proper gent and a smart feller too. Catching his show at the Kings Arms was good too – though I reckon, for one reason and another, it wasn’t quite the classic show he’s capable of and it could have been. Still way better than most, and that extra outstanding performance may juts have to be next time.

Where are you at feller?
“On our way to North Folk Virginia, we have a day off, we’re opening a few shows for the Flaming Lips.”

You’ve been double dipping on the tour roundabout of late…
“Yeah we did a lot but we’re over the major hump.”

With Adam (Granduciel) also having the excellent War On Drugs on the go and other band commitments is it hard to co-ordinate?
“Thats only Adam, I have all original members except for Adam and my buddy Rob (Laakso) who has also been playing with me for a while. It’s Mike (Zanghi) on drums, Jessie (Trbovich) on guitar and saxophone and Rob on gat.”

It’s been interesting watching your ascent from quite an underground aficionado type interest to some serious hype and the hecklers in the digital peanut gallery that go with it. The ‘overnight sensation’ tag has come up a few times of late, it always makes me think of the line from ‘Overnite Religion’* on ‘Childish Prodigy’
“That’s funny because when I wrote than song ‘Overnite Religion’ I used that line because i was feeling really inspired by songwriting, I felt like I’d reached a new place and that was in like 2005. It’s been a long night…(laughs)!!”
Continue reading

Adrian Sherwood Interview

As promised here’s the rest of the interview with Adrian Sherwood which was done in the first half of this year, long before he was headed to NZ. Please do check out the published feature from Volume magazine which is online here, as usual I have kept the quotes distinct so that may explain the gaps in the flow of conversation.
If you’re after something more recent where he talks about what he’ll be doing on this tour etc check this .
If you’re in Auckland or Welli and not at these shows later this week, I sorry for you. DO NOT MISS OUT!!

How’s it going boss?
“I’m very good, very good thanks. Im getting ready for…gearing up ofr quite a lot of activity this year”
It’s been a while Guv, I reckon it was about 16 years since the Audio Active/Tackhead/Mark Stewart etc tour
“Oh jeez that was a strange tour”
That it was…. I can’t forget the gigs but my fondest personal memory was having pretty much the whole lot of you up guesting on Tranquillity Bass for the whole show.
“That was anarchic, the whole thing was anarchic (laughs)”

Indeed, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then and now I’m talking to you in Ramsgate, is that right? Why Ramsgate?
“My youngest daughter, her mum is originally from here and she moved down here. So I was coming down here all the bloody time to see her, or to collect her, or bring her to London. In the end I thought ‘shit things are so mad if I don’t have these years with her now they’re gone”. I wish id come here 10 years ago. I’ve got a really nice house that would be a 1 flat bedroom in London. I can see the sea out of my bedroom window. On the road I’m living it’s nuts – there’s Clem Bushay who I’ve know since school, who produced Tappa Zukie and Dillinger. 30 yards down the road from me is Adamski . 30 yards the other way is Congo Natty/Rebel MC who’s my friend, he followed me down here. Then at the end of the road theres Ghetto Priest who moved down here too. So in the space of 100 yards we’ve got 4 studios and a little artist community, its wicked. Everyone’s kids and grandkids all just play with each other. Its only and hour and fifteen to Kings Cross on the train. I do gigs with Congo Natty and Ghetto Priest, I had Adam doing some keyboard and synth bits on the last African Head Charge album, he’s really good at that and Clem’s building a mad studio under his house. So there’s about 6 studios in the town, all home ones and I’ve got a really good one as well”

It sounds idyllic. One thing that’s become more apparent with every record is your ability to get the best out of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. What has also become apparent is that no-one else does, what’s the secret? (Check the Volume piece for more on this…)
“ Ultimately I care about it, if I’m producing someone I try to put an effort in to get something good out of it.”
I just find it quite stunning how obvious it is that other people just let the tape run and how unsatisfying the results are…His stuff with the Mad Professor is basically unlistenable..
“I think Neil, with the greatest respect I think his attitude is ‘OK that’s what he does, record it, mix it, it’s done’ I can’t think anything like that. If you listen to him (Perry) its actually quite terrifying because the lyrics are great, what he’s speaking about is relevant, it’s powerful.”

(Apologies for the jump in topic here, once again the Volume piece fills in the gaps) The effect of hip hop on Jamaican music has been profound and awful…
“Its like fucking wallpaper music hip hop now. Its started off really dangerous and now its just like sorry. You’ve still got some angry rappers – that’s really good, conscious rappers. I can’t remember all the names, but my sons coming through with all the hip hop, he comes down every weekend from London, producing, doing his own rhymes and he stays up all night by himself, or with me, studying mic techniques and all that, its brilliant, I can’t wit to hear what Max will come up with.”

With your current set up are you running Pro Tools like the world and his wife these days or do you still use a lot of outboard gear too? When I listen to some of your latest recordings I reckon I can still hear some of those distinctive trademark effects and whatnot..
“Yes,Basically now I sold lots of bits because I didn’t have the space but I’ve kept all of my favourite bits – AMS’s, Mutron Biphase, RSP 550s, spring reverbs. You know I’ve got all that shit still, and I own good plug ins I use in conjunction Pro Tools HD2 which I can’t even operate. I get my engineer and tell him what to do because I cant be arsed to look at the screen. I keep part of it ‘in the box’, run it up the channels on the desk, and then take things out of the stereo image ‘in the box’, take it across the desk and mix it analogue.”
Best of both worlds!
“Thats how I get the sound because if you stay ‘in the box’, you can do great things but it still sounds a bit linear to me.”

Listening to your recent records the sound of them still stands out. You don’t need to be told it’s an On-U production, you know..
“Well I’m proud of em but the difficult thing now is getting people interested because theres so much music. What used to happen with On-U was you’d go in a record shop and someone would be playing one of my records in the shop, the owner of the shop, and they’d turn someone onto it. Now you haven’t got that, you’ve got so much stuff that people are bombarded by, sound and snatches of sound, that it doesn’t flow over them properly. I’m not complaining, that’s just how it is. So the discovery of things where you know if someone goes in a shop and they’re playing like, I don’t know if you know the Harry Becket album? (I do) If you walk in and someones playing it, everytime someone buys it. Some bloke from Brighton, he wants 25 copies because he says every time he plays it, someone buys it – but those outlets are going. You know its like if I had a coffee shop and I played the instrumental Ethiopiques album, I’d sell it all day long to people who love music because its a beautiful album. I’d imagine every time, because they’re beautiful albums. You know if you put anything great on people will get turned onto it.
That’s how I tried to make the records, listening myself on the other side of the speaker not trying to fit something to please a radio programmer or some bollocks like that, I make records for myself really. I’m not really that bothered, I’m still not that old, I can still go on for a while making tunes. I like to think that you go though an apprenticeship, and mature into things, and that its your job to keep the flame alight and to keep moving on. So for me I’m going to keep working on the area that I love, which has that reggae underbelly to it, very much at its heart. And I want to keep working in the area that I love, and it’s good with all the new movements with the dubstep and things. It kind of keeps me alive as well the interest in that. It makes people move sideways and go ‘oh wow that Harry Becket album is interesting’, ‘that Head Charge album is interesting’ whatever, thats good for me. I really love it because lots of people who are passionate are operating in a similar arena to me, I love it.”


3 The Hard Way – Steve ‘On The Wire’ Barker, Adrian Sherwood & Dennis Bovell – the force is with them!!

Here we get into a bit of a ramble about dubstep and how some of those original key players and linksmen (like our mutual mad mucker Tony ‘Moody Boyz’ Thorpe) have put a bit of risk and excitement back into what was becoming a BBQ affair.
“In the 80s they weren’t if you look in the are of dub, you mentioned Neil Fraser, there was him, Shaka, myself and a couple of others. Not many doing it with a load of edge to it. On-U was probably more edgy than most, or more adventurous, but now there’s lots in the arena, and its really great and I love that. Even though everyones struggling for crumbs, theres still a few coming out who are doing very very well, thank you very much, like Digital Mystikz are actually very very good. Proper reggae underbelly and its not coincidence he’s got his dreads, he’s great. I get on very very well with Mala, he’s a good lad and he’s doing very well and I’m glad to see that. We need others to be a big success and hammering it who are really good…we don’t everyone to be a fucking failure, that aint going to work!”

After a quick interruption while Adrian discusses hard drive issues on another line with the mighty Congo Natty, giving me a little insight into Ramsgate’s unlikely and previously unheralded status as dub central… we resume.
I’ve often felt in recent times that one of the issues with dub that has led to a lot of stodgy steppers tunes or even the dreaded (though not actually dreaded, far more cropped if you get my hairy metaphor) BBQ dub has been that producers don’t actually strip tunes back to make the shadow or ghost version, they start with that intention and so the result is somewhat lacking – just through the process itself.
“Well that was me I started in 77, and I made an album Dub From Creation, Creation Rebel, all I did was I took the name of a Burning Spear song and pretended it was a band and I hummed the bassline to a bass player and made my own dub album and i think it was just a fan. I was once described, as an insult, as a fan who got his hands on a mixing desk and I actually thought it was a compliment, because it WAS! you know. Thats what it was, and I literally made a designer dub album. I think the English who were consuming the dubs, because it wasn’t like an album genre that big in JA, it was English record companies run by Jamaicans people like Chips Richards , whats is name at Fame Music – Winston Edwards , they put these dub albums together for a market outside of Jamaica who were all sitting round their houses smoking weed and then the genre of dub albums became quite big in England they started making the producers just give them dub version, knocking together albums and just giving them names.
Cause all those things like the Scientist albums, they weren’t real albums, Junjo Lawes just put a load of his dubs together and stuck the name Scientist on them, just as a thing, they weren’t seriously thought out dub albums they were just a series of dubs. Lots of records were like that, that was how they were made and it was made for a market outside there (JA). We were just consumers, we liked it,I was listening to things like Ital Dub by Augustus Pablo which was a proper crafted dub album or King Tubby Meets Upsetter At the Grass Roots Of Dub which I think was the first ever one, and these things captured your imagination ‘ooh dub’ and then everyone was going to make dubs, you know 10” dubplates, and it all belonged to us, to us lot, thats how we thought.”
There definitely was a sense of bridging the gap back then with the artists you were using and even some of the rhythms that were familiar to JA and the UK – it was all part of the gateway for idiots like me that made Jamaican music less imposing and distant but I’m still curious about how it all came about. The Prince Fari links were obvious and well documented but how did it all actually go down?
“The first recordings I did, I did all in England. So when Style (Scott) was coming over with Gregory (Isaacs) I’d save up to pay him, hire the studio and pile in and cut as many tunes as I could. I always paid him quite handsomely to cut rhythms for me. Then as the years passed and it went from the 70s to the 80s he wasn’t particularly getting on as well, between you and me, with Flabba (Holt), because if they’d been really tight they would have been making a fortune together, but they each had different ideas I think. And then he got less and less happy touring, and he got more and more interested in the Dub Syndicate because it was more fun for him to be honest. Then he said I want to cut some rhythms in Jamaica, so I financed him for that, then he’d bring the rhythms over and I’d be saying keep it more minor, major/minor whatever, so the rhythms I liked I’d start overdubbing, put vocals on, and samples, and started mixing ‘em, that was from the period of Stoned (Immaculate). Prior to that everything I’d been cutting in England up to 87 probably. I think the first batch he cut over there was 85/86 but we didnt really put them out. Then the next batch half of them constituted the Time Boom album, but half of that album I cut in England. To be honest with you I took the easy way out because after Fari got murdered in 83, I kind of, to be honest with you, I’d already cut a load of rhythms that hadn’t come out so for the next couple of years they still came out but then I got into the Tackhead thing for the next 5 years and really just let Style cut a few rhythms in Jamaica and didn’t cut that much stuff in England again.”
(I strongly recommend you check the Volume piece here as he elaborates on this time, his disillusionment with reggae and Jamaican violence after the loss of Prince Fari and how that led into the Tackhead era).

Moving closer to the present I had to ask Adrian about his work on the Fire In Babylon film..
“I helped oversee the music. Fantastic film, honestly really brilliant its really wicked its all about the empowerment of black people through the cricket, went on for 15 years. Never in team sport in the world has one team remained unbeaten for 15 years in test cricket, 15 years without losing a series.

And upcoming releases?
Little Axe, just finishing that today and tomorrow. Then the Lee Perry with all the weird and wacky versions. There’s a new New Age Steppers album which I made before Ari died, there’s a little movie with that, DVD thing, which I filmed in Jamaica, so that’s mad and an all women album, all sung in non English (Dub.. No Frontiers). 16 women from all around the world I’ve been working on that for two and a half years.”
Let The Robots Melt? (A project featuring Primal Scream with Lee Perry, Dennis Bovell, Pempy, John McClure, Carl Barat, Mark Stewart, Deeder Zaman, New Age Steppers)
“That’s coming on nicely, I couldn’t get permission for a couple of things I wanted to use so it put it on pause a bit I wanna get back to that, its a bit noisy and edgy that one.”

T’was an absolute delight to talk to Adrian again and he remains one of the best and most innovative after over 30 years not just in the game but leading the game. Get to the Powerstation on Friday and give your ears the Xmas treat you know they need.
It’s late and I may well update this post but for now, for you lot ..I’m sure the words will be enough. See you Friday.

Lloyd Miller interview Part Two

To be brutally honest transcribing this long interview was a major job, and once I had reached the stage you’re about to read I had given up writing anything I’d said. So I don’t have my questions for Lloyds answers with this part (and I wonder how we got onto some of those subjects!) but you should get the picture. There’s a link to his (almost) full life story at the bottom of this post and it’s well worth a read..

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On becoming a Sufi Ascetic…
Did I tell you the one that my music master said? The guy who I met up with who really taught me how to play the santur. He took my instrument away and wouldn’t let me touch it until I learned the correct mallet technique, he would only let me play in his presence until I learnt a whole modal system perfect and that’s the one that’s on Gol-E Gandom, it’s a cut down version of the mode he taught me. Exactly note for note from what he taught me, not one idea of my own in there anyplace handed down from probably David in the Bible. David went to Bablylon and from there the Persians liberated Babylon, it went to the Persian empire. All of the Israelites that were living there many of them stayed, some were sent back to rebuild the temple of the one true God they believed in, just as much, maybe even more than the Jews and those were the golden days of the world when the Persian Achaemenid empire ruled and then along came the Greek creep who thought he was something, some sort of juvenile delinquent and destroyed it all. And God said in the Bible I’m going to take care of the Persians and the meek until the King of Greece comes and then I’m out of here. I don’t want to be around that guy (laughs) But actually towards the end of his life he became a Persian and almost a human being, you know he gave up some of that stuff and started fitting in but it was too late he’d already wrecked the Persian empire and bought in a bunch of goofy Greek garbage so they could never go back. Before they didn’t drink wine they drank water, and there was a lot of other sins he bought in. You know …progress. All this stuff, progress – we’re going some place. Yeah we’re going some place to the end of a cliff and we’re going to fall right down into some horrible abyss and its like hell and we’ll never come out. Some people say 2012 I don’t know if it’s that quick but it’s going to be there somewhere.

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Continuing on the Sufi Ascetic tip….
So what I was going to tell you was bout my spiritual music master. He says there’s two ways to play music you can sit here and learn note by note, and memorize it for hours and for years and years and years. You can do it that way, or there’s another way that maybe you can do it, he told because he saw that I had that possibility. He says you can polish the mirror of your soul and perfect yourself to the point that you can reflect the divine light, that is always there, to others and help them make their lives more brightened up by the divine light you’re reflecting to them. Like Jesus did for anyone that was around, even the bad guys. So he said that’s the other way of doing it and music will come straight from God to you. I guess like David did in the Bible and passed on to the Babylonians, the Persians and the rest of the Middle East. Then you can get it direct, but you have to perfect yourself, that’s the key to open the door. It’s like on a computer, if you don’t type exactly the right password you are toast. So one wrong letter in a password, a capital instead of a small letter and it wont work. That’s the same thing. So he said you have to perfect everything. So I said what does that mean? That was at a time when I had already given up all my bad habits, no alcohol, tobacoo, tea because that against Hussien, the blood of Hussein in Sufiism. He didn’t say much about coffee but I never saw him drink it, but he became a vegetarian, so did I right about the same time, we became vegetarians together. No junk food, nothing that you crave, and no intimacy with anybody outside of marriage, and only marriage if its planned. So people think this is horrible you’re giving up all your freedoms. No, you’re actually getting freedom because if you think about that, you don’t have to think who am I going to invite over to sleep over tonight? is it Sally or Sue or who? Oh and she’s mad at me, because I didn’t do this, I forgot her birthday or whatever. I’ve got find somebody, I’ve got to cruise some chick on the street, I’ve got to find somebody. Well if you don’t need anything then you’re free.

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Not sure quite how we got here but this is Lloyd on being a Mormon and misconceptions about the Church’s attitude towards homosexuality…
I’m part of the Mormon Church and a lot of gay people think the Mormons hate them and that’s not true. We just ask of them what we ask of ourselves, which is to be celibate. There’s nothing wrong with that there’s a lot of very cool gay guys who aren’t with anybody and aren’t doing anything at all and they’ve forgotten about that part and they’re just working in the arts or theatre or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with them they are totally acceptable, it’s the practice of stuff that can become attachment and can end up being slavery that they need to get away from.
On modern music (again)….
People are being musically starved and that why I’m trying to occasionally give people a drink of coconut juice or wheatgrass through this music, but because it’s bitter and kind of tastes funny no one wants to know about it. We need something different, we have enough of that (modern music) I don’t care whether its Bach or some syrupy Sinatra, I’ll take anything over that. Maybe that’s the trick that God is showing us letting the devil have the music industry for a couple of decades. Alright guys, you can see what would happen if he takes over, go ahead and listen to this and now we’re going to have something that’s not that and see if you can tell the difference. Maybe we wont hear it till after Jesus returns.
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On furthering Oriental Jazz etc…..
72 years! The first two I probably didn’t know what was happening, to try and get something a little different happening, but its only gotten worse. I think I was more successful in the ‘50s than I am now. I tried to get people to check out some of this stuff like Ravi Shankar or anything, Japanese Noh Music. Me and Tony Scott played together and hung out together in Italy for a month or two, we did our Eastern stuff separately, but we finally met up, which was great. We were going to do an album together, but most of these guys are dead and I’m still alive.
Did you find you were lumped in with exotica back in those days?
Its sort of like a crowded place, a tube station or whatever and someone walks by you and it’s half kangaroo and its half human, but its real, its isn’t like a costume or something, it’s something that really happened, someone got mixed up with a kangaroo the DNA has got mixed up or whatever. And it walks by you, and smiles at you and waves it’s paw, but it’s a real person. You would just ignore that, it would be too weird to even admit, almost everybody in that train station would turn aside say they didn’t see that. It’s too weird to even acknowledge it exists. Well that’s what happened to me in the Inter Collegiate Jazz Festival National final is St Louis, the judges just didn’t even admit that they had seen it. Some of the winners went to the judges saying that guy was amazing, he played seven different instruments in one ten minute slot, and he played them all to perfection and he played all these musical styles and sang these different ways and you guys didn’t even see that, and they just sort of crouched. They just couldn’t admit it, because it didn’t fit any category. It was supposed to be the vocal category, I sang all the pieces but I was playing instruments and singing in Persian and Indian and scat singing so fast they couldn’t hear the notes going by, because I figured out how to do that. So I didn’t win anything because they couldn’t admit it had happened. John S Wilson who was a famous jazz writer for the NY Times and wrote books on jazz and stuff, probably the most after Leonard Feathers. He was there and didn’t write about anything else except me. So I got a piece that I’ll never top in the NY Time, the head of the Jazz studies Department at the University waved it at me and said you’ll never get another article like that!

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So you weren’t even really acknowledged?
Well they didn’t see me but I’ve been unseen my whole life I’m used to it. Its kind of nice to be in disguise, incognito, walking around nobody will ever know me and I don’t care if they ever do.
It must surely be gratifying to be getting the recognition and credit for you music that is obviously going on now?
Well maybe when I die off they can add to my gravestone. PHD that’s the only thing its good for, it looks good on a gravestone Then after that they can say ‘finally made it, two days before he died’. I’ll be invited to tour Asia, and wont be able to do it because I’m frozen in some nursing home. I probably wont do that, I’ll probably die like other health food people , a surfboarding accident, a board hits me on the head or playing too loud on a clarinet in a parade or something!
In the interests of not making this a veritable novella I haven’t included all of Lloyd’s bugbears and mini-rants that came up, but here’s just one that I can’t really argue with…
Do you have those cars..you know ..you’re at the stoplights. I kind of wish we could use some of those cars with the big speakers as target practice for bazookas. It’s the only thing that makes me angry, I’m a pretty mellow guy but when I hear that think, its not even hearing it you feel it, it hurts your internal organs, you want to just assassinate someone you know.

For more on Lloyd his life story ‘Sufi, Saint & Swinger’ can be read online. It’s a fascinating wild read that documents his teenage tearaway years and ending up in a mental institution, how he came perilously close to being lobotomized, his time in Iran, his battles and triumphs at various places of learning, his Mormonism and heaps more. Trust me you’ll learn something but you’ll need a bit of time…it’s extensive!

Follow this link to cop an mp3 from the wonderful album below featuring Lloyd and The Heliocentrics. You’ll need to register with your email address but it’s Strut so it’s not like you’re signing up to Beelzebub or anything.
Check the previous post for links to buy…. and follow’ em for deep audio satisfaction and enlightenment.
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Huge thanks to Lloyd for being so generous with his time and providing me with more info, music and DVDs than I could possibly have ever wished for. Also large gratitudinal tidings to Marty from Border for setting this all up, and the wonderful Trevor Reekie who did the interview before me and obviously put Lloyd in a great frame of mind (not included in my transcript is Llloyd’s suggestion that he’s going to form a band with himself, Trevor & me. As I told him … he’s onto a winner with Trev who can spank that axe real nice… but for me..probably the triangle or a washboard and limited duties!)
And if you made it this far and read it all….respect. There should be some sort of prize!

Lloyd Miller interview- Part One

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Interviewing Lloyd was a gas. At 9.30 a.m. on a blustery Auckland morning it felt like being transported to somewhere else completely. Amongst many, many other things the man is a raconteur par excellence and it would be impossible not to be captivated by him, even though his views may not always be palatable.
I had a ton of questions, I got to ask a few, some were answered – others led on brilliant tangents, but it was a absolute privilege to talk to (or be talked to) by Lloyd. Aside from puling out a couple of chunks that were used in the Real Groove feature (sadly for the last ever issue) I’ve decided to run this as it was said, I think Lloyd returns to the first question half way through the hour plus natteration, so it does take a bit of following…but trust me it’s worth the time. This is the longest post ever on stinkinc (I think) and it’s only Part One.
Read on and do please check the bottom for links to Lloyd’s outrageous life story, his youtube channel, links to buy etc etc. This might be a good time to boil the kettle, do whatever is necessary and settle in…
How did your interest in non western music develop?

Well its kind of a strange story. Basically I was playing jazz in the LA area in my late teens, and I was trying to get a chance to get in. Actually I didn’t realize I’d been performing with some pretty important people. In fact one of the very important people I guess in the music field that I grew up with, I started him out on drums, was Spencer Dryden from Jefferson Airplane. Me and Spence lived a block from each other in a really fancy chic part of Glendale, California, up on the hill. Which is the other Beverly Hills, we think it’s the best Beverly Hills because there’s hardly any industrial, anyway in our area there wasn’t. So he and I were kids together, we used to play together, and do stuff, and I was really interested in music. I had a player piano that you pumped, so I was pumping the pedals and the rolls would go by, and the music would play, and I would try to play clarinet along with it, and he said ‘I want to do something’. I said ‘why don’t you be my drummer?’ and he said ‘I don’t have any drums’. I said ‘well Spence I’ll make you some drums’, because there was a little workshop that my folks had in the garage. That was a garage band alright!
So I got some old barrels and knocked the heads, the wood, out of them, and I went to the tyre shop and got some old inner tubes. I put the inner tubes on, with some thumbtacks and they didn’t hold, so I got some nails and made him a couple of drums, and then we put some books underneath so you could hear it. And he’d play plink plonk, and I’d play the player piano with trumpet or clarinet, or cornet actually. We were 10, 11, 12 years old and making music. Pretty soon, his parents who had a lot of money I guess, they felt sorry for him, and bought him a real drum kit. So from listening to the radio I heard that the best jazz was Bunk Johnson, that was about when he came with his album,’42 a little bit after that, late 40s. So we tried to imitate Bunk Johnson and he did a perfect imitation of Baby Dodds (check this link for a cracking example of what Lloyd’s talking about) even down to the ‘nerve sticks’ where you get two sticks in each hand and you rattle (pppppppprrr) ‘em together really fast, and he did all Baby Dodd’s licks with the woodblock and the base rim and everything.
I played George Lewis and Johnny Dodd style clarinet, and we started off a little band called the Smog City Six. We couldn’t find any place to rehearse, because my parents were using the garage for other things, and they didn’t like the noise and stuff, so we started rehearsing on peoples lawns. That was my idea. I said ‘lets just go and set up on somebody’s grass and lets keep playing till the cops come and then run to another place’. Actually the cops only came once, and they came to praise us, they loved it. So they came and threatened to handcuff us, they said play Saints or we’re taking you down the station and they held up some handcuffs.
So it became a big thing, every neighbourhood we’d go to, they were looking forward to it. We’d show up in certain places on a certain day, all these fancy neighbourhoods in chic Glendale, and it became like a roving band that everyone was waiting to hear. We played New Orleans stuff. We had a trumpet player and a trombone, and a clarinet, Spence on drums, and once in a while we’d get a guitar or a banjo. So that’s how we started out, and later on I saw Spence, we made a pact never to go modern. Well we both kind of double crossed each other. He became a be-bopper, I learned how to do it, but I still play the New Orleans style all the time, any time I get a chance and I play it exactly how it was on the Bunk Johnson album without adding an idea or anything. So I stuck with it but he gave it up. So he went modern on me, one day I saw him in a Zoot Suit .
In fact I’ll send you this information. I’ve got some stuff you’ll probably get a kick out of here. What’s your email address? I tell Lloyd my address at Round Trip Mars –oh ok you guys are into the weirdness, sounds like you’re going some place!

I’ll send you the original Oriental Jazz LP on CD (and he did, and more, what a gent!) unfortunately I can’t send you the LP as they are too expensive and I’ve hardly got any myself. This is the original LP that sells for around $600, and I’ve got it on CD from the original tapes. Well I thought now that we’ve run out of the LP’s almost, I sometimes come across one and I put it online to sell, not to get the money but just so people can have it and I include 20 more of my CDs and DVDs so they’re actually only paying $10 for it, if you think about it that way, but that’s what they want so I sell them that for $200/$250 they’re willing to pay, and I send them about $250 worth of LPs/CDs so they’re actually almost getting it free.

Well I think the music matters and if anybody just wants it to collect and to make money off it, well tough luck for them. I can’t get it they’re trying to outbid each other fighting like rats in a cage against some guy from Japan, some guy from Germany and they’re all (makes snarling noise) and they won’t take a 2nd chance offer because they don’t want to have something they didn’t win.

It’s supposed to be about music not ownership!

I don’t get it either.

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Can you tell me about how you first got into Persian music etc, that was through traveling with your family right?

Sort of, yeah. I don’t know…. people who believe in religion can understand this. People who don’t, will just laugh and think its crazy but then they’ll think what a stroke of luck. I was about 17 or 18, playing jazz in the famous spots in LA the Red Feather, the Purple Onion and The Digger, were the 3, and also two places in the black section of town, which was South Central. One was the Downbeat, and the other was Painted Word. I was the only white guy that ever went there, and everybody thought I was going to get killed or knifed. They treated me better than the white kids, even more than I was in Glendale where sometimes bullies would beat me up on the street. Everybody was so friendly and kind, and this stuff about back people being scary it depends on your attitude towards them.
Same thing in New Orleans when I went to visit George Lewis over in Algiers, they said you’re going over to Algiers, you wont come back alive. Well… not only was I not stabbed or anything, but people led me by the hand, chatting friendly, to the guys house. That was all a bunch of baloney and I felt black people were my people, since I was persecuted by the general public too. I guess I felt like I was part of it, and they treated me like I was part of it. It’s all in your mind you know.

I heartily agree having been told similar horror stories about places I’ve pursued music, producers and artists and received the best hospitality in Jamaica, New York etc!

Well we’re going to start a group, you and that other bloke I just spoke to (Trevor Reekie) you guys will be part of my gang. I mean not with the crazy knee length pants and the tattoos and everything but a bunch of people who get together and enjoy life.

Sounds good!

Well that’s the whole thing, it’s the barriers that people want to put up so that they can have an excuse to can kill the other guy and take his stuff. Like ‘see what they did? Look at the terrorists over there!’, ‘What terrorists?’ They’re probably 90% of them CIA guys in drag putting on their turbans crooked, long nose and stuff, shouting kill the Americans and so on.
Then creating incidents that the US creates, and then points at someone else like ‘look at the Twin Towers! Look at what those dirty arabs did to the Twin Towers’. As if they could figure out how to find the right airport, nothing against Arabs, but they’re just basic. I mean c’mon, they couldn’t do something that technically astute, even Germans would have a hard time pulling that one off. Poof poof poof in every floor of the building, as it poofs down like a perfect demolition, you know when you see those old buildings go down. I mean you know one guy tried to run his little plane into the IRS building and just sort of punched into the window – you know you cant do that sort of stuff, that’s ridiculous. Anyway that’s another subject.
All this hatred that is being spewed out, is so some people can make other people into bad people, so they can go and kill them and take their stuff, and no-one will say ‘hey you did something wrong’.

It’s all oil slavery really isn’t it?
We’re all slaves to the stuff. We were much better off with the Titanic, sure an iceberg smashed it, but if there was no iceberg it would have gone all the way back, easily. The Titanic was run by what? A few Irish blokes shoveling coal into the furnace, so they could make steam and steam was the best thing we ever had. We had trains, the whole country of America ran on steam for decades and was doing just fine. In fact the steam that I remember out in Idaho in the wilds was just pond water, just junk water. They’d suck it up and put it in there, no-one wanted that water, it was all yucky. And then they’d take old logs that had been eaten by termites that was just laying there, fallen trees from decades ago, and they would pile ‘em up there shovel them in and off they’d go. They didn’t have to pay anything. We could have done that with solar, some solar help on the trains along with a little drop of logs and some rotten water, not a drop of oil and we could have still run this country perfect.
Two lines that we’re told all the time, especially in America, is progress and freedom. They call this a free country, free to do what? You’re free to work from 8 till 7 or more, to make money to pay taxes, to pay interest, to pay the insurance companies, pay off your credit card and pay pay pay pay pay pay. The Roman slaves were freer, at least at 6 o clock after they’ve been whipped and done some hard labour, at least they got some time off. We never get any time off because we’re always trying to make those credit card payments. We’re the real slaves.
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When you were doing your TV show in Tehran during the Shah’s time did you have to deal with many restrictions? Was it a free society?

Oh I’ll tell you, under the Shah, and probably under the mullahs, you would have 20 times the freedom you have right here in America thinking you have it. They don’t talk about it, they don’t have to, they already have it. I wrote for a newspaper. I wrote the most insulting degrading stuff about different artists who were modernizing, pop artists. I said ‘this is garbage, this is trash this guy should go back to school’, and then what they do is made the person go back to school. That’s what the Government did, when they published this article under different names, because I had about 10 different names that I would use so I could write for 10 different publications, all the same kind of stuff. So the Shah and the Queen would read that every morning, and they thought ‘we’d better do something about this’. So they ordered the Ministry of Culture to make him go back to school, and stop doing this stuff he was doing.
I mean, I could never kind of do that kind of thing in America, you don’t have the freedom to say that kind of stuff, you’d be sued for slander. I would have been sued for slander a thousand times, I would have been sued for being politically incorrect a hundred, I’d have been a walking lawsuit waiting for jail. The freedoms I had there…. the freedom of speech, the freedom to do any old thing you want to do – which I didn’t want to do much. Actually they have freedom from sin, and in America we have freedom TO sin.
They don’t have to be alcoholics and try to get that next drink, or drug addicts and try to get that next fix. Girls don’t have to go out there and be little hookers on skateboards, wiggling their butts trying to get guys to marry them. Because it’s all figured out, they end up with a cousin they like. Their families get together and plan it so they’re happy and they’ll never divorce. They’re usually pretty happy, it’s usually a good marriage, so you don’t have to dress like a hooker, act like a hooker. You can spend your time getting a PHD, which 20 year olds are getting in Iran, because that’s all they are doing is studying and improving themselves, not out there on the streets shaking their goodies for the guys. So that’s freedom, we think we have the freedom. The only way you can get free is through music right?

It works for me!

The only time I think people really can get free is when they put on some real gentle, not that thumping junk because that just makes you slave to another thing, but real gentle like Debussy or maybe some quite Bach, or maybe some Indian sitar music like wooowwoooowooowo. And you just lay back in your chair and nobody is telling you, ‘you have to do this’ or ‘you have to do that’, for a moment you’re free from the whole rat race. That’s why all my music I try to be beautiful and gentle, although this last collaboration we call it, with the rock and hip hop guys didn’t quite work out the way I was hoping .

Really?

Yeah but the sequel to it is really good, the stuff they didn’t put on that CD is the stuff that’s going to be mostly on the sequel.

Was that a record company decision?

Yeah in fact, you know the record company would have gone along with me, but the two guys who were the hip hop rock freaks, the bass player and the drummer, really sweet guys I love them, they’re very talented. It was the first time the bass player had ever played a walking bass was at our first recording session. They’re into kind of jumpy, kind of electronic freaky sounds, I guess that’s what they think jazz is. For me jazz was all the way up to Miles Davis with Kind of Blue album and then there was no more jazz.
Then The Beatles came along, as much as everybody loves ‘em, I think they were the four apostles of the devil that destroyed music forever. They might not have been as bad themselves, but what came after them was horrible. And I think even they would listen to some of this horrible rap and say what is that garbage? What have they done? We should have gone to classical music and had people learn Bach or we should have stuck with the sitar and forgot the backbeat.

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So all electronic music is out for you?!

Yeah you’re right. It was totally against everything that I’m for, because my theory is that you can’t write the 6/8 very easily that’s the (demonstrates beat) that came from Africa. All good music, modern/traditional, everyone has the 6/8 feel, that makes it swing. Well it doesn’t swing anymore, now its ratatatatat, 8/8 instead of 6/8. So that’s when music went to the devil I say, because he took over the 8/8 thing and forced it on us. Because it’s hard to write 8/8 on the computer.
I once tried to do some computerized music, but it turned out stupid, so I gave up on the idea, because I had to sit for hours to do one drum part, because you can’t write that without writing triplets. Triplets are hard to write, its hard to make them sound right.
It’s more easy to write the 8/8 stuff, and make it electronically, so people don’t have to think, and since people are so stupid anyway they just take one chord and a lot of screaming and distorted sound and think that’s music. So they just think ‘oh we’ll just give em 6/8 we wont even swing it’, and everybody will accept the garbage we feed em because we’re in control. Whoever ‘they’ are. The ‘they’ that are in control of this are probably the worst, worse than the tobacco or arms industry, because I think they are doing more damage to the world than people who make atomic bombs and those other horrible things. The ones who make this music and foist it on people, that destroys cultures, it eradicates them, it’s like genocide. Musical genocide is worse than anything that Hitler did, or Stalin did, or Mao did or Ghengis Khan or anything any Roman emperor could dream of doing.
If you destroy a bunch of people there’s always one or two left, but when you destroy a whole culture, there’s nothing left. What’s left of the Native Americans and their life? A lot of those languages have disappeared for ever. What’s going to be left of music in 10 years in this world ? Nothing but doom chaka doom, and nobody will ever know that there was a doom dacka doo or a Frank Sintra or a Patti Page, those people. No one will have ever heard of them, it will be Miles who? And Dizzy what? They almost say that now, if they haven’t texted it or heard it in their text, Dizzy who?

That’s pretty extreme stuff Lloyd!

Even all the Beatles that are left if you sat them down and said ‘what do you think of today’s music’ they’d say ‘its’ horrible’. It’s the same stuff we were saying about them when they started. They were an English version of Elvis, who was a white mans version of black mans music. This has gone a whole awful direction but why don’t they just step up and say ‘hey you guys we’re sorry, we were wrong . We’re going back to the sitar, back to the sirangi, no more of this pop stuff.’ If they were really penitent about that, then I would cross them off my list of the four apostles of the devil.

That must be quite a list?

Well (laughs) theres about 3 more. There’s Madonna, and theres Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. That’s the 7 that I know. I’m not sure about Mao he might have been, I’m not sure about Hitler he might have been doing something else that we don’t understand. Stalin probably is, but we don’t know – those guys might have thought in their hearts that they were doing it for the benefit of my people. But these other people, the Beatles and all, they were doing it for the benefit of themselves. They just duplicate, not appreciate.

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So with the TV shows in Iran the idea was upholding traditional instruments and maintaining the tradition?

Yeah actually you’ve got me back to answering the first question which I never got a chance to (not that anyone was stopping him apart from his own lovely meandering trail of discourse). The last time I saw Spencer Dryden was just before I left America. He invited me, he came in a zoot suit on with a pie pan hat, and he was packing a gun in his pocket, he looked really great, a really hip hipster, and he had several joints rolled up in his pocket and he was saying ‘man you want to try some!’ and I was like ‘no! I’m not interested’. He took me to a Charlie Lloyd concert, and he did make me smoke a joint beforehand. If you want to have something to laugh about…. We couldn’t stop laughing and screaming and giggling till 3 or 4 big huge ugly bouncers, in this fancy place in Hollywood, were coming in our direction. So we giggled all the way to the back door, and ran out to the car, where we dropped our keys three or four times trying to get in.
Then wanted a pizza and a a bunch of candy bars, and couldn’t find any, and then we giggled and drove all the way back to Glendale, and went to sleep giggling. We thought that was the funniest, freakiest non-music we’d ever heard. That was the last time I saw him. Then he went and became a rocker and I emailed him once, didn’t cuss him out for it because he was dying from all the drugs and things, so I didn’t want to rub it in, and he did die a few months later. He emailed me back and said ‘well man it was good to hear from you’ and that was it.
About that same time I was upset because the main jazz club the Red Feather, The Purple Onion and The Digger I could hardly get a chance to play because all of these really good musicians were wanting to go and sit in there too, so I was really discouraged. So not being very religious, and being on drugs and booze and chasing chicks and everything, I still thought there was some kind of a God somewhere, so I prayed to be shown the way, how can I succeed in music? And just a few weeks after that my Dad got offered this job in Tehran, and I left the jazz scene.
If this God has answered, he’s taking me away from where I had almost made it, playing at the Purple Onion with big names like Brooke Myers. Maybe Brooke Myers might ask me to play a gig sometime, and maybe I might make it, and I was taken away from the whole thing and there wasn’t one drop of jazz in Iran, not a thing, and there I was plunked in the middle of a desert with camels and donkeys clomping by the hotel and I turned on the radio and heard this music and I was like Huh, that’s beyond be-bop.
So that was the answer to my prayer and ever since then I’ve kind of been led by this divine guidance, until I changed my lifestyle completely and cut out smoking, girls, coffee tea cigarettes, junk food, meat, animal products…everything. I quit everything and became kinda like a sufi ascetic. And after doing that I met a sufi ascetic master, who was one step beyond me, and he became my personal music teacher.
That was in Paris later on, after I’d bought the instrument and loved the music but didn’t know anything about it, so I finally got a chance to learn it. So this divine hand has been guiding me everywhere, expect for on my way to grave having not done anything, except maybe one CD with a garage band of cockneys from London. That’s what I love, they’re the sweetest guys. I just love those kids, that why I did it, they’re such nice guys I went along with it even though I couldn’t stand some of the stuff we were doing.

So you’re really not into the material on this album?

You know they learned really fast, and the musicians in the group, the flutist, the harpist, the multi instrumentalist guy are musical geniuses. In 5 minutes they totally understood everything, but Jake and Malc had a rough time getting away from the duh-da-dak-dak, all that kind of jittery stuff. It’s not jittery man its got be smooth.
The best two pieces on that new LP are ones that they were doing the recording on, and concentrating on getting a good sound, instead of actually playing. They did a little something, but they didn’t throw their hip hop stuff into it, and that was the one that ends with the Indonesian thing, Sunda Serenity or something (Sunda Sunset). The Balinese thing Malcolm was playing vibes on that, just doing some simple stuff that I showed him. So they could do it, they learned quick but they forgot slow. Hard for them to forget the hip hop beat and just go into another room. If I’m going to play with a Chinese band I’m not going to try and bring a jazz band into it, I’m just going to sit there and play nyum nyum nyeaeeer, just like the rest of the guys. I’m not going to try and mess it up for them.
It’s kinda like I felt- Tiger Woods who’s really good as a golf guy, who is really good as an athlete ‘oh you’re an athelete ok were going to put you in a cage with this great big huge 300 pound monster guy with muscles, fight to the death in the cage. We’re going to lock you in and bet on you’. So like a fight club or something, if Tiger Woods was thrown in to a fight club he wouldn’t fit, he wouldn’t do very good and that kind of how I felt. I don’t do this fighting to the death, I just do golf.

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Clock Lloyd on 38 different instruments!!
Full Lloyd Miller youtube channel here, you’ll lose a morning at the very least!

Buy OST from Conch (more links in Malcolm Catto interview post just downstairs from here), they also have the excellent Lifetime In Oriental Jazz collection on Jazzman, that is a very serious record indeed – highly recommended.

Go to cdbaby to check the original Oriental Jazz album, it’s a stunner!
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More of Lloyd’s wit wisdom and possibly slanderous chat in Part Two…..soon come!

Malcolm Catto Interview….

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This interview was a bit last minute and so was done by email. That initially bummed me out, I’ve been keeping my vinyl greedy eye on Mr Catto for quite some time, at least since he flummoxed me with his breaks (breakbeats that is not the turgid music style so beloved by our trans-Tasman cousins) album on Mo Wax, if not before. Thankfully he was generous with his answers via the interweb, I don’t bother posting some of the email interviews up here but this’un is well worth it.
Hanyways his name in the credits and on the pots and pans, is invariably a portent of a soon come, fiscal exchange and happy challenging listening in my book.. what more can I say. Read on, links and stinks at the t’other end.
How did the project come about?
The project came about after a session, which myself, Jake and Lloyd recorded about a year ago for Gerald .The session was subsequently released on the Jazzman label, although me and Jake felt at the time a little cornered into playing straight Swing / Jazz, which by our own admission was something we had neither really played before or expressed an interest in. However Lloyd was encouraging enough and seemed genuinely pleased with our efforts. Two things were apparent to us on that first meeting with Lloyd, firstly his undoubted musical abilities and secondly the ease in which he could overdub various exotic Eastern instruments over the top of each other. We had several hours of recorded material that was not wholly representative of the Heliocentrics collective, but material we knew would both benefit greatly from and compliment Lloyd’s musical style. We selected and sent Lloyd 10 backing tracks which were mainly Jazz or World orientated as a starting point and he initially seemed quite excited by the project though not without certain reservations.
How was the experience of working with Lloyd, he seems a singular man!
Lloyd, Jake and myself are all fairly pig headed and there were times when the clash of musical ideologies left us all feeling a tad compromised and mentally drained. However, there is know doubt a great deal of common fertile ground between us, particularly in our appreciation of Modal Jazz and World music which was easily enough to get us through. Lloyd was a lot happier when we moved onto creating music from scratch having got the backing tracks out of the way as a kind of musical security if needed. We definitely learnt a lot from Lloyd during those sessions and went along with most of his ideas even to the point of attempting some New Orleans Jazz. Lloyd on the other hand has stronger moral issues with music than us and when we get off into our thing like say “Lloyds diatribe”, we would at the end of the track find that if Lloyd had not indeed left the building, he had certainly left the room.

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Was it very different to working with Mulatu? (we went to Australia to see him play with your saxophonist James Arben, and it was excellent btw)
Very different, Mulatu is perhaps Lloyds’ nemesis in that he is very open to experimenting and electronics etc, and except for a few of his own compositions he gave us carte blanche with complete freedom to produce the LP as we saw fit. With “OST” however there was very little production but a lot of editing as Lloyd is opposed to all things electronic and on the whole we tried to capture the sessions with a sort of Blue note transparency and purity, this comes across better on the CD.
Did the project stretch the Heliocentrics?
Yes, it made us think in different terms about music and our process in creating it. We have ended up perhaps with something more traditional and easier on the ears than we would have done with fewer restrictions, but by the same token there is a subtlety and certain beauty that pervades the release that we must attribute to Lloyds’ guidance.
Overall “OST” encompasses much of both musical parties, creating, as is the point of collaborative projects, something that neither of us could or would have done alone. It’s a bit like a mutually good deal where both parties feel slightly cheated: if one of us felt we had got totally the record we wanted it might have been one sided.
Lloyd was really enthusiastic about the other material that wasn’t released yet, how did the selection process work out?
Quinton who jointly runs Strut records had the very last say on what went on or off, though Lloyd and ourselves fought our corners for tracks we wanted on till the last. From our perspective there is a lot of heavier and darker material that Lloyd would not allow on that we wanted to include and some more traditional acoustic numbers he wanted on that we didn’t, for example the ‘New Orleans Jazz abomination’.

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Lloyd was very complimentary about you all, especially you and Jake, but he said ‘you learned quick, but forgot slow’ referring to what he calls ‘jittering hip hop and rock’ -I thought it was a beautiful turn of phrase but what’s your feelings on that statement? (it’s all exceedingly smooth to my ears)
We were certainly not Lloyds’ ideal band, Jazz chops being pretty thin on the ground and what with our heavy use of electronics etc, though I guess he can do exactly the thing he wants with his guys in Salt Lake. There are quite a few of us and influences start from the 1930’s blues through to Drum and Bass. Lloyd music stopped on 1960, he is a living historical musical snapshot, a bit like the cars in Cuba. But because of that, unlike many of his more seasoned counterparts, he evaded the horrors of late 70’s & 80’s fusion and the likes of slap bass, gated drums etc, and consequently has an integrity rarely seen in musicians who consistently feel the need to be ‘modern’.
What else do you have coming up for yourself and the Heliocentrics?
We are working on our own album, experimenting with different sounds and home-made instruments. There are many musicians we would love to collaborate with in the future including possible further work with Mulatu, and Lloyd if he is up for it!

Heliocentrics are
Malcolm Catto – drums & piano
Jake Ferguson – bass & Thai guitar
Mike Burnham – modular synth & effects
Jack Yglesias – flutes, percussion & santur
Adrian Owusu – guitars, oud & percussion
James Arben – clarinet, tenor & baritone sax
Ray Carless – alto, tenor & baritone sax
Max Weissenfeldt – vibes & percussion
Khadijatou Doyneh(K2 Wordplay) – vocals
Neil Yates – Trumpet
Byron Wallen – Trumpet
Ollie Parfitt – Keyboards
James Allsopp – Saxes, Bass Clarinet
Shabaka Hutchings – Saxes, Clarinet

Still rate this album big time, check Conch.
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This is what we’re talking about upstairs.
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BUY LLOYD MILLER & THE HELIOCENTRICS ‘O.S.T.’ locallly, hinternationally, digitally…….NOWWWWWWWWWW!

Heliocentrics on the web at Now Again
Heliocentrics myspace

Check the next post (Lloyd MIller interview Part One) to hear a track from the album.

Lido Pimienta interview pt 2

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OK part 2 – good for you. Don’t forget that this is shorn of all the quotes used in the Real Groove on Lido article so please check that (at least the words) if you are of NZular disposition. There are some streams at yonder end for the hardy sound traveller, but as ever show your worth and nurse the purse towards some vendification (I’m trying to say B.U.Y.!)
I’d say there’s at least a 50/50 chance I’ll be playing Caminos again on Stinky Grooves tonight though there is a veritable trailerload of field-fresh crisp vegetables and top ranking, pertinently picked rooty toot ripe fruits, all fighting for a bit of airtime.. what a delightful conundrum. Yet more great stuff from Lido in the following, hope you can take the time to read……. And for thems that are able and willing – see you on the air(andhinternet)waves tonight….
You are a serial collaborator, can you mention a few of the highlights? (already released and upcoming)
Collaboration is the best!
El Remolon, Basta Ya-Todos Somos Imigrantes(released)
Pernett & Quantic, Blue Monday(cover)(released)
Javiera Mena, Luz de Piedra de Luna (Included in her new album Mena)
Mono Azul & El Remolon Ninfa de la Mar(unreleased)
El hijo de la Cumbia, Quedate Un Ratito Mas(Unreleased)
La Victoria Mi Libertad (Side project with Vic Fabrice from the blog Cooliado)
Los Espiritus, Pacifico-Atlantico and Besito en mi Ombliguito(Side project with Antonio Jimenez a.k.a Maria y Jose). Both songs are Released/but included in unreleased, soon to be released EP called Aprendiendo A Amar Con Los Espiritus Volume 1 which has 4 songs)

Currently recording for –
Frikstailers, El Poirier, El Remolon, Museum Creatures, Rob Pollinate.
There is more to come, but I am putting those off so I can actually finish my current projects!
Do you get to actually collaborate in person ever, or is it all done across the internets etc?
So far, the only collaboration in person, aside from the daily work at my home studio with my producer/father of my son Michael Raimey has been with El Hijo de la Cumbia. We met in Mexico while we both were having shows down there and in one morning started working on a song together. It was a very enriching experience, and we were able to express our emotions about the track immediately, which obviously helped the development of the song way faster.
Time ran out at the studio, or otherwise we would have finished it. There are still some changes that need to be done to the track, but we decided we would do it in person so it it keeps the same essence. We don’t know when we will actually do it, but there is no rush. We definitely know that the song needs to be finished in person, we don’t want it to lose its character, is not worth rushing it. I was also able to sing live in Tijuana with Antonio Jimenez in our band Los Espiritus, it was great to be able to see each other finally. We were able to play the songs live, together in the flesh! It was surreal. Unforgettable indeed. Working online is great, but nothing like doing it in person.
Who is releasing your vinyl and what are your release plans etc moving forward?
The vinyl will be released by a label from Los Angeles California. Ku De Ta/theblankettheory.com They are all about supporting Do It Yourself art and promoting independent artists and raw talent. It is an honor to be a small part of it. For the vinyl release of Color we are including 3 new songs, the album will have a code for the album to be downloaded digitally and as special extra something – To keep the one of a kind vibe going, a handmade illustration by me. Lot’s to be excited about!

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How has the Color CD release gone for you?
So far it has been very good, and extremely surprising. I always knew that I had to (When releasing an album)Do or give a little bit extra, give people something they can’t hear online or download-Which, if you really try, you could find all of my songs spread in different websites and compilations. So, what better to do then make one of a kind handmade covers- each time I get an order via my myspace I paint a special album cover each time. At the same time, I never thought I was going to sell more than maybe 10 cds, so, one by one is pretty doable. Of course I have sold more than 10, but I never thought I would be shipping it to people in Australia, Italy, New Zealand or Germany for example. I sing in Spanish! It has been a pleasant surprise and the proof that we all feel the same way about music. It unites us, and makes our world smaller and smaller.
Your music (even from the little I can understand with my pocotito of spanglish) carries a strong message. That seems to be quite rare these days and it comes through even without understanding all the words. Why do you think that there is so little music with a point and a purpose these days?
Because we need a distraction from loneliness and depression. People are eager to hear things that will help them forget about their problems. We want to look at pretty things because the world can be very very ugly. Although it does not justify the terrible music out there. It is all a matter of taste as well-perhaps is not fair of me to say that there is terrible music out there, when maybe what I consider amazing, for others, is complete shit.
About the message, I guess everyone does have a message to deliver, it varies from person to person- people ultimately want t be entertained and we all follow trends so we don’t feel excluded, so we can be part of something bigger than us. Most mainstream pop is a distraction from reality, it is an industry very much supported by the government, they feed off of each other so side A can make money and side B can rely on side A when it needs to hide the truth or abuses towards people. A(entretainment industry) B (Government).
Can you tell me about Aqui Conmigo please? It may not be your most initially striking song but I think it has hidden depths and something very special about it.
I think all my songs are striking in their own way. There is no way I was gonna make an album with 8 Mueves in it. Aqui Conmigo means here with me. It is a song about wanting to be with your best friend whom you’ve never met before.
I dedicated that song to Atonio Jimenez. Who I love like a brother. Aqui Conmigo grew and now it is a hymn of fraternal love and resistance and struggle within ourselves to stop caring about what others think of us and vice versa. The track is strong, it helps emotions wake up and shake us up a little-That is what I think it is. But if you feel differently about it, then, that’s what the song is about, whatever my song makes you feel, then that is what the songs is about..
Big difference between the early versions of Mueve and La Rata to the Color versions, do you feel you went through a big musical growth curve in that time?
Well, we just realised the songs needed to be stronger. The songs were not finished, people really liked them, but, you know, we are never happy until we are able to show our total potential. We are both perfectionists, Michael probably more than me, he makes me sing stuff like 50 times if necessary. It is great to have someone like that by your side, and sometimes I don’t realise I can be as good as he pushes me to be. So, with our songs, we did the same and gave them the finishing touches. Especially if we are going to promote ourselves and our music, it better be something of high quality for us to be happy with it.
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How long has Mueve been around (song is streamed at the end of this post btw), and what it it about, it feels like that song has been the vehicle for so many people picking up on you?
Mueve I wrote when I was 19. Alongside Walter Hernandez from Colombian export band Systema Solar. We sampled a track from The Beta Band and started freestyling on top of the track and wrote the lyrics together, he did the intro and then I kept going. Last year I decided to take it out of the treasure chest and with Michael’s help changed the arrangements and played it with actual instruments and transformed it to what it is now. The song is all around positive and the brass is too uplifting! Of course people are gonna pick up on me as soon as they hear that song-You cant say no to love.

I don’t know about you but I often feel I am drowning in new music, how do you intend to allow yours to stand out amongst the crowd?
Be myself, as cheesy at it sounds. Be true to myself and respect those around me and share and collaborate with more people. Be open to new music and learn from as many musicians and experiences as I can. Stay true to myself, and the moment I don’t feel something is right then I am done. I move on.
How come you ended up living in Canada?
I had no choice, my friend. I was 19, and with no independence or power to say “I am staying in Colombia”. It was my time to come. Mother had been living here prior to me for about 5 years. She left when I was 14, so I kinda stumbled against the world learning about life by myself and about being a woman I guess.
Which is great when you want to raise a family, but dreadful when you are a creative type. I used to live in Toronto,for a year I went to school there but decided to move back to London to be closer to my family. I am determined on having more shows and touring more so I need my mom and siblings so they can help me with my son when we leave to play concerts. My current plans are to move to Montreal, around this same time next year. I need my son to get a little older, so I can be confident things will work out there for us.
Can you tell us about your other creative activities? There’s a good deal more to you than just music.
I am currently attending University to hopefully one day be a successful Art critic and curator. I am a visual artist. I illustrate and make books and sew. I am a mom which can be very creative at times. I design toys and do print making. Art is my loyal friend, saved me from going crazy.
Check the Pt 1 for links and what have you, me no parrot. We’ll definitely be keeping you posted on when the Color vinyl is available, so keep ’em peeled.
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Photo – Rob Nelson

If you’ve made it this far (and fully consumed and digested) … thanks..