Quick Hit


March 05, 2009|By Rashod D. Ollison

Early on, Tricky established himself as a daring and original voice in pop and electronica. His 1995 debut, Maxinquaye, was a seething, dark musical brew of soul, hip-hop, reggae and punk that became an international smash. Six subsequent albums, including Nearly God, Pre-Millennium Tension and Angels With Dirty Faces, were explorative and expansive but didn't quite recapture the verve of his first album.

After 2003's Vulnerable, Tricky took a five-year hiatus from recording. His latest CD - Knowle West Boy, released in July - is an energetic return to form, brilliant with genre-defying soundscapes. To promote it, the DJ/producer/musician is kicking off a five-week national club tour. Tricky headlines Rams Head Live on Tuesday.

What were you doing in the five years you were away from the studio?

I was doing nothing - walking to Whole Foods, eating right, training, chilling with my girlfriend. It was a normal existence: partying, seeing people. It helped me just to be and that helped the music.

You named the new album after where you grew up in England. Why the biographical approach this time out?

[The album] is talking about where I come from. I wanted to roll all of my albums into one. The people listening to my music got their favorites. I wanted to look after those people who had been listening to me all this time. It's, like, the melting pot.

You use different voices, particularly female voices on the new album, almost in the way a painter uses colors. How do you decide on the vocal tones and textures for the music?

People walk into my life. I'm very much lucky in that respect. These are people I hang out with. [Singer] Veronika [Coassolo] happened to be around when the album was made.

What is your recording process like these days?

I record and that's it. I don't record 40 tracks and choose the best of. Music is no stress. Music is a place for me to relax. There's no process, really. It's like breathing.

Your approach incorporates so many styles. I imagine you don't think much about where your music fits.

I don't. I don't know what I'm doing. The way I make music is I try. I got my own sound because I don't know what I'm doing. I try to stay naive. ... A lot of music is about observing the world. I just want to document some of the things we're going through - the war, growing up in the ghetto. Basically, we're all the same.

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