Adrian Thaws (aka Tricky) was once touted as a master of the 90′s trip-hop scene, but when interviewing him that’s one term I strictly avoided. It’s known that he prefers not to talk about the genre, so it was a relief not to babble about the past and instead, to learn more about the future of this legend in the making. Currently promoting his new album (that chronicles his being raised in a Bristol council estate), Knowle West Boy is another intense release that even features a cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Slow,” in true Tricky tradition, of course. Instead of churning out the usual banter about his album and its production which Tricky seemed a bit bored discussing, we instead re-routed and chatted about ethics (when it comes to doing press) and his worldly views on the music industry.
Right now you’re obviously laying the groundwork for the new album but you’re coming back in the fall for a tour?
I think in September, yeah.
Since summer is starting you seem to be kicking things off with festivals. What are some highlights?
I’m doing festivals in Ireland, Spain, Japan, Korea, the rest of Europe and a few gigs in the UK.
Do you have a favorite country to play in? Do you prefer more exotic festivals in Asia or the festival circuit in the UK?
If I’m going to travel somewhere I’d rather go to Asia or something like that. A gig is the first time you get to react with people attending, and listening to your music, so overall it’s good wherever.
Do you think there’s any difference between Western and Eastern style festivals? Or is the protocol all the same?
I don’t know much about conforming to anything.
You have your own record label, Brown Punk, since it’s your own project, what is your favorite part about having your own label?
Seeing new talent do their thing, going to the shows, getting out there and promoting themselves is the best. It’s great watching a new band when they get a good crowd response and it’s not about your own career, etc…
Your music is everywhere. How do you feel about commercial exposure, if you heard your music on American television for instance?
It’s kind of surreal. You’re disconnected from it. It feels like it’s not your music. If I’m sitting watching TV and something comes on a show, it feels like it’s not mine anymore. When you give it to the record company and they start to do the marketing and process, you feel disconnected from it.
That’s interesting because in the beginning it’s your hands-on experience and it gets put through the cycle from being personal to then losing its feeling.
It becomes automatic. You churn out a television show, you churn out an interview, you become part of the machine.
You see yourself as the artist but then you have to let go of it to become part of the business and your job. It’s just a process. It’s an honest way of looking at it but a lot of bands resent it.
A lot of bands resent it, but you have a choice. They can just sit there and put their music on MySpace, and they don’t have to do any press. It’s what I don’t understand about the complaining regarding it. There’re harder jobs people can do like construction work, getting up at four in the morning. I get to travel, I get to stay in hotels, I don’t see anything to complain about. If you’re really militant and punk rock, then don’t do the press. There’s no point in moaning about something you’re going to do anyway. It’s a very trendy ‘I’m punk rock I don’t need press’ kind of attitude, while they’re doing as much press as any other artist. It’s pretentious bullshit.
The ‘all-talk’ mentality can be very hypocritical.
I think it’s a compliment. I travel around the world and people are interested in what I have to say. It’s a huge compliment. That people want to hear and read my interviews is a huge compliment.
There are so many ways to promote yourself and get yourself out there and people become more resentful of it.
We’re all the same but we all have different jobs, but for people that don’t do music, it’s hard to get their views out there. And when you do an interview, you get your views out there to millions of people. It’s an incredible situation to be in.
The opportunity might never come along again.
How much do people take interest in people? I think it’s a great honor. I think you have to take the good and bad in everything. I think this is a great way to promote my record.
Well, you’ve got the years of experience to say so!