T in the Park

Bearing the flashiest set of teeth since Jaws took on James Bond, Goldie fills the dancefloors with drum ’n’ bass as easily as he fills the tabloids with stories of his romance with Bjork. Bethan Cole drops into his London flat as he prepares for his first Scottish live


s an afterthought to one of his lOOmph hypotheses, Goldie ponders: ‘I like being on the edge. I guess it just comes naturally to me.’ If you want a story about creativity and chaos, stratospheric highs and desolate lows, of graffiti art, the ghetto and the development of the most exciting new electronic music in the past seven or eight years, then this volatile, thirtysomething, ex-B-boy called Goldie is your perfect narrator. And his tidy, eighteenth floor council flat in North London, full of neatly shelved trainers, cupboards overflowing with Stussy gear, samplers, DATs, keyboards and computers is the ideal venue for its telling.

You’re probably familiar with the basic elements. How Goldie, a kid brought up in care in the West Midlands, became the celebrity face of drum ’n’ bass. Sold over 100,000 copies of his debut album, Timeless, in this country alone. Became Bjork’s boyfriend. Took jungle into the live arena and on tour. And recently got his own Channel 4 television show, Fereala. How Goldie, at various points in his life as a graffiti artist, gangsta in Miami and raver at early 905 London club Rage, came to be quite so central, quite so essential to dance music’s roll call of pop stars in 1996. And how Goldie the public personality is still charged with the fire and the passion and the on-the-edge intensity that - fuelled his meteoric ascent.

B The List 28 Jun-ll Jul 1996

Let’s put it this way:

impotent, easily manipulated, MTV-friendly celebrity, Goldie is not. He disappears for a minute and rummages around in a cupboard in his hall, jam-packed with clothes. ‘This is what happened to the last

person who fucked with me,’ he grins. displaying a custom-made T—shirt with a picture of Keith from The Prodigy on it and the words ‘Cunt Face’ superimposed. Keith made the mistake of slagging off Goldie and Bjork’s

‘You can’t ask me about that.

I don’t wanna get into that area because that’s my personal life. I’m fed up with people prying into my personal life. We go out, yeah, that’s what we do.’

Goldie on Bliirk

relationship in an NME interview and allegedly phoned the paper to try and get the comment removed. But it was too late. ‘I was hoping to see him when I played at the Brighton Festival, but I think he’d locked himself in a cupboard somewhere. Mind you, I’d be frightened if i had me after me!’

At this point, Goldie’s mentor and favourite

DJ Grooverider walks in a tall, quiet, unassuming guy wearing a sage green Prada- style nylon jacket (he’s famous on the scene for his dress sense). Grooverider, as Goldie will happily recount, introduced him to breakbeat back in the early 905 when Goldie’s then girlfriend, Kemistry (of DJ duo Kemistry and Storm), took him along to legendary club Rage. Goldie was intoxicated by the fierce sonic amalgam of techno, house, breakbeat and proto- jungle that Fabio and Grooverider welded on the Technics.

‘What you’ve got to remember about us drum ’n’ bass producers,’ he says, ‘is that we came from DJs, we came from two turntables, we came from listening to the mix and then making music for those DJ 5 to put back on, end of story.’ Goldie’s first big tune, ‘Terminator’, was directly inspired by his experiences at Rage and, in turn, it rocked the breakbeat scene to its very foundations with its moody technoid synths, moving things away from the light-hearted, treble-warbling piano tunes that then dominated hardcore and into a new sonic headspace from which jungle eventually evolved.

From this, of course, also came the landmark drum ’n’ bass album Timeless, a record which not only took percussion into an illusory