Rolled gold 5


New York's own one woman soundclash Santogold tells Malcolm Jack how she's going to fix pop with her mutant take on hip hop, electronica and punk

’m trying to fix pop.’ proclaims Santi White I (aka Santogold) with an impish laugh. ‘It’s broken.‘

If anyone is qualified to take their toolkit to the genre, it probably is White. A music industry veteran of over ten years, she’s seen the business from front to back: as an A&R assistant at Epic and Sony in the late 90s. as a songwriter and producer for R&B starlet Res in the early ()0s, as frontwoman for punk rock near things Stiffed. and now as a genre-flitting solo artist. Her list of collaborators Diplo. Freq Nasty, Steel Pulse. Chuck Treece. Spank Rock, Sinden and Switch reads like a who’s who of dance. electronica. hip hop, hardcore punk and reggae at their most cutting. erudite of edges.

White sews this broad range of styles into a garishly colourful patchwork on her eponymous debut album, released earlier this month. The stitches. she believes, are the pop mechanics at each song‘s heart. ‘1 think 1 write pop songs in terms of their structure,‘ White explains. ‘It’s really like verse- chorus-verse-chorus. and I like melodies that are catchy and you can sing along to. I think that‘s why it works. because all my influences are from subculture genres. but the reason why I think my songs are so accessible is because I really like hooks.‘

For her rapid-fire vocal style. archly-hip day-glo getup. tribal blur of choppy, whirring electronica and echoing dancefloor on the likes of her debut single ‘Creator‘. White is frequently compared to another of her many co-conspirators. Mathangi ‘M.I.A’ Arulpragasam. It’s a fair cop for sure. but art-punky

Radio 1 favourite ‘L.E.S Artistes' could equally invite comparisons with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. whilst uplifting indie rock number ‘Lights Out’ the track

most generously endowed with those hooks White

speaks so proudly of recalls The Pixies.

Accessibility can be a dirty word. but for White it’s ; gospel: she even hired dancers to accompany her ? recent promotional DJ sets to give the crowd some

clues as to how to move to her songs. ‘You know how Public Enemy used to have those Sle that

marched on the stage‘?‘ she says. “It’s kind of like ,

that. They do visually what the music is doing. for all

these people who are like “how they hell do you dance to this?“ It's another tool helping the audience

to digest it.‘

The Santogold moniker. in case you were wondering, refers to a childhood nickname she 7 earned through a love of cheap gold earrings a love

that endures as part of a wider unconventional sartorial taste which has won her as much attention as her tunes have. ‘Right now I see it pushing in all

different directions.’ White says of fashion in 2008 '

(although she could just as easily be talking about her music). ‘I think we‘re heading into a time when it‘s really diverse. and there‘s no one hip style.

Everything had all got a bit conservative in the cuts

for a while, but I see all different kinds of colours and shapes now that have been missing for too long and it’s getting more bold.‘

Santogold guests at Kinky Afro, the Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 30 May.




=i= Bass Syndicate Breaks and heavy bass as Atomic Hooligan (pictured) rocks the party with a mashed-up hip hop flavoured set. Bongo Club, Edinburgh, Fri 23 May.

=i¢ Black Rabbit Whorehouse Twitch and Wilkes‘ specialist night of glitch techno and microhouse returns, with the combined talents of Supermayer (Superpitcher and Michael Mayer). See preview, page 38. Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 23 May.

=i= Street Knowledge Launching a new era for drum & bass in the capital with a smash and grab opening double bill of Nicky Blackmarket and Fabio. See preview. page 38. Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 24 May. =i= Subculture The official Booka Shade aftershow, with a set from their Scottish Get Physical contingent, Williams. Sub Club, Glasgow, Sat 24 May. =i< Jackhammer The techno night goes back to the source with Underground Resistance's Detroit warrior DJ Rolando. The GRV, Edinburgh, Sat 24 May.

$ Muslka and Stereotype present: Booka Shade Two of Edinburgh's best house nights bring you alive set from hotter-than-hell production duo Booka Shade. See preview,page 38. The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Sun 25 May.

>2: Sunday Surgery Lest we forget. it’s a bank holiday, this Keb Darge-guesting night of funk'n'soul is just one of the places to be. Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sun 25 May.

>i< Adventures Close To Home A still-young indielectro crossover residency, courtesy of London's ACTH. XX Teens and Hatcham Social are the noisy live guests. The Admiral, Glasgow, Fri 30 May.

at: Kinky Afro See preview, left. Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 30 May.

:29 May 5 .Jun 2008 THE LIST 37