News I by I 19.04.10

Mala: return II space

Little can be said about Mala that hasn’t already been discussed in depth.

One half of Digital Mystikz, he co-founded the DMZ label that remains, with the majority of its catalogue steeped in legend, out of print and only available for collector’s prices, dubstep’s original great imprint. His own productions, among them ‘Left Leg Out’, ‘Blue Notez’ and ‘Anti-War Dub’, are revered in dubstep circles and beyond, and years-old unreleased dubplates are still in constant discussion – when’s this coming out? Is this ever coming out? And so forth.

This May, Mala will release his first album, Return II Space. Well, we say album, the catalogue number is DMZLP001, but Mala – real name Mark Lawrence – is simply viewing this vinyl triple-pack as a chance to release some of the productions that have been highlights of his DJ sets. Not that he’s revealing what those tracks are. Not yet. FACT’s Joe Muggs called up Mala to discuss how space itself influences his style, his musical kinship with Francois K and the Bomb Squad and more.

So, the big event coming up is the release of the ‘Return II Space’ album… or is it an album?  What are you calling it?

“It’s just a triple pack to me really.”

OK – so does that mean you feel like it’s it just another DMZ 12”, or does the fact of it being bigger mean it’s more of a milestone release?

“I guess it is [a milestone] actually for various reasons. One is just that I haven’t put anything out for over a year on DMZ – not for any reason other than everything’s just so hectic the last year, travelling and doing shows. But I really enjoy continuing the DMZ thing, so to put out a triple pack is definitely exciting, it feels like the right time to do it, and it’s almost like I’m just catching up with what I wanted to release in the last year but never got round to so I’ve put it all together, you know.”

It’s been interesting seeing all the inevitable speculation online about what would be on this, most of the tracks you chose are among the more popular choices. Was it deliberate to pick crowd pleasers?

“Hmmm, in terms of tracks being audience favourites, it’s not actually something I can necessarily gauge. Obviously certain tunes get a response, ‘Eyes’ especially has been an instant response kind of tune, as well as ‘Return To Space’ itself. But to me, like I say, they’re just pieces of music that I would’ve released over the last year and didn’t get round to, so really it’s like a letting go of these pieces of time and space that I’ve been sharing and presenting to people over the last couple of years. It’s nice, it feels like the right time – if I’d left it any longer I think it would’ve been too late and I might never have released them, which can happen with some music.”

So there are a few of your tunes, even ones that have been real favourites on dubplate, that you think will never get released under any circumstances now?

“Yeah [laughs]”

“Sometimes it’s nice that pieces of music are just left resonating in certain walls of certain venues, rattling around in people’s memories.”

Quite a few?

“Yeah, quite a few [laughs again] In a strange sort of way it’s not my choice. I’m a strong believer in moments in time and space, and sometimes you just get a vibe or a feeling for things where you could put something out and a hundred people would buy it or whatever, but sometimes it’s nice that pieces of music are just left resonating in certain walls of certain venues, rattling around from time to time in people’s memories when they’re reminded of the time they heard a certain piece of music. It happens to me in this day and age still, but it’s the same thing as in the past when you would go and listen to Grooverider and you’d know that you very likely weren’t going to hear it again, you didn’t know what the name of it was and if you wanted to hear it you’d just have to go and check for ‘Rider again and hope that he played it – but if you don’t go and hear him the next week, if you wait six months, the chances are you weren’t going to hear it again.”

And even then you’re not going to have the exact same experience when you hear it, same as you can’t live the exact same day over again…

“There you go. So we have to start really looking at time and space and how important it is to really start looking at moment. I’m not trying to sound cheesy or hippie or cliché, but I do think that in life we go through things that make you understand thing a little bit differently and you do see time in a really different way – in that it’s not days or weeks, it really is moments, that’s how it is sometimes.”

So you’re saying that by not duplicating the music –  the experience – you make that experience and the sound sharper in people’s minds than if they were able to copy it and listen to it at will?

“Yeah I think so… I think… well, it’s weird because moments just happen because they’re happening all the time, but there’s certain circumstances and situations where we happen to remember a moment with more clarity. And for me – obviously I can only talk from my own experience – over the years, I’ve just had that etched-in-the-memory moment so many times going out and listening to music. So this brings us to the reason that I always cut dubplates – you know, people know this stuff, I’ve told this story so many times, but I genuinely value these moments, I genuinely value these things and I don’t want to abuse them just because you can make extra money out of it or extra fame or whatever. It’s fine if that’s other people’s intentions but it’s not mine, so the way I do my thing is just being true to myself and true to my love of these particular moments in time.”

“I like the fact that you just go and play live and play your music and people hear it, and they can go home and remember it, and if it pops into their mind ten years later that’s great and if it doesn’t it was a moment they experienced there and then anyway. For me, releasing music isn’t the most important thing; it’s the process, it’s about being there in the studio building tunes, it’s not the end product but how you get there, and even if you don’t get there it doesn’t really matter because… well it’s just about doing, isn’t it? For me it’s just about doing.”

Can I just go back to what you said about it not being your choice which of your tunes you release… Kode 9 has talked about Hyperdub controlling him rather than vice versa. Is that something you might say about DMZ, or do you have a plan for it?

“I definitely haven’t got a plan for it. I’ve never had a plan for it and I don’t think Coki or Loefah ever had a plan for it. So it’s become something that… well yes, I guess in a way it does run you. How can I put this? It’s going to sound abstract, because it’s abstract to me: I don’t understand it, I just connect with it and translate and express and communicate it. But it’s almost like when you’re writing a piece of music, each sound you’ve just found that’s the right sound to fit in a particular slot actually tells you the direction to go next. And I still don’t know if that’s me directing, or if it’s some sort of energy I’m able to tune into that directs me and I’m just channelling that direction. I think for me personally that it’s more the case that it’s directing me; I’m not really a planning person. So DMZ is this thing that just moves, it always surprises me, sometimes it makes you feel really good and sometimes it’s work, it’s hard work and it’s a bit of stress and pressure – but that’s just how life is, it’s an up and down thing, it’s a journey, it’s a ride, it’s an experience, and I believe a good experience and a bad experience can be equally as beneficial.”

So you’re saying that DMZ – the club and the label –  are like a musical improvisation on a large scale?

“Yeah… the label is definitely spontaneous. Really spontaneous. More spontaneous maybe than the dance – although the dance, even to this day we book the lineups late. We’ve got an event in, what, three weeks time and we still haven’t decided the lineup or even spoken about it. But that’s the way we’ve always been, it’s not a planning thing, it’s more of a vibes, more of a feeling and we’re happy with that. Same with the music, I still feel like a total amateur when I go in the studio and switch my computer on, I still haven’t got a clue what I’m doing. That’s how I feel – but I keep doing it anway, because it’s something that’s just a necessity to me.”

Do you just mean that you’re not a very technical producer, or that you actually start every track with no idea what it’ll sound like?

“Oh very, very rarely do I have any idea what I’m going to do. There’s only one track that comes to mind where I knew what I wanted to do before I made it, and that was ’10 Dread Commandments’ the VIP. I remember I was sitting with one of my good friends, on holiday in Spain, on the balcony having a barbeque; we were listening to a Trojan tape and all of a sudden the original ‘Ten Dread Commandments’ track by a guy called Mr Bojangles came on and I was just like “yeah!” and I knew what needed to be done with the track. Actually, the same happened with ‘Alicia’ when I heard the original track – not in the sense that I knew the drum pattern I would use or anything but just that as soon as I get in I had to use that sample. But that doesn’t happen to me at all often, hardly ever at all really.”

And do you play any instruments?

“I’ll play whatever’s in front of me, Joe! It’s one of them ones – I can’t read music and if you asked me to sit down and play a piece on the piano it would be a one-finger symphony…”

So not to the point where you could play with other people in a band?

“No, though I would love to. To tell you the truth that’s the one thing that frustrates me, that I would love to be able to play music in that way – and I think if I could my music would be very different. I would love to go in a more musical direction at times, musical in terms of chords, scales, chord progressions, I would love to get my head round all that.”

“I’m one of those people who works best on my own, so though I love to work with good vocals it’s gonna always work best if the vocal is recorded then I’m left alone to do my thing.”

Talking of song structures, you use a lot of voices and vocal samples in your tracks – any plans to work with actual vocalists?

“No not really. In the studio I’m one of those people who works best on my own, so though I love to work with good vocals it’s gonna always work best if the vocal is recorded then I’m left alone to do my thing.”

So when it comes to songs, you actually prefer to be like the original Jamaican dub producers, to take something pre-existing and rebuild it into something fresh?

“Certainly in the past with things I’ve done that’s the way I’d go about it, yeah.”

Talking of working on your own – have you done any co-productions with Coki of late? The ‘Return II Space’ tracks are credited to Digital Mystikz but are all your solo work, right?

“Yeah they’re all mine, but the Digital Mystikz thing is still very much alive; me and Coki still play many shows together and we’re writing lots of music. But sometimes life and circumstances take you, not in different directions, but we all get older, you have to look after families and have different responsibilities and commitments so you can’t jam like you did when you were eighteen or nineteen, or even twenty-one or twenty-two. Still, over the years we always get in the studio when we can, but I think the Digital Mystikz thing is a vibe, an energy, a connection that’s just present regardless of whether or not we’re making music together at any particular time.”

Obviously DMZ the night is at the heart of that continuing relationship too… You just celebrated five years of the night – do you have any sense of how long that can last given the changes in life you just alluded to?

“I don’t know – I didn’t even think it would go on for any length of time, I had no idea when we started that this is how things would turn out, so where it will end I have no idea either; it really is a blank canvas when I think about that.”

And do you feel DMZ has a clear identity to other people? Obviously you have an amazingly faithful core crowd of people who go to the club and buy the records – do you think they really get what you’re about.

“I think so, you know. Obviously you can’t speak for anybody else but over the years there’s been music, there’s been certain interviews, people speak to you in the dance personally. I think the fact that we’ve been very strict in our output in terms of only releasing the records we want to release when we want to release them and how we want to release them, and the fact we don’t really jump on this whole hype train and make sure that every magazine gets hit and every record gets reviewed helps keep what we’re saying clear. I mean the fact that you want to speak to us now, that FACT magazine are interested is great, and I feel privileged that that’s the situation, it feels honest; if it was the other way around and I was knocking on the door saying “we’ve got this coming, you’ve gotta review it”… I don’t know, I just feel that the way we’ve operated is just honest to who we are and what we’re about, and we’ll just keep operating in that way; it feels comfortable and I think people can see that’s just the way it is.”

A lot of dubstep is on that “hype train” now… I know you don’t define your music personally as dubstep, but a great number of the artists that play at DMZ definitely are – so your relationship to the dubstep scene as such must be quite complex…

“It’s simple, man, I just make music and play music! [laughs]”

But DMZ has a huge influence globally on the scene and sound and the way people set up and run clubs; do you feel the weight of that influence?

“Ah but that’s not necessarily dubstep! If somebody’s been influenced by someone’s mentality or attitude and it makes them go and set up a clubnight or label, maybe it’s house music they’re doing, or this or that music they’re doing. I’ve always been influenced by a lot of things, I might be influenced by a piece of art, but just because the art influences me and I apparently write dubstep music, does that mean art is related to dubstep?  You see what I’m saying?”

OK, so what would you say were the direct influences on you in creating the feel and style of DMZ then?

“I couldn’t really say in terms of DMZ because it’s a four person thing. If you’re talking about the DMZ vibe it’s always going to be me, Loefah, Coki and Pokes, and we’re always inspired by things in common but also by different things that are totally separate.”

Well what were the things in common?

“Jungle obviously. Everyone knows that, that our shared love of jungle means a lot in terms of DMZ, but for other things, wow, it’s hard because I have to roll back the years and it’s whole set of common experiences over time – and even that the things we have in common we always had in common and that’s why we became friends. So I’m not even sure I’m able to pinpoint them, because it’s about the things that you feel and understand in your close friends.”

“I feel a little bit uncomfortable promoting my music, saying that people need to listen to it – because they don’t! Does that make sense?”

And what about the things that are just yours – your own music and Deep Medi?

“Well those two things are really quite separate. For my own music, I don’t have to send it to anyone, I don’t have to do press releases, it’s just me making it, then I play it or I release it and that’s it. For this one, I’ve only given it to two people to listen to and one of them is you! But if it was a Deep Medi thing, I feel like a record label should support an artist to the best of their ability, and when you have the contacts I think it’s important that people are made aware to the best of your ability of what’s coming out on Deep Medi… But that’s very different to how I operate with my own stuff; it’s not that I’m against that personally, but just because I feel a little bit uncomfortable promoting my music, saying that people need to listen to it – because they don’t! Does that make sense? But the music I’ve invested in, this is people we’re talking about, people’s lives, they’ve committed themselves to it and they think and they hope and they dream and they have desires, and some of that is… well it’s not exactly in the hands of Deep Medi because what will be will be and I’m not controlling in that respect; Deep Medi is not about owning and controlling at all. But I guess what I’m saying is that they’ve put their trust in you to deal with their personal expression of who they are and what they’re about, and I believe that should be respected utmostly and not exploited. So I try and make the music as available and make people as aware of it as possible without actually selling it out or diluting what it is, but giving it the promotion and the… not hype, but the push that I think it deserves. With Quest’s music, say, he’s someone who I believe is saying something and is honest.”

Well it’s clear that doesn’t feel a lot of people in the wider industry respect that! [Quest recently made public feelings of disgust with the dubstep scene, threatening to quit it entirely]

“Well it’s not just his music, I think unfortunately when you get involved in any kind of industry you’re going to come up against stuff that you’d really rather not. I mean, I’m certainly not going to sit here and say everything’s great and everyone loves each other, because it’s not the case and there’s been shady shit that’s gone on, but that’s life: you accept it and you get on with it. It’s not like it’s only going to happen to you or it only happens in the dubstep scene: if you’re a builder it happens on a building site, it happens everywhere. It’s just life and sometimes you experience negative sides of life. But what Quest’s done, I wouldn’t really even have brought this up, but as you mention it I think it’s actually quite a brave thing to do, to come out and say what he has, and I take my hat off to his honesty.”

So would it be fair to say you’re not about trying to kick against the pricks and fight bad things that go on, but about trying to create a zone where there’s a minimum of that exploitation and bullshit?

“You can’t stop it. Even if you wanted to stop it you can’t and I think that’s a pointless battle to even entertain the thoughts of. But that’s not for me, and you don’t have to go down that route; I think in some strange way I’ve always hoped that that’s what this whole thing can show other people that are like-minded or just want to put out their music and not worry about all the nonsense that comes with it. Sometimes I just hope that through what’s done at DMZ or Deep Medi people can go “well they don’t do it, they don’t play along with it so I don’t have to do it, we can do it our own way…” We’ve all got the capacity to think, so think for yourself, it’s actually possible to think for yourself, that’s all it’s about!”

And the DMZ name: was the sense of “De-Militarised Zone”  deliberate or was it just a contraction of Digital Mystikz?

“No it wasn’t deliberate, but we did speak about it after we’d come up with it… We’d put on a couple of dances and they’d just been peaceful, man: people would strictly come down just to hear the music. So it did feel like a demilitarised zone for real, because you know people have madness going on outside of the dance, in their everyday lives because that’s what life brings especially when you’re living in a city like London, there is always a struggle in London, and it just felt like when people come for the few hours of DMZ they could leave all their madness outside and yeah, it was a demilitarised zone.”

OK I want to drag you back to the question of influences, or if not influences then musical connections. When I first interviewed you in 2006, you mentioned contacts you’d made with very interesting people with deep roots in music that made it clear then that your horizons were wider than just the dubstep scene. Now, I gather you’ve maintained those connections – with [Public Enemy producer] Hank Shocklee, with [disco / deep house veteran] François K and with King Tubby’s son Keith Ruddock… but initially, did you seek these people out, or how did these connections come about?

“Well I can tell you about all of those, they all came about in New York… I met Keith Ruddock, also known as Digital K, the first time I played Dub War, which was, I think, the second or third Dub War event they’d held. It was mad, there was this article in Time Out New York about me and the experience was surreal, but I enjoyed the show, and then some guy came up to me at the end and we was chatting, chatting. He knew about the music and said he’d been checking it out, but why we ended up chatting even more was that he come over to cut dubplates at Transition [in South London], but he’s from the states and he speaks with a hard Jamaican accent, so I was just interested in what he was about. So we just got on really well, and then after a bit we were with this crowd heading off to some after-party somewhere and someone just came up to him and went “oh, you’re King Tubby’s son aren’t you?” So that was just funny, there was no seeking anyone out or anything, and he still sends me music, we’ve tried to get some things going on, he’s talking about getting me to Washington DC where he lives… And it’s just surreal because he’s a dub man, like literally born and bred, so it’s always interesting to hear his take on it. People call us “dub”-step but it’s not just dubby, it’s got all the UK sounds in there and all the rest of it.

“Hank Shocklee I met again at Dub War, about a year later when we did a DMZ session – only Coki didn’t go, it was me, Pokes and Loe. And if I remember this right, I think I got a call from the Shocklee camp, like “he wants to meet you guys, can you meet him?” And it was just “uhh, yeah of course!”, so we all went out and had chicken teryaki, and we just sat down and chatted about frequencies. And I’ll tell you what, to this day I have never ever met somebody who understood in so much depth where I was coming from just by listening to my music. As it went, I actually got stuck in New York that trip because the airline I was flying went on strike – I should’ve been there for three days, I ended up staying for ten days or something. And I actually hung out with him pretty much the whole week, we went to a couple of other events, and I just had the most interesting conversations with that man about frequencies and about the universe in general. And he understands my shit, man – he understands what I’m dealing with. That was the first time I’ve really been silenced by somebody talking to me about my music and where I was coming from because he just got it exactly, on a point, unbelievably. You know when you’re passionate about something, and you put your all into something, you can’t necessarily analyse it yourself, because it’s just you, it’s just what you do – so if you’re not someone who analyses everything but just does things you might not have that detailed perception of it. You feel it, you know it but you can’t necessarily explain it…”

Well, that’s especially the case with music, musicians don’t feel the need to explain with words because they do it with the music.

“Yeah exactly. But when someone stands there and tells you it, and you go “what??? you got all that from like ten pieces of music of mine that you’ve heard? You heard them and you got all of that from it?” and they get it so on-point, well it really, really took me aback, it astounded me to be quite honest. So give thanks to them, we’ve kept in touch, we’ve had Hank and [his brother] Keith over here to play DMZ, and Hank invited me over to play a show in Miami a couple of years ago… So again, it’s one of those things where you meet someone who’s worked with some amazing and groundbreaking musicians in really interesting times and circumstances in the industry, and it gives me that hope when you meet people like this because you realise that there are actually people who are still level-headed, still kind of reasonable and not corrupted by the general madness that often takes people in the industry.

And had Public Enemy been an important thing for you growing up?

“Well not really actually, I mean of course I knew them, everyone knows tracks by Public Enemy but it just wasn’t my particular era – and then hardcore and jungle always came first for me, but as far as hip hop, I was really into the UK side of Jehst, Klashnekoff, Chester P, Lewis Parker, Roots Manuva, early Blak Twang, Karl Hinds and stuff, and then Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Snoop, Biggie, Dre, Jay-Z and especially I’d listen to a lot of Wu Tang when I was younger: I was really into the energy of it, not really so much the content if I’m honest with you, same with Mobb Deep, I really like Mobb Deep but not so much into what they’re saying. You listen and you hear that those guys are for real in what they’re saying, and I appreciate that, but it’s really the music for me, you listen and it’s this strange kind of chamber music, I really love the production on all that stuff. But yeah, I knew Public Enemy and how important they were to music I guess, and it was just a really nice moment to meet Hank and then good to have been able to stay in touch with him and Keith, just to have conversations with them is a really positive thing.”

Well there’s a great headline: “TERYAKI WITH THE BOMB SQUAD”

“Hehe seen. It happened man, it happened, I think I’ve still got the photo of it somewhere. It’s a weird thing I can even remember what I was wearing. It’s funny how that happens, clear memories of a moment like that … it was just an interesting part of this journey, it was significant I guess. He understands frequencies, Hank, he understands frequencies!”

And what about François K? He’s someone else with a soundsystem history, someone who’s clearly concerned with the finer details of sound, even if it is a radically different music style to the Bomb Squad…

“Yeah well I’d always known Body & Soul stuff, ‘cos I love house music, so I knew to some extent of his history. One day I just got an email from the woman who sorts out the booking for Deep Space, the club he does in New York, saying “François would love you to come down and play!” I was like “okaaaaaay… shit… um, I don’t really play that type of music, but I’m really up for going down there”. So I remember it’s on a Monday night,  François’s place, at a club called Cielo – I got there early to soundcheck, and went in and this place is kind of like a spaceship: it’s square-shaped room, with the dancefloor recessed into the ground in the middle and the bar and DJ area and smoking area on different sides…

“So yeah I’m soundchecking and François turns up a little later, just “alright, how you doing?” – he speaks really softly, he’s just this easy, chilled-out sort of guy – and he’s telling me about the club: “we don’t really have the music too loud, it’s a chilled-out vibe, we don’t have rewinds…”, telling me how it runs in the dance. And I remember thinking to myself, with no disrespect at all, that I just knew that certain tunes were going to get pulled up, and after about half an hour into my set… [laughs] It’s amazing though, I absolutely love playing at Deep Space, it’s one of my favourite places in the world to play, I’ve played four times now over the past few years – whenever I’m going to be in New York I let them know, hoping I can go down and have a session with François. But yeah I remember playing and François would be standing next to me, and while I’m mixing he’d get on the effects machine or on the reverb, just adding some effects and stuff – and I remember playing Coki ‘Burning’ when that tune was still fresh and on dub… now you’re playing that tune to people who are going to an experimental deep house kind of night, so women in big old high heels, looking slick, I’m sure I’ve seen guys in suits in there, and people go to dance – but they had it!

“Now the reason I say Deep Space is such a favourite place to play is that it aint this thing – this thing that’s happening everywhere nowadays, of “let’s quickly put on a dubstep night, right, book him-him-him-him-and-him and we’ll have a good night”. François K puts this night on every Monday, and some nights it’s not full and some nights it is, but it’s another of those things that isn’t about the end product, it’s about the doing, about building something and not being bothered whether it takes one year or ten years or fifty years, it’s about the building and the doing and being honest and being true to what it’s about. That’s why I love playing there, and why when I go there my approach to playing is totally different; I can’t explain to you how and why… or rather I can tell you why and it’s just because it’s Deep Space and it brings it out of me. So I remember that happening and pulling up Coki’s ‘Burning’, and François K was making the most amazing bass faces – and nobody had played at Deep Space from what they would call this genre before, so maybe it opened up some doors…

“François sees it though – one thing I totally admire and respect in this generation slightly older than me, these sound guys they totally get the axis point. François sees the axis point between what he does and what I do so the two can meet together, and I don’t necessarily see it myself – but then you go there and you hang out and you talk and discuss and see and where he’s coming from and how he plays his music, you totally see it. So it’s been a real blessing to be able to play there and speak with him. I was very lucky the last but one time I played there; Erica who does the booking said “ohhh we’d really love you to play but we’ve already booked someone, so you’d have to do the first set” – now I’m not one of those people who minds what time I play, I’m just happy to play, so I said “no problem at all, I’ll play the first hour, two hours, whatever”. Then they sent me the flyer and I see it was just me opening and this other guy playing all night… it was me and Theo Parrish! For me I was just [laughs], ah it was crazy, I’ve listened to Theo Parrish for years, any time I can I’ll go and check him, he’s without question one of the most interesting DJs to listen to with his sheer ability to make me move to music that I know if I was to play in my house I know I wouldn’t be feeling it. Some of the disco tracks he plays, I’m just not into that sound, but the way he presents music to you is just outstanding. I’ve never heard an uninteresting Theo Parrish set, so to play on the same bill was great and we talked quite a lot… then again later we played next to each other at SÓNAR, and that was mad – I ended my set with the track ‘Return II Space’ and he mixed out of it into something outrageous, I think it was an Outkast track or something and it was something nobody else could have done but he just did because he’s Theo Parrish. Some people like that, I would love to be able to hear what they hear, just for ten minutes.”

“I do have a fascination with outer space, yeah – just the vast, indescribable beauty of it, the wonder of creation which kind of happens constantly.”

Yeah the way he uses EQ, you feel like he is aware of every frequency and harmonic within a track.

“That’s it – he has his isolator, and when he starts using the EQing and filtering and stuff, taking out the bass and the tops and just leaving the midrange of the sound in because that’s where the trumpet line is or something, and he just leaves that playing for two minutes because he just wants you to hear that one amazing trumpet solo… there’s nobody else playing music like that, nobody.”

Back to your release: what is the appeal of the space aesthetic?  ‘Return II Space’, playing at Deep Space – obviously your music has that dub spaciousness in it, but you don’t seem like what one might call a space cadet… if anything you seem pretty grounded.

“Thinking about space doesn’t have to mean head-in-the-clouds though, does it? For me, ‘Return II Space’ was a track I wrote when I was literally trying to do that, trying to return to space. Not space in the sense of I want to go up with the moon and the stars, because I’m always with the moon and the stars – but in the sense of how when you feel out-of-body, you don’t feel yourself for some strange reason and you can’t pinpoint what it is, you want to escape from that. So when I wrote that track I was just trying to find myself again with my sound, I think, to find the space that I operate in. And I do have a fascination with outer space, yeah – just the vast, indescribable beauty of it, the wonder of creation which kind of happens constantly; these things interest me and inspire me all the time. The cover of ‘Return II Space’ kind of represents the universe, and there’s just something about space, about time and space and its relevance to the here and now and to the past and the future; it’s just something I think about all the time and which is relevant to me for all kinds of reasons…”

I get the feeling we’d need another interview this long to even start getting into this…

“Yeah that’s right [laughs] But yeah, it’s not just abstract, it effects the present moment, and that’s interesting to me, and that’s why ‘Return II Space’ came about.”

Well I hope we can get into that some day – but for now thanks!

“Thank you.”



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