Goldie announces brand new album

“This new music reflects the most honest, and bold, insight into who I really am and where my heart wants to be”, says Goldie. MOBO Award-winning songwriter, DJ, producer, visual artist and actor Goldie (MBE) will release a new double album ‘The Journey Man’ on June 16th. The album comprises two parts, 16 brand new tracks in total, all written and produced by Goldie. It also features a host of collaborators handpicked by Goldie to help realise his vision for the album. ‘The Journey Man’ will be released through Cooking Vinyl and Goldie’s own record label, Metalheadz.

“In my music”, says Goldie “is everything I’ve learned, everyone I’ve met, everything I’ve experienced”. And it’s been an incredible trip. The maverick innovator – who rewrote the future of the jungle scene with landmark releases has a unique story to tell. From children’s homes in the West Midlands through stints in New York and Miami as one of the UK’s most celebrated exponents of graffiti art to rubbing shoulders with an exceptional list of musical collaborators including David Bowie, Noel Gallagher and KRS One, Goldie has always been one of a kind.

Goldie says: “I often look at music not so much as a producer but like a director. You’re drawing together engineers, performers and arrangers to create something special, something magical. It’s like alchemy. The notes, the music, the lyrics, they’re all in my head and each element has to be communicated and brought to life to create the finished track. I’m always inspired by great movie directors – people like Stanley Kubrick and PT Anderson – and, if you think about it, it’s quite a similar approach. They start off with a vision and then they use that vision to deploy the actors and the cameramen and the editors in order to create the finished film”.

Collaborators on ‘The Journey Man’ album include vocalist and songwriter Natalie Duncan, who was discovered when chosen in the three-part BBC series Goldie’s Band By Royal Appointment’ and later provided the vocals for Goldie’s 2012 single ‘Freedom’. Other featured vocalists on the album include Terri Walker, Tyler Lee Daly, Natalie Williams, José James, Naomi Pryor as well as Goldie’s wife, Mika Wassenaar Price. Full tracklisting for ‘The Journey Man’ below.

Part One:
1. Horizons
2. Prism
3. Mountains
4. Castaway
5. The Mirrored River
6. I Adore You – Goldie vs. Ulterior Motive
7. I Think Of You
8. Truth ft José James

Part Two:
9. Redemption
10. Tu Viens Avec Moi?
11. The Ballad Celeste
12. This Is Not A Love Song
13. The River Mirrored
14. Triangle
15. Tomorrow’s Not Today
16. Run Run Run

 

The Journey Man (track by track)

“I always felt that Timeless was a wonderful blueprint”, says Goldie. In fact his platinum-selling 1995 debut – still acknowledged as one of electronic music’s most innovative masterpieces – defined a genre, setting a benchmark that has only rarely been surpassed. But for the maverick drum‘n’bass pioneer, the desire to create something that would stand side-by-side with that groundbreaking first album was irresistible. “The challenge, for me”, he admits, “was creating something worthy of that”. The Journey Man is a trip, proof that – from his very first underground releases, exactly 20 years ago, to the sensational crossover success of his landmark debut and beyond – Goldie has lost none of his flair for innovation, artistic brilliance and connection.

Here, in his own words, is Goldie’s exclusive track-by-track guide to the new album:

Horizons – “I often look at music not so much as a producer but like a director. You’re drawing together engineers, performers and arrangers to create something special, something magical. It’s like alchemy. The notes, the music, the lyrics, they’re all in my head and each element has to be communicated and brought to life to create the finished track. I’m always inspired by great movie directors – people like Stanley Kubrick and PT Anderson – and, if you think about it, it’s quite a similar approach. They start off with a vision and then they use that vision to deploy the actors and the cameramen and the editors in order to create the finished film. For the opening track of the album, though, I knew I had to have something with that David Lean-type feel, that real widescreen performance. In this case, I wanted to tip my hat to that beautiful soulfulness of those trailblazing British jazz funk bands like Loose Ends, Beggar & Co, Incognito and 52nd Street. But I was also inspired by the beautiful soul-jazz of Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, which I think is amazing – I think the back-end of this track is very much inspired by what I heard on that album. It’s just a really beautiful take on jazz-funk. Horizons actually started life as one of a number of pieces I was working on with Jon Dixon. Jon is a brilliant piano player from Detroit and he sent me over some sketches, that I thought I could really expand. I took that and built the rest around it. The vocalist on this, Terri Walker, was introduced to me at Fabric by my homeboy DRS, from Manchester. I knew that she was solid and someone I wanted to work with but I was blown away by what she did on this track. She’s an English R&B vocalist but at one time she was a professional opera singer and I think you can still hear that purity of tone in her voice. It fits perfectly with the song, which is about me settling in a new home in a new country, looking at my life – my past and my future – and knowing that, despite some bad times, I’ve come through it and I’ll never stop chasing those dreams. Because they do come true. Sometimes…”

Prism – “This is one of my favourite drum‘n’bass tracks on the album. I wanted to reach back into the 1980s, to that classic analogue Oberheim synthesiser sound, then plot where the music could have gone next. Sonically, with the texture of the snare drums and the elongated cymbals – underpinned by the different time signatures (moving from 3/3 to 4/4 and back again) – I was trying to capture that feeling when you melt gold in a crucible. When it’s at its hottest point, with the oxygen and the acetylene, the metal darts across the surface in a beautifully chaotic way. That’s what I wanted to evoke with this track. It continually unfolds within itself. When it comes to music, I’m an alchemist. My aim is to create something precious from the raw materials – drum breaks, basslines, samples (there’s a piece of 1992’s Darkrider in this track) – but the most important element for me is the melody. When I’m creating a melody it feels like raising a deity. When it feels like that, you’ve done it right”.

Mountains – “At the very start of making The Journey Man, I went from Kamala, in northern Thailand, to Krabi, then took a boat to Railay island. I stayed there for a week and really that’s where the plan for this record came together. I sat down and meticulously worked out what I was going to do with this album and how I was going to do it. From the boat, I’d seen this incredibly striking view of those ageless limestone peaks at Krabi. I felt blessed that I was able to look at something that beautiful. It made me want to inhale more life. It was a moment of complete happiness. But in that moment, I realised that – while I’ve been there, and done everything – I’m always going to be climbing. As I was planning out the record, I was writing the song over the course of that week. It’s a kind of love letter to my past for allowing me to get to this point. Musically it’s also a nod to that beautiful era in the 1990s that has been so important to electronic music generally – when great records by Massive Attack and Portishead helped create a whole new musical landscape. The vocals are by Naomi Pryor, who has been featured on my Metalheadz label before as the guest vocalist on Scar’s album The Orkyd Project. Her voice on this track is simply outstanding”.

Castaway – “This is a total b-boy track. The inspiration for this was my first trip to New York back in August 1986 for the Bombin’ documentary and my first visit to the Bronx to meet Brim and Afrika Bambaataa. I can still remember the smell of the smoked bacon in the diner, the brake dust from the subway, the 75-cent pizza, like it was yesterday. On the radio, I heard WBLS playing Prince’s Kiss for the first time. And then of course there’s my time in Miami too. So there’s that sense of being a stranger in a strange land. But it’s also about that moment when two b-boy crews are about to battle. I remember being at Rock City in Nottingham, eyeballing the competition – the Breaking Glass crew from Manchester, Smack 19 from Sheffield – planning out the moves, the stop-start headspins, the reverse windmills, the drill headspins that I was going to do. When you hit it perfectly, there’s nothing else like it. All that stuff, the b-boyism, it’s still part of me. It’s in my DNA. This track is my tribute to that part of my life”.

The Mirrored River – “This is about cleansing. My cleansing. A really important event in my life, almost like a spiritual rebirth, was going through the Hoffman Process. It’s like rehabilitation for the spirit. I had a lot of self-destructive tendencies, a lot of stuff from my past to deal with, but the Hoffman Process really helped to save my life. At the time, I’d gone through a divorce, I had an unhealthy relationship with drugs and an unhealthy relationship with my past. But I found the Hoffman Process and I found yoga – two things that helped me reorient – then I relocated to Thailand and it feels like I’ve been given another chance. I’ve been reborn. There’s an important line for me in the song: ‘It’s gonna be alright.’ I haven’t always felt that way”.

I Adore You – “I wrote this about five years ago and recorded it with Jim Muir at my old place in Hertfordshire. Julian Velard was in the UK on tour at that time so I got him to put some keys down on it. I wanted to have this really beautiful build on the keys, so another keyboard player Ricky Reid – who was doing a lot of gospel stuff at the time – also put some parts down. Natalie Williams came over and did a beautiful job on the vocal. But something kept bugging me about the breaks and I could never quite get them working in the way I wanted. So I put it to the side and never really did anything with it. Then, about four years later, my daughter was getting in the car to go to school and I could see she’d been crying. I asked her what had happened and she just said: ‘It’s this tune, dad. It’s so beautiful.’ She’d found an old iPod–one of the old ones with the wheel on it – that I’d left a mix of Adore You on. We plugged it into the car stereo and when I heard it playing back again I was like: ‘Wow! I should finish this.’ So I went back in and redid it with James Davidson and Greg Hepworth of Ulterior Motive at their studio in Bournemouth. Since we’d put out their album The Fourth Wall on Metalheadz, I knew how strong they were in terms of beat-driven drum‘n’bass but I think they did an incredible job of reworking the drums on this track. Natalie then came back into the studio and did more vocals. When the track was finally finished, I played it to my daughter, and it was a very special, tearful experience”.

I Think Of You – “This is my Blue Note track, looking back to that incredible era when we had the Metalheadz clubnight there every Sunday– or maybe further beyond to Speed or AWOL or Rage. I was thinking about the impact that the presence of a really firing, underground club has on the development of the music. You’d see some of the very best drum‘n’bass producers down there at those clubs, soaking it all up. At the Blue Note, we’d have acetates of tracks that had only just been finished earlier that week, you’d be hearing music that was so fresh it had never been heard in a club before. So new ideas were circulating, producers and DJs were sharing new music, it was a real melting pot of inspiration, you could feel it in the air. This track is a straight-up roller – it’s my homage to Doc Scott, Digital and all those others who helped push the music forward. My wife did the vocal lines and there’s a lyric – “I just want you to listen to this” – that goes to the heart of what this song is about. You know those times when you hear a tune and you can’t quite place it? It’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t quite get the name of it. At the Blue Note, it happened all the time – Fabio would drop a tune, or Grooverider would play something and you’d be like: ‘What is that tune, man?’ In a way, it’s a lament for those times at the Blue Note. It was a very special place”.

Truth – “Truth has been very important in my life. Growing up in care, it was essential. Then for years, maybe even decades, I was a cocaine addict. That means the fabric of life around you becomes very chaotic. You need to hold on to something, you need to have something that anchors you. For me, that’s honest truth. My lyrics have always been very personal – especially on this track – and they’re very truthful. This is my life. I’m not making it up. This track is a reworking of the track I wrote for David Bowie, on Saturnz Return. Bowie was a massive inspiration in my life, particularly in terms of the way he continually moved forward and reinvented himself. I’ve got good memories of him coming down to the Blue Note and being totally blown away by the energy of the place. I’d wanted to write something very special for him and I had a great time with him in the studio. He taught me a lot about delivery and the writing process during that. Bowie really loved the way the track came together yet somehow, as a song, it’s been a bit overlooked. So I wanted to revisit it. The original was quite dark and, this time, I wanted to turn it around and make it quite positive. The singer on this version is José James, who I’d met in New York a couple of years ago. For me, the way he did the title track on his album The Dreamer, which came out on Gilles Peterson’s label, really blew me away. I knew I wanted to work with him as soon as I heard it. The way José has approached the song is totally different to the way Bowie did it but it’s still absolutely beautiful”.

Redemption – “This is a very special track for me. It’s up there with Timeless and Mother in my opinion. A real magnum opus. It has its roots – just like modern electronic music itself – in the urban music of Detroit, the birthplace of techno. The fact that this music, taken from the slums of the Motor City and bastardised in Europe, is being brought back to its birthright on this track means a lot to me. Early in my career, I worked a lot with Dego MacFarlane and Mark Clair and they put together a compilation – The Deepest Shade Of Techno – that was crucial for the developing drum‘n’bass scene. The tracks on that record were a reminder that electronic music could be deep, soulful and multi-dimensional. One of those tracks was by Detroit’s Underground Resistance – an absolutely legendary outfit in electronic music circles. Years later, by coincidence, I was in a minivan with Underground Resistance, heading back to the airport after a music festival. I asked Mad Mike right then if I could sample his track Hi-Tech Jazz. He told me: ‘Goldie, it would be an honour.’ Once I’d finished the track, I sent it to Underground Resistance’s Black Planet studio in Detroit. His response? He said: ‘Goldie, you brought it back home, you brought the music back home to Detroit.’ To me, that’s the ultimate accolade”.

Tu Viens Avec Moi? – “Pat Metheny’s Are You Going With Me? is one of the greatest songs of all time and I told Pat that I wanted to record it. It’s also me and my wife’s all-time favourite records. We were on a bullet train in Tokyo and she was introducing me to some Beatles tracks I’d never heard, then I played her a couple of Talking Heads tracks and then I dropped this on her. She got it immediately and it really kind of cemented the fact that we both love music to an incredible degree. Pat found me the Synclavier loop from his original recording and what I wanted to do was wrap an entirely new setting around it. So it’s very close to the original, but very new and very cutting edge. It’s also one of the strongest arrangements I’ve ever done. It’s a beautiful arrangement. I also got into the whole aspect of taking different instruments and having them realised in different ways. Matt Calvert, who played guitar, synth and keys on it, was an integral part of getting this exactly how I’d heard it in my head. Of course, when I used to listen to the original on Jazz FM all those years ago, I assumed the harmonica was real. So we’ve got Drool Jackson on harmonica and a really talented trumpet player, Aaron Janik, who’ based in Detroit, playing the trumpet part”.

The Ballad Celeste – “I’ve reached a level of maturity with the writing process on this long-player – I think it’s got a great archetype, great depth and a great sense of growth about it that really captures what writing is about for me. I was really trying to soul-search and find a good narrative and storyline throughout the album. The lyrics, the subject matter, it’s all authentic and very personal to me. This song was particularly written for Natalie Duncan – she is one of the most incredible singers I’ve ever worked with. She really captured what I was feeling when I wrote the words. That’s a difficult thing to do – to express someone else’s emotion so perfectly – but I think, across this album, all the vocalists have done outstanding work. They’re timeless performances. I wanted people to listen to the record and be blown away not only by the technological innovation, but by the singing and the playing too. I wanted that beautiful human dimension to counterpoint the electronics, so it feels like the technical stuff is blowing your mind but the voices are touching your soul”.

This Is Not A Love Song – “When I started work on the album I got 12 pieces of music from Jon Dixon. He plays in Underground Resistance’s live band so you know he’s got to be something special right? One of those pieces I turned into Horizons, another of them became the basis for this song. It’s a soulful ballad and his piano just reaches out through the speakers and tugs at your heart. My criteria for this album were pretty simple – the music had to be sensational and it had to connect. For me, this is the perfect example of how that works in practice. Like the rest of the album this was engineered by James Davidson, who has done some sensational work throughout. Technically, I think The Journey Man is a beautifully recorded album and a lot of the credit for that has to go to James and also to Alex Evans who engineered a lot of the vocal sessions we did at London’s Black Swan Studios”.

The River Mirrored – “This track is the twin sister of The Mirrored River, which was sung by Natalie Duncan. That one was a soul cut, this is a much rawer gospel take. The vocalist is Terri Walker but the lyric is me looking into the river of my life, watching it flow by. At the same time, I’m in the river – like Talking Heads or Al Green – looking back at it all. Originally, the idea that I had for this one was that Jocelyn Brown would sing it. I knew a friend of hers who was out here in Thailand and he said to me: ‘You gotta work with Jocelyn, man.’ He was bugging me about it for a while and I have a lot of respect for Jocelyn, through her work with Change. Finally I said, ‘OK, let me reach out.’ So when I was writing the song, I had her in mind. We got pretty far along – I’d even sent her my guide vocal – but then her management got involved. They asked me: ‘What’s your demographic? What’s the target market here?’ That’s not how I work. I make music that comes from the heart, from the soul. It’s not designed for markets. It’s designed for people. So I just went shotgun, both barrels, on them and, instead, we got two really amazing performances from two incredible singers on two different versions. Perfect”.

Triangle – “This is a big track for drum‘n’bass fans. For me Prism is the most truly-crafted drum‘n’bass track I’ve ever made – it’s the closest to perfection, but the reaction I’ve been getting to Triangle suggests that, initially at least, this is the one they’ll go for. It was written and recorded entirely at my studio in Thailand, which is a beautiful working environment. The beats are strong and there’s a lot of attention to detail in the production but, of course, it’s the strength of that melody that keeps you coming back for more. Love it”.

Tomorrow’s Not Today – “This is another of the tracks that was built up from one of the pieces Jon Dixon sent me. Natalie Pryor also contributed to this one. So it has her incredible vocals and his incredible piano and some phenomenal breaks, programmed by James Davidson. It’s about dealing with changes, overcoming your fears and continuing to follow your dreams no matter what. Jon’s piano on this reminds me of Keith Jarrett floating over this kinetic, constantly evolving breakbeat. It works beautifully but it’s one of those tracks where, the more you listen, the more you get out of it. For me, it’s pretty magical”.

Run, Run, Run – “When I used to sit in the yard at the children’s home, the other kids would come up to me and say: ‘Cliff, what are you going to do?’ My answer was always the same: ‘I’m going to run, run, run.’ Among the pieces Jon Dixon sent me over for the record was a 49-minute piano improvisation. I had no idea what to do with it. I just knew I loved it. I must have listened to it a hundred times, pacing the floor night after night trying to figure out what I could do with it. In the end, I painstakingly edited it down into a five-minute opus. I’d met the singer Tyler Lee Daly at the SunAndBass festival in Sardinia a couple of years ago, and – for me – he has one of the most versatile voices of any male vocalist I’ve ever heard. But it’s not a linear track, it’s more like classical jazz, so I want him to be able to get a handle on it. We talked about it, in a series of late-night phone calls, for about three weeks. Then I sent him over a guide vocal and he understood what was required immediately. He sent me a quick e-mail back. It said: ‘Wow!’ I pretty much felt the same way when we finished the sessions for his vocal. This is, for me, the greatest single track I have ever recorded. It’s the top of the mountain, the house on the hill. A photograph of flames, a snapshot of time. A eulogy for my life”.

Goldie’s career to date is unparalleled. He is a pioneering DJ, songwriter, producer, and visual artist, as well as an actor and orchestral composer and conductor: a modern-day renaissance man. In 2012, he was selected as one of the BBC’s “New Elizabethans”: a selection of 60 people – including David Hockney, Roald Dahl, David Bowie and Tim Berners-­Lee – who have helped shape British culture during the reign of Elizabeth II. Four years later, he was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
22 years ago saw the release of Goldie’s debut album ‘Timeless’ which truly changed the face of electronic dance music specifically drum’n’bass, hardcore and jungle. The seminal record featured the iconic track ‘Inner City Life’ – the vocals for which were performed by the late Diane Charlemagne. In 2011, The Guardian described the release of ‘Timeless’ as one of the “50 key events in the history of dance music”.
“I always felt that Timeless was a wonderful blueprint…the challenge, for me was creating something worthy of that.”
Goldie is also one of only a handful of artists ever to co-write with David Bowie – on the track ‘Truth’ from the drum‘n’bass pioneer’s second album, ‘Saturnz Return’. The album also featured distinguished collaborators such as Noel Gallagher and KRS-One, and hit number 15 on the UK Albums Chart upon its release in 1998.
Goldie will be performing an exclusive, sold-out set of shows at London’s esteemed venue Ronnie Scott’s on 24th and 25th of February, where he will be performing with the Heritage Ensemble along with ‘The Journey Man’ vocalists Tyler Lee Daly and Natalie Duncan.

“In my music,” says Goldie, “is everything I’ve learned, everyone I’ve met, everything I’ve experienced.” And it’s been an incredible trip. The maverick innovator – who rewrote the future of the jungle scene with landmark releases that still sound like they were kidnapped from tomorrow – has a unique story to tell. From children’s homes in the West Midlands through stints in New York and Miami as one of the UK’s most celebrated exponents of graffiti art to rubbing shoulders with an exceptional list of musical collaborators including David Bowie, Noel Gallagher and KRS-One, Goldie has defiantly, definitively, done it his own way.
“I’m an alchemist,” he likes to insist. “I practice the dark arts of messing with the form of something solid.”
Though marriage and his passion for bikram yoga have, he says, proved a calming influence, these days he’s just as full of inspired, out-there ideas as he was back in 1993 when he did his first cover interview for the rave magazine Generator. “My music is about fallout,” he said then, “about the damage that has been done to the system.” Today, in the office of one of his London-based contacts, the ideas are still sparking. “Drum‘n’bass has done to electronic music what graffiti has done to the art world,” he muses, before launching into a rapid-fire synthesis of art history, dancefloor evolution and his own hyperactive brand of self-actualization, which loosely translates as: “Why do something ordinary when you can do something extraordinary?”
It sums up the reason why, in 1994, music critic Simon Reynolds famously observed: “Goldie revolutionised jungle not once but three times. First there was Terminator (pioneering the use of time stretching), then Angel (fusing Diane Charlemagne’s live vocal with David Byrne/Brian Eno samples to prove that hardcore could be more conventionally musical), now there’s Timeless, a 22-minute hardcore symphony.” Each of these were moments that shaped the musical fabric of the decade and beyond, presaging Goldie’s transition from the underground rave scene into the world of bona fide A- list superstars.
But it didn’t start out like that. The boy who would become Goldie was born Clifford Price on 19 September 1965, just as The Rolling Stones hit the top of the charts with Satisfaction. His dad Clement, originally from Jamaica, had been plying his trade as a foundryman in Leeds. His mum Margaret, who had been born in Glasgow, was a popular singer in the pubs and clubs of the West Midlands. Barely more than a toddler, Goldie was just three when she placed him into foster care (though she kept his younger brother Melvin). He still remembers, he says, the day the social workers came to take him away.
Over the next 15 years, he bounced between a series of foster homes and local government institutions around the Walsall area. His eclectic musical taste was forged, he reckons, in those same local authority homes listening to the sonic tangle of other teenagers’ record collections. “In one room,” he says, “a kid would be playing Steel Pulse while through the wall someone else had a Japan record on and another guy would be spinning Human League.” On rare visits to see his dad, he’d lie sprawled over the living room couch, listening to Jazz FM, marvelling at the lavishly-tooled ‘80s productions of Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, David Sanborn and Michael Franks, adding further layers to his complex musicography.
Already developing the irresistible urge to excel that has marked his inimitable musical career, Goldie’s first love was roller-hockey. He earned a place as goalkeeper in England’s national squad before the lure of music overtook the lure of sport. After discovering electro and hip hop, he grew his hair – the “goldilocks” that won him his nickname – and joined a breakdance crew called the B-Boys in nearby Wolverhampton. He also discovered graffiti. “They called me ‘the spraycan king of the Midlands’,” he says proudly. His talent was undeniable, bringing him to the attention not only of Britain’s Arts Council but to Dick Fontaine, producer of a Channel 4 TV documentary on graffiti. Fontaine’s 1987 film Bombin’ captured a visit to the UK by New York artist Brim Fuentes. Brim met Goldie and his B-Boys crew in Wolverhampton’s Heathtown before heading a dozen miles away to Birmingham’s Handsworth, where the producer filmed the aftermath of rioting that had left four dead, 35 injured and dozens of stores burned out. Several months later, Fontaine reversed the process and took Goldie to New York, introducing him to hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. For Goldie, on his first trip abroad, never mind his first trip over the Atlantic, the Big Apple was love at first sight. Back in Britain, he begged, borrowed and saved until he had enough to fund a return trip to the Bronx.
“I started painting the trains and getting involved on the streets,” he says, remembering his total immersion in what was still, at that point, an emerging culture. Art and music as symbiotic technologies. Rubbing shoulders with the Big Apple’s best graffiti artists, his own distinctive style was accelerated and enriched. A move to Miami followed. He worked in the flea markets, he says, “painting trucks for drug dealers” and developing a sideline in gold jewellery that included the distinctive grills that became a trademark on his return to the UK. The magical properties of shaping, working and bending precious metals to his will – as close to alchemy as the modern world gets – became an analogue for the way he prefers to operate in the studio, chasing quicksilver dreams, mercury-fast rivulets of imagination into impossibly lush, breakbeat concertos.
Back in Britain, Goldie found himself seduced by the sweet heart of the rave. Though it took him eight attempts to get entry into the club, at London’s Rage in 1991 he marvelled at the alternate sonic worlds being forged by Fabio and Grooverider behind the decks. “It really flipped me out,” he remembers. Soon he found himself in the orbit of Dego McFarlane and Mark Clair. Their label Reinforced was in the vanguard of breakbeat, issuing astonishing records that stripped out boundaries and limits while setting the tone for the scene’s sense of adventure. At first he helped out doing artwork and a bit of A&R. But soon he was in Reinforced’s Internal Affairs studio watching intently as Mark and Dego recorded tracks like Cookin’ Up Ya Brain and Journey From The Light. “I was watching what they could do,” says Goldie, “trying to gauge the possibilities of the technology.” 
Soon he was getting involved. “I remember one session we did that lasted over three days,” he says, “just experimenting, pushing the technology to its limits. We’d come up with mad ideas and then try to create them. We were sampling from ourselves and then resampling, twisting sounds around and pushing them into all sorts of places.”
What followed was a series of inspired break-driven releases such as Killa Muffin, Dark Rider and Menace. Then Terminator, with its writhing drum loop, dropped and suddenly Goldie’s name was on everyone’s lips. He followed up with the equally revolutionary Angel, tilting the axis towards the lush, trippy textures that made 1995’s debut album Timeless the drum‘n’bass scene’s first platinum album. Incredibly, given what was happening elsewhere in the scene at the time, the recording of the album’s epic title track began as far back as 1993, when most other producers were still focused on the original sonic tropes of hardcore rave.
Timeless was a masterpiece – of production, of songwriting, of sonic perfection and breakbeat futurism. Even today, it still sounds as astonishingly new and inspired as it did back on those early pre-release cassettes circulated by London Records in the early months of 1995, when Goldie was still living on the 18th floor of a North London tower block.
By then, Goldie had already set up his own record label – Metalheadz – with his friends the DJ duo Kemistry and Storm. Along with studio collaborator Rob Playford’s Moving Shadow and LTJ Bukem’s Looking Good imprint, Metalheadz helped to define drum‘n’bass as a distinct musical format with singles by J Majik, Asylum and Goldie himself. Still bursting with energy, he then launched a legendary club night, Metalheadz Sunday Sessions, at London’s Blue Note. The scene’s best producers – among them revolutionary artists like Photek, Source Direct, Peshay and Dillinja – would compete to have their latest recordings debuted at the club and the scene’s faithful came from far and wide to hear the best tunes before anyone else. “Those nights at the Blue Note were magical,” he recalls. “It was an underground phenomenon that became an institution.” David Bowie, who was making the drum‘n’bass-influenced album Earthling at the time, fell in love with the place. “I remember popping out to take a break from all the madness inside the club,” says Goldie. “He was outside having a cigarette, a bit of a breather. We chatted for a bit, looked at each other, grinned and then plunged back into it all. It was just that kind of place.”
Goldie is one of only a handful of artists ever to co-write with Bowie – on the track Truth from the drum‘n’bass pioneer’s second album Saturnz Return. Released in 1998, the album also saw his vision become more expansive (the opening track, Mother, clocked in at just over an hour). The album’s collaborative approach included guest spots from rap legend KRS-One, Sex Pistols manager and all-round provocateur Malcolm McLaren, super-producer Trevor Horn and Oasis mainman Noel Gallagher (on the single Temper Temper).
Fuelled by the limitless creativity that has been the hallmark of his career to date, Goldie next turned to acting. He reunited with Bowie in Andrew Goth’s 1999 thriller Everybody Loves Sunshine then took the part of Bullion in the 1999 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. Other box office smashes – including Guy Ritchie’s crime heist caper Snatch – followed before he joined the cast of BBC1 soap opera EastEnders, playing the gangster Angel Hudson.
A series of blockbuster TV appearances – on shows such as Maestro (where he learned to conduct an orchestra), Classic Goldie (which saw him perform his own orchestral composition at the Royal Albert Hall in the summer of 2009) and Goldie’s Band: By Royal Appointment.
The orchestral training proved useful. In 2014, he translated his original vision for Timeless into the stunning Timeless (Sine Tempore). Performed live with the Heritage Orchestra at the Wilderness Festival to suitably rapturous acclaim, the performance was repeated the following year as part of the Meltdown Festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall. In between, he found time to unveil Fragments Of Gold, a piece inspired by mediaeval chants that he performed live in Glasgow Cathedral.
Drum‘n’bass, of course, has remained a consistent passion, both through his Metalheadz label and his releases under the Rufige Kru moniker (2007’s Malice In Wonderland and 2009’s Memoirs Of An Afterlife). “Technologically,” he says, “breakbeat has managed to surpass all other forms of music to date. There isn’t a recording engineer alive who can tell me there’s any other form of music that is more complex than the music we make.”
Goldie has also recently announced he will be releasing a brand new double album ‘The Journey Man’ this year. The album comprises two parts, 16 brand new tracks in total, all written and produced by Goldie. It also features a host of collaborators handpicked by Goldie to help realise his vision for the album.

“I often look at music not so much as a producer but like a director. You’re drawing together engineers, performers and arrangers to create something special, something magical. It’s like alchemy. The notes, the music, the lyrics, they’re all in my head and each element has to be communicated and brought to life to create the finished track. I’m always inspired by great movie directors – people like Stanley Kubrick and PT Anderson – and, if you think about it, it’s quite a similar approach. They start off with a vision and then they use that vision to deploy the actors and the cameramen and the editors in order to create the finished film.”
Collaborators on ‘The Journey Man’ album include vocalist and songwriter Natalie Duncan, who was discovered when chosen in the three-part BBC series ‘Goldie’s Band By Royal Appointment’ and later provided the vocals for Goldie’s 2012 single ‘Freedom’. Other featured vocalists on the album include Terri Walker, Tyler Lee Daly, Natalie Williams, José James, Naomi Pryor as well as Goldie’s wife, Mika Wassenaar Price.
‘The Journey Man’ will be released through Cooking Vinyl and Goldie’s own record label, Metalheadz.
Goldie’s love affair with painting has remained consistent too and he continues to exhibit visual work that’s just as dazzling as his sonic output. Beginning with Night Writers, the 1986 exhibition at Wolverhampton’s art gallery that introduced Goldie and his Supreme Graffiti Team to the British Arts Council, his shows have defined a unique aesthetic that’s all his own. And through them all, from 1987’s Rockin’ The City in Birmingham (where he exhibited alongside Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja) and the 1988 Crucial Creators exhibition in Walsall to more recent gallery events like 2007’s Love Over Gold and 2012’s Athleticizm collection (including portraits of London Olympics stars such as Victoria Pendleton, Tom Daley and Jessica Ennis), runs a consistent thread of energy, experimentalism and boundary-pushing. His 2013 collection, Lost Tribes, an innovative series of pieces fusing Goldie’s style with the artistic expression of the ancient peoples of Africa, Asia and America was, he says, “my most important breakthrough”.
And for the kid who lay awake, gazing at the stars, through the window of a children’s home, growing up has brought some surprises. In 2012, he was selected as one of the BBC’s New Elizabethans, 60 people – ranging from David Hockney to Roald Dahl, David Bowie and Tim Berners-Lee – who have helped shape British culture during the reign of Elizabeth II. Four years later, he was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours. It’s acceptance, of course, on a grand scale. But at heart, he’s still the gatecrasher, amped-up on ideas, buzzing on nothing but love, hope and the certainty that, while his way might not be the easy way, it’s very definitely the path of a true artist.

“The Journey Man” will be release June 16th via Metalheadz/Cooking Vinyl.

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