On the back of the release of Tricky's "Back to Mine" I was lucky enough to get a chance to get to know the man who's had a hand in changing the face of music of the past decade. Tricky spoke to me down the line from the hotel room he is based in for the next few weeks, whilst working on a new film ORed Light Runners' along with names like Harvey Keitel, Peter O'Toole and Michael Madsen. At first, I found him a little jaded on the other end of the line as he's already endured a few hours of answering the same questions from media. (Or maybe he just likes to remain on guard at first because of all of the flack he gets from being in the industry he's chosen for all these years and being one of the Bristol's most unliked personalities because he chooses to speak out about the problems they have with gangsters and poverty, rather than just sweeping it all under the carpet like the rest of them.) However he didn't take too long to warm up to the conversationand he spoke candidly about pretty much any subject I brought up.
Back To Mine is a cd that's put out every few months, as artists like Everything But The Girl, Underworld et al are asked to put together six tracks of the music that has influenced them in their lives. This year has just seen Tricky asked to do the same. "It was just nice to be able to be involved in putting out an album where I could choose all of my favourite music and put it all on one record, it was a nice project to do and I just hope people listen to it now, cause there are a lot of good artists on there. They chose the order, I just did this off the top of my head, cause all of these songs I play a lot when I'm on tour, so when they called me up to choose the songs I just said Cure- Lullaby, Erik B & Rakim...' and then they put it together for me. I'd love to do another one, it's great to just choose your favourite people and give something back to them."
However it wasn't as basic as just choosing tracks that he plays on tour, these are tracks that have had a hand in influencing Tricky from childhood until today in different ways. I found it inspiring to listen to him talk about these tracks that inspired him to create music in the first place. "Erik B and Rakim -when I first heard that song 'My Melody' it totally changed my life -the beat was amazing; Dr John, Morphine, The Buzzcocks, Kate Bush, but I could only cover a little bit of it all cause Back to Mine is only six songs. So there's so much I had to leave out like Prince - not really any Michael Jackson, I never really listened to Michael Jackson - it was more Prince. 'Sign of The Times' was a big influence, I love that song, but it was mostly the 1999 album and the earlier stuff. Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, The Specials, Gary Numan, that song 'Tainted Love' not really the album, just that song, I used to play it all the time. T-Rex Marc Bolan, Public Enemy cause PE changed the face of music." He paused for a moment to reflect on what it is that made these artists stand out to him. "Most of the artists I'm into a real individual and defining artists that changed the face of music as we knew it. They didn't stick to the ordinary, they chose to break the rules and do something new and were rewarded for doing so."
As Tricky's been working crazy hours over the past few weeks on a new movie, I decided to ask him about how it's been working in an industry he isn't so familiar with, and whether being beside the likes of Harvey Keitel is at all intimidating for someone with little acting experience. "It's like a heist film, with us robbing The Millennium Dome, it's a bit strange, it's a very weird movie with a lot of different characters in it together, like Peter O'Toole, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen and Killien Murphy, so quite an odd bunch."
I found it intriguing to find out how he managed to get himself involved in a project like this, as it's so out of the ordinary. "Well you see, I was in the office of this tv ad company talking to somebody and this lady come out (she knew who I was) and said 'Oh, my husband is doing a movie and I think you should be in it' so I asked what the movie was about and talked to her husband, then he and I met up and he was a very very nice guy, which shocked me, cause I had a bad experience with a movie in the past. He was so cool, so I said to him, 'To be honest with you, I've done a movie and I don't want to do anything else like it, unless it's really organic and natural because my last experience was painful,' so he started coming around my house every night and we'd hang out and talk and then I met up with him in London and took him out to a few places around there and all the while he was telling me about how he wanted the movie to be and mentioned a couple of people I didn't think I wanted to be in the movie with and he said 'Look, they're not definitely in it yet, it can be sorted' so I ended up doing it cause he's such a good guy. Even when he's working, he's like so nice, it's unbelievable and I find myself watching him sometimes and wondering 'how can he be so nice and be under all this pressure (cause it's his first movie), and he's got people like Peter O'Toole, Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen. But he's still super nice and I don't get how he manages to do it. He has time for everybody, like I'm a nobody when there's Harvey Keitel and Peter O'Toole around, I'm just like insignificant, but he'll still take the time to come over to me and say 'Look, you're doing good, don't worry.' and then at the end of the day he'll call me and see how I'm getting on and see if I'm still happy with the project, which is unbelievable. So I'm really having a good time with it."
"Harvey Keitel's great to work with as well, I've only done one scene with him so far and it's amazing to watch him work, cause he creates a vibe. Which is pretty amazing, cause I knew that you could create a vibe in the recording studio but I didn't know it was possible on a film. It's mad, he captures you so well, when he goes into a scene, he can just take you with him. He's so in control, it's amazing to watch, when a person is so good at what they do in that field, the power they can command when they go in and then as soon as it stops, he switches off and he's this really cool guy. He's given me so much encouragement, which is what I needed cause I still wasn't sure about the whole film thing and he say things like 'You've got good reactions' or 'You look great on screen' which was the encouragement I needed at the time."
The character you'll see Tricky playing once the film hits the big screen, is not at all unlike himself "They've got me playing this getaway driver- the guy actually wrote the character for me after hanging out with me, so it's like me playing me really, I get to smoke weed and drive around in a car being me."
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