Few names from UK dance music have managed to permeate culture as broadly as Clifford Joseph Price.
A seminal figure in shaping jungle into drum’n’bass in the early nineties and one of electronic music’s true trailblazers, he’s driven beyond the confines that often restricted his peers. Price set up one of drum‘n’bass’ most crucial labels, Metalheadz, and released one of the genre’s essential documents, Timeless. In the time between he’s worked with the likes of David Bowie and Noel Gallagher, but his creativity has often stepped outside the world of music. In 2016, Goldie is returning with a new album as well as ARTA, a crowd- funded project that takes him back to his creative roots of living in New York as a graffiti artist in the mid eighties.
Early years: Graffiti
I wouldn’t have made the music I have without being a graffiti artist. In New York the graffiti was raw, and the art form was just ‘wow’. People talk about how important the internet is now, but it was here when guys started moving paintings around on the New York subway system. When you think about what the internet does, it moves around information for people to see. That’s what was happening there. Graffiti’s all about having an idea in your head that you make real, and when you look at that aspect and how it adds to my music, I wouldn’t make music the way I have without it.
I’ve always been innovative creatively but from a business perspective I’ve never been the Suge Knight of this shit. We went from pressing white labels in Tottenham to blowing the fuck up; all of a sudden Metalheadz was the Motown of new music. My mentor Gus Coral once said to me: ‘Don’t work too hard because it might just come true.’ But I always knew Metalheadz was going to be big. Between 2000-05 the label was irrelevant to a lot of people but it’s probably in the best position it’s been in for the past 15 years now. We had to allow dubstep and everything else to have its say. The mistake a lot of subcultures make is not allowing the next to be represented. Every subculture is just part of culture anyway, so you can’t knock it.
1995: Saint Angel
My record Saint Angel is without a doubt where I found the sound. At the time there was a lot of ragga jungle around and Saint Angel came out of the woods like a gorilla and just levelled everything. I remember meeting Grooverider in the West End and giving him a cassette of it. Groove got out of his car in the middle of traffic and walked over to my car shaking his head. He just said: ‘Mate. I don’t know what you’ve done. You’ve killed it.’ We went straight to Hackney to cut it. That was the fucking tune.
2009: Performing Sine Tempore (Timeless) with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir
Timeless being 20-years-old overshadows everything else. Drum‘n’bass is built in layers, much like graffiti; which is built in layers of colour and outline. Electronic music is the same if we treat it that way. So I always knew the live performance of Timeless is where it was going to get to. I worked with actual musicians on the album so it translates really well because that means you can push it across an orchestra. That real live aspect of electronic music is still in its infancy. It’s a bit like Moore’s law. Only now are we beginning to understand the power of the computer. In the same light, we should really be looking now at how much further we can push live music.
2015: Receiving an MBE
The MBE was a bit of a shocker. I wasn’t expecting it at all. In fact, I found out about it by accident. I stopped by my office and my accountant Colin [Young] asked me if I’d sign the papers. I thought I’d got a parking ticket. Then he started reading through it and congratulating me. I was just like: ‘What? It’s an MBE? Brilliant.’ It’s great to be in the company of people like David Rodigan, Jazzie B and Norman Jay. You get the naysayers who turn their noses up at it but change happens from the inside out. If you look at people like Rudimental, drum‘n’bass music changed popular music in the same way graffiti has changed the art world. We were being chased around for graffiti 20 years ago, now it’s adorning the walls of galleries. People are finally recognising what we’ve been championing all these years. What do you want to do, pull the canvas off the walls now that’s happened?
2016: Producing New Material
I’ve got a beautiful recording studio at the house I’ve built in Thailand and after eight years I’m getting an album done. You get
a different perspective being 10,000 miles away, looking back at the culture sitting in the sun. I got up this morning at 5:30am with the first light and went to the beach five minutes away. I was sitting on the beach looking out across the water thinking: ‘We did alright mate. We did OK with this.’