Tricky has today released an EP of remixes encompassing the first two singles from his forthcoming album, ununiform. Standout tracks ‘The Only Way’ and ‘When We Die (feat. Martina Topley-Bird)’ receive reworks from Kahn, FaltyDL and The Heatwave respectively. Available everywhere digitally, the remixes can be heard below.
The producers have also taken the time to share their own thoughts on Tricky’s lasting influence upon their own material and more widely on the last two decades of British music.
FaltyDL is first out the blocks with a catchy as hell remix of ‘When We Die (feat. Martina Topley-Bird)’ – the recent single which so excited long-standing Tricky & Martina fans upon its release last month.
“I used to work in a restaurant cleaning dishes many years ago. They had an old fashioned jukebox but it was filled with CD’s. A copy of Maxinquaye was in the machine and I would sneak out of the kitchen and load it up then dive back into my work. I must have worn that CD out, it was a daily thing for a while. I grew some attachment to the music and have been listening to Tricky ever since. There’s a certain combination between the tone of his voice and the production that always hit a nerve pretty deeply with me, it’s amazing.”
As CRACK magazine wrote in premiering Kahn’s sultry edit of ‘The Only Way’:
“Tricky stan and Bandulu Records label head Kahn has gained a reputation for cutting experimental grime dubs that are shot with a dose of the same dark, negative space that artists like Tricky helped to innovate. For this spacious remix, the Bristol producer has reworked Tricky’s trademark whispered vocals to drift into the haze of rumbling drums..”
Kahn himself adds:
“It’s hard to know where to begin in expressing how much of an influence Tricky’s music has been on me, not just as a musician but in my life generally. It’s music that’s been with me since I was a child; listening to his albums over and over again at school on my CD walkman, memorising lyrics and immersing myself in the unique atmosphere of his work and collaborations. It was an essential pillar of my musical education growing up in Bristol and remains some of the most important music and poetry to me personally. Certain songs of his are so entwined to specific memories and periods in my life, it’s like the music’s just a part of my identity.
So with that said, naturally I was honored to be asked to remix some of Tricky’s new work. In truth it was initially a bit daunting working with someone who’s been such a crucial creative influence, but the whole experience has meant a great deal to me and I hope we can work together again at some point in the future.”
Finally – rising bashment producers The Heatwave were tasked by Tricky (ever with his ear to the ground) to work their magic on ‘When We Die’ just in time for the last summer rays.
“It’s a big deal for me getting the chance to remix a Tricky tune. His music had a big impact on me as a teenager and he’s a brilliant example of a groundbreaking, genre-defying, Jamaican-influenced British MC. Before grime, garage and almost even UK hip hop, you had Massive Attack and Tricky weaving words, booming out basslines and melting minds and moods. Their Wild Bunch crew was an inspiration for what The Heatwave has become as a UK soundsystem.”
The full remix package ‘Mixed By… Vol.1’ is released today. Available here: https://K7.lnk.to/MixedbyVolume1
Tricky’s 13th album, ununiform, is a delicate, storming, intricate album that sees Tricky take perhaps his most radical step yet – a journey into happiness and contentment. It’s a record that shows the legendary British producer confront his legacy, history, family – even death itself. And in all of this, he finds the strangest, least familiar thing – peace.
It’s released on 22nd September via False Idols / !K7.
Pre-order here: https://k7.lnk.to/ununiform
Tricky unveils brand new material in the form of “The Only Way”, an orchestrated soul-barer with more than a nod to his Maxinquaye era and featuring his own trademark vocals taking centre-stage over a smoke-filled melodic backdrop.
Recorded in Moscow late last year and described by Tricky himself as “Hell Is Round The Corner Part 2”, “The Only Way” is a beautifully rare glimpse into the now Berlin based Tricky’s future, releasing via his own label imprint False Idols (via !K7 Music) on June 9th.
“A few years ago I’d have said I ain’t doing this because it sounds like me,” he says. “I always had a punk rock attitude: I don’t give a fuck if you like Maxinquaye, I ain’t doing another Maxinquaye. Now I’m a bit more comfortable giving people what they want sometimes.”
“The Only Way” will be released via False Idols (via !K7) on June 9th.
The ‘OBIA EP’ is Tricky’s latest release, out via his own False Idols imprint on Sept 30th. The seven track collection showcases works by established and young emerging artists including CASISDEAD, Kiko King & creativemaze, WOODJU, Syava and Euanwhosarmy Feat. Lyndsey Lupe.
All the artists featured have been specially chosen by Tricky with the main purpose to provide a platform for them to be heard, where – in contrast to most UK and US labels – music does not have to be in English language.
It includes a powerful collection of tracks one that stretches from soulful electronic and hip hop sounds of Russia’s underground to the grooves of Berlin’s young talent, including artists discovered by Tricky on his travels and touring around the globe.
The EP is framed by two tracks by WOODJU, opening with ‘Damballah’ and closing with ‘Irradiant’. Both him and Syava, who contributes the track “Nenaviju Izmenu”, are Russian artists that struck up a strong relationship with Tricky, once again on his travels and have now been provided with a platform to shine.
Next up, Tricky provides Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (a/k/a 3D) an opportunity to showcase a new track entitled ‘For Nothing’, produced by Del Naja and Euan Dickinson under the name Euanwhosarmy and featuring the vocals of Lynsey Lupe. The pair’s current creative bond should come as no surprise, as Tricky recently returned to perform alongside the Bristol band this summer to much media attention.
Los Angeles- and Berlin born Kiko King & creativemaze who now both reside in Berlin and have supported Tricky on German dates, add two tracks, “Tin Man” and “Wolves”.
‘Does It’ is a new take of a track that originally appeared on Tricky’s ‘False Idols’ album in 2013. This version features new verses from one of UK rap’s most elusive and enigmatic figures CASISDEAD who delivers his trademark distinctly British and macabre delivery with snatches of story bound lyrics that are socially poignant.
There’s a clear organic and unforced feel to the OBIA EP with the contributors granted license to grow with a native wild approach. We see Tricky taking a visible supporting role to artists that he wants to see flourish.
OBIA EP is released through False Idols September 30th.
Tricky announces a new album, entitled “Skilled Mechanics”, featuring DJ Milo & Luke Harris. Out 22nd January, 2016 on False Idols / !K7.
After moving to Berlin early this Spring, he immediately started work on a new musical project called Skilled Mechanics. In his trademark husky West Country burr, the Bristol born musician, producer and rapper explains where the name came from: “It’s from a documentary about espionage. There was an ex-C.I.A. agent on this programme speaking about assassins who were sent abroad by the US to start revolutions and topple governments. He called them ‘skilled mechanics’. I thought that was a great name for someone who was a killer basically. The name was so dark and cynical it just stuck with me.”
Luckily for us, the only ‘killing’ Tricky is doing this year is in the studio and on the mic with Skilled Mechanics’ self-titled debut which is coming out on his own record label False Idols. For most musicians, stopping working as a solo artist and forming a band is a sign that they’re sick of the spotlight but in typically perverse fashion, perhaps the opposite is true for Tricky. He explains that some people have been voicing their frustration with him for his habit of often playing second fiddle to his various female co-singers: “People have been asking me for years, ‘Will you ever take charge vocally? Will you ever lead as the singer on one of your albums?’ On Adrian Thaws, my last album, I came to the forefront vocally. I was more in your face on three of the tracks but I wanted to build even further towards a catalogue of songs where I didn’t rely on a girl singer. But I realised it would be hard to do under the name Tricky because people would always associate that name with me using a female singer.
“I haven’t been alone at the front of the stage on my own since before I released my first album Maxinquaye 20 years ago. I needed to change. It is good to change and to keep on pushing yourself.”
So he formed Skilled Mechanics a loose collaborative project that would allow him to work with many different artists, while at the same time pushing his unique vocal talents to the forefront. The most prominent of these collaborators on the new record is DJ Milo, who is not only one of his oldest friends but also the first person he ever recorded with not to mention his introduction to The Wild Bunch.
Talking about the seminal Bristol sound system crew who were pivotal in launching the careers of Massive Attack and Soul II Soul founder Nellee Hooper, Tricky says : “When I was eight years old, I lived with my aunt and Milo did as well. She was like a stepmother to him. He was about 16 and already putting on parties with The Wild Bunch. They would be playing at St Paul’s Festival in Bristol and he’d get me to come down and appear on the mic. It wasn’t battle rapping or cussing people’s mothers. It was just about who had the best rhymes, the best flow and the best lyrics.”
“I used to practice with Milo round at Daddy G from Massive Attack’s house. I can remember we did a cassette. This was the first time I ever released music and this tape went all around Bristol. He would be cutting up a break and I’d rap over it. But me and him went very well together. There was a little bit of magic about it. That night after the St Paul’s Festival, we had a party at G’s house and it was just me on the mic and Milo on the decks and it was only about 20 or 30 people in the house. At first you could have heard a pin drop but then they just went mad. And then I realised, maybe, that this was for me.”
The pair have worked on the odd white label or underground track since but this is the first major project they’ve undertaken together. Tricky says: “Milo is on five of the tracks. Some of the tracks I did with him sound like old school hip hop but not dated – very modern. We talked about it for many years but before now the timing wasn’t right.”
Another major player on the album is Luke Harris, Tricky’s regular drummer but his presence was almost accidental: “We were on tour recently and the band were soundchecking while I was in the dressing room. I could hear the vocals loud and clear but then my regular singer, Francesca Belmonte walked past the dressing room. I thought, ‘What the fuck?’ So I went out to have a look and there was my drummer filling in for her on vocals because she needed the bathroom. There and then I said to him, ‘Do you know what? On my next project you’re going to be my vocalist…’”
One of the tracks that Luke sings on is an unlikely cover of ‘Bother’ by Corey Taylor – who is better known as front man of the heavy rock band Stone Sour and a member of horror masked nu-metal act Slipknot. Tricky laughs: “I imagine people will be surprised at this. But when Luke and I went into the studio I knew he could sing but I didn’t know what kind of voice he had. I had to know so I could write for it in the future. So I said we should cover a song he really loved. And he said that when he was really young he used to listen to this song all the time, on his headphones. So we covered it because he was obsessed by it.”
The album contains another cover version, ‘Diving Away’, which is a version of ‘Porpoise Head’ by Porno For Pyros. Tricky explains: “I toured with them in Australia in 1996. My daughter Mazy, who was about four years of age, was with us and she had frontman Perry Farrell wrapped round her little finger. He took all of us to Sealand in Australia. So there was me and Porno For Pyros all trying to get her pram onto the Australian metro. But how many big artists would do something beautiful like that? I think it speaks volumes about him. So I’ve got a lot of love for Perry Farrell and I’ve always wanted to cover one of his songs.”
As well as guest appearances from firey Chinese rapper Ivy 艾菲; London based singer Renata Platon and Danish singer songwriter Oh Land, the album also contains the vocal talents of Tricky’s current creative foil, Francesca Belmonte, on the track ‘We Begin’.
Tricky has also found time to write his most personal, confessional song to date, the future single ‘Boy’. He explains: “All the problems I have now are because of my childhood. I went to Bristol at Christmas time a couple of years ago and I ended up having an asthma attack. My eldest daughter drove down to the hospital to collect me and I said, ‘I think it’s because I’ve eaten something.’ And she said, ‘No it’s not. You’re remembering stuff. It’s because you’ve come back to Bristol, you’re being reminded of stuff.’ It’s obvious really. Most of my problems stem from when I was a kid.”
“The first time I remember seeing my mum was in an open, glass topped coffin in my grandmother’s house. I was about four years of age and she was in the room opposite mine. I found my dad in the phone book when I was 12 years of age. For some reason I used to sit in my auntie’s house and go through the phone book. This says to me that I was looking for an identity. Looking for myself. I found someone who had the same last name as me and my aunt said, ‘That’s your dad. Why don’t you give him a call?’ I used to go and see him and he would literally forget my name. It’s almost like I could have written this track 20 years ago but it was something that had to come out eventually, I had to put it down. But everything on that track is true. Every word on Boy is actual fact.”
Skilled Mechanics is the statement of a true original British talent – one who will never coast on his former achievements and will always keep on changing and adapting to face the future.
New album out 22nd January, 2016 on False Idols / !K7 | Pre-Order: https://k7.lnk.to/TrickySkilledMechanics
‘I’m Not Going’ (featuring Oh Land)
‘Hero’ (featuring Ann Dao)
‘Beijing To Berlin’ (featuring Ivy 艾菲)
‘How’s Your Life’
‘Here My Dear’
‘We Begin’ (featuring Francesca Belmonte)
‘Unreal’ (featuring Xdare)
Having collaborated as lead vocalist with Tricky on his last several LPs, London vocalist Francesca Belmonte steps into the spotlight with the release of her debut solo albumAnima this week on False Idols. The album features production from Tricky on all tracks.
“Of all the artists I’ve ever worked with this is the best collaboration, as soon as people hear this album they’ll understand why I say this.” –Tricky
With his latest album Adrian Thaws out now on his own False Idols imprint, Tricky unveils the striking music video for the single “Sun Down,” which features guest vocals from Tirzah. Actor Norman Reedus of the hit television show ‘The Walking Dead’ co-stars with Tricky, along with actress Mizuo Peck (Night At The Museum, A Case of You).
The music video, which Tricky directed himself, was shot in Brooklyn and features Reedus and Tricky playing fictionalized versions of themselves dealing with the ugly fallout of a domestic dispute.
“It was so good working with Norman and Mizuo,” says Tricky. “Lee Jaffe has been telling me for a long time I need to direct more. Working with Norman and Mizuo have really inspired me to go and direct another movie.”
The introduction to the video is soundtracked by the Young Fathers remix of Tricky’s “Nicotine Love.”
The Adrian Thaws album continues a prolific period for Tricky, following last year’s acclaimed False Idols album. The record features collaborations with Nneka, Mykki Blanco, Blue Daisy, Oh Land, Bella Gotti, and Francesca Belmonte. A remix package for “Sun Down” is due in September.
Following the creation of his own False Idols imprint and last year’s album of the same name, Tricky returns in the fall of 2014 with a new studio project that shares the name he was given at birth: Adrian Thaws. “Calling it Adrian Thaws is saying you don’t really know me,” says Tricky of his 11th album. “So many times people have tried to put a finger on me and every album I go to a different place.”
Below, you can stream a brand new album’s cut, “Sun Down” which features wonky pop singer Tirzah. ‘Adrian Thaws’ is released September 8th 2014. Buy the album on iTunes and get ‘Silly Games’ & ‘Nicotine Love’ instantly!!: http://smarturl.it/TrickyATI
Straight out of Edinburgh via Nigeria and Liberia, Young Fathers flip Tricky‘s new single ‘Nicotine Love‘ feat. Francesca Belmonte upside down, adding their own verses and twisting the track into a dark, haunting R&B cut from the future. Click here to get your free download of the remix! The original track is available to download now on iTunes, where you can also pre-order the upcoming album.
Adrian Thaws is out on September 8th 2014 on False Idols in association with !K7 Records. A 2LP Vinyl Gatefold and Deluxe Hard Case CD edition featuring a two bonus tracks and an exclusive booklet comprising never before seen photos from Tricky’s youth are available to pre-order now via the !K7 store, hand signed by the artist.
“Calling it Adrian Thaws is saying you don’t really know me,” says Tricky, explaining the title of his 11th album. “So many times people have tried to put a finger on me and every album I go to a different place.”
It’s typical of one of music’s most unpredictable characters that the first album to bear his birth name is one of his least introspective. Adrian Thaws is a vivid, attention-grabbing set of songs which roam from hip hop to house, jazz to blues, rock to reggae. It was recorded in Tricky’s home studio in London, where he’s living again after almost two decades in New York, Los Angeles and Paris, and features an international crew of collaborators: Francesca Belmonte, Nneka, Mykki Blanco, Bella Gotti, Tirzah, Blue Daisy and Oh Land. It’s designed to be played loud.
“I suppose this is my club/hip hop album,” he says. “I’ve only heard my music a few times in a club but I grew up in clubs from when I was 14: blues parties, hip hop clubs, a few raves. I’m not known for doing club music but this album has some club tracks on it — well, what I would consider club music.”
Tricky makes complicated music because Adrian Thaws has had a complicated life. Born in 1968, he grew up in an extended family that was both black and white, urban and rural, containing strong women and volatile men. His choice of cover versions is revealing. Janet Kaye’s 1979 lovers rock classic Silly Games reminds him of his childhood in Bristol’s Knowle West district. London Posse’s 1990 track Gangster Chronicle harks back to his musical apprenticeship with the Wild Bunch and Massive Attack under the name Tricky Kid before he launched his solo career with 1995’s startling Maxinquaye.
Tricky has always used music to explore the different, sometimes contradictory facets of his background and personality. “I can be anything I want when I do an album,” he says. “I could be a woman, I could be a man. It’s great to be able to be all these different things.”
Adrian Thaws is Tricky’s second release on his own False Idols label via !K7, hard on the heels of his 2013 album, also called False Idols. One thing that makes Adrian Thaws such a gripping, commanding album is the prominence of Tricky’s own vocals but, as always, he’s brought company. Returning from False Idols is Irish-Italian singer Francesca Belmonte, who sings on Lonnie Listen, Something in the Way, I Had a Dream and new single Nicotine Love — Tricky’s first full-blown house track. “Fran can take an influence and make it her own,” Tricky says approvingly. German-Nigerian singer Nneka, who also sang on False Idols, reappears on the smoky hip hop blues of Keep Me in Your Shake. “She’s really easy to work with,” he says. “I wish she was more well known. We need more women like that.”
There are new faces too. British grime MC Bella Gotti (formerly known as Nolay) is a dynamically belligerent presence on the two-fisted hip hop tracks Gangster Chronicle and Why Don’t You. “Her style is so aggressive,” says Tricky. “There’s nothing worse than weak hip hop. If I’m going to do it I want it to be intense.” American MC Mykki Blanco, who joins Francesca on Lonnie Listen’s android hip hop, impressed Tricky when he supported him at a show in Germany. “I saw this dude in a mini-skirt and high heels and he was so aggressive on stage. Some of the crowd were like what the fuck? Imagine a big dude with a woman’s rage — that’s someone who can do some serious damage.”
London singer Tirzah, who performs Silly Games and ominous opening track Sun Down with hints of Martina’s deadpan cool, was introduced to Tricky by his daughter Mazy “She called me and said dad will you work with Tirzah. That’s my daughter A&Ring me, which is cool as fuck.” Mazy also appears on the album as Silver Tongue. Danish singer-songwriter Oh Land duets with Tricky on Right Here’s rumbling synth-pop. British electronic musician Blue Daisy, who co-wrote and remixed My Palestine Girl, was another tour bus discovery. “We ended up drinking whisky, smoking weed and listening to music on the bus till five in the morning. I really liked the guy. I said you know what? My new album, come on it.”
My Palestine Girl is the album’s heaviest and most political track. A relationship with a Paris-based Palestinian inspired Tricky to think about the challenges of a relationship with someone who lived in Gaza. “Imagine if the love of your life was there,” he says. “It’s a political thing to divide and rule. I’ve been to Israel. The kids I met don’t hate Palestinians. It’s a political thing.”
There’s more political drama on The Unloved, a street-corner revolutionary poem delivered by a friend called AJ. “I don’t understand how music has got so lost,” says Tricky. “This is what people used to do – speak about politics and society. We’re in fucked-up times now. I might not change anything but at least I’m going to have a voice.”
The confidence and energy of Adrian Thaws reflects Tricky’s newfound sense of stability. After several years of uncertainly changing labels and managers, Tricky finally feels settled with !K7, where he’s tidying up a lot of loose ends.
“I’ve been all over the place for years,” he admits. “No discipline. I’ve just been making a mess and moving on. I can’t really blame anybody. It is what it is. But I’m getting my shit together. Now I’m developing as a person my music’s getting stronger.”
This renewed purpose explains why Adrian Thaws arrives just 16 months after False Idols. There are more projects on the way including a covers record (his first since Nearly God) and Francesca Belmonte’s debut album. Tricky has often found it difficult dealing with the music industry but making records is second nature and now there’s nothing holding him back.
“Music is easy,” he says with a husky laugh. “You’ve just got to be honest with yourself.”
“Adrian Thaws” is out September 8th on False Idols in association with !K7 Records. Stream Nicotine Love below.
Buy the album on iTunes and get “Nicotine Love” instantly!!:http://smarturl.it/TrickyATI
Autographed Deluxe Hardcase CD: http://smarturl.it/TrickyATCD
Autographed 2LP Vinyl Gatefold: http://smarturl.it/TrickyAT12
1. Sun Down feat. Tirzah
2. Lonnie Listen feat. Mykki Blanco & Francesca Belmonte
3. Something In The Way feat. Francesca Belmonte
4. Keep Me In Your Shake feat. Nneka
5. The Unloved (Skit)
6. Nicotine Love feat. Francesca Belmonte
7. Gangster Chronicles feat. Bella Gotti
8. I Had A Dream feat. Francesca Belmonte
9. My Palestine Girl feat. Blue Daisy
10. Why Don’t You feat. Bella Gotti
11. Silly Games feat. Tirzah
12. Right Here feat. Oh Land
13. Silver Tongue – When You Go