Archive for the 'Interviews' Category
Here we are in the year 2012 with a new Scritti Politti line-up which is able to perform the classic songs in a superb way. They are a small group: drummer Rob Smoughton, Dicky Moore on guitar, Green on vocals and guitar and Rhodri Marsden on keyboards. Plus a computer, of course.
I felt it was about time for setting the record straight and finding out how these old songs were reconstructed for live gigs. So I asked keyboardplayer Rhodri a couple of questions. And guess what? He was happy to answer them!
Tell us a bit about the reconstruction of these old Scritti songs
Rhodri: I think it’s well documented that Green doesn’t enjoy listening to his old material! So what often happens is that I create a MIDI file with all the parts as I THINK they are. Green then works through it and corrects any mistakes I’ve made, and then creates / chooses all the sounds for the parts on his Mac. So by the end of that process we have a recreated Scritti song in Logic Pro which we then use to work from.
I see that you’re using laptops on stage, tell us about it
Rhodri: Actually, we’ve just slimmed down our setup massively in the last few days. Until recently we had four laptops onstage (very old ones, Powerbook G4s); one for live keyboard, one for live drums, two backups in case anything goes wrong. But the new MacBook Pro can handle everything, so that halves the number of computers onstage. Phew. I use a Nord Electro 2 keyboard to trigger my sounds and Rob uses an electronic drum kit, a Roland V-Kit. Green and Dicky both have amp simulators rather than real amps. So it’s really quiet onstage, which is lovely. You can hear all the detail.
Drummer Rob Smoughton is also playing samples on his electronic drumkit?
Rhodri: Yes, Andy (Houston, Green’s engineer) and I spent a lot of time creating virtual instruments for each song we play, using the sounds that Green’s been working on. One drumkit instrument per song for Rob, about ten for me! Some of the songs, like Wood Beez, are a real challenge to play, getting all the parts triggered from one keyboard.
Where do you draw the line between live-playing and laptop?
Rhodri: We started using backing tracks recently; firstly to get a fuller sound, secondly to keep the timing rock solid. Rob plays to a click in headphones, and the parts that we physically can’t play with four human beings come from the laptop – most of the time it’s just bass. Some songs there’ll be hardly anything pre-recorded (Skank Bloc Bologna only has that fast glockenspiel, for example); we play as much stuff live as we possibly can!
From fellow Scritti fan, Reason enthusiast Doug Rodriguez I received a link to an interview iZotope did with David Gamson. Thanks to Eric Hulsizer as well, who did the same thing. If you have something interesting to share, just send us the goodies: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well… we suddenly had a budget and were working with all the best musicians, in the best studios, with the best engineers. It was amazing. Green was pretty great about allowing experimentation in the studio, and since he was the one with the checkbook, he was running the sessions. If you could come up with some Rube Goldbergian way to record something, which I usually could, he was game. Those records were basically recording school for us. We got to play with all sorts of ways of doing things, at great expense I might add. Those records took a very long time to make.
For the more technical oriented fans among us, this is a very good read. And I must say I am of course a fan of Gamson’s work. For me Scritti without him is 50% Scritti. Miles Davis without a trumpet, that idea. I am also a fan of iZotope software. Ozone 3 David mentions in the interview I am using for years now on almost a daily basis like him.
I told this story a lot, but without people like Gamson I would probably never be aware that creating sound & working with – not in – the studio can open up new worlds. You want control over the machines, play with it and create something new; a slick total package which is unresistable.
Gamson is responsible for making me aware I can be an audio professional myself. Which I did. And yeah, I am so looking forward to the new tracks!
A new book out from Simon Reynolds: Totally Wired, a companion to the excellent Rip It Up and Start Again released in 2005. In Totally Wired there are a lot of interviews with many people important to the post-punk era, including Green Gartside.
On Sunday February 15th there is a panel discussion in The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road in London, featuring Tom Morley (Scritti Politti), Colin Newman (Wire), and Viv Albertine (Slits), moderated by Simon Reynolds. More information.
I like wordplay and clues more than straightforward narratives or confessionals. A sense of mystery.
(thanks Stephen Schwartz!)
Here’s a recent interview with David Gamson which was send to us.
David talks about Scritti, Roger Troutman and Meshell N’degeocello. It is from a ToddCast. Have a listen:
Last night Green performed two brand new songs at The Charles Hazlewood Show (BBC2) and chats a bit about how he wrote them. No official titles for those two new songs yet. First track has the working title ‘Unfrozen’ and the second ‘Forgiven’.
Sit back for 10 minutes and listen:
Last night Scritti Politti had a short, 3s ong acoustic session on Janice Long’s BBC radio 2 show. Dave, Dicky and Rhodri accompanied Green in a beautiful toned down rendition of Road to no Regret, Snow in Sun and After Six. Relexed interview, a really good listen this one. Some news on future plans: a collaboration with Alexis from Hot Chip (?), vague talks with Elvis Costello, something with a New York symphony orchestra. The plan is to buckle down and do some work (i second that!). In the beginning of June something for Friends of the Earth.
Akemi recorded ‘Summer Sonic special program’ on TV Asahi (CH10). Green’s interview is short, but funny.
Shai Productions has created this rather interesting interview with Green. Green drinking beer, Green buying a Martin, Green decorating objects with a Green pen and more.
Just in case you’re wondering what this is all about (yes, the Shai Productions’ website is another fine lesson for French wannabies), here you go:
With a name like that we swear it is a name of an old Italian DJ from 90′s who released thousand of mixes for Cote d’Azur DJ’s and Ibiza dancing Clubs. But we must go back to the70′s/80′s to find the name Scritti Politti. And must of all, far from Italy as the men behind this group is Welsh and named Green Gartside.
The group had is glory during is decline like Joy Division, Gang Of Four, and others who became cult groups or totally forgotten.
Wellknown but never known (appreciated by professional but ignored by the public except some hit singles). Scritti have tried a come back in 1999 but with total indifference. Not decouraged Gartside is back to is first love with White Bread Black Bear…
Green also did this when he was in Paris, May 2006. Oh boy I miss Paris… haven’t been there in 2 years…
I like it. Green seems to be relaxed (probably because the interview was taken at the pub ;)) and the questions are more interesting than the usual bla bla. Two thumbs up.
Go ahead and listen to the interview:
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Last evening on BBC 6 in Tom Robinson‘s show Tom interviewed Green and Snow In Sun and Robin Hood were played live accompanied by Dicky Moore on guitar and Alyssa … McLundough … (sorry, it’s quite hard to catch her surname, someone help out?) on bass. They talk about John Peel’s funeral, a Gamson produced Tony LeMans’ album, where Green did sing on – now I didn’t know that! At the end there is also some talk about the website, still not fully online, but hopefully people will find their way to bibbly-o-tek, cuz it’s the best!
While you listen you might wanna check out some links. Imomus talks a bit about White Bread Black Beer. He refers to Simon Reynolds epigraph on K-punk‘s analysis of Green’s voice and the meaning of his lyrics. Now at one point i might wanna add my 2 cents. Not now though.
The sveltering heat here in the Netherlands – and all over Europe – makes sitting behind one’s computer a bit less attractive, but this afternoon i did do so and captured the interview and session which was on WNYC last week on July 18th. Hopefully not all americans pronounce Screetti Poleetti the same way as the interviewer!
A picture taken during the session was posted on Flickr. Ernst in an earlier comment here on bibbly-o-tek unveiled the t-shirt is from DC Clothing – in case you’re wondering…
… and Green plays live! On BBC Radio 2 in the Jonathan Ross show there is friendly bantering between Green and Jonathan, who confesses to have been a fan ever since The ‘Sweetest’ Girl, giving a rather unfaithful rendition of the song. In the later part Green plays Snow In Sun and Robin Hood, only accompanied with guitar.
BBC Radio 2 Jonathan Ross (21 minutes, 19 mb)
There were some hiccups during capturing, but it’s only for a second or so twice.
Miriam Zendle of Digital Spy published an interview with Green today. A lot of the questions are obvious but a few I find interesting; Green’s view on MySpace and the Scritti website he seems to be working on.
Go ahead, read it!
On last night’s show the Weekender on BBC Radio 2 Green was interviewed by Matthew Right. You can listen again, but as these streams tend to dispappear into thin air, you’d better listen right here at bibbly-o-tek. It’s basically the same story rehashed, but it’s sure is nice to listen to Green’s voice. Which makes me think, in the old days, i used to wonder if his speaking voice would sound the same as his singing voice. Quite happy to say it doesn’t. :)
Tim Chipping pointed us to this very amusing interview he did with Green Gartside for the Channel 4 website. This proves ; if you ask the man interesting questions you get interesting answers !
Also, for the Dutchies, this interview on the VPRO 3voor12 website. There is an audio stream of the interview also, which is of course in English (just press the little speaker button, you’ll figure it out). The stream will be in our archives, soon, as well. Thanks to VPRO’s Erwin Blom for pointing this interview out to us.
We’re very happy we can publish the director’s cut of the interview with Green by Simon Reynolds, published in a shorter version in the Guardian.
by Simon Reynolds
â€œWe went to Marylebone Registry Office, because thatâ€™s where McCartney got married,â€ recalls Green Gartside of his wedding a couple of months ago. â€œWe chose the shortest service, just a couple of sentences, and we didnâ€™t really tell anyone, so we had one witness each. But this pudding of a teenager, with two different speech impediments, officiated, and he read the standard script that goes â€˜thank you all for coming, it means so much to Alice and Green that all their friends and family are hereâ€™. We couldnâ€™t really stop him as he lisped his way through it! But, no, it was a very lovely thing. I think I might even have had a tear in my eye.â€
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This sunday 11th June on BBC Radio Wales an interview with Green will be broadcasted on the Adam Walton programme at 10pm. It’s possible to listen live through the internet or through the Listen Again option. We at bibbly-o-tek will of course capture the stream and post it here after the show!
Some more video’s added to the video section. Boom There She Was and a japanese video of Umm, which is mostly a re-edit of the Making of Anomie & Bonhomie. More japanese footage, an interview, another interview and a talk about Scritti Politti, with no subtitles, so your japanese has got to be quite good!
Some journalists have all the luck. You get to sit in the sunshine opposite Green Gartside talking at length about White Bread Black Beer, playing live, favourite music, the Double G website, the past and future plans.
Some interesting points pass along, like an idea of recording a disco album with David Gamson and playing with Massive Attack in Hyde Park – would that be on the Wireless Festival in June perhaps? There is nothing on the Wireless website, so it seems unlikely.
The recording sometimes has some funny noises in it, but overall it’s a good listen. I like all the background rumour and the soft tickling on the guitar Green had with him.
Full interview (29 minutes, 27 mb)
Just got home from work and my usual trip to Velet record store in Rotterdam, where i don’t need to say what I’m coming for. And no, nothing yet, but they assured me the CD and vinyl version are definitely going to be on friday. So now a quick post on some new reviews and interviews, just before dinner. Reading earlier reviews, White Bread Black Beer get a good reception, with the added note it’s regarded as an uncommercial record. Personally, i don’t much care. I love the music, and can be quite an evangelist about it (this website is proof of that!), but a huge commercial success might chase Green back into hiding. Even though it seems a thing of the past.
Anyway, time for some links! There is a really interesting interview at Incendiary Magazine, where finally someone asks some original questions. The same website has a review as well. On the Dutch 3voor12 website there is a review as well, albeit in Dutch. I’ll translate it maybe later this evening and add it in the comments of this post. The well-respected 3voor12 site also has White Bread Black Beer on the listening post, which is really good publicity.
Some news on upcoming gigs as well! Scritti Politti will play on Bestival, which takes place on the Isle of Wight 8-10 September, and on the Big Chill festival at Eastnor Castle Deer Park 2006, 4-6 August. Apparently this place is between the Cotswolds and the Welsh Marches.
Scritti Politti: Interview
Scritti Polittiâ€™s Green Gartside tells Time Out about his colourful journey from post-punk squat-dweller to â€™80s R&B technician to Hackney â€˜pub rockerâ€™, and how he learned to play live again
As an adolescent, Green was obsessed with folkâ€¦
â€˜At school, I used to go to a folk club in the Newport docks area. Martin Carthy was my hero. Heâ€™s a seriously funky guitarist! At art college in Leeds, I followed Carthy around the country. I was once stranded in the middle of nowhere after one of his gigs, and Martin and Norma went completely out of their way to give me a lift home, which was lovely of them.â€™
He liked the way that old men urinated at folk clubsâ€¦
â€˜They had a way of holding their cocks while they were pissing. I found that fascinating. I wrote a lyric about it on the first album. â€œHe held it like a cigarette/ Behind a squaddieâ€™s back/He held it so he hid its length/And so he hid its lack.â€â€™
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Hear hear. Green in The Sun !
Here’s our juicy girl-free version.
By SIMON COSYNS
As his name might suggest, Green Gartside is a colourful character. Back in 1976 while at Leeds Polytechnic, he was inspired by the twin influences of The Sex Pistols and Karl Marx.
By the end of the Seventies, he was making intelligent, politicised post-punk music as founder and leader of Scritti Politti.
The band were based at their squat in Camden and were subsequently signed to one of the most imaginative indie labels of the day.
Rough Trade run by Geoff Travis. What set Green’s music apart was an unerring eye for a killer tune and a willingness for sonic exploration only equalled among peers by The Clash.
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Nonesuch Records put up Scritti Politti’s biography again, written by Nick Hasted. We, at bibbly. are very happy they allow us to post it here too!
Green Gartside is back, having been away, once again, for some time. Back with his first album in seven years, back on Rough Trade after 24 (Nonesuch/Rough Trade in North America), back on stage after 26. The man who is Scritti Politti has always been inclined to absence more than presence, questions more than answers, contradictions he spends years happily lost in. His is a story, after all, that begins watching the Sex Pistols in Leeds in 1977; continues for a period in early 80s Camden squat land, where attempts at a pop commune produced Peel-loved, post-punk singles; made a daring break into pop with the deathless “The ‘Sweetest’ Girl”; moved to New York to become a full-fledged MTV star, and sonic inspiration to future R&B; almost went mad from the effort; retreated to Wales and returned making hip-hop; and now, aged 50, has produced one more intricate, self-questioning pop master class, White Bread Black Beer, recorded alone, in his Hackney back room.
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Using babelfish, a dictionary and my highschool german i managed to translate an interview by Tom Venker on intro.de. Some sentences were hard to get right, and i’m not sure i succeeded. In spite of what you might think, dutch is very different from german, so i didn’t get it all at once. I first put the whole thing through babelfish, which made its amusing literal translation. The one that will stay with me for a long time is skirt music (Rock Musik!).
The biggie for me in this article is that Green talks about a second single, a collaboration with Mad Skills who is known for his work on Rawkus Records.
Enjoy the article, and I apologize in advance for some weird english, but i think i got the general direction right.
It is 29 years ago that Tom Morley and Green Gartside, two London artstudents, brought Scritti Politti into being. The project, trained and lived between squats and sociological and philosophical discussions, developed rapidly from Punk into arty, reggae and funk-inspired postpunk to what would enter as 1982 pop history: ‘Songs to Remember’ is called the soulfull intellectual pop communist manifest of the year. Afterwards the ways of the founding members parted, Gartside worked alone on the constant change of Scritti Politti – and with increasing distance between lifesigns: from synthpop and hiphop to the current puristic gitar pop album ‘White Bread Black Beer’.
[ Green Gartside looks interested at the iPod with microphone ]
One can probably attach the times of your music, due to the long phases between the albums, at the recording devices the journalists use: from taperecorder to minidisc to iPod.
You could say that, but many still use happily the same devices. Yesterday for example I saw the old Sony walkman again twice.
You had your first live appearance quietly and secretly after 26 years in a pub in south London, under the alias Double G and The Traitorous 3. Others, if they had such a legendary status as Scritti Politti, would have booked a high profile comeback route. Why so?
It’s simply because of the fact that to me the whole Scritti Politti thing is still somewhat unpleasant. Above all, concerning live gigs: I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I wasn’t sure, if it would work. Therefore the other name offered itself. I have to say that it’s not perfect musically, since we are not so experienced yet, but it was fun. From there we will probably become Scritti Politti quite soon.
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The new album weaves together elements of everything Gartside has ever loved and revisits every stage of his nearly five decades-long journey through music. The Beatles are here, there and everywhere on the record; T. Rex and the Plastic Ono Band meld on the deliciously stompy anti-Jesus ditty After Six; Gartside’s pre-punk passion for folk-rock and traditional English music is audible in his guitar playing; and there is hip-hop in the beats and R&B in the production’s gloss.
We’re quite chuffed bibbly-o-tek is linked at the bottom of the article!
This evening on May 20th Green had an interview with Gary Crowley on BBC London radio. During the interview four songs were played from White Bread, Black Beer, The Boom Boom Bap, Snow In Sun, Dr. Abernathy and Road To No Regret. The interview itself wasn’t really in depth, at least, i didn’t hear any revelations. Apart from the little fact that Green went to see Brian Wilson play live. Seems now that the official release date for the album is May 29th. The single is due sometime in June.
BBC Gary Crowley interview (68 mb – 45 minutes)
A longish article on a swedish website with some quotes of Green and a short history of Scritti Politti: Scritti Politti vÃ¤xlar spÃ¥r pÃ¥ nytt. That sorta translates to: Scritti Politti alternates tracks again. Nice part is there is also a stream of Dr. Abernathy. The article also mentions two reasons for the title White Bread, Black Beer.
- when I played in with black musicians in New york could the sometimes to say about my inpass, â€œ
oneman, thats so white breadâ€. The meant that the lets widely, processed, homogeniserathomogenized. But I like the, Beach Boy’s where my breastmother’s milk. I might also consult that my melodies sometimes lets as child chants. I believe the comes from vacation era coat (soulig reggae). Lov era coat is as child chants for adult.
the title â€œWhite bread, black beerâ€ reflects also my life in Hackney. For first past knows I a home feeling in the blocks where I building. I am depending on a soft,
widewhite breads as the Turkish baker on my street does. Opposite lies a pub where I on the evenings drinks Â Guinness with neighbours and friends.
Our apologies for a clearly awful translation of the swedish test!
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Just a few minutes ago Green did a fantastic interview for 3fm radio. We captured the stream as usual :)
The interview was done by phone, interesting because Green is in Amsterdam right now.
Green packed his guitar and trundled off to lovely Paris in summerlike spring to do an acoustic session at Radio Planet Claire. You can visit the, ehm, rather quaint website and listen to the live stream at the 57 minute mark. Or you can just listen here!
Songs played: Snow In Sun, Robin Hood, Road To No Regret.
… and Green talked a little bit about the past, the new album and his new Scritti band:
There’s a nice documentary on Arif Mardin at BBC radio 2 with Steve Levine talking about the digital editing techniques behind Wood Beez.
We captured it for archive reasons. Check it out:
If the BBC objects about us doing this, please let us know.
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