Over The Counter Culture








With the imminent deluxe 21st anniversary reissue of his classic album Saturnz Return, we spoke with legendary drum and bass pioneer, artist and entrepreneur Goldie, who spoke candidly on rave culture, his early work, writing a screenplay, and more...


In his own words, Goldie took us on a detailed stream of conscious journey, hopping between different points of his illustrious career and future creative projects. 




Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood



On his early mission statement...

To be loud and expressive; to show that I could take somebody out with a tune. We were very competitive like that. Terminator was the ultimate takedown. And even now, it’s like 25 years old, it’s a takedown.

When you look at compositions like Mother, they’re about the future. They’re about a kid lamenting for his mother’s relationship - that’s opera. We’re talking black opera, we’re talking Othello. You know what I mean? We’re talking the Moors, we’re talking about my kind of black culture. 



"I went ‘Fuck you, here’s one CD, and here’s another fucking 12 tracks on the other CD’."



On his label's reaction to his hour-long track Mother - the Opening Track on Saturnz Return...

They didn’t like it. I gave it to them as a middle finger because I said I want to take the entire £18,000 recording budget, which was a lot then, and I made one track with that.

I went ‘Fuck you, here’s one CD, and here’s another fucking 12 tracks on the other CD’. But they didn’t understand it, they didn’t understand the (song's) idea of starting in the universe, manifesting into the belly, being in the water, being born with the mother separated after 14.

I think it’s 14 minutes (in), you can hear it separate. A set soul trying to find its root and journey. Mum’s solo cello at 48 minutes into the last 12 minutes of fucking raging fucking madness and then out into the clouds and it’s closure...That’s opera.



Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood

Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood



On grime...

It’s too dangerous, in a way. There's kind of no underground anymore, but I think with our music and with grime getting in line, you know, anything that comes from the source is the only real thing. Everything else is just packaged after that. Grime has been packaged already, do you know what I mean? The same way D&B was packaged. 


On club culture...

There’s something about [Glastonbury] why I’m so adamant about club culture in Somerset. They’ve killed it, they’ve strangled it. Where do you go to enjoy culture? Do you go to a festival or something? Culture ain’t a thing you can put in a weekend festival. Rave culture is thriving but on an underground level. People want to go to fucking raves, people want to go to illegal parties. If you can do that [put on raves], believe me, they’ll go. Culture is on display in a window at a festival. You’ve got festivals that really lay it on, and it’s good. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, as people make money from that situation, they’re getting booked to DJ. But I think for me, I’ve seen it go from the fields to the clubs, and back into the fields. I think having regular clubs creates culture. Take that away and it’s gone. We’re not feeling the effect now, but you will in ten years.



Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood

Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood

Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood



On art...

You know, with synesthesia and seeing colour and the idea of balance and letter form, it’s another level now. I want a gallery, a gallery in Bangkok. I have a gallery in my home, it’s part of my life. Being surrounded by paintings; my daughter is painting all the time. She’s eight, she loves painting and drawing. If we just throw lots of money at these artists, they’ll run the country. Believe it or not, a lot of the economy is behind art. There’s a lot of stuff getting done with art behind the back of a machine: products, art products, selling, you know, all of this stuff. When we have hard times people reflect on two things, art and music.






On writing a screenplay...

I’ve always been misunderstood, what better way to show people than through vision? Showing a screenplay where you go ‘Here’s each episode for me to tell you a story in a way that I need to tell you’. So you’re unfolding an origami for you to understand where my life is and how I feel. All the characters I’ve met in my life are in that screenplay, but it’s not a biopic, it’s an origami of my life. This is England, Shane Meadows, these are the people that I love. When I want to take everyone out, this is what I want to do. It’s not just about people selling drugs in the hood, it’s fucking beyond that. There’s a beauty inside that hood, there’s a beauty inside that thing that I can see and I’ve always seen it through a child’s eye.


On being a legend...

Three people today on the train said: ‘You’re a fucking legend’. If I had a pound for every time someone said that. I get it and I bless you, thank you no mistake, (but) It don’t rest with me, it rests with me when I’m done, you know?



Over The Counter Culture: Goldie | Goodhood





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