Keep it swinging (Part 2 of 2)

    [Part 2 of 2] Here is the second part of the interview with Roots Manuva …
    Read part 1 of the interview


    Prefix Magazine: Do you want to talk about Dub Come Save Me?
    Roots Manuva: In recording for Run Come Save Me, there were loads of tracks left behind, and the original idea was to dub out the backing tracks from Run Come, and it was a bit of a wonder. I started working on it and new tracks just kept popping up.

    PM: Who are the people in dub that you like?
    Roots Manuva: Scientist. Dub Chemist. And you know: King Tubby, Lee �Scratch� Perry, Mad Professor makes some crazy shit. Rhythm and Sound.

    PM: Those are German kids right? Real minimal.
    Roots Manuva: Yeah, but I like that.

    PM: Have you been listening to anything new on the road?
    Roots Manuva:
    We listen to so much. I guess a lot of the major-issue rap records. I
    like Game. Snoop Dogg we listen to a lot — until you hear a shout from
    the back like, �No more Snoop Dogg!� But we actually try to have
    appreciation class where we listen to old-school stuff like Rob Base
    and EZ Rock, loads of compilations, maybe DJ Screw. Sometimes we�ve
    just had enough with the music, though, and it�s like, �Just take it
    off. This is really dope but it�s driving me mad. We need some

    PM: Speaking of, what�s the drink of choice for Roots Manuva these days?
    Roots Manuva: [Sipping PBR] This I guess. Anything I can get my hands on.

    PM: No more Guinness with egg yolk for you?
    Roots Manuva: No! I really can�t take that shit no more. I used to drink that shit, though.

    PM: Did you really used to drink it?
    Roots Manuva:
    I did. Pint of Guinness. I used to whip up the egg yolk and just drink
    it with no sugar. Nothing. But you got to watch out. That shit can give
    you salmonella poisoning.

    PM: When
    you�re making a record, are you reading books and staying home? Going
    out and getting fucked up? I think a lot of people might be curious
    about your process, because it�s such a one-man show.

    Roots Manuva: Well, the first two records were kind of communal records. But on Awfully Deep
    I was trying to have the ambiance more of one man and the machine. �One
    man and his frustration with the machines!� Kind of like a warped
    Engelbert Humperdink. Trying to twist the whole science of what is
    considered a song inside out. That�s why I said it was a hard record to
    make. I mean, I was quite sober. And I was working with people that had
    more respect for rules and the technical aspects and the harmonic
    application of musicality, whereas I don�t give a fuck. I�m like, �Just
    do it. Just squeeze it somehow. Knock it together. I don�t care if it�s
    not in key. Fuck it. It makes sense to me. I don�t care if it�s not in
    time. Fuck time. Don�t quantize nothing. Keep it swinging. Do it live.�

    PM: Jason Romanelli (photographer): It�s funny you say that because we were just talking about that on the way over here.
    Roots Manuva: What�s that?

    PM: JR: Quantizing drums and whatnot.
    Roots Manuva: There�s no quantizing. Take it off.

    PM: JR:
    You know how on some people�s beats, the drums are just straight
    quantized, where it feels electronic. Everything is placed. They don�t
    tap anything out. Just place all the drums on quarter notes or half
    notes in these perfect patterns.

    Roots Manuva:
    I�m really into the actual slop. Things falling off and coming back,
    like you�re surfing. You listen to Lovebug Starski or Treacherous 3 —
    that stuff, and it�s all live. They just come in on some one-two-three
    let�s go, and things are coming in at random like crazy drum rolls, or
    all the sudden some bass player or guitarist just loses it and starts
    busting in with some two-bar solo. I like that shit, as frustrating as
    it is at the time, but that�s sometimes how you get classic results.

    PM: I
    know you�re probably a little sick of talking about this, but do you
    think all this hype surrounding the Streets and Dizzee and the whole
    U.K. grime scene is helping or hurting you? It seems like every time I
    read something about you these days, there is always a qualifier in the
    beginning like, �This guy was there before�,� or, �Manuva gave birth
    to� .� Are you sick of getting grouped in with these artists just
    because you happen to be from the U.K.?

    Roots Manuva:
    Not really, man. I don�t see anything wrong with that. It doesn�t
    really bother me because I enjoy what they do. I am a fan of what they
    do. Sure, there is a part of me that is like, �Fucking hell! These
    young fucking cats come up and get all the money! Where�s mine?
    Bastards!� No, it�s cool, man.

    PM: But do you think there are aspects of their success that are helping you?
    Roots Manuva:
    No, not really, because I�m on a different lane than those guys. We
    have a different goal. It�s similar, but I think what we�ve built up
    has come from absolutely nothing. I remember times when it was hard to
    sell three-hundred copies of a record with a U.K. voice on it. They�ve
    come off the back of all these different little scenes blowing up. I�m
    straight up from the bastard scene. The scene that never happened, in
    terms of U.K. lyricists.

    PM: I heard a little piece of when you were on stage with Mos Def and Madlib at Montreaux.
    Roots Manuva: Oh, man, you heard that? It was cool, but I was fucked
    man. I�m wondering like, �What�d you let me on the stage for?� I�m
    stumbling on the stage and then Madlib hands me a mike and I�m like,
    �What the fuck? What are you doing?�