[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 ï¿½Scratchï¿½ 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?
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, ï¿½No more Snoop Dogg!ï¿½ 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 weï¿½ve
just had enough with the music, though, and itï¿½s like, ï¿½Just take it
off. This is really dope but itï¿½s driving me mad. We need some
PM: Speaking of, whatï¿½s 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 canï¿½t take that shit no more. I used to drink that shit, though.
PM: Did you really used to drink it?
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.
youï¿½re 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 itï¿½s 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. ï¿½One
man and his frustration with the machines!ï¿½ Kind of like a warped
Engelbert Humperdink. Trying to twist the whole science of what is
considered a song inside out. Thatï¿½s 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 donï¿½t give a fuck. Iï¿½m like, ï¿½Just
do it. Just squeeze it somehow. Knock it together. I donï¿½t care if itï¿½s
not in key. Fuck it. It makes sense to me. I donï¿½t care if itï¿½s not in
time. Fuck time. Donï¿½t quantize nothing. Keep it swinging. Do it live.ï¿½
PM: Jason Romanelli (photographer): Itï¿½s funny you say that because we were just talking about that on the way over here.
Roots Manuva: Whatï¿½s that?
PM: JR: Quantizing drums and whatnot.
Roots Manuva: Thereï¿½s no quantizing. Take it off.
You know how on some peopleï¿½s beats, the drums are just straight
quantized, where it feels electronic. Everything is placed. They donï¿½t
tap anything out. Just place all the drums on quarter notes or half
notes in these perfect patterns.
Iï¿½m really into the actual slop. Things falling off and coming back,
like youï¿½re surfing. You listen to Lovebug Starski or Treacherous 3 —
that stuff, and itï¿½s all live. They just come in on some one-two-three
letï¿½s 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 thatï¿½s sometimes how you get classic results.
know youï¿½re 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, ï¿½This guy was there beforeï¿½,ï¿½ or, ï¿½Manuva gave birth
toï¿½ .ï¿½ Are you sick of getting grouped in with these artists just
because you happen to be from the U.K.?
Not really, man. I donï¿½t see anything wrong with that. It doesnï¿½t
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, ï¿½Fucking hell! These
young fucking cats come up and get all the money! Whereï¿½s mine?
Bastards!ï¿½ No, itï¿½s cool, man.
PM: But do you think there are aspects of their success that are helping you?
No, not really, because Iï¿½m on a different lane than those guys. We
have a different goal. Itï¿½s similar, but I think what weï¿½ve 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. Theyï¿½ve
come off the back of all these different little scenes blowing up. Iï¿½m
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. Iï¿½m wondering like, ï¿½Whatï¿½d you let me on the stage for?ï¿½ Iï¿½m
stumbling on the stage and then Madlib hands me a mike and Iï¿½m like,
ï¿½What the fuck? What are you doing?ï¿½