An encounter with the drum and bass pioneer, now into his fifties, is a high-energy, spiritual, political whirlwind
Arriving at least seven minutes early for my meeting with Goldie, I’m greeted with the sight and unmistakable sound of the man himself. Back to the door, he’s loudly cursing journalists for being late. The worst ones, he booms, are the ones with beards. I, if you must know, sport a well-groomed collection of bristles, of which I am very proud. As Clifford Joseph Price MBE turns in mock surprise, letting out a belly laugh that makes the floorboards of Bloomsbury’s October Gallery vibrate, I know that this isn’t going to be an average conversation.
Indeed, an encounter with Goldie involves more than just words: it is a distinctly physical experience. He gets in my face, staring deep into my skull, seemingly to see if I can hold eye contact. He bounds around the room, he lies back and he sits up, over and over again. He hitches down his waistband showing the massive scar left after a reality TV water-ski jump went wrong. He slips into a David Bowie impression without any pre-warning whatsoever. He namedrops classical composers.
It’s a disorientating experience and it’s pure theatre, with Goldie at the centre; playwright, director and leading man all in one. As we cover everything from the gentrification of British electronic music to his own alcohol and drug addictions, and his most recent salvation, yoga, the limitless passion and energy of a man now in his 50s is never in doubt. His emotions, as he says himself, are pinned firmly to his sleeve and it’s the only way he knows how to live, even if it does mean he gets only three or four hours of sleep a night. His doctors fret about the extra, abnormal heartbeats he experiences periodically, but Goldie himself just gets on with it.
Returning after a decade-long hiatus, his new album, ‘The Journey Man’, goes back further, picking up where his 1998 epic ‘Saturnz Return’ left off. An odyssey through classic 90s drum and bass, house, jazz and trip hop, he says that he wouldn’t have had to make it if anyone else had been able to match his previous work – particularly his 1995 debut album ‘Timeless’. Reenergised, he is enjoying making music again, with the promise of much more to come. As my own Goldie journey climaxes with a sneak preview of new music in the back of his Range Rover, I’m feeling fairly knackered. The man himself, though, is ready for his next appointment.