If you’re into your music and fashion then there’s no doubt that you already know who Goldie is; number #035 in our size? sessions Mix series sees us start our Christmas celebrations early with the Yogangster himself. Make sure you tune in because this one is going to be BIG.
While you’re waiting for that, we’ve taken the time to speak to Goldie and chat about all things music, art and fashion. Stick the kettle on, sit back and dig into the in-depth interview below…
So, how’s 2020 been?
“We’ve been alright, we’ve been good. The galleries firing, you know, the galleries on fire, which is good news. We’ve got a really good model over there in Bangkok because everyone has started chatting ‘contemporary’ and ‘contemporary’ means cutting edge stuff, which we are. So, we’ve done that, and we’ve got some really big hitters and it’s doing really well,
“It’s all my mates from around the world. I mean, we’ve only been open 10 months and we’ve smashed it to bits. We’ve just got the new ‘Vhils‘ stuff in now, which is going to do really well, and all my boys from South America just came in. Pretty much all the Nick Walker stuff’s gone. It’s mad, you know, people always used to say to me, ‘why don’t you do a gallery?” years ago, and I just couldn’t be arsed, but you know, I think the idea of curating your own space is brilliant because I’ve always done it in my own way regardless,
“And I’ve always been late to do what I want to do my way – I never made music ‘til I was 27; I probably didn’t start yoga ‘til I was 44. So, I’m all right. It’s good. It’s good. I love this place (Thailand), I came here to retire and that went out the window didn’t it. You know, I love it here because I can just get away from it. Just be left alone to reinvent, which is what it’s all about. I’m hiking. I do a lot of hiking. I did my Yoga yesterday. Tomorrow morning I’ll be back on the mountain meditating up there.”
Did you want to help contemporary artists by opening up the Aurum Gallery?
“We have local artists at a tide – there are three Thai artists that we love – ‘Wal Chirachasakul’, whose family come from a long string of artists and we’ve successfully sold a couple of his pieces here which is great. ‘P7’ is another really good artist. ‘Jecks’, who I painted the train with, he’s a young kid who’s really cool.”
What impact do you feel your 1995 album ‘Timeless‘ has had?
“You look back at Timeless and it didn’t even get into the top 20, but in terms of what it did for music is that I guess it’s the equivalent of what graffiti did to the contemporary art world. It flipped it on its head and showed the idiocies of what the power of street art can do.”
What are some of your earliest memories of fashion and streetwear?
“Sneakers have become collectable in the same way that vinyl has become the collectable and the way that contemporary art is. Culture is really important to me. I was wearing PUMA States a size too small for me from Fordham Road, along with a leather Task jacket and Troop tracksuit.
“One fact people probably people don’t know, is, the Shell-Toe (adidas Originals Superstar), was on its way out and all the stock went to all the mental institutes in Philadelphia. They were given to all of the institutes because, you know, they were at the bottom of the ladder and no one wanted them. It wasn’t until Run-DMC started buying them around the way because all the old stock used to go to all the 50 stores in the Bronx, and Queens alike, that it made a massive comeback. Because all the hip hop guys were wearing it. And then they ‘went f**k, where we send all the old styles? We sent it to the Medical Institute’. So that’s where they were, all the old stock,
“So, they started remaking them and of course, they made a massive comeback. It’s mad, I remember seeing ‘Ken Swift’ in a pair of PUMA States, and I think PUMA had just reissued a really well high quality made one, which I’m yet to get. You know fat laces came from people going to haberdasheries and cutting the length of the cord and cutting and making laces with it,
“I kind of gave up collecting… because… you know I had so many free sneakers that it was kind of like, ‘you can’t really be a collector when you are getting so many free trainers’. I guess that real collector is someone that went out and bought every pair they possibly could.
“I mean, I’ve got some really rare shit, like the adidas Vectors in aqua green. I gave Gary Aspden most of my really rare adidas, that I got from samples that I had.”
Where does your personal sense of style come from? You’re an icon in terms of style and streetwear.
“I learned style from going to New York and looking at my heroes. I learned style through ‘Bio’, ‘Brim’ and ‘Nicer’.
I don’t know. I guess underdog you know? Everything that I think that I’ve done has been so pre-internet; I went to Evisu, Tokyo, Japan, back streets and met Mr Evisu when he’d started the whole thing about Levi’s backwards, which freaked me out (laughs).
I was blessed with the early stuff. I did fashion shows where my kids have got Evisu baby jeans on. Then I did Lee’s (Lee McQueen – Alexander McQueen) first show, but I can’t even find it online.
It’s like Glastonbury – we replaced somebody dropping out and played the main stage, and it was us doing Timeless live; you can’t even see online! I just got sent a video of it and I was like ‘oh my God, that’s us at Glastonbury’ doing the main stage. So, for me, it’s just following what you believe in,
“My style came through… I guess it’s hard to say ‘not the internet’ when we were editing Betamax tapes and looking at the style and what Ken Swift’s wearing,
“Michael Koppelman – Michael gave me a sheepskin, which was the original prototype for ‘A Bathing Ape’ and it never went into production. I still have it in London. It’s beige and has this ridiculous hood. It’s got a full zip, and it’s got fur collar, but it never went into production. And I’ll just wear it now and then, but it’s just one of those killer pieces!
“I also learnt from Judy Blame. Judy Blame is an icon of British fashion way before anyone even knew. God bless him. I got to speak to him a month before he died. I was a young’un looking at Steve Strange, Barry Kamen all those guys.”
Where do you see the industry heading?
“People have to understand that felt letters will be in next year. I’ve been saying that for two years about felt letters. I was doing felt letters on Yogangster stuff five years ago, and I said ‘someone needs to bring back felt letters on B-Boy shirts’.
When you look at Rock Steady Crew, it was always felt letters because it’s cheap. ‘Good Enough’ will make a massive revival next year. All that early stuff is really collectable. Gimme Five and Good Enough.”
So, who were your early creative influences?
“I was really influenced by The Stranglers and The Human League; they were really big for me. The ‘Rattus Norvegicus’ album (The Stranglers), I just wanted to be that. I don’t know why; I wanted to rebel. It was just different. Steel Pulse and UB40 were huge for me. I think ‘King’ (UB40) as a single – when I first heard ‘King’ – I mean lyrically… it’s just two verses. There was just something about it, it connected me back to my roots,
“I just missed The Clash, but I was on the tip of The Clash because ‘Futura’ had worked with them, which threw me into that. English artists? Tracy Chapman – a big part of my whole thing. Judy Tzuke, Aswad, they really influenced me. And then after that, it was Supertramp. You know, the ‘Logical Song’ still is a massive part of my life. That song was the conscious switch for me,
“I guess when I opened the ‘Subway Art’ Magazine; I’d already seen Gladys Knight (NYC Breakers) video with someone spinning on their head. When you witness B-boyism for the first time, and you see someone spinning on their back for the first time, and you see someone with two turntables and not one for the first time; you see a ghetto blaster for the first time – you’d understand how B-boy culture and hip-hop culture turned the world on its head.”
Can you tell us some more about the Metalheadz Label?
“The main thing is … it’s like anything I do, like drum ’n’ bass music, it pulls the covers off a lot of people making electronic music that think they’re making really cutting-edge music and they’re not. We’re one of the last great bastions of hope that came before social media, we’re based on factual shit. And in that respect, you know, Metalheadz has become the Motown in that sense with the label. You look at it and it’s got it’s like 25 years of music to go back to. What Metalheadz did with electronic is the ‘Wildstyle’ of electronic music.
‘”Goldie presents Metalheadz’ as a book is brilliant. Because that club was synonymous, man. Everyone went to that club. We never took pictures! We’d say, ‘leave everyone alone’. It wasn’t Studio 54 where it’s all glam and photographs. We were about just documenting this place, which was amazing.”
Who were you around in NYC at the time?
“Fat Joe was around, painting with Tats Cru. Bambaataa and all those guys in Bronx River. T-Kid, Futura, Stash – all those guys when they were coming up. All those guys are my heroes.
I was influenced by the sound of NYC, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo were huge! Obviously Eric B & Rakim, but for me, EPMD still to this day, man – just the swag on their tunes, the swing on them tunes.
The soundtrack to Wildstyle, Live from Dixy, Cold Crush, for me that’s the ultimate! Cold Crush – all those bars they spit, man, I was like ‘oh my god! I wanna be part of that’.
When Kool G Rap said ‘walking down the street with a grin on my grill’, I was like ‘what’s a grill?’ (laughs). I mean it’s crazy, I’m now like 5 sets of golds in! I looked at a picture the other day and it’s like you’ve got the Mercedes, the diamonds, the crust and now you get to OG level and it’s the plains. I’ve done it all! I was culturally injected with the most amazing stuff. Always had my foot in culture, I guess.”
How did you come to be associated with ‘Brim’?
“He came to London. He came to the Shaw Theatre with Bambaataa and Cookie Crew; Live to Break were there. I took a picture of Brim and went back to Wolverhampton. He said he wanted to see Wolverhampton; he wanted to see Liverpool; he wanted to go to Toxteth and see the ghetto,
“‘Brim’ threw a spanner in the works for the documentary Bombin’, cause the director wanted it just to made in London and ‘Brim’ threw his toys out the pram and was like ‘F**k that I want to go see Goldie in Wolverhampton, I want to see Liverpool and Birmingham’ and he went. He went to Liverpool just after the Toxteth Riots and he saw all the inner-city kids. Then he did the same in Birmingham and Wolverhampton. That’s my claim to fame ‘Bombin’, the documentary,
“Then I went to see him in the Bronx, stayed for a few months, then came back to England and went via London and never went back to the Midlands. It’s like that t-shirt that says ‘Goldie: NYC, Miami, Wolverhampton’ (laughs). But that’s how I got to know him, and we’ve always been close. We spoke a few months ago, I think he’s back in Guangzhou now.
Brims always had his own thing. Bio I speak to like every week. The Sky Arts documentary is great because I just went to say thanks – it’s a great documentary on painting with the boys in Miami and Henry Chalfont. Henry came to Wolverhampton when he was 52, he’s 80 now. So, I went to give my respects to Henry. The street won. As Mare said, ‘we may have lost the trains, but we’ve gained the whole world’.”
How did the affiliation with Shawn Stussy come about?
“I met Shawn Stussy early doors. I went on a pilgrimage with Michael Koppelman – we were going to Hawaii. It’s the strangest thing, serendipity. We were flying to Hawaii and then getting a plane to Kauai and it so happened Michael was on the same flight. We’d just played ‘Here come the drums’, me and Doc Scott, and I was with a film crew for a documentary called Passengers, which I don’t think is even on YouTube, and it was doing a thing about me with an east end pool shark playing Alex Higgins – it was a great pilot for a lifestyle programme, but it never came out.
But Passengers was about me going to Miami to interview Low-riders, but I also went to interview Shawn Stussy – I actually just sent the pictures to Brian Vidal from Stussy to say look at these and he was like ‘what the f**k, that’s you and Shawn on a beach’ and he’s written my name in the sand, it’s crazy, man. So, I’ve always had a connection.
You know the Tribe jackets back and all that shit – I’ve got a lot of varsities. You know, my Stussy collections huge. The first Stussy drop we did was 2015, for the 20th anniversary of headz. So, I’ve always had an association.
I can’t thank Michael enough, and Miles who was working in the store in Covent Garden. Barnzley gave me my first Stussy shirt, and you never forget people who give you your first shirt, so I was made sure to give people a shirt whenever I could. Stussy has always been a part of my life. It’s weird, I look back and I’ve kind of been wearing it from the beginning. Culturally all the guys have started wearing again. I’ve just got some killer drops too. I got the Virgil Abloh one, the Marc Jacobs one. The one with my face one sold out in three and a half minutes hahaha!
Tell us more about your Headz to Sun events?
“‘Headz to the Sun‘ is about celebrating Metalheadz music, 25 years! If we can get to Ibiza in July we’re just going to be there before the window closes. We’ve got an amazing lineup and it’s all about the idea of me being the host and inviting loads of people to come and play with me. It’ll be amazing,
“We’ve mapped it out with Anthony and Tom at the label. We’ve got a really tight team Anthony and Tom running the label and me A&R’ing. I still listen to all of the demos. It’s been pushed back a bit, but I think it’s all for the better.”