In “Skilled Mechanics”, I’m the lead vocalist: an interview with Tricky
More than twenty years ago, Bristol-based artist Tricky, together with the bands Portishead and Massive Attack, managed to create other music, located at the junction of hip-hop, jazz, dub, rock and soul and called “trip-hop”. Since then, this direction has healed its life, and Tricky has acquired the status of a living idol.
Tom White talked to Tricky about his new project, Skilled Mechanics, a new sound, and another studio recording with Massive Attack.
I sat in a bar located on the ground floor of a chic five-star hotel in central London, just to talk to Adrian Tous, aka Tricky, about his new project and album “Skilled Mechanics”. Trika’s musical career, although, obviously, is based on the strong base of the bristol trip trip, it is distinguished by the lack of monotony and the constant desire to pave the way for something new.
Today, Skilled Mechanics, a free collaboration project released on Trika’s own label, False Idols, has become this “new”. The album, according to the musician, lacks a “direct way of thinking … to record an album, release a couple of singles, break records” – all this was demanded from Trika by his former label “Domino Records”. But in “Skilled Mechanics” easily and quietly merge unused tracks from the past with new material, in the recordings of which participated DJ Milo (a childhood friend and participant in Wild Bunch) and Luke Harris (drummer Tricky).
“We will now become a trio: guitar, drums and me,” says the musician.
From dark emotional trip-hop and abstract hip-hop to covers of Stone Sour tracks and 1990s California-based alternative band Porno For Pyros, the sound of “Skilled Mechanics”, even though it sounds like a cliché, is very difficult to classify. . But, nevertheless, no matter what the vocals are in the composition, the album lives and breathes in the classic Trika style.
When the musician was asked if the sound of the new album was predetermined from the very beginning, Tricky gave a negative answer, explaining that with the addition of DJ Milo to the recording, everything in the project simply “fell into place” itself. K Milo, who is present in 5 of 13 tracks, unexpectedly helped drummer Tricks Luke Harris on vocals.
Harris’ vocal talent appeared on Tous’s radar after Luke replaced Francesca Belmote (they had been collaborating for a long time) during the soundcheck.
“I didn’t even suspect that this guy could sing. I was in the dressing room when I heard one of the songs, and I was like:“ What the hell ?! ”I told him that one day we had to do something together.”
This happy accidental discovery occurred at a time most suitable for Trika, who at that time had definitely decided to move away from using female vocals in his new project.
“It was perfect for Skilled Mechanics because I didn’t want to use too many women, so I remembered this case with Luke.”
If earlier the sound and live performances of Trika were determined by striking female vocals, then “Skilled Mechanics” appears as a trio whose sound is still characterized by a frontman, but now the group will be able to play in small clubs and in new cities, because when Harris became a soloist, preparing for Speaking takes much less time. However, at the very beginning, all this seemed to Triki a real challenge, which soon, as he explained with his explicit Bristol accent, was eclipsed by the desire to do everything right:
“We needed this to work; we had to make it work. And I think that this is good for you, you know? The woman in the group brings a completely different dynamic.”
Frankly, it’s very easy to notice how excited the musician is when he talks about this new adventure and what he did before it. But it is worth noting that in the new album, Trika’s love for the original female voice did not go away. In the deeply emotional composition “I’m Not Going”, the Danish singer and songwriter Oh Land becomes the soloist, receiving from Trika complete freedom in choosing the nature of the performance. The track was recorded about seven years before the start of the project “Skilled Mechanics”.
I talked with Tous about his favorite song from this album “Beijing To Berlin”, in the recording of which another talented woman, a rapper from Beijing Ivy, took part. Triki told me that this unique collaboration happened after he received the offer of a joint performance in the capital of China from the singer’s management.
“I was in Beijing, speaking, and then some guy intercepted me and said:“ I’m a girl’s manager, listen to her material. ”She is a Chinese rapper, and it interested me. A Chinese rapper, a woman, so I listened to the recordings and just said: “Listen, send me the vocals of this track.” And she is so good, her reading is just beautiful – hell, you can easily end … “.