Monthly Archives: April 2012

Style Wars: Henry Chalfont Interview

Henry Chalfont – Style Wars Interview by Huwston

For a crash course in hip hop history, those in the know will direct you towards Style Wars. First aired in 1984, the seminal documentary captures New York City at a time when graffiti is re-imagining the metropolis and bold new sounds fill the streets. Now the film, directed by Tony Silver, has been immortalised on a deluxe double DVD. 3D’s Huwston speaks to influential photographer and co-producer of style wars Henry Chalfant about where it all began.

It would be hard to argue against the case that hip hop has been the last significant art form, movement or culture in the last few decades. Approaching the thirtieth anniversary since its inception, the all-encompassing movement is most simply broken down to the four elements of DJing, MCing, Breaking and Graffiti. It’s not till I get Henry Chalfant on the phone that I realise I’m speaking someone who produced one of the first documents covering the phenomenon as it was emerging.

That eerily calming voice that travels down the phone line has been sampled in numerous turntablist tracks (The Herbaliser’s Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks is one) and, waking up late for the interview, I’m transported to the world’s sickest club – where electro kids, punk rockers and b-boys are getting down. Originally re-issued in 2003, Style Wars looks at the nature of graffiti art, particularly its outlaw status in the art world.

“What we did was part of that movement of the emergence of hip hop,” says Chalfant. “I’ve noticed there has been a growth of interest in old school and I’m particularly aware of it in the art form as opposed to in music. I’ve noticed, for instance, graffiti writers in France who have been very active lately on their train systems. They are painting in a style which is obviously inspired by really old school seventies style.”

It’s no surprise then that the French seem to again be leading a cultural wave of exciting, yet sometimes disposable, club music, art and fashion (Busy P and Ed Banger stand up). The country seems to fight its love of all things American, reappropriate it for Europe and the rest of the world to ultimately create something more inviting and successful.

“Hip hop originated from the media, which carried these new art forms,” Chalfant says. He references Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop as an important guide in retracing the steps of the genre. Whilst he was a part of the first ever project to document the visual aspect of the culture, Chalfant says that a lot of original graffiti writers have released their own original photographs. They too have gone on to get the props they deserve, some using Style Wars as their platform. However, this success would take years to reach them.

“The exciting thing about that time was you had people who had been isolated in marginal areas, plus a vital downtown art and music scene in New York. There began to be venues where people would get together on the Lower East Side, places like Fun Gallery and One Two. Those were places where all of these people were practicing these art forms and influencing one another. It was largely fun before a lot of commercial interests became really influential.”

Chalfant muses that it’s no bad thing for people to make money from their art. Indeed, it seems the plight of the visual artist to not receive recognition for their work until it’s too late.

‘We tried to gain interest from commercial interests.

Obvious places to go were Coca Cola and McDonalds, but they weren’t interested until much later, in the Nineties. It was disappointing and then it became kind of creepy the way they were really exploiting it to the hilt. People who were originally inventing this art form, their younger brothers and sisters became the target of this marketing. Something that started off as a rebellious anti-authoritarian art form was now being exploited for money.” Maintaining the spirit of politics, Chalfant goes on to draw even creepier parallels to how hip hop is used in mass market situations today.

“In the current situation of the war, because it’s so unpopular the government has resorted to using rap music to try to attract teenagers. You see it all the time at street fairs and concerts where they blast the music out of their humvees and SUVs, and the kids are drawn in like flies.” With Nas proclaiming the death of hip hop, there really is no better time for the re-release of this important historical document.

“Teenagers then who are 40 now know about Style Wars, but if you ask today’s teenagers about Grandmaster Caz or the Cold Crush Brothers they don’t know who you’re talking about. Then you ask them what they listen to and they say 50 Cent. They have no sense of history.”

Chalfant says he’s glad the doco is back in distribution because they get a sense of the history of the genre and culture. So how much has it really changed?

“There’s no getting away from traditions that hold true in marginal neighbourhoods in New York. It’s getting rougher now. From 1985 onwards, the drug scene has been very destructive to hip hop in general and that hasn’t really gone away. The streets are in the grip of gangs – who have been influenced by gangsta rap.”

Henry Chalfant continues to name check France as a country that’s pushing things forward. He says the high art world in the US has been reluctant to acknowledge graffiti as a real phenomenon. “The Museum of Modern Art had a show a few years ago called High Low, where graffiti was supposed to be a low art form that had influenced people doing high art,” he notes.

In closing, Chalfant says, “Style Wars was a life-changing project, along with my book Subway Art. These two projects had their feet planted in the original subculture of hip hop. In a way, hip hop led me to becoming a documentary filmmaker – not the other way around.

“What I have discovered is that with my involvement for so long – and I’ve never been away from it – I’ve maintained a contact with friends of the time. Now I have the art ties. It’s important it exists and that other people can access it. I don’t take pictures of graffiti now. Everyone documents their own work now, and we’re not seeing everything for the first time.”

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Wrong Tom: Nothing Wrong With That

In Roots and Reggae culture, a stripped-down, dubbed-out version of an artists’ big single is nothing new. The phenomenon also crossed over to Disco in the 80s but years before every artist album had to be followed up by an obligatory (and usually limp) remix effort, Bristol based Soul-Beat-Reggae sound-system Massive Attack allowed their seminal second studio album Protection to be re-imagined by Dub-Reggae studio don The Mad Professor. The resulting No Protection is now seen as more of an afterthought when considering the bands’ career but the release certainly pinpoints a clever and somewhat underutilised A&R tactic to highlight an artist’s influences.

Roots Manuva aka Rodney Smith is obviously a fan. He’s been chanting words like ‘Re-lick’ and ‘Re-fix’ in his music for years and indeed, August 2002’s Dub Come Save Me is the only other such attempt at re-dubbing a popular album in recent memory… until now. Teaming up with Wrongtom, a producer previously most notorious for being the in-house remixer for Hard Fi, Duppy Writer sees Wrongtom taking vocals from Roots Manuva’s four official studio albums and completely reworking their backing tracks, resulting in some of the most imaginative contemporary Hip-Hop or Reggae ever released.

A combination of luck and timing, Tom called on Big Dada label boss Will Ashon for some accapellas to do a version of the single Buff Nuff strictly for his DJ sets.

“It all trickled down from there. I think (Will) was sitting at home formulating ideas, and I did a mini album to go along with Slime & Reason and once that was done and the response was positive, I think he started to formulate more ideas,” he chuckles. “I was thinking the same thing but I didn’t want to approach him about it because I didn’t think it was my place.”

Suggesting he’s been a Roots Manuva fan for fourteen years, Tom seems to have caught the UK Hip Hop bug before he did the Reggae one.

“I was a really big fan of UK Rap since I was a kid. In the late 80s I was big fan of Overlord X, London Posse and Rodney P,” he says. “I think because it was one of those home-grown things that I grew up with, it felt like it was ‘my thing’ and it sort of grew up with me. Rodney (Manuva) is one of those guys, I think he became the biggest star in UK rap and is probably by far, the most interesting.”

Tom is surprised by the notion that Reggae is considered foreign music by some of his countrymen, suggesting that at one point in time, it was hard to avoid.

“It’s hard not to be exposed to Dub and Reggae in London – it’s almost like the soundtrack of the UK – with bands like UB40 hitting the charts when I was growing up and before that, The Specials,” he says. “I’m amazed when people look at it as this ‘other music,’ because it feels very British to me.”

No stranger to collaboration, Roots Manuva’s albums have, until lately been mostly adorned with his own magnificent production, however 2008’s Slime & Reason introduced listeners to the work of Toddla T who has since gone on to dominate dancefloors across the globe. Is Roots Manuva running out of ideas?

“I think when you have been working for so long, it’s nice to work with new people, to keep it fresh, just so you don’t get bored. It’s hard for me to say because I’ve been working for that long but I’ve been working with lots of different people and for me, it would be nice to work on my own thing for a few years,” says Wrongtom.

Having done dubs for Lily Allen and soon to be released band Palmer International (featuring members of The Specials), Tom fears, like any artist, he’ll get pigeonholed.

“Because I do such a load of different stuff I’ll always get some work doing other material than Dub stuff, but you have to stick to what you’re good at and I guess I’m ok at the Dub and Reggae stuff,” he says with a wry sense of sarcasm.

Eric Lau Comes Deep With It

Eric Lau is a British Hip Hop and Soul producer who burst on to the scene amidst a flurry of excitement with his debut New Territories on Ubiquity in 2008, satisfying fan across the Atlantic looking for some post Ummah sub bass Soul. Since then Lau has kept a fairly low profile until recently releasing the underground Kilawatt V2 EP ahead of his debut Australian tour. Speaking over the phone after a very late night mixing session, Lau name-checks recent visitor Dam-Funk and looks forward to reaching our shores after busily preparing brand new material.

“I saw the tweets that Dam was writing about, Dam is an ambassador of funk you know?’ he asks, adding ‘I have a lot of respect for Dam because he always gives.”

With somewhat of a more withdrawn demeanour than his Californian friend, Lau discusses how his new EP came about.

“Kilawatt is a new label run by a guy who did some work experience for me a few years ago,’ he explains. ‘He’s a music lover who was very ambitious and I kinda guided him in the right direction and he asked me if I wanted to do an EP and he saved up the money to do it,” he says, sounding genuinely impressed and keen to help.

The EP features vocalists Muhsinah and Oddisee, who, like Lau, have both been teasing the underground for years now with the promise of artists poised to take over. Also featured on the mini album is multi-instrumentalist Kaidi Tatham whose appearance gives the release another level of musicality and puts Lau in a new realm.

“This is an extension (of New Territories). I think as producer you’re always learning and whilst it might not sound it from a listeners perspective, New Territories was very raw,” he says in relation to the new EP’s lush instrumentation.

“I didn’t really have much knowledge of engineering back then… even composition,” he says, suggesting that his collaborative family was both a step up and in the right direction for him.

“Oddisee and I have a very similar journey as far as our upbringing is concerned. The song that he wrote really reflected how I felt about our journey.”

At the time his debut LP was released, Lau also dropped the Guilty Simpson collaboration For The D, which somewhat split fans of his smooth soul, whilst at the same time as gaining him a lot of respect from the Hip Hop community. Lau is not vexed by where he sits in the marketplace.

“I’m happy to have a ‘fanbase’ on both sides,’ he says. ‘I haven’t even ventured in to the dance music side of things that I want to go in to yet. Most of the stuff everyone has heard has been down tempo or mid tempo but I wanna make people dance as well.”

Overall, Lau is very relaxed about his situation in a grim marketplace.

“Music is an art form. I’m lucky enough to be able to do it and I think Hip-hop and Soul go hand in hand, so I don’t see it as a problem, I see it as a blessing to be able to do both types of music and reach both types of people.”

Currently preparing a 2 track single for the Save The Children charity where all proceeds go directly to the cause, Lau says this will be peoples first opportunity to hear the more dancefloor based gear, with Aussies possibly the first to hear it before anyone else.

“There’s a lot of things going on in the world and I thought ‘why not come together with some people and let’s make music with a purpose?’ he says. ‘One track is vocal with Rahel and Fatima and a couple of guests all singing on it and the other is a live version of Understanding which I am really enjoying at the moment.”

Wildchild: Jack of All Trades, Master of Tongue

Shit headline

Wildchild Interview

Former Lootpack emcee Wildchild is hard to put his finger on. On one hand you have this incredible rhymer who was a part of a group doing what’s hip now over a decade ago and on the other hand you have an incredibly humble man on a daily grind to capitalize on any lost ground since the super group’s ‘rapping up’ of affairs all those years ago. Coming to Australia for the first time with The Executioners, Wildchild is promoting, breaking, producing, DJing and MCing, which really does make him Jack Of All Trades.

‘I’m just trying to wil’ out, party and promote some new material as well as the current material, get cats clued to what we’re doing on the west coast, with the lyrics and the  beats and some b-boy moves,’ he says of the upcoming tour. ‘I was a b-boy first. Me and Madlib used to pop before we got in to producing and MCing and I always keep that element alive.’

Saying that he always keeps the b-boys in mind with the music he writes and records makes it painfully obvious why he is such a loved MC – people like dancing and the uptempo joints are always better than the drab ones.

‘I worked on the album on some beats and a lot of people don’t know that I DJ, I spin, I play some funk, soul and classic RnB 80s and 70s stuff and with all of this stuff I was doing people call me jack of all trades and until it was time to put the album out and I had to think of the album title it just fit.’

At first I was concerned about the interview due to a track on the album where the MC eats a journalist for focusing too much on his cohorts wherabouts and whilst steering clear of the subject, did let him know of my concern.

‘That was geared towards some past experiences where people were using the opportunity to work with me when they were trying to get more information off people that don’t do interviews. Like if Oh No, Madlib, Percee P or whoever was between their releases, so it seemed easy to reach me and we did a whole interview answering questions about everyone else,’ he says.

In fact, Oxnard, California has spawned some of the new school’s greatest talents and whilst Wildchild appreciates the love, he hates in when people miss the point. He is more than happy to spread love to up and comers like Georgia Anne Muldrow who produced and appeare don’t he album a couple of times.

‘She’s so soulful,’ he says, ‘to me she’s like a new millennium version of Chaka Khan. If I could pick a soul signer I grew up listening to who I wanted to work with it would be Chaka Khan. She sings, she produces and people don’t even know that she rhymes… Her beats are totally to the left and she doesn’t get influenced by what other people are doing, she tries to do her own thing, so that right there that was ‘nuff said’, I had to work with her.’

Describing the label situation and now not being part of a stable he says that perhaps Stones Throw were expecting to hear something different when he turned in 20% of the album in 2006 and whilst not describing it as a bad experience he says ‘them not putting the album out helped me grow.’

Fear not because as much as he wants you to check for Jack Of All Trades and come to the show, he has a swag of new projects in the work that will have hip hoppers reaching for the sweat rag including a new DVD, a collaboration with Karriem Riggins and Stacey Epps, Dudley, Georgia and he are doing a record together and he and Madlib have been working on some vocals which may turn out to be future Lootpack material as well as an album with Oh No and Black Milk. Goodness!

Well, Well, Well – 10 Years Of Big Dada With Will Ashon

 

Well, Well, Well…

Big Dada 10 Year Anniversary article with Will Ashon, founder of Big Dada by Huwston.

Ten years ago music journalist Will Ashon decided with Pete Quicke (General Manager of Ninja Tune) to spawn a side arm to the groundbreaking label’s already boundary-pushing roster. A dedicated Hip Hop label to focus on the vocal offerings the label was experimenting with, which would quickly overshadow its other side-arm N-Tone, and in some people’s eyes, become more consistent than its parent.

Some of the labels’ earliest offerings were weird, brash British art forms that no one outside of Mother England would understand. It could be argued that even the locals didn’t get it, however, from the get-go, Ashon’s motif was clear, and it was entirely evident with releases like Saul Williams Elohim 12”. Now the label has released a 2CD and DVD package that documents it all, from the cheeky local boys to their weird and wonderful cross Atlantic counterparts like Spank Rock and Diplo. Will Ashon explains how it all began:

“This was the mid nineties when the mainstream was an all time low. It was a real Puff Daddy era and there was a lot of exciting stuff coming from the New York underground scene at that time and more generally, most of the good stuff I was getting was cassettes or white labels that I would review and then I would get letters from people saying ‘why the fuck are you review records I can’t get?’ That was sort of the starting point,’ he notes.

‘Some of the best music I was getting as a journalist didn’t seem to be available to people.”

Locally, a UK Hip Hop scene had been developing but Big Dada seems to be the one who pushed it in to the face of the world.

‘There was stuff coming out – white labels and things, but it was hard for any one to break through. It tended to be done at a small level. There was more stuff that was being made than was being sold,’ he says. ‘The scene was quite insular – that was the audience it was interested, so I guess it was sort of lacking in ambition. There was Low Life, Sound and Money before we started (where Roots Manuva and Blak Twang started)… which was an important influence on Big Dada.’

In Roots Manuva the label had a sort of knight in shining armour amongst the misfits (although Juice Aleem has been like a totem pole for the label spearheading several projects) but even still, the label could jump from sample based stuff to pre-grime era electronics and everything in between. And then came Spank Rock.Is Will Ashon the trend picker?

‘To be honest with you I’m really dumb with those sort of things, I get a good demo or I hear a good band and I think ‘fuck I wanna do this.’ Certainly with Spank Rock there was never the idea that there would be this whole new scene coming from around this. Diplo gave me this demo and told me it was from ‘this kid who comes to the club and he’s a cool looking guy, looks like the black Mick Jagger’ and I heard it and said ‘fuck this is amazing!’

Having sent them a contract within a week it’s interesting to note Big Dada did not jump on the Baltimore bandwagon, with Ashon sighting Yoyoyo as the best thing to come out of the scene, quite like clouDEAD as the best to come out of the Anticon scene years before.

‘A trend is an example of where you’ve got something right and people say ‘oh well, we can make some money off of this,’ says Ashon, quite rightly.

We quickly chat about those French weirdos TTC, who, for a group who don’t speak English and have midgets and women copping slaps and guys breaking their legs in b-boy competitions in their videoclips, actually sell good units! But what Big Dada interview would not be complete without a word on the labels’ biggest hit, Witness?

‘I thought it was a great track but I’ve thought all kinds of tracks were great tracks that have sold nothing. It’s a funny one Witness because at the time – it’s a bit like one of those gigs that everyone claims they were at – everyone claims that when they heard it they knew it was a massive hit but it wasn’t when it came out. It’s just continued to be played and sell since six years now.’

And is Rodney still mad?

‘He’s never been mad, he’s still bad,’ he says, almost protectively, with a hint of cheekiness. ‘He’s on great form actually and we may have a new album from his first half of next year.’

Big Dada: one hope, one quest.

Bosco Mann aka Gabriel Roth: Dap King

this one started to go really badly but i think we turned it in to a story

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS’ BOSCO MANN INTERVIEW

By Huwston

Within the rise and rise to prominence of the contemporary Funk scene, key figures have emerged as heroes of the genre. Uber producers, ultra singers and charismatic front-people like Sharon Jones and Dap King bandleader Bosco Mann are the beautiful pattern on one very rich tapestry.

Bosco Mann usually leaves the interviews to Sharon, the becoming Soul singer from Georgia who has become a darling-heart to anyone who’s ever heard the bands albums Dap Dippin or last years incredible Naturally. He comes across as very humble, particularly when he and his contemporaries like Miles Tackett of Breakestra are spoken in the same breath as luminaries like Glenn Miller.

‘I wouldn’t put myself in that category, I just work for the band,’ he says. Time will tell and when considering just how much the scene is flourishing it is important to have such leaders, still, Bosco plays it cool.

‘Musically it’s not really a question of being in the studio and asking ‘would it sell better?’’ he says when pressed about how he makes it so funky and pays no attention to the fact that this style of music is becoming some kind of valuable commodity.

‘We’re doing the music exactly how we want to. (In reference to Cadbury using their music for a TV advertisement) There’s an integrity of artists intentions… we’re not licensing music for something we have ethical compromises for like Nike.’

It was somewhat of a joy to hear a raw deep funk track blasting from the television amongst all of the faux-beats you usually hear in commercials and it echoes the thoughts of Keb Darge who told me in 2005 that Funk was becoming supermarket music over the UK: Mission accomplished, thank you. With a Gospel raised songstress from Augusta, Georgia and a ‘fifty-five year old black man that’s been reincarnated and came back as a thirty-year old Jewish boy’ (Sharon Jones in Wax Poetics issue 13), there was bound to be a wealth of differing spiritual experience in the group that surely makes up the framework for the band and its success.

‘We’re all of different kinds of paths and beliefs, I mean we don’t drink coolade together or anything, we roll as a family, it would be hard to deny that. (As far as people having a spiritual reaction to their music) I’m happy if I changed their constitution that day, made them feel better. Sharon can be really electrifying on stage, she can heal according to what some people say of the show.’

When pinned about the irony that this secular music allows people to enter a spiritual realm (i.e hands in the air) Bosco is discreet.

‘I would say it’s more of a continuum – soulful music is the most secular thing you can make, but music can be on the edge of the religious and the natural.’ Naturally, the hard working ethic comes in to play and after doing over one hundred and fifty shows last year, running the Daptone label and producing records such as Naomi Davis’ upcoming Gospel album, there’s not much time for breaks.   The band are coming to Australia for the first time to play the Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival and select shows in Sydney & Melbourne after the phenomenal success of Naturally and a really excited about the jaunt.

‘I have friends who live there who say they heard us on radio. We’re on college radio here in the States but not like all the love we get out there. I hope that the tour – and the strongest thing we have is the live show, it’s more exciting than the record… I think it is our biggest selling point.’

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings play East Coast Blues & Roots Festival Easter weekend, The Forum (Melb) 16/4, Gaelic Theatre (Syd) 20/4 and Prince Of Wales (Melb) 23/4. Naturally is now available with a bonus disc thru Daptone/Reverberation. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Huwston Likes Dani Siciliano

This was a great interview – Dani Siciliano sassed the shit out me.

Dani Siciliano by Huwston

Dani Siciliano likes music. Dani Siciliano likes to laugh at herself and as Huwston finds out Dani Siciliano also like to talk about her new album.

Dani Siciliano’s voice comes down the line at 8pm in the evening, crackling and husking its way through the morning’s first cup of tea. She’s been suffering a cold but is extraordinarily perky for someone who’s just arisen to a sea of questions. Whilst nothing during the course of the interview went to plan (poor phone connection, curve ball answers) such is the esoteric nature of her debut solo release ‘Likes…’: a combination of influences from her contemporaries as well as the soundscapes that have influenced Dani in her stays between San Francisco, London and everywhere in between. Said influences, such as partner Mathew Herbert and Bjork collaborators Matmos certainly could have underlyingly shadowed the release with their involvement, so it was important to ascertain just how important it was to Dani that this was her album.

‘You know, it was not a burning importance to me,’ she says. ‘I’m not trying to make a frustrating point,’ she continues, diffusing my question as it alludes more to identities and profile rather than content.

‘I guess I’ve laid a lot of ground work for this album… and through my sound, my production, my song, I’m just trying it all on for size.’

Did you feel the pressure oft associated for a debut with a profile?

‘It comes at different times. You want to convey an honest and natural record, that’s the pressure… and making everything sound cohesive.

Likes…’ covers the full musical spectrum, taking in a Jazz cover of Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’, a very Mr Oizo sounding house trudger called Walk The Line, the sweet nothings whispered alongside vocalist Ornelias Mugison on All The Above not to forget the twisted 12 Monkeys-esque accordion heard lurking in the background. With a list of influences from the click and glitch of early 90’s acid house to country, Jazz, Go Go, punk and beyond, which influence is it that makes Dani’s music so bent?

‘Well there’s a sensibility attached with working with Matt (Herbert). I guess my biggest influence would be my first sampler which Matt let me borrow. I like to sample words and syllables so the sounds that have eventually evolved, the ‘bent’ ones as you say; I guess is just structurally my style. Djing in San Francisco in the early 1990’s introduced me to some pretty new sounds, in terms of the glitchy stuff. I only had a small setup which has limitations, so I had this sampler and a hard drive sequencer and I guess then I was realized and was introduced to ‘the joy of sampling’ and that would be my biggest influence.’

Apart from your partner having an influence across the spectrum of arts, music and politics, the under representation of women across the electronic music genre is ever apparent and seemed like it would be daunting knowledge to have, going in to the studio. Artists like Neotropic, Mira Calyx and Andrea Parker have had varying degrees of success at home and abroad, so is there ever the need to feel to buddy up?

‘I haven’t felt any pressure to collaborate with female artists. We play some parties together… it’s kinda strange… almost like the sixties and seventies didn’t happen. I was reading a page of reviews from female Djs in a magazine the other day and none of them charted any records made by other females. When you see something like that you realize how little there is going on for or by women. There’s a very twisted view of feminism… I mean it sometimes can be daunting but there comes a point where you relax. As a woman you encounter moments where you tap in to the divine sisterhood…’

It’s not necessarily a delicate issue, more like a deflating reality. Siciliano is quick to wave the flag for female empowerment but her comments about the sixties not really happening rings through. Her album ‘Likes…’ has playful connotations but there is an underlying dourness to her music. Does Dani Siciliano also like to be sad?

‘I don’t know why that’s the direction it goes in some times. I can be quite giddy; I like to make myself laugh. I’d say I have a dry sense of humour.’

The exquisite artwork and packaging of ‘Likes…’ has the kind of story attached to it that aptly illustrates this kind of poignancy that surrounds her music.

‘I’ve always admired the work of John Patrick Mckenzie, an autistic artist from the States. I’d sent him a list of all of the things I like as a starting point. Every part of the artwork he sent back started with ‘Dani Siciliano likes…’ and it was this really big thing!’

Indeed the collage style artwork conveys all of the aural associations one might have with Dani’s music. A mish mash of colours, prints and pictures that are both challenging and rewarding to endure.

Is it difficult to combine all of your influences and still make a coherent album?

‘There’s a natural point where I started to really involve myself. All of the songs come from original demos, my first studio experiments. It wasn’t very hard a concern to me as it wove together really easily off the back off all of this ground work that had been laid over the years.’

It’s certainly not piece-meal but such is the charm of Siciliano’s music. This patchwork mentality has been embraced the world over when Dani has collaborated with Mathew Herbert but now the world we hear just what makes up Dani Siciliano and will now know just what she likes, or is like. But what does Dani Siciliano not like? In true form, she tosses out the unexpected. The usual answer of Bush, racist politics and homophobia is cast aside for something that has her down.

‘I don’t like a lot of the irony that is so rampant in music these days. It’s almost exceedingly subtle… Some people understand the irony more than the artists that are performing it and that itself is ironic. When people know it, it annoys me.’

Wise words from a woman on top. Dani Sicialiano likes to challenge the listener and the interviewer with a sort of child-like experience, though she’ll leave you figuring out it’s you who needs your hand held crossing the road. It’s the road less traveled, a place where freeform jazz and tight electronic programming skip merrily on high and people get on with their affairs without a veneer. Dani Siciliano likes to make great music. Dani Siciliano likes to play with the listener and is offering experience and depth not heard in many releases these days. Dani Siciliano really likes you and wants you to step in to her world…

Dani Siciliano’s ‘Likes…’ is out now on !K7 thru Creative Vibes.