They say you should never meet your heroes,
lest they turn out to be arseholes, right like? Well the slow kru
like to challenge the clichés and win. Ever since one of us bought
the Original Prankster EP a couple of years ago and
played it down the phone to the other one we have been hooked
on the man they called Chilly Gonzales. Now we've met him three
times, we love him, he loves us, and there ain't no stopping the
Gonzo phenomenon. Two classic albums on Kitty Yo already
Gonzales Uber Alles and The Entertainist and
a slew of hits and remixes all over the place, and a third album
on the way early 2002. We give him his first ever magazine front
cover (slow five/winter 2001), and bring you an audience
with the latest member of the Canadia family. We've never been so
happy to be covered in another man's sweat...
We're at the Spitz in London's trendy
Shoreditch, where Chilly, his mates the Puppetmastaz (featuring
Mr Malock), and fellow Canadian exile Mocky are about to confuse
the assembled industry monkeys. He wants us to meet the puppets
first, and through them explain himself...
Gonzales: Hey Paul and Mocky, and
whoever wants to come there's another interview going on,
come on over. That's Paul PM the confused mind. Mr Malock,
did you meet them already?
G: These guys they have a fanzine, they talk about music
and stuff. They came two hours on the train today just to meet you.
M: What they wanna know?
So you're a bit of a prankster then,
are you? Tell us about it.
G: Basically a prankster is a human
trying to be a puppet, so if you wanna find out about me in a way
it's great to see Mr Malock in action because everything I do that
has worked well for me in the last few years since I moved to Berlin
is basically the result of meeting the Puppetmastaz a group
of nine puppets that basically rule over the Berlin underground.
And when I met them I was just really swept up in their antics
off the wall crazy antics and stuff I decided to take their
philosophy and apply it to my own life a little bit. As soon as
I did that things were better on the creative front, better in my
whole life, and basically all the supervillains you see before you
here today (Mocky, Paul and Malock, plus Mickey Mindraper and
Sex Doctah) gathered here we're all basically human puppets.
Are you all as energetic as Malock here?
G: Malock wake up
Have you been smoking too much?
M: Nah, it's just last night
I was up all night.
G: Do you wanna tell them who you met today?
M: Yeah I was at the Henson studio in Camden...
G: Who did you meet?
M: Sonia, the secretary.
G: The secretary had some sympathy for Paul, that's why he
was able to get a very short meeting with this creative director
at the Henson workshop.
M: She was introducing me to this Nick, and this Nick just
listened to me sing, and then I forget. I must have fallen asleep
G: Then it was like boring human stuff, right?
M: They were talking about some organisation, it's not interesting
M: Well, Berlin as a city
right now is in a developing period. It's not like Paris or New
York as a lady they already know what they are about. Berlin
doesn't know where it's at right now, and that's why there are a
lot of possibilities to sneak somewhere through this and that and
tell the people that the only thing that is counting... is ME! Mr
G: OK, we have to get sentimental about Berlin because you
know the best bars you should try and close them down, and
that way you can have that moment sooner, when you can say how good
it was before it closed. So in Berlin we're just trying to accelerate
that have a bar that never opens or closes but an idea that
you can talk about as the greatest thing in the past. And then you
have detachment from the past, which gives you detachment from your
emotions, which gives you detachment from your music, which gives
you detachment from your music career, which gives you detachment
from everything you want to get detached from. And who knows that
better than a puppet?
We've recently spoken to some representatives
of the Canadian hip hop scene, and they've never heard of you. How
come you don't have a crew back home?
Hmmm, I do have a crew, but I never
MCed in Canada, I became an MC in Germany. I was trying to be a
hip hop producer and I was consistently failing at that, I've never
made a real hip hop beat in my life.
That really... the story of Canada
was like beats university or music university before I became a
master of music. When I was in Canada I was still a student of music.
And when I landed in Berlin also the language barrier opened my
mind to what MCing was.
Is there room for romance in rap music?
Yeah, there's not enough love in
music in general, including rap music. I'm just trying to put all
the love I can into it. Romance is part of it because romance is
like a weapon to get people open the fools who still believe
that let their minds open when they hear that stuff. When they hear
a nice Chilly G melody, a nice pleasing Chilly G melody straight
from the Ennio Morricone copycat school when they hear that
shit man, they're open, and then I can go in there and make their
brain my centre of operations for fucking music in the ass.
You've claimed in some interviews to
keep it real what's your definition of that?
I guess that means like in my live
show I'm representing 100% raw freestyle, never planning a show
(though recently he's flipped it round to make a point of always
doing the same routine, with extra insanity thrown in). So it's
like there's failure and there's success and there's us fighting...
we're just like Houdini, you know what I mean? It's a live demonstration
of musical superpowers.
With reference to the association between
pranks and music would you identify more with Malcolm McLaren
or Bill Drummond?
(Mocky lies): Malcolm McLaren's
Canadian so right away he's the only person that any of us identifies
with and values.
G: Before he changed his
name to Marshall McLuhan. Who was the other guy?
Bill Drummond the KLF.
I don't know too much about them
but when they came out I thought what they were doing looked like
fun. That's all it looked like fun, so in a way they inspired
me because you gotta have fun in life.
The KLF were all about manipulating
themselves into situations, whereas Malcolm McLaren was all about
getting other people to live out his ideas.
Well, with your explanations I'd
definitely choose Bill Drummond.
Malock: I think they killed
Apparently I'm the first person to ask
for the list (This record was made possible by the apathy and
spinelessness of many individuals for a complete list these
weak terrified motherfuckers send an s.a.s.e.) you mentioned
on the cover of the Original Prankster EP...
You're the totally first guy who
asked for it and I'm gonna get it to you. I don't have it right
now, I haven't written it down yet. I'm gonna make it for you. (Yeah,
right he's had two years now...)
You wrote that on the sleeve to be provocative
do you think you've failed because I'm the only one that's
No, it's succeeded because someone
did. I was just waiting for the right person listening to prank
radio to pick up the signal, so it's really cool, I was really thrilled
someone cares (not yet thrilled enough to give me the list though).
And two of them I've really been in contact with because I keep
my enemies really close. I'll be happy to write their names down
again; knowing the plan's all going through. (There's a sound
of violins in the background.) There's definitely romance in
hip hop right now.
What's your distinction between rap
music and hip hop?
It's more complicated to explain
the influence hip hop has on me so I just say rap music because
literally what I'm doing is I've appropriated rapping. And so hip
hop people think of it more as the culture I guess and rap as the
music, and I'm not really appropriating hip hop culture but more
the physical aspect of removing discernible notes from your speech
melodies, rendering it more abstract MCing. Making rhythms
that are more 16th note based and syncopated perhaps, and that always
have a pretty traditional rhyme structure.
someone with such disdain for music journalists and so-called music
intellectuals, you certainly seem to be flavour of the month at
the moment. Can you handle it?
It's definitely just a fun experiment
right now, I can't really tell you any more than that. I never did
so many interviews in my life, that's for sure. And I don't have
a real disdain for music journalists but I find them sorta predictable.
I guess we'll have to see what happens.
You take a swipe at them in the CD booklet
for Uber Alles (If you got this record for free, think
about whether deserve it. Somehow I doubt it). I got it free
and yes I do deserve it.
Well, music is free to begin with;
it doesn't cost anything to listen to. Then somehow it got along
that you're supposed to charge for music, and then on top of that
there was a subclass within the people who were supposed to pay
for music who were exempted from that even though it was free in
the first place. I was trying to point out that, it's not a real
hate-on I have, but it comes across like that.
You once spent a while sleeping in the
offices of state51.co.uk (nice trendy websites group presumably
run by Hoxton multimeeja types). Did you do anything creative
while you were there, or just sit around smoking dope?
It's a nice supervillainous headquarters.
It's a fine line y'know, but lots of rehearsing. The way we rehearse
is more just playing games and stuff. We play a game called The
Vortex where we run around in a circle and when somebody says
"flip the script!" we all turn round.
We know a game called The Bridge,
if you want to learn that one.
The bridge is over (hahaha
hip hop humour!). We were living in this tent and the most comfortable
way for us to sleep is to spoon actually, so we've really been like
getting in touch with affection being comfortable with intimate
space on a close level by spooning in a tent. It brought out our
Have you come across Roots Manuva yet?
No. Once I went to see New Flesh
For Old when they were playing in Berlin. I joined them on stage
and did really poorly. I didn't make an ass of myself but I was
really disappointed, so to anyone there it probably just would've
seemed like some local MC who went up and was nervous. And I had
to make sure my record release party was at this club because I
had to undo this failure. I could tell you all the fun lies
the other one is that I met Francoise Hardy in New York, and the
reality is all these French bullshit artists say they know her or
have access to her and none of them do, and I wrote these songs
for her ages ago.
Is that where the love songs on
Uber Alles come from?
Yeah basically. Weapons I
just thought Francoise Hardy would add perfectly to a weapon. You
have to make a beautiful weapon a piano or a joint, or whatever...
If you're all supervillains what
are your worst crimes? (apart from crimes against fashion)
I'm a musical supervillain, not
a real supervillain. I think breaking the law is morally reprehensible.
I think laws are in place because they really do protect people
and people who break them are self-destructive. Do you wanna ask
the Sex Doctah stuff? He's definitely got a pretty cool take on
the world. Why don't you ask him some things?
We don't know about your crew.
I mean basically it's really fine
that my records and stuff is getting cool attention but in the end
it's all about how I represent my supervillainous crew, which is
mostly in Canada, London and Berlin, and now in Amsterdam a couple
of people. Basically if you like what Chilly Gonzales is then you're
gonna like these guys more, these guys haven't been pulled up from
the underground, you know what I mean? I got stinky clothes from
being dragged up from the underground, but I was there once before
in Canada on the upper side, so now I know what's a cool street
to walk down and what's not. Basically they're still there
keeping the party going while I'm away.
Would you care to contribute a remix
to our record label?
Depending, yeah. I mean what would
I be remixing?
Whatever you like.
Are you gonna give me audio source
material or not even...
It may not exist. Most of our
releases are available in quantities of nought.
Yeah, cool. Consider me onboard
for the project a long-term project.
Are you familiar with the Finnish drum'n'bass
scene as it relates to Krishna consciousness?
We met this bloke on our way here
today, who's walking round Europe selling a CD of his friends' band.
Three bald geezers had recorded a DnB album on their own little
label, and it's all connected to following Krishna. Like I said,
their distribution consists of this one bloke wandering around Europe
standing on street corners selling it. Isn't that the epitome of
taking your music to the streets!
Yeah, that's really cool.
If you're so down with the underground
why aren't you doing that?
Why aren't I?
You're being so conventional (he
really is lost for words here, as we start suggesting other ways
he could commune with his audience taking them all down the
pub, baking them cakes that sort of thing and we're
not even drunk yet!)
Have you got anything else you wish
to impart to the people of Norwich?
Hmm, not really.
No, neither have we, that's why
we're down here so often.
What's the industry in your town?
Was there a physical resource that led to its creation in the first
It used to be the third biggest
city in the country in the 16th/17th century (more due to geography
than anything else), but has been gradually demoted ever since.
It had a strong leather industry, things like that. And mustard.
And fruit cordials. It's a pale shadow of what it used to be.
What would you identify with Norwich?
Your magazine, man. That's the first
time I ever heard of it. So actually you can do an experiment to
see if hearing about your magazine changes the perception. Right
now I think of it as a minimally inspired backwater, but if this
magazine's coming from there there must be life.
That's alright, but they don't
understand us either. Norwich is great that's why we live
there that's why it's great!
Is your gold chain genuine?
I don't think so, man.
It's genuine chain.
It's a gift, so I can only speculate
as to how much money they spent on me, but somehow I don't think
Postscript: we have decided that the only
true way to get the Gonzales message across to you would be to book
him to play in Norwich ourselves, get him out of the Shoreditch
stranglehold a bit. Seriously though, you have got to see this man
live to understand our adoration, and if you won't come out with
us we'll just have to bring him to you we're nice like that.
You have been warned!