slow magazine the revolution will be photocopied

slow #5/winter 2001

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?
Malock: What?
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 man!
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 again.
G: Then it was like boring human stuff, right?
M: They were talking about some organisation, it's not interesting to me.

Why Berlin?
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 Malock!
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.
We've noticed.
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 sheeps, no?

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 responded?
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.

For 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 (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 tribal nature.

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?
Remind me.
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 place?
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 so...

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!


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