Belfast Telegraph

DJ Goldie thought he would die in his 40s: 'When I wake it's a blessing to still be here'

 

Musician, DJ, artist and actor, Goldie never thought he would make it to 50, but devoting his life to yoga means he is more productive now than ever. As he prepares for his latest tour, he tells Laura Harding about legacy, spirituality ... and what he learned from David Bowie

Goldie always thought he would be dead by now. He was pretty sure his years of drug abuse and partying would mean his time would run out long before he marked his half century.

But now he's 51 and anxious not to be late for his hot yoga class, which starts in 45 minutes.

To say one of the founding fathers of drum 'n' bass is a reformed character would be an understatement. He's been living a different kind of life for many years now, but he's still aware that it could all catch up with him.

"I am looking at whether or not I can get to 70," he says. "And whether possibly genetics will allow me to get to my 80s.

"My dad is in his 90s, my granddad lived till he was 100 and something, so maybe genetics will help - we will see.

"For a long time I thought I was going to die in my 40s. I thought I was going to overdose for a start, I thought I would have overdosed a long time ago and I kind of accepted it.

"There were times when I wobbled and thought 'This is it, I'm gone'. So now I wake up and the first thing I say is I'm really blessed to be here and I'm grateful for this day.

"I don't know if I will make it past 70, but I'm hoping I will, I'm just taking every day as it comes."

Age and change have brought him a great deal of introspection, but they have certainly not mellowed Goldie out.

Sitting in a noisy hotel bar, sometimes he is lying almost horizontally in his seat, sometimes he taps his fingers on the table, other times he whips out his phone to play tracks he's working on with his engineer, James.

He sings, mimics a drum beat, and bounces between conversational topics, often not finishing a train of thought before moving on to the next.

So, while he's happier he's getting older, he is still just a big kid at heart.

"I'm 12," he says. "I refuse to grow up. I have a mental age of 12, I see the world as a child."

Looking over to the radio playing at the table next to us, he adds: "I'm wondering whether or not that radio sounds like a transistor radio I first took apart when I was eight.

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Positive attitude: Goldie on the decks

"I don't focus on stuff. When I was young I took a transistor radio apart and now I can actually smell the electrics inside it. I know what the electrics smell like. I'm not wired the same and I choose not to be wired the same.

"I think the adults in my life didn't show me much, so why should I listen to them?"

This is perhaps not so surprising. Born Clifford Joseph Price in Walsall in 1965, he had as tough a childhood as one can imagine.

His father Clement disappeared shortly after he was born and his mother Margaret put him into care when he was three, while keeping the other kids at home.

While he was eventually reunited with his mother, he found sanctuary as a graffiti artist in the emerging street art scene.

Now he's keen that his art and music leave something positive for his own children, especially his youngest daughter, Coco.

It sadly seems too late for his son, Jamie Price, who was jailed for life in 2010 for stabbing and killing a rival gang member outside a Wolverhampton nightclub.

"I think the art and the legacy might make money, so my daughter won't have to work as hard," he muses.

"I think it's important for human beings to leave a positive legacy of something behind, anyway.

"Why are there statues in London? There are people who had great wealth in this country who left a lot of money for people that were below the water line. There should be a lot more of that now.

"I think people only see the immediate; I am no spring chicken and neither am I a politician, but I am trying to find myself spiritually."

That word - spiritual - comes up a lot. He says he's spiritual rather than political, but he backed Jeremy Corbyn in the last election.

"When yoga people generally do politics they are not the people that are going to push the button tomorrow and kill us all," he says.

"Certain people that are in that driving seat would push the button and kill us tomorrow. I don't think Corbyn is the best choice, but better the devil you know than the one you don't.

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Positive attitude: Goldie's close pal David Bowie

"To be honest, the people on the other side of the fence, whether you like it or not, aren't the people that are nice people.

"If I want to embrace Corbyn, at least I can see something that maybe other people can't see. There is something in that."

His latest record, The Journey Man, came out in June and got its name because "the Journey Man is incomplete, he wanders around and never really completes anything; there should be a humbleness in that, you can't think you've arrived".

He adds: "There is truthfulness in the music sometimes - it doesn't sound like anything else.

"It doesn't mean it's the best, but sometimes people want to be in denial. It's easier, it's safer not to listen. It's safer to put your helmet on and just go through it all.

"I think life should be important, whatever you do. If everyone made music like me, everyone would be a bit too depressed or elated, one of the two, I'm not sure which one. Maybe the former or the latter.

"I just think you will be able to play this album in 20 years' time and it will sound great."

He is minutely involved in every aspect of the making of his music, in constant conversation with the team he works with, and he will happily listen to it long after it's finished.

He says: "People get that mixed up a little bit, thinking 'oh god he's really full of himself because he listens to his own music', but no, I listen to a resonance that is channelled by something far greater than I am.

"I'm just channelling it, it's not me that made it and I can listen to it like it's not me that made it."

He attributes some of that attitude to his old friend, David Bowie.

"When it comes to being balls out, you just have to be balls out."

  • Tickets for Goldie's tour are available at www.goldie.co.uk/tour

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