Great feature from Remixmag on Portishead’s recent production on Third. Geoff Barrow takes a moment to dis Timbaland’s attempt to produce a record for a british band, Mark Ronson’s last record, and Dj Spooky for pretending that there are no black people in the UK art community. He also praises Madlib and Flying Lotus for their originality. In the past, Geoff Barrow has also mentioned preferring to ‘poo in his mum’s Sunday Roast’ before he would let Danger Mouse produce a Portishead record. Link
“[America's music] is shit, isn’t it?” he continues. “The hip-hop artists are just rubbish. Jay-Z’s records always sound good, but he got the sack from Universal. If you end up with a country Britney, it doesn’t matter ’cause they’re all twats anyway. Timbaland came to England trying to find a Coldplay to produce. Everyone told him to fuck off. He went to America and got his own band and they are gi-normous, the most revolting people you have ever seen in your life. They are called Timbaland. We all like it underground but no one is buying it. Even Moby is struggling.”
“Mark Ronson’s record is shit,” Barrow exclaims, referring to the celebrated Amy Winehouse-associated producer’s release Version (Allido, 2007). “He is a massive superstar in the UK. He considers himself as Quincy Jones. I’ll tell you who else is really bad: DJ Spooky. He is so full of shit. At least Mark Ronson is talented. I saw DJ Spooky at the Knitting Factory, and I tried to buy a beer to throw at him. There are black people in England, so you don’t have to come here and make out that there aren’t any black people in England’s art community. You have someone like Madlib who is a fucking genius — a genius! [He's] a real true artist in what he does, when he takes American TV soundtracks and turns them into hip-hop. Then Spooky turns up and plays a couple shit European drum ‘n’ bass records.”
“The new album is less hip-hop if you listen to modern hip-hop,” Barrow (drums, production) suggests. “But Third is purely influenced by old hip-hop [and metal drone group Sunn O))), as Barrow says later]. For me, it’s Public Enemy, Marley Marl, EPMD, Flying Lotus and Madlib. That is pure mad music, out-of-tuneness and noise. But people are worried about making money. I’m not; I just want to make a decent album that is heavy.
“Every single thing was absolutely agonized over,” Utley says. “For everything you hear, there were at least 10 things that we spent fucking hours making that we didn’t use — a real voyage of discovery. Sometimes it was enjoyable, but mostly it’s kind of frustrating and difficult. The process of creativity is not always what you think. You are surrounded by the most beautiful equipment, but it doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t got an idea that is worth recording. You could record through the worst preamp with the worst microphone in the world, but [whether you have] a good idea is the most important thing. If you don’t have an idea, it’s better to go to a house in the country with a porta-studio and any old guitar just to purify your mind. Having amazing equipment doesn’t give you the solution to creativity; it’s merely a tool for recording it.”