Goldie: From dance DJ to yogi
Ever since he burst on to the Drum ‘n’ Bass scene almost 30 years ago, Clifford Joseph Price, aka Goldie, has been a force to be reckoned with. Responsible for bringing rave music into the mainstream, he’s pioneered art in its many forms from graffiti through to his unlikely stint as a classical composer. He’s even launched his own loungewear label, Yogangster, inspired by his fierce commitment to yoga.
In person, he’s every bit as intense and mercurial as you might imagine– darting from one subject to the next with unparalleled speed. Perhaps most striking is his ability to stir strong emotions in others – he represents a nostalgic chapter for many in their thirties, who have been on journeys of their own. That said, Goldie’s not trapped in the past – although it’s a future no one saw coming – not even him.
Q. You’re 50 now. How has Goldie changed as a person?
A. Well, I’ve seen a lot of life! You couldn’t mess with me 15 years ago, I was fierce – I had to fight my own shadow. Now I have more consistency in my life, thanks to yoga and psychotherapy. The drugs and rock ‘n’ roll muddied the water. When the water is muddy, people like you. Especially in the entertainment industry, because they can control what you do and say.
Spiritualism has seeped into my life through art and music and it’s been very healing. Someone once gave me a book about the Heyoka, a group of sacred North American clown Indians who did everything backwards. They were always tricking people by tripping up and fooling around. In many ways, my life, too, has been backwards. I used to feel victimised and blamed my mother. But now I know about her past, I feel like I have a map of where I come from, which I can navigate. By no means am I a good human being, but I’m striving to be a better one.
Q. What led you to discover yoga?
A. I went straight into Bikram at the age of 44. I like that I can go and be humbled by a young kid or a really old man. The other day, an old woman with grey dreadlocks said to me, ‘You leave that ego at the door, Goldie, you’re not going to need it in here.’ Yoga has cleared my mind, and helped me get in touch with my feminine side. On the mat, I need to be the student.
If I had it my way, I’d take yoga, parkour and graffiti into every school in the country. And into prisons, too. But I’m waiting for the right person to bite on the idea. I’m not going to be a salmon swimming upstream any more.
Q. Have you witnessed a big change in the music scene?
A. Drum ‘n’ Bass is a massive genre, but it’s actually regressing. Jazz, classical and rock music have gone through the ages. Listen, I have no problem with pop music, artists like The Beatles, Stone Roses, Blondie, Kurt Cobain, Adele, Ed Sheeran – but not this churned out bullshit we’re feeding the youth.
I’ve worked with my heroes. Pat Metheny, David Bowie, Natalie Duncan. These are people I love, and I wanted to work with. I think if we questioned fabrica ted artists who are gallivanting around as musicians today, we’d find they aren’t making the song they want to make.
I make music so I can lament and listen to my own music in a non self-indulgent way, as a third party. There is so much inspiration coming from outside of the music. The danger lies with disposable media. We live in a world where everyone is obsessed with selfies, but people don’t recognise themselves when they look in the mirror.
Q. What inspires you?
A. Society loves a gangster, the aspect of someone who goes out and gets it. But, if it’s for the right reasons, it’s even better. If I could change the concept and have the same attitude but with a positive spin, then I could create a new gangster. It is important to say to kids ‘what we do today creates tomorrow,’ because if today breeds negativity, then tomorrow will be negative, too. Heaven is now. How will we remember this life without taking notice of anything?
Q. You’re DJing at several festivals this summer, including Lovebox, Bestival and Wilderness. What do you think about the conscious raving scene?
A. Conscious, bespoke festivals like Wilderness are good for change. They’re getting cleaner and better. It’s great to put something back in, and have yoga at these events. If you want to drink wine one day and do yoga the next, then do.
I’m by no means sitting here saying that we are supposed to hug trees – I think balance means balance. I am a testament to that. I’ve had a crazy mad life, but now I’m taking it very easy.
Goldie was awarded an mbe earlier this year for his services to music and young people.
On age, he says: ‘There’s an insatiable desire at 50. I need to do more before I leave the planet and go on to the next phase.’