| Band: Rico|
Interviewer: Julie Johnson
Rico is a self-produced artist from Glasgow, Scotland. His music spans a variety of styles from electro punk to industrial sounding grooves. Debut album 'Sanctuary Medicines' earned him much critical acclaim in the U.K. and across Europe. He has collaborated with several artists including trip-hop legend 'Tricky' and electro godfather 'Gary Numan'. In 2003 the 'Numan vs Rico' release 'Crazier' reached no.12 in the UK single chart with the video holding the No.1 position on Kerrang TV for four weeks. Alternative versions of these collaborations are featured on Rico's current album, 'Violent Silences'. The album also has a powerful, electro re-working of the Talking Heads classic 'Psycho Killer'.. In addition to headlining four UK tours Rico has played festival dates which have included Glastonbury, Roskilde, T in the Park, Reading, Leeds, Germany's Hurricane and Southside and the Libra festival in Austria. Support slots include Gary Numan, Live, The Fall and Therapy? Single releases include the 'Float' E.P. co-produced by DFA's Tim Goldsworthy. His work has also appeared on soundtracks to Hollywood movies including 'The Hole' and 'Nasty Neighbours' in addition to many credible TV shows. The Doghouse in Glasgow is home to Manufractured Records and most of his production works. The studio has seen both established and local bands perched behind the mixing console. The new live line-up have recently finished a U.K. alternative club tour. Rico is currently in the studio working on new material
GC: Hello, what going on in Glasgow these days?
Rico: The grey concrete of the Kingston Bridge still looms over the city and the sky usually looks disappointed by it's own dingy appearance, but other than that it's not a bad old town. The local music scene is fairly vibrant and I've noticed quite a few bands bringing more technology into their live shows, which is making things a bit more interesting. We have a smoking ban in all enclosed public places about to kick in on March 26th which I'm personally appalled by. I've invested a lot of money into the sport of smoking and I feel that if you're going to let me buy em, then I want a place to smoke em. I'm up for non-smokers [lucky bastards] having smoke-free environments but at least leave us a few places to have a fag and a beer...is that really too much to ask. I know this is generalising a bit, but I find most smokers to be a bit more self-loathing and self-destructive than the 'Non's' and, to me it makes them better company to be in when I'm out for a night of wasterdom. I think the 'Non's' are scared of giving us our own bars, clubs etc. because they would all end up in their smoke free venues bored out of their skulls while we were all having a great time in nicotine heaven.So I think that's my hat firmly in the arena on that one.
GC: How do you manage all the different styles of music within your new CD?
Rico: I worked on Violent Silences for quite a long time and went through a lot of emotional highs and lows over the period. I believe that your work should be a reflection of where you're at, a bit similar to a diary in some respects and I think the album does that. it's probably not as focussed as Sanctuary Medicines but my head was all over the place for quite a while, I was continually questioning my views and opinions, my likes and dislikes.
Rico: I'm also into loads of different types of music and I reckon I'd get bored if I had some kind of formula for putting things together. I don't really manage it, it just comes the way it does.
GC: What would you consider the most notable part of your music sound?
Rico: I think my voice really, the music does come from different styles but I think the vocal stamps it as being mine.
GC: Which artists do you have the most respect for?
Rico: When I listen to music I need to believe the person I'm listening to. That doesn't mean that it all has to be about reality, but the person delivering the message has to have some emotional connection to what they're singing about or they shouldn't be asking others to tune in. Four of my top artists would be Tom Waits, Robert Smith, Matt Johnson and Tricky.
GC: What will it take to have longevity in this music scene and how do you plan to try to keep going?
Rico: I think that you just have to do what you do as well as your circumstances allow. There is no guarantee of financial success but the act of creating in itself can be very rewarding and revealing. The best you can hope for is that people actually get to hear your work and are then in a position to decide for themselves whether or not they get something from it. The annoyance comes when your work is inadequately promoted and unfortunately with many record labels this is often the case.
GC: Who did you grow up listening too, and can their influences be found in our music today?
Rico: I suppose it's for others to decide what they can hear in my music but I'm sure that the early music that I listened to did have huge impact on how I create. At about 10 years old I was really into Adam and the Ants, I think it was just because they looked and sounded different to most of the stuff kicking around. The main bands through my teens were The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, P.I.L., Bowie, Killing Joke and The The.
GC: Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Gary Numan in the past?
Rico: Well it started after we supported him in London, Steve Malins who runs the PR company that looks after Gary asked me if I'd be interested in a collaboration with Mr. N and I replied,'Fuck yeah!'
Rico: So I roughed a version of Crazier together and sent it down. We had another show coming up with him in Glasgow and I think he first heard it the day before. Anyway, it turned out that he was really into it and recorded a version of the vocals and added some bits 'n' bobs. The track was mixed and released on Gary's Hybrid album but then Steve Malins started pitching it as a single to the label. We recorded a few alternative versions, gave it a bit of a mix and to be honest didn't really have any expectations for it. In the mid-week charts we were at No.9, only 18 copies behind Metallica. The song ended up at No.12 in the U.K. charts that week and the video was No.1 on Kerrang TV for 5 or 6 weeks. The whole project was really quite exciting and we had a lot of fun together. He's a top bloke and has been really supportive of what I'm doing. Myself and my girlfriend spent a few days with him and Gemma down at the Numan crib when we were rehearsing for the Top of the Pops TV appearance...Good Times!
GC: Are you working with anyone special on your latest project?
Rico: We are all special in the eyes of the Lord, well if he had eyes and really existed...
Rico: I might be doing a track with Tairrie B from My Ruin but it's not really sorted yet.
Rico: She's in L.A. [sunshine] and I'm in Glasgow [Dreary Doom] and that could be a problem but we'll see what happens. I was listening to one of her spoken word tracks yesterday and picked up on the line,’ the journey is the destination...'
I love that!
GC: If you had to compare the newest CD, 'Violent Silences’ with your debut CD 'Sanctuary Medicines' , how would they be the same and differ?
Rico: I think that 'Sanctuary Medicines' was probably more focussed and a bit rougher round the edges. whereas 'Violent Silences' was a period where everything was a bit up in the air for me so the mood tends to vary quite radically throughout. I think they both sound like the same person but where 'Sanctuary Medicines' sounds comfortable about it's awkwardness, 'Violent Silences' doesn't feel comfortable at all. I suppose that's just my view as I know what I was feeling through both periods, maybe the listeners would disagree.
GC: Can you tell us more details about the songs on Violent Silences?
Rico: I can tell you a few bits and pieces but I do like when listeners draw their own meaning and conclusions from the songs, it gives the whole thing another life.
Here are a few bits anyway...The track 'Garden Man' is about facing your fears head on and overcoming them. Years ago when I was over at a friend's house, his younger brother came into the room, he was sleep-walking, it was pretty freaky. My mate shouted at him ‘There’s the Garden Man' and the little guy cowered and ran straight back into bed [mmm, a bit cruel maybe] I later found out that the little guy had seen a man appear from behind a bush in someone's garden holding a shovel. The man's face had mud over it and the wee guy was terrified. So this became a 'Bogie Man' type figure to him.
I liked it as a song title and used it to represent all your fears being rolled up into one visual image.
Rico: Also, if it's of interest to you, I recorded the main vocal for Forward Motion in the middle of the night, totally naked with the lights down, looking out over the Kingston Bridge...I don't really remember why I did that but one of the best lines I think I've ever written is in that song:
'I sent it in a letter to the ones I love the best
Tattooed it on my body, right across my chest
These are the things that you always wanted to do.'
It makes me smile for some reason.
The definition of creativity is,’order emerging from chaos’ and that’s really what the track is about. I had loads of good stuff kicking around in my head but I couldn’t stay on one train of thought for long enough to make something out of it. I felt that my time was disappearing down a black hole.
‘Tick tock, tick tock, another day’s away.’
GC: I hear that your currently working on new material, if so what is your goal for this new material?
Rico: I really want to get my music out in the U.S.
Rico: We started a myspace page last year and the interest that's come from it has been pretty massive. We've had over 30,000 downloads and are ranked No.1 U.K. industrial band and within the top 6 of alternative artists. Most of the messages we're getting are coming from the states and personally I'd really like to tour out there. In the U.K. I feel that the alternative scene is treated far more ghetto-like than in the U.S., maybe it's down to size or maybe the industry are just more serious and together about it.
GC: Many of your songs have been on the charts, which songs do you think might end up on the charts again from your new album that your working on?
Rico: I have absolutely no idea at the moment.
GC: Can you give us any hints about the direction the new album has taken?
Rico: It's really at quite an early stage so, no not really.
GC: How has the new live-line-up been working out?
Rico: The new recruits have brought a whole new life and energy to the live stuff. We've ripped so much of it apart, re-worked and re-arranged it all. The last show we played at 'The Mean Fiddler' in London was probably the best gig I've ever done. That's no disrespect to any previous band members as most of them have been really good but there's a collective energy among us that I feel is really working. We've got reformed psychotic, 'Paulie C' on guitar, 'Davey Planecrash' [band hypochondriac] on bass, samples and all things geek-like by 'Chris Shelswell' or 'Pinky Boy' as we like to call him and 'Gordon Wellwood Armstrong Turner' on drums who some believe to be the missing link in our evolution.
Rico: I love playing live, I'm always nervous as hell before going on but once I'm there I get totally lost in it, my inhibitions just seem to disappear...It's the best drug I've ever had.
GC: Does your music appear on any new TV show soundtracks and how did you get involved in the past?
Rico: Yeah, there's been quite a few things happening on Sky TV and a couple of movies have also used some of my work. At the minute there's a paranormal show in the U.S. wanting to use some of the material. This is something where they generally have come to us after hearing the tunes in a club or from a friend or whatever.
GC: Will you be doing any summer festivals this year?
Rico: I'm not sure as I really want to concentrate on getting the band out to the U.S.
GC: Any other news for us at Grave Concerns E-zine?
Rico: Yeah, did you know that the reason why couples getting married traditionally have a best man and a brides maid is because that in olden times they would provide a decoy for evil spirits that were trying to curse the newly-weds.
Rico: So there you go...Every day’s a school day!
GC: Anything else you would like to add?
Rico: If you're still making records without your pain,
Rico: hen you're still making records that sound the same.Visit Rico on the internet: www.rico.co.uk
|< Prev||Next >|