Bris­tol cream

World economies rise and fall, gov­ern­ments come and go, but Mas­sive At­tack re­main un­touched by the out­side world. Now work­ing on al­bum num­ber five at their own leisurely pace, they tell Jim Car­roll that they’re not too slow - the rest of the world’s too q

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

IT’S AN­OTHER soft English West Coun­try day in the life of Mas­sive At­tack, an­other day nearer the release of al­bum num­ber five. You could say that this al­bum is long over­due, but you’ve prob­a­bly said that about ev­ery Mas­sive At­tack al­bum since their de­but Blue Lines ap­peared back in 1991. That one was prob­a­bly over­due too.

To­day, as al­ways, the men be­hind Mas­sive At­tack are hard at work. Be­lieve it or not, says Robert “3D” del Naja, they ac­tu­ally do clock in and out most days. “We’re in the mid­dle of re­hears­ing for this forth­com­ing tour. And we’re get­ting our shit to­gether like we al­ways seem to be do­ing.”

Del Naja chuck­les. As the leader of the band of­ten ac­cused of turn­ing pro­cras­ti­na­tion into an art form, he has be­come used to jibes about their lack of fi­nesse when it comes to meet­ing dead­lines.

But it’s not true, he protests. Mas­sive At­tack have al­ways taken their time be­cause it’s time worth tak­ing.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m al­ways think­ing about stuff for Mas­sive At­tack even when I’m down the shops,” says del Naja. “But I do think that peo­ple’s at­ten­tion spans have changed and record com­pa­nies some­times feel that peo­ple for­get about you if you’re not con­stantly in their face and do­ing stuff.

“Right from the beginning, we never sub­scribed to that. We did things at our own pace and in our own time. Sure, we came late to it some­times be­cause we never fol­lowed a tra­di­tional path. And that’s not go­ing to change for us. We do what we do when we feel it’s right.”

This pol­icy has served the orig­i­nal mu­si­cal rid­dles wrapped in a mys­tery in­side an enigma well over the years. World economies can rise and fall. Gov­ern­ments can come and go. Foot­ball clubs can en­joy sea­sons of tri­umphs fol­lowed by years of de­spair. But Mas­sive At­tack go on and on and on, un­fet­tered and un­touched by the out­side world.

That’s not to say that there has not been plenty of drama over the years. Founder mem­ber An­drew “Mush­room” Vowles split af­ter 1998’s Mez­za­nine al­bum, grip­ing on his way out the door that Mas­sive At­tack were no longer the col­lec­tive he had joined. The fol­low­ing al­bum, 2003’s 100th

Win­dow, was re­ally a del Naja solo af­fair, with Grant Mar­shall sit­ting that one out. The of­fi­cial rea­son was the birth of Mar­shall’s first child, but the truth was, ac­cord­ing to sub­se­quent in­ter­views, that the pair were sick of the sight of each other.

Even­tu­ally, there was a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and work be­gan on al­bum num­ber five.

Even then, as del Naja notes, “there have been other dis­trac­tions which have taken over from Mas­sive At­tack” in the past few years.

He’s re­fer­ring to his own run of film work where he col­lab­o­rated with Neil Davidge un­der the 100 Suns mon­icker on mu­sic for In

Prison My Whole Life, Bat­tle In Seat­tle and Trou­ble the Wa­ter (the Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina doc even got an Os­car nom­i­na­tion for its mu­sic). He also worked on mu­sic for 44 Inch

Chest and Go­morra. Then, there was the nixer cu­rat­ing last year’s Melt­down fes­ti­val at Lon­don’s Bar­bican. Del Naja and Mar­shall in­vited acts

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