Seven years after the release of super-chilled 100th Window, Massive Attack return with a decidedly warmer offering Heligoland. Metro met Robert Del Naja, alias 3D and Grant Daddy G. Marshall, brains of the band from Bristol, U.K.
Heligoland is warmer and more luminous than 100th Window. Is that due to Daddy G.’s return?
3D: As any family, we do have up and downs, but I must admit I wasn’t happy releasing 100th Window without him.
Daddy G.: With 100th Window, you had to knock on the door to get in, but you never felt at home. Heligoland is more open. We worked in a communal way.
How do you work together – is it a slow process?
Daddy G.: Honestly, if we spend too much time on a song, it’s going to be rotten! Sometimes, you have to say “That’s it.” Unfortunately, with Robert this moment never happens!
3D: G has a DJ’s ear. He just knows when something sounds good, whereas I tend to experiment for hours.
Heligoland is the name of an archipelago. Is it about each song being an island but communicating with each other ?
Daddy G.: That’s a good interpretation. I may use it in other interviews!
3D: I chose the title because it gives the impression that it’s an anagram, some words rearranged in a random way on the cover. It’s a kind of a puzzle.
What if Heligoland were a movie?
3D: It would be a movie about a secret society who settled on a desert island. They would experiment so much that they have become a bloodthirsty cannibals!
Your first album was released during the first war in Iraq – has life gotten better or worse since then?
Daddy G. : Our capacity to survive the capitalist structures which crush people amazes me. And I’m not even talking about the death of ideology and the fact that nobody trusts our politicians. Throw pandemics and climate refugees into the mix and you have to wonder how we’ll manage to survive to the next 20 years.
And what will happen to music?
3D : Blues will always survive, man.
Daddy G.: This is the only thing that brings comfort, isn’t it ?