Paul Miller will spend two nights lecturing and performing here in the next few days, but it won’t be the guy with the shock of red hair that owns Vinnie Van Go-Go’s. This Paul Miller is better known internationally by his stage name of DJ Spooky.
“Tha’ Subliminal Kid” is perhaps the most celebrated and acclaimed turntablist walking the earth. An intellectual academic who holds degrees in French literature and philosophy, he pioneered the use of hip-hop and the sampling culture in modern-day educational discourse, cut dance club hits and remixed tracks for such disparate artists as Metallica and Nick Cave.
When not collaborating with everyone from Thurston Moore to Dr. Octagon, he’s a published author (his latest book Rhythm Science connects the dots between hip-hop and the digital arts) who just wrapped production on Yoko Ono’s new CD — previewable at www.myspace.com/djspooky.
I caught up with Miller in Portugal for a quick round of Almost 20 Questions.
Your first brand and model of turntable?
DJ Spooky: An old Blaupunkt, if I remember correctly. Or a Sony... It’s been a while.
Type of turntable you favor currently?
DJ Spooky: Technics 1200.
What 7-inch changed your life early on?
DJ Spooky: King Stitt’s “Fire Corner”.
iTunes or Soulseek?
DJ Spooky: Limewire and iTunes...
James Brown or George Clinton?
DJ Spooky: Let’s try a remix: James Clinton? George Brown?
Minor Threat or Fugazi?
DJ Spooky: Minor Threat!
Favorite Sonic Youth album?
DJ Spooky: Goo.
Any sci-fi writers you’re compelled to read?
DJ Spooky: William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick, Samuel Delaney, Bruce Sterling...
Which do you enjoy more, recording your own music or remixing the work of others?
DJ Spooky: Doing remixes is practice for things I develop later on. I guess it’s one of those mix/remix scenarios. I like ‘em both!
Is the album as a stylistic endeavor dead?
DJ Spooky: Nah, it’s going to evolve. People just need to update the formula. The CD will go out before vinyl! Mark my words! Nostalgia is a big market.
What one Sun Ra LP would you give to an uninitiated listener, and why?
DJ Spooky: Space Is The Place. It’s a movie and soundtrack — the future of albums.
The greatest compliment anyone’s paid you?
DJ Spooky: That they had great sex while one of my mixes was playing!
Where’s the last place in the world you’d want to hear one of your tracks?
DJ Spooky: President Bush’s Cabinet meetings. I can imagine Condi Rice leaning over to Bush and saying, “This is what kids in the Middle East are listening to!”
Heaviest rotation in your headphones now?
DJ Spooky: I really love the old Trojan Records soundsystem stuff. Probably Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby are on highest rotation on my playlist these days. So much electronic music is boring now.
What’s the worst part of being who you are?
DJ Spooky: My flight has been cancelled —twice— and I’ve been sitting in Lisbon for 36 hours. That’s the worst: flight delays.
Jandek: Pure genius or calculating fraud?
DJ Spooky: Who?
DJ Spooky’s lecture/Q & A/book signing take place 7:30 pm Tuesday, and his live video performance art concert with Chinese string player Yora Boon at 8 pm Wednesday. Both Trustees Theater shows are free, but require tickets from SCAD’s Box Office.