December 11 [14:00 EDT] -- After his group Reprazent released the critically acclaimed "New Forms," Roni Size found himself following in the footsteps of Goldie and Tricky as the latest artist expected to achieve crossover success and bring drum 'n' bass to the masses.
But while he's been tagged the "Jungle King" by music pundits, he finds such adulation can be constricting.
"Some people hear the word 'jungle' and they think, 'Yeah, yeah, jungle, all right. Don't bring that near me,'" Size told MTV News recently. "I mean, I can't hear that. Don't let the name overshadow the music." [500k QuickTime]
It's easy to understand Size's hesitation. Mainstream music fans in the States have largely remained cool to his brand of music, and instead of finding a handy term for it, he'd rather that people simply judge it on its own merits.
If people did, he thinks they'd find more than a few familiar elements.
"The sounds that we use in our music come from rock, which comes from pop, which comes from electronic music, which comes from techno music, from soul, house, raggae, ska, two-tone, be-bop, hip-hop, trip-hop... I've gone on all day with different names," [700k QuickTime] Size said.
That sonic concoction has worked for him so far. Size snagged the esteemed Mercury Prize for his work on "New Forms" earlier this year. All the critical praise makes it hard to believe that (to hear Size tell it) he was never really interested in a career in music, but rather describes himself as a tech-head gone astray.
"When the drum machine came out, that was me," Size explains. "I just picked it up. I didn't want
to make music, I just wanted to push buttons." [500k QuickTime]
The experimental nature that got Size started is still very much present in his music, and, as he will quickly tell you, still leads to accidental successes.
"Half of our ideas come from our mistakes," Size explained. "You hit one button and bam! Everything's gone. You've been there for, like, three hours, and everyone's like, 'Damn!' And a half an hour later, you hit one more button and it all falls back together." [1MB QuickTime]