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Sole vision: Bonobo has quietly become the biggest act in dance music today

Si Green is independent of any hip or hyped musical movements

  • Words: Joe Muggs | Photos: Dove Shore, Visionseven
  • 7 February 2017
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So when we meet Green at Ninja Tune’s South London offices the morning of the album announcement, the whole building is abuzz. Mixmag’s phone buzzes too, just as we’re about to arrive, as the label’s normally laidback PR man uncharacteristically calls ahead to make sure we’re running on time, concerned about the BBC and international interviews they also have to fit in. And when we get there the label staff are in a huddle, making sure that social media and other announcements are all set to drop at the same time. It certainly feels like there’s excitement in the air, as well as a little more tension than there usually is in the slick Ninja operation. And at the calm centre of the storm is the man himself, having a cup of tea.

Green, in the best possible sense, doesn’t have a superstar DJ aura. OK, he’s wearing one of those long black T-shirts – which he jokes about as being “techno bloke uniform” – with dark jeans and skate shoes, but other than that his vibe is less Richie Hawtin than your mate who’s not done too badly for himself in the creative industries and still likes a party. He looks his 40 years, a little tousled even, but certainly not ragged round the edges – and he sits comfortably back in his chair without doing that DJ sprawl that signals a sense of self-importance. He certainly doesn’t seem to bear the scars of the musical life, despite having spent three years solid on the road touring his last album: he’s articulate, gives full thought to each question Mixmag puts his way, and despite his insistence that he’s “quite private” never baulks at any line of questioning, seeming very open about any subject outside of his own close relationships.

Raving or chilling?

Mostly chilling out these days. But it’s balance, isn’t it? It really depends, it’s seasonal I guess. I don’t want a life without the rave, I always want to keep a foot in the rave, but maybe not keep it in there as long as I used to.

Biscuits or cake?

Cake. I just don’t get much from a biscuit these days. Seems to be a developing taste thing... I can’t really expand on that.

Jazz or folk?

Oh man... jazz I think. Just because it’s a lot broader. My parents were folk musicians, but jazz was more of a personal discovery thing for me. Retracing from old hip hop records through rare groove, into jazz and spreading out from there.

American or English breakfast?

[long pause for thought] English. But I probably just say that nostalgically as I don’t have access to it these days, living in LA. I like the American diner thing too, for the amount of choice you get.

What’s your favourite dinosaur?

That has to be... [lost in thought] ...well, I’m a great fan of the pterodactyl. It’s got that gracious height advantage, and it’s nice to see a great big flying reptile, you don’t get enough of them. I don’t know enough about them, thinking about it. Are they predatory? Or do they just glide about passively enjoying the view?

 
 
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