Massive Attack Rebuilds Its Own Sound

For the past two decades, a slouching, tripping beat has defined certain stylish neighborhoods in Miami, Paris and Berlin. Today, that international sound has been widely imitated. But you can trace its origin back to Bristol, England, and the band Massive Attack.

Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack i i

hide captionRobert Del Naja of Massive Attack

Stephane de Sakutin/AFP
Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack

Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack

Stephane de Sakutin/AFP

Massive Attack is about to release its first album in seven years, Heligoland. As with previous recordings, Heligoland is full of guest vocalists and instrumentalists, but the band itself has shrunk from a trio to a duo.

Robert Del Naja, who goes by "D," and Grant Marshall, or "G," spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday guest host Ari Shapiro from their studios in Bristol. Del Naja says the band's approach to music today is very different from the way it was in its early years, when it co-opted everything its members heard around them.

"We were the kings of thieves in our neighborhood," Del Naja says. "We took some of the best bits of other people's music and built them and rebuilt them into new songs. That was the fun part of it — the anarchy of taking and remodeling, remaking, dismantling and rebuilding. We work in a very different way now."

To hear the full interview with Massive Attack, click on the audio link above.

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