It took a while, but I got Clifford Joseph Price, better known as Goldie, on the line eventually. The maverick innovator who rewrote the future of the Jungle scene with landmark releases that still sound like they were kidnapped from tomorrow (as laid out in his 2016 biography) and I first briefly met at the Tate Modern in London. There, he was getting ready to kick off a DJ set to celebrate the NBA’s 75th season and a new global partnership between Hennessy and the NBA. Between some of the biggest names in music, street culture, sport, and fashion, there stood Goldie, playing banger after banger.

The next day neither he nor I could make the call. Blame the night, or the Hennessy. We ping pong back and forth on dates. A month later, I finally called him up. By now, he’s back in the south of Phuket, Thailand, where he resides with his wife.

“I’m in a good place. I came here to retire and it didn’t work. [So] I’m in the golden return movement. I’m in that place where I get to hike up a mountain every day, three days this week. It fucking killed me this morning. I get to hike up these gnarly fucking mountains avoiding snakes and scorpions,” he tells me from his studio. “To be honest, they’re not that bad. Most snakes just get the fuck out of there. They’re like ‘I don’t want to speak to you humans today.’”

Now, Phuket is a far way from Goldie’s subcultural roots back here in the United Kingdom where he started out. He moved from being the goalkeeper on the UK’s national roller hockey team to breakdancing to becoming a renowned graffiti artist to becoming a seller of grills and a painter of trucks for drug dealers in New York and Miami to pioneering 1990s UK jungle, drum and bass, and breakbeat hardcore scenes, later rubbing shoulders with musical collaborators including David Bowie, Noel Gallagher, and KRS-ONE.

From there he launched his now legendary music label Metalheadz and the subsequent club night Metalheadz Sunday Sessions. And then some. Artist, art gallery owner, actor, producer. Most recently he walked the Louis Vuitton runway in one of the late Virgil Abloh’s final shows for the French house. And now he’s working on a series, to come out sometime in the future.

But that’s enough background. I’ll let him do the talking. Here’s Goldie on everything:

On Life

Without hugging trees, when I’m up in that mountain and I’m seeing something big eating something small, and I see this snake fuck off in the jungle, and I see something fall from the tree this day, and next week it’s rotten, and see a fresh thing blooming, I know [that I know] very little about life at this present moment.

On Success

Success isn’t about money. Fame is like a residue of X equals Y, and a lot of guys implode because [when] they’re not in the fame thing anymore. Most guys become very desperate. I just thought the one thing that’s been coherent and never changes even in desperate times is the music, the art. It doesn’t get compromised.

On Reinvention

Every artist, no matter what genre, where you’re from, or how much you want to kid yourself, you have your time, you peak, and you descend. The descending part can happen, it happened several times for guys like me. You have to really recalibrate your life. [For me] it was pre-internet, so I didn’t have the danger of being imploded by Twitter comments, because the only voices I hear are my internal Twitter. You just have to navigate as an artist regardless of whether you’re relevant. You will go out of fashion, and if you stay around long enough you will come back.

On Travis Scott

I got inundated with Travis Scott fans [recently] and I couldn’t work it out for three months. What the fuck is that all about? Kim Jones turned around to me and said, “No, Goldie, it’s because [Travis] has a picture of you as his screensaver.” I’m like, “Why the fuck does Travis have a fucking picture of me as his screensaver?” But it turns out somebody snapped him at a concert where they were looking over his shoulder and there’s a picture of me.

On His Studio in Thailand

I’m in my lab which is my studio. We’ve done six studio albums in this room with James Davidson. It started as Luke Skywalker. Me being Obi Wan and I trained him into a vicious killer. We did The Journeyman here which was released like six or seven years ago. [Metalheadz] is such an integral label that it’s almost become the Mo Town of electronic music. We’re 26 years deep, and most labels don’t survive that long independently, number one. And number two, seeing new DJs playing what we did 25 years ago, it would be like me playing “Tears of a Clown,” Smokey Robinson, but it’s Drum and Bass.

On Humans

We’re the only creature that gets up on two legs, the most fragile, that can be dropped from a height and squashed like a tomato but we control the planet. And we’re obnoxious, cruel, and we’re completely crazy in that respect. If we saw a set of animals doing the same shit we’d put them down.

On Wanting Fame

People have this insatiable [need] to be known. Most of us who have gone through that can understand it, because anyone in this music industry that says they don’t want to be famous is fucking lying. I’ve done every possible scenario of partying, the glamor and the glitz. Put me on a 120 foot yacht or come or go in a helicopter and it doesn’t phase me, because I’ve done all that shit. But what I find so interesting about it from a very Freudian perspective is that it was a real purposeful choice for me to get away and reinvent, because being in Thailand nobody knows me. I’ve kind of left the gravity of the planet of fame. In Bangkok they just know me as Mr. Gold Tooth.

On Going Against the Grain

I have the most respect for Virgil [Abloh] or Everette [Taylor] of Artsy who took the reins of major companies. This is how the world changes for the better, because we went against change in the ’90s. You’ve got to think about this, urban came through because no matter what they tried to do to control it, when rap and hip-hop came through in the ’80s, and then all of a sudden rave culture in the ’90s, and then drum and bass, and then grime, it’s all part of that fucking [same] tree. It’s the fucking hard journey of these motherfuckers saying “no.”

On Divorce and Marriage

[Living] a rockstar life you go through this shit, you marry a fucking stripper. You spend $500,000 on your wedding. You get OK Magazine down, you fly in a helicopter. You got everyone with umbrellas because you don’t want to get compromised pictures in OK Magazine. I remember holding my daughter who was like 6 at the time, and I’m looking at a firework display with love hearts and shit, and I remember telling her, “You know Daddy’s going to get divorced right?” After my divorce, I met my wife in Shanghai and we just hit it off and I’m like, “Look, I’m having a really bad divorce at the moment, let me finish with this shit. And I’m not going to jump into this because of course I went through all the trauma and rehab.” I’ve been through more therapists than fucking Tony Soprano.

On Yoga

I found yoga through my friends going and [saying], “You need to go to yoga or you’re going to die.” I’m 11 years deep, and the practice has kept me the way I am. I’m 56 but I feel like I’m 30.

On His Gallery

When I came [to Thailand], I didn’t want to do anything. And then all of a sudden it’s that fucking little Twitter voice again: “Why don’t you start painting again?” So my partner Gary Bowen and I set up the most remarkable gallery in Bangkok called Aurum Gallery. I’ve got all my artists from around the world. I’ve got all my boys from New York, I’ve got Mad Steve, Fucking Belin, Saturno, Vhiles, Barry Reigate, Toni Cogdell, Matt Adams. Some amazing [established] artists and some great new Thai artists that have been around a little bit.

On Relevance

As an artist, it’s your purpose to burn, whether you’re burning in, just starting to ignite, are at the hottest burn, or are burning out, you just got to burn the best flame you can. And if you get to the blue tip and you’re at that hottest point where you can melt gold, that’s what art really means to me. But I still have this thing where I just feel I haven’t done my greatest work yet.

On Electronic Music

Maybe it’s my age, but the one ingredient that I find missing is the soul. I’m straight up. It’s kind of like, “Okay, this is a formula and we think these kids might like it.” Listen, let the fucking kids be kids and let the adults be adults. It’s when the adults try to make music for kids because they think that’s what the kids like. But drum and bass is different, because drum and bass is the equivalent of the uncle that the family doesn’t want at the barbecue, because he’s going to fucking drink raw whiskey or vodka and he’s going to tell your fucking kids how to smoke a fucking spliff and how to go the fuck out and enjoy the party. So don’t invite Goldie to the party.

On the Pre-Internet Generation

I came from a world of graffiti in the ’80s and ’90s. Going to New York in the ’80s, I was on the shoulders of fucking giants. You can’t buy that. So when you’re on the shoulder of giants, you get to see how subculture really is. And you get to see how it gets watered down. And you get to see how it gets gentrified. But real knows real. I don’t give a fuck if I die tomorrow, I’ve had a great life and I’m leaving shit behind because I’ve got something to leave behind.

On His Debut Series

It’s happening. It’s a story of a young boy coming of age with a chronic disease called temporal lobe dysfunction. And it’s the inability to process episodic memory. It’s my fascination with time, again, timeless, time. It’s half a biopic, but it’s a beautiful story of this wonderful boy with his mother and his stepfather and his uncle. And the guy that plays me is going to play his uncle. We span three generations in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I had this 25 years ago and I decided to pick it up again. We’ve got six albums tied to the soundtrack because I got sick of seeing urban dramas with shit soundtracks. For me, it will be the greatest urban drama ever written. I get to do this once.

On Documenting His Life

I’ve done nine documentaries. I guess when you get put into a children’s home, someone has a folder with all your life in it. Clifford was very bad today etc. So I’ve had these files in my life but I’ve never gone to look at them, I’d be scared. But this idea that my life was documented is why I gravitated towards these [documentaries on myself].

On Resisting the Dismantling of Culture

There’s a systematic dismantling of subculture purely because they want to. There’s not really a conspiracy, it’s like hardline [gentrification]. Culturally you have to resist, you have to try.

On Getting Money

We fought for years in the train [stations], graffiti on the walls, people getting chased, fucking stealing paint because we had limited [supply] of it. And then when these guys become millionaires they don’t know what to do with it all, because they didn’t have that. When rappers got money in the ’90s, when I got money, you buy [things like] cars. I blew three engines in a Ferrari, how the fuck do you do that? You have no respect for it. That means you weren’t ready for it. It means you yourself hadn’t grown.

On Human Beings

We’re by default the fucking most ruthless cunts on the planet. This old native Indian woman was once reading my life in a bowl of fire and she said, “Never trust any creature that can get up on its hind legs.” Not to be trusted. It always stayed with me.

On the Ideal Club

Maybe Highsnobiety or a group of us should get together and make a club that’s underground, that’s soundproof. That way we can play music as loud as we like, and we get different people to play music and there can’t be any complaints from the council. No one’s running a club like that. There you would get perfect sound, people in the sound, people creating ideas. It goes to show that if you surround people with culture, they’ll become cultured. You surround them with bullshit, they’ll become bullshit.

On Integrity

If I knew then what I know now is that you can’t buy integrity. It’s this idea of insight, you can’t buy it in tins on a shelf in the fucking supermarket. You need to have the insight.

On the Next Generation

You can’t deny a new generation so you have to allow them to do their thing, because we don’t throw stones from a glass house. As soon as the digital age came we started folding fucking time. It’s acceleration with that quantum. For kids to shine today you’ve got to do, A, a lot more, or B, get your hype game through the roof, or C, just be young, because we like young and new as it’s fresh to us.

On Youth Culture

Here’s the thing I’ll leave you with: this culture, my culture, it’s not even at its peak. I’ve got mad love for my friends who are very successful in this industry and I think my time will come. I’m happy but I have a lot more to give.

Words from Highsnobiety