MUSIC: DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid … On Ice


Paul D. Miller wears many hats … well. Better known as DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid, he has been described as a “revved-up renaissance man for the digital age” and he has established himself as an eloquent composer, author and multimedia artist impressing fans worldwide with finesse. Miller’s travels range from the hottest nightclubs around the globe to prestigious halls of academia and, perhaps one of the coolest ‘studios’ on Earth _ Antarctica. He took the Brooklyn Museum by storm for a recent event while in New York before heading off to Brazil. And, you can expect much more on the horizon for That Subliminal Kid, which he speaks about in this exclusive with Tania Fuentez Media.

NOTE: All photos provided by Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid), Becky Yee.

TFM: In addition to musical prowess, DJ Spooky is a respected author and fixture on the academic circuit. What’s up with your latest endeavor, ‘The Book of Ice,’ which is described as part fictional manifesto, part history and part science book.

PAUL: Basically, I took a studio to several of the main ice fields in Antarctica and did a project based on what I like to call “acoustic portraits” of ice. I really am a fan of the way music brings so much energy to whatever topic it engages. I’m influenced as much by John Cage as I am by Grand Master Flash, and the basic idea is to use electronic music to highlight climate change from the viewpoint of digital media and contemporary composition.

TFM: You played an integral part of the 2012 New York African Film Festival by performing a live re-scoring of Ousmane Sembène‘s classic film, Borom Sarret. How did that come about and what does it mean to you?

PAUL: Cinema in Africa has taken an incredibly surprising route. You have to remember that Black Africans were banned in Francophone Africa from making films, and the first “real” Sub-Saharan African film was by a strange anthropologist who worked with Sembene Ousmane! So there’s a really resonant situation going on between how film evolved in a radially unscripted context, and how later films like Nollywood would appropriate every day life and folk tales to create me of the largest film genres in the world. Something was definitely going on in West Africa! Maybe it was the water … basically I wanted to explore how Sembene’s editing style and storytelling style reflected the mix concepts of DJ culture. A mix is just a different kind of storytelling method. That’s all.


TFM: You’re also editor of Origin Magazine, a new artist-run publication focusing on contemporary art, design, ‘conscious lifestyle’ and yoga. Is that (yoga) among the secrets to  your success?

PAUL: I jog more than I do yoga – my partner for the magazine is really into yoga. But yeah, the magazine is basically an eclectic situation. It’s fun, low stress and basically a fun open situation. Bjork is on the cover of the next issue, and we have folks as diverse as Questlove, Toure, Alondra Nelson, yoga in prison, deep meditation in Africa, apps for quantum physics, etc. It’s a mix. Deal with it. Next issue we have a neural cognitive scientist writing on how memory affects sampling … It’s all about the unexpected.

TFM: What drew you to “The Boombox Project,” renowned photographer Lyle Owerko’s book on the history of boomboxes.

PAUL: Boomboxes are just different drums. I wanted to look at the way they pre-dated portable media – the street is always ahead …

TFM: I’m sure you’re familiar with the Moodyman track, ‘Technologystolemyvinyle.’ What survival tips would you offer DJs/producers who want to thrive in today’s digital culture?

PAUL: Always innovate, never follow. It makes life a lot more interesting.

TFM: Musically speaking, anything new to anticipate from ‘That Subliminal Kid?’

PAUL: Next up, an album based on my Antarctica project. Check out the stuff I’m doing with SYFY Channel! Follow me on Twitter @djspooky


DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid:

DJ Spooky iPad App:

“Book of Ice” project:


One thought on “MUSIC: DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid … On Ice

  1. Pingback: Talking About Music: Low Times and other Podcasts « left off the tracks.

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