How "That Subliminal Kid" Got His Name
DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) is a composer, author, producer, and electronic and experimental hip-hop musician. His stage name, "That Subliminal Kid," is borrowed from the character The Subliminal Kid in the William S. Burroughs novel "Nova Express." His homepage is www.djspooky.com, and he can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/djspooky.
DJ\r\n Spooky: The name comes from well back in university I was doing a\r\nseries of essays and writing about Sigmund Freud’s idea of the uncanny\r\nand I was really intrigued by this idea of “The Unheimlich”. It’s an\r\nessay that Sigmund Freud wrote about E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story\r\ncalled "The Sandman" where someone mistakes an inanimate object for a\r\nliving, breathing human being. And one of the things that Sigmund Freud\r\nreally felt was that in modern life people assign qualities to objects\r\naround them that may not exist there whatsoever. So he called this "the\r\nuncanny" and he also referred to cities as well, like the idea of\r\nwalking through the city and the way the urban landscape could lead you\r\nto a sense of disorientation and to a kind of, you know, sense of\r\nrepetition. And the way a city can unfold as you walk. So stuff like\r\nthat. It was basically meant to be like when you press play and there\r\nnobody there.
Question: How is DJ Spooky different \r\nfrom Paul Miller?
DJ Spooky: \r\nFirst and foremost one, I was never planning on doing this as a long\r\nterm, so Spooky, I was in college... It was a fun name. I thought it\r\nwas you know just a fun thing. When you say what is the difference\r\nbetween me and my stage name the idea is that as a musician you always\r\nthink of yourself as inhabiting a certain cultural space in the kind of\r\na cultural landscape, so when I say cultural space what I mean to imply\r\nthere is that you exist within certain parameters of how people think\r\nof culture. Downtown New York, I’m within certain styles of music and\r\nI’m also within certain cultural, you know, and literary context. So DJ\r\nSpooky was meant to be a kind of ironic take on that. It was always\r\nmeant to be kind of a criticism and critique of how downtown culture\r\nwould separate genres and styles because it was ambiguous. You\r\ncouldn’t fit it into anything and that was the point. It’s like the\r\niPod playlist has killed the way we think of the normal album, so let’s\r\nthink of this as just saying you go into your record store and all\r\nthose categories and all those different ways of segregating music have\r\nbeen thrown out the window, so the difference between myself in real\r\nlife in that is that I’m the opposite. I usually am very specific\r\nabout how I engage information, how I engage people, what context I’m\r\nengaging and, above all, the research that goes into each of those. So,\r\none, that DJ Spooky is a lot you know this sort of wilder persona and\r\nthen Paul Miller is more of a nuts and bolts kind of person, meaning\r\njust making sure all these things work.
Recorded on April 8, 2010
Paul Miller is more of a nuts and bolts kind of guy, while DJ Spooky can be wilder.
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