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DJ Spooky

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[…]

Paul Miller is more of a nuts and bolts kind of guy, while DJ Spooky can be wilder.

Question: Where did you get your stage name?
 
DJrn Spooky:
  The name comes from well back in university I was doing arnseries of essays and writing about Sigmund Freud’s idea of the uncannyrnand I was really intrigued by this idea of “The Unheimlich”.  It’s anrnessay that Sigmund Freud wrote about E.T.A. Hoffman’s short storyrncalled "The Sandman" where someone mistakes an inanimate object for arnliving, breathing human being. And one of the things that Sigmund Freudrnreally felt was that in modern life people assign qualities to objectsrnaround them that may not exist there whatsoever. So he called this "thernuncanny" and he also referred to cities as well, like the idea ofrnwalking through the city and the way the urban landscape could lead yournto a sense of disorientation and to a kind of, you know, sense ofrnrepetition. And the way a city can unfold as you walk. So stuff likernthat.  It was basically meant to be like when you press play and therernnobody there.
 
Question: How is DJ Spooky different rnfrom Paul Miller?
 
DJ Spooky: rnFirst and foremost one, I was never planning on doing this as a longrnterm, so Spooky, I was in college... It was a fun name.  I thought itrnwas you know just a fun thing.  When you say what is the differencernbetween me and my stage name the idea is that as a musician you alwaysrnthink of yourself as inhabiting a certain cultural space in the kind ofrna cultural landscape, so when I say cultural space what I mean to implyrnthere is that you exist within certain parameters of how people thinkrnof culture.  Downtown New York, I’m within certain styles of music andrnI’m also within certain cultural, you know, and literary context.  So DJrnSpooky was meant to be a kind of ironic take on that.  It was alwaysrnmeant to be kind of a criticism and critique of how downtown culturernwould separate genres and styles because it was ambiguous.  Yourncouldn’t fit it into anything and that was the point.  It’s like therniPod playlist has killed the way we think of the normal album, so let’srnthink of this as just saying you go into your record store and allrnthose categories and all those different ways of segregating music havernbeen thrown out the window, so the difference between myself in realrnlife in that is that I’m the opposite.  I usually am very specificrnabout how I engage information, how I engage people, what context I’mrnengaging and, above all, the research that goes into each of those. So,rnone, that DJ Spooky is a lot you know this sort of wilder persona andrnthen Paul Miller is more of a nuts and bolts kind of person, meaningrnjust making sure all these things work.

Recorded on April 8, 2010