“Unity makes you stronger — you need that in this business,” declares Adrian Thaws, aka Tricky.
Empowered with that philosophy, the Bristol, England-bred artist banded together with musical comrades for his Hollywood Records debut, “Blowback,” released June 26.
Featuring a diverse assortment of high-profile guests that includes Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, Alanis Morissette, Cyndi Lauper, and Red Hot Chili Peppers members Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and John Frusciante, “Blowback” demonstrates Tricky’s growth as an artist — while also moving in a more accessible direction.
After a brief stint with the Wild Bunch, the U.K. group that spawned Massive Attack, Tricky went solo in 1994, creating a groundbreaking, often-imitated trip-hop sound. His first solo release, “Maxinquaye” (Island) remains revered by critics and listeners alike as a landmark recording.
“Blowback” is an amalgamation of aggressive rock, reggae, and hip-hop sounds. Two of the set’s harder-edged songs, “Girls” and “Wonder Woman,” feature Frusciante, Kiedis, and Flea, while Morissette lends her voice to “Excess.” The first single, “Evolution Revolution Love” features Kowalczyk, along with up-and-coming reggae artist Hawkman.
Despite the fact that the guests on “Blowback” are decidedly rock-minded, Tricky asserts that the set is intended for a much broader audience: “People have been saying they’d like to hear me on the radio. They wanted me to make a mainstream album.”
Daniel Savage, Hollywood’s VP of marketing, notes that the connection with Kowalczyk “allows us to branch out a little farther than we normally could with a Tricky track.” A video for the track has been lensed by director Jake Scott; dance remixes of the single were recently completed by Thievery Corp.
While Tricky says that he enjoyed working with heavyweights like Morissette, Kowalczyk, and Flea, he was particularly pleased to creatively connect with Hawkman. In fact, he’s so confident in Hawkman’s potential that he introduced the young artist to Chris Blackwell, who has since signed him to Palm Pictures.
Though Hawkman will release a solo record this year, the two plan to continue working together. “Hawk is my partner, musically,” Tricky says. “It’s almost like my career is changing, and I am finding all the right people to work with.” Tricky will next be working with Southwest Battalion, an act comprising his younger brothers, Aaron and Marlon Thaws.
In April, the artist performed at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif, as a warm-up to his first-ever tour, which will kick off July 1 in Vienna, with dates that currently run through an Aug. 24 appearance at the Netherlands’ Lowlands Festival. At deadline, a July 18 performance in Toronto, and August stops in Bremerton, Wash. (4), and San Francisco (9) are the only North American dates scheduled.
“I am going to do the longest tour I have ever done,” says Tricky. “I’m going to places where no one knows me; where I can’t sell tickets. If I have to perform in front of 30 people, that’s all right. I am ready to work.”