7 Questions with Riz Maslen (Neotropic / Small Fish With Spine)

Since the mid-nineties Riz Maslen has produced a complex and diverse body of work that spans 2 monikers, 5 LPs, 10 EPs, 5 films and more remixes than most super-star djs. She played keyboards for The Beloved, worked with 4hero and Future Sound of London, even singing on Top of the Pops with their top 10 hit ‘Papua New Guinea’.

We caught up with the creative mind behind Neotropic and Small Fish With Spine.

1. What’s going on in your world these days?

At present I have a few things going, juggling many balls! Rehearsing new live material and playing at the Aeon Festival at the end of the month. Putting together a remix album of Equestrienne and I have had some great mixes in from all kinds of artists. I put out an APB online looking for remixers and I got a great response. I am working on some new material, some more experimental and I have an idea for an installation which I really need to sit down and work through it.

Mixing and recording for other artists, Canytheif and Ajah which is great as I love to work with other artists and collaborate on their material. I released an album at the end of last year, Equestrienne and unfortunately it was only available as a download as I did not have enough funds to release a CD which was a shame as I would of loved that. I have also been collaborating with artists Maslen and Mehra on two film projects over the last 12 months which has been great, in fact a strange story in regards to this meeting of minds. I move into my new place at the begining of 2009 and bumped into one half of Maslen and Mehra and low and behold having the same surname we are in fact related, second cousins we think, so I have some Australian Relatives which is a bonus.

2. Has there been any thoughts of doing another Small Fish With Spine record?

I have considered the idea and have many fans who keep asking me and at first i was rather reluctant just because it was a certain time in my life and things had moved on since then, but who knows if people keep asking maybe I will!

3. Talk about your films a bit. Did film making evolve over the same trajectory as your music?

Kind of. I have always dabbled, wasn’t very good at art but loved the idea of making art without the brush or pencil. Photography and film making seemed a great alternative and something I could experiment with. In the beginning when I first started out, especially in a live context I wanted to create a cinematic experience as often being solo on stage can be very static and not exactly enthralling for the audience, I used slides x 2 creating a backdrop of visual images, it then slowly progressed to film, Super 8 in the early days as I just love the aesthetic you get from film it just has this warmth you can always achieve with digital unless you spend hours in post production, which I like doing but it gets very time consuming. I still shoot daily, mainly photographs at present but want to get back into film, and this is something I am looking to do in the near future. I have done some more art based films over the last few months, getting selected for different art shows which has been great as I have wanted to venture into this for a while but been a bit afraid of entering that sphere but it has been pretty succesful and hopefully will develop in the coming months.

4. How about Neotropic? What’s in the works?

Well the Equestrienne Remix Album is in the pipeline with mixes coming in from all corners of the globe, USA/Japan/Europe and UK so am definitely looking forward to that and highlighting some of the great new talent out there. Of course new material is always in the pipeline and really just doing that. Also, I am in a couple of books the 20th anniversary of Ninja Tune and Pink Noises by Tara Rodgers.

5. Are you touring now? Where can people see you live?

Gigs are hard right now to come by, and I love playing live but have only played a couple of times this year, especially now I have this great live lineup it just seems to have this great energy. I need to find a good agent, but I am playing the Aeon Festival on the 28th August which is in Devon and is a lovely little festival, so any west country folk can come check us out.I would also love to get back on the road but it is just about raising the finances to do it, or getting on a small tour with a few other artists.

6. Where would one go to find more information about you?

My website http://www.neotropic.net is a good place along with Facebook and Myspace

7. What’s your top 10 right now?

In no particular order

1. No Shore is Home – Center Divider
2. All the world is green – Tom Waits
3. Turbine Womb – Soap & Skin
4. Strike – She Keeps Bees
5 Mack the Knife – The Psychedelic Furs
6. who are your trying to fool – Little Ann
7. Stay Tuned – Robert Wyatt
8.Dying – The Whigs
9.Scope J – Ute Lemper
10. Butterfly House – The Coralloads of film stuff on the following

Quetsi Tek from Neotropic on Vimeo.

La Prochaine Fois from Neotropic on Vimeo.

Inch inch from Neotropic on Vimeo.

More information on Riz Maslen: