'Out of the Comfort Zone' / 'En dehors de la zone de confort'

Hello everyone, hello from Paris.

I'm home and not in England or Italy or Africa or any other island because today my book is released in French, in Belgium, France and Switzerland.

Named in English 'Out of the Comfort Zone', it is the story behind the rare group of politically aware bands in the UK, bands who produced a revolutionary sound and always tried to also bring a form of consciousness in their discourse.

 The book is inspired by Massive Attack's first album, the remarkable and inimitable Blue Lines, and goes back to their first influences. This includes their very own hometown, Bristol, a port city that has been enriched by the colonies in America, the sugar and the slave trade in the eighteenth century. That very history also provoked a counter reaction and a sense of rebellion in its inhabitants, who fought against slavery a few decades later and rioted against unfair political decisions, inequalities, big corporations, etc.

This sense of rebellion materialized in the city's culture from the 1960s and mainly the 1970s, when the Caribbean population imported their very onw reggae music in the city's homes and clubs just before Bristol gave birth to its own punk and post-punk movement.

Then started Bristol's homegrown sound with the unforgettable band The Pop Group - and friends like Nick Sheppard and his band, The Cortinas, Maximum Joy, the Glaxo Babies, etc.

(The book cover is an astonishing and mesmerizing creation by Robert Del Naja himself, originally designed in 2009 for the E.P. named 'Atlas Air'. Deep recognition for his generous agreement to use it for this book).

From then started a new movement.

A few years later, hip hop and electronic music started to pour into Bristol's records shops and nightclubs and a new generation of DJs started to bloom. From that trend came to life the now legendary Wild Bunch, a collective that changed the game and gave to Bristol its gateway into the history of music. The Wild Bunch was originally an informal posse composed of the joined efforts of two young Black DJs, Miles Johnson, known as DJ Milo, and Grantley Marshall, nicknamed Daddy G. They were quickly joined by Nellee Hooper, a massive fan of punk music, who acted as a sort of producer / manager.

The Wild Bunch was quickly enriched in 1983 by a couple of MCs and by the first blooming and generally admired graffiti artist in the city, nicknamed 3D, aka in real life Robert Del Naja, an 18 year-old music junkie.

After years of adventures that this book retells, Grant and 3D formed Massive Attack in 1988 with their young friend DJ Mushroom and their talent soon outburst everywhere else in the UK when they released their first album in 1991.

In their path came to form a large number of other bands, producers and DJs, including the well-known Tricky and Portishead. A few years later, the graffiti movement 3D invigorated and revolutioned also took off in a wider scale.


I wanted to write about Massive Attack's relationship with their city, Bristol, to show the roots of their greatness & mention their predecessors. To demonstrate how the city's history had a major influence on these self-taught and conscious, rebellious artists.

I then realized it would also be fascinating to retell the band's links with the artists and musicians who followed them, with their many brilliant collaborators and with those they inspired, from UNKLE to Gorillaz.

The book also follows Massive Attack's journey in the UK and further away around the world, via their tours and collaborations, in America and in the Middle East notably.

Therefore, the book becomes a form of parallel history of British culture, from an underground and unorthodox point of view. Bristol epitomizes another side of England, less known and much more humorous and rebellious!

I spent 18 months coming to Bristol, interviewing its musicians, artists and other local actors - and first and foremost the brilliant, intelligent, over talented Robert Del Naja, a real artist, an incredibly open, curious and cultivated mind, too discrete and so humble it was hard to believe so much modesty could match his bubbling and unstoppable creativity. He is also deeply aware of world affairs and engaged into holding a discourse though his music and his art; and for that rare boldness we should all be thankful.


The English version of the book is on its way and it mentions today's music scene in Bristol, from the latest E.P. produced by Massive Attack to the return of the Pop Group and the birth of new musical trends.

For the French speakers, enjoy the French version!
/ Profitez pour l'instant de la version française!

You can order it here: https://www.amazon.fr/dehors-confort-massive-Attack-Bansky/dp/2843378095/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475738468&sr=1-1&keywords=melissa

En dehors de la zone de confort - De Massive Attack à Banksy, l’histoire d’un groupe d’artistes, de leur ville, Bristol, et de leurs révolutions

See the publisher's page here: http://www.anne-carriere.fr/ouvrage_en-dehors-de-la-zone-de-confort-melissa-chemam-302.html

Qu’ont en commun le Pont suspendu d’Isambart Brunel, l’acteur Cary Grant, le groupe Massive Attack, le plasticien Damien Hirst et l’artiste de rue Banksy ? Ils sont tous originaires de Bristol, une ville moyenne de l’ouest de l’Angleterre. Une ville marquée par une histoire riche et complexe, mais encore jamais racontée !

Marquée par une fortune précoce liée à l’ouverture de l’Angleterre vers l’Amérique, elle devient aussi un des points névralgiques du commerce triangulaire. C’est justement cette histoire qui va nourrir, de manière inédite et radicale, la génération d’artistes éclose à Bristol à partir de la fin des années 1970. Post-punk et reggae se rencontrent autour de groupes comme Black Roots, le Pop Group puis The Wild Bunch.

Tout prend forme lorsque qu’un jeune graffeur anglo-italien du nom de Robert Del Naja signe du pseudonyme de 3D sa première œuvre de rue sur un mur de la ville en 1983. Avant de fonder le groupe Massive Attack en 1988 avec les DJs Grantley Marshall et Andrew Vowles, il rencontrera sur sa route les pionniers du post-punk de Londres et Bristol, les passionnées de reggae antillais du quartier de Saint Pauls, puis la chanteuse Neneh Cherry et le rappeur Tricky. 

Creuset inattendu mêlant hip-hop, reggae, soul et guitares rebelles, le premier album de Massive Attack, Blue Lines, sort en 1991 et provoque une révolution dans la culture populaire britannique. Massive Attack devient l’incarnation du succès d’un métissage à la britannique, et parviendra à toujours se renouveler, tenter de nouvelles révolutions et durer au-delà de nombreux mouvements musicaux des années 1990 et 2000, telles la Brit Pop, l’electronica et le drum and bass.

Dans le sillage de cette créativité débridée mêlant musique, art et implication sociale profonde, naissent aussi les groupes Portishead et Roni Size, les mouvements nommés trip-hop et dubstep, et le génial Banksy, inspiré dès son plus jeune âge par les graffitis de Robert Del Naja. Depuis, la profondeur artistique de ces artistes et leur engagement n’ont fait que se renforcer, tout comme leur lien avec leur ville. Ce lien va devenir le tremplin qui les porte jusqu’à l’autre bout du monde, de l’Amérique à Gaza. Il pousse aussi très tôt Robert Del Naja à se mobiliser – contre la guerre d’Irak, pour les droits des Palestiniens ou plus récemment pour l’accueil des réfugiés jetés sur les routes européennes. Rébellion, art, musique, engagement, Bristol synthétise ainsi une autre histoire du Royaume-Uni. Une histoire qui amène au sommet des charts et sur le devant de la scène de parfaits autodidactes et la part plurielle et afro-antillaise de la culture britannique.

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