Bristol, England-bred trip-hopper Tricky, born Adrian Thaws, has come a long way since 1995’s definitive “Maxinquaye,” his debut. Now he has his own imprint, Brown Punk, and a new album to promote, “Mixed Race,” featuring his vocal discovery Frankey Riley plus cameos from Terry Lynn and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie. Also, “Maxinquaye” has been reissued with more than a dozen bonus tracks. Tricky — who plays in The City on Tuesday — observes his empire from his new home base of Paris.
Why did you move to Paris? Well, I was thinking of moving back home to London first. But when I’m there, it’s just too busy for me, the city itself. Plus the weather there is just terrible. So I went to Paris, and I ended up staying. And they’re very laid-back. They take long lunch breaks and they’re only allowed to work so many hours, so they take all of August off in Paris. It’s a very beautiful city, and a very musical one as well.
Are you recognized on the street there? Yeah. Much more so than in London. But people just come up to me and say, “Hello.” But more often than not they just nod — they’re very cool about it. But outside of people watching me on YouTube in Russia, my biggest market is Paris.
Do you speak French? I don’t even bother.
What have been the toughest things to get used to there, culturally? Well, a bit of French arrogance. It’s a great place, great people, but they do have a little bit of that arrogance. Like, you could go to a butcher and say, “Give me two lamb chops,” and you can just feel it — they’re outraged that you didn’t speak to them in French.
But the music industry there is much more casual. You brought musicians in off the Paris streets for “Mixed Race,” right? Yes. Whereas in London you’ve got to call somebody’s manager and go through all this red tape. And by the time you’ve done all that, it’s too late. If I want horns on my album, I want them the same day. And in Paris, you can just call someone up and have them in the studio in a couple of hours. It’s not a big deal for them, it’s natural.
Speaking of natural, how easy is it for a dedicated pot smoker like yourself to get good herb there? Oh, you can get good herb anywhere. But mostly it’s hashish in Paris, and I’m just kind of on and off now, not as much as I did. But I just can’t deal with that supergrade stuff. It’s just too crazy!
IF YOU GO
Where: The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.theindependentsf.com, www.ticketweb.com