Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja and Andrew Melchior on creativity and tech

For 30 years, Massive Attack has continued to redefine creativity. Speaking at Sónar+D, Robert Del Naja and the band’s ‘CTO’ Andrew Melchior discuss the connection between machine learning and creativity

Massive Attack has always recognised its boundaries, and it’s always blown right past them. For the best part of three decades, the Bristol-based outfit has defied and redefined not just the possibilities of sound, but the visual and experiential ways that people interact with music, and the technological methods used to realise its unhinged concepts.

Technology has always been at the centre of the band – if not its heart then its vital artery, right from the early days of borrowing a sampler, or putting on soundsystem parties to fund expensive studio time.

“I don’t think we would be here if it wasn’t for technology, in a sense,” says founding member Robert Del Naja, otherwise known as 3D, who’s also responsible for the band’s visual direction. “That’s been the thing that’s kept us moving – me as an artist, as you can imagine, it’s been the way I’ve always worked. Every project we put out, I’ve thought, what’s the thing that I can do next that’s different from the last?”