Fatboy Slim Interview
It’s been a while since you’ve been out West. What’s kept you from our fair shores so long? How do you like playing America these days?
After the madness if the turn of the century I think I OD’ed a bit on America (and perhaps they of me?). After the British invasion of myself, The Chems, The Jaxx, etc., I think it all went underground (after playing Woodstock, Red Rocks, it had to go back to the clubs). I got waylayed in Brazil, Japan, Ibiza and Eastern Europe where big parties were really blooming. It took meeting the Americans at Ultra Festival in Sau Paulo last year and playing Miami on New Year’s Eve to realize the time was right to return to the States. I’d kinda forgotten what great crowds there are over there and perhaps I should remind them I’m still here!
The new residency in Vegas should be pretty wild. Have you spent much time in the city previously? A lot of people seem to love it or hate it, what allure does it hold for you?
I’ve always loved a 48 hour visit, but I couldn’t stay there for any period of time without going slightly insane (a little taste of insanity is very healthy!). I’m hearing that these days it is getting smarter and more cosmopolitan. Less all you can eat ‘surf and turfs’ and more about a party than just gambling. Somebody mentioned it’s now the Ibiza of the west and that alone sounds like a place I should be….
There are some pretty overt Vegas references in the mix you created for us. What essence of the city did you try and distil into the mix? Will that also be the same in your DJ sets?
Yes. I think the key there is the word ‘overt’. Vegas has never been a place for understatement and neither have my DJ sets. No time to be shy. Let’s do it to them before they do it to us!
Last year you partnered with David Byrne on a project that I think caught quite a few people by surprise, ‘Here Lies Love’. How did the two of you hook up together and decide upon the project? Was it good to be back in the studio again?
I’ve always worshipped the ground that David Byrne breaks. To work with him was an honour and a pleasure. He phoned and asked if I wanted to write with him and I said yes, no matter how crazy or different the project was. It was fulfilling to stretch some different musical muscles and collaborate with a living genius.
I’ve heard that you’ve been really enjoying new DJ technology, and are harnessing it in your sets, recently making the switch to Albeton. Was this something you’d previously steered clear of, if so why now?
Some call me a luddite or a technophobe but I consider myself a late adopter and vinyl junkie! I played the wheels of steel till they stopped releasing vinyl. By taking that much time it meant I could leapfrog CD’s and the early Traktor laptop DJ’ing and go straight to Ableton Video SL. I can now synch my visuals exactly with what I play on the decks and mix freely without being a slave to a laptop. Maybe technology can be a good thing in the right hands….
Memorial Day in Las Vegas followed by Detroit for Movement. That’s a pretty epic welcome back to America. You’ll see two pretty contrasting crowds I’d think. How will you differ in your approach to each set, if at all?
Well, in Detroit I will be conscious of the great musical heritage of the city and the passionate and clued up nature of the crowd, I’ll try to live up to the noble setting. In Vegas, given the history/infamy of the place and the fact that it will be filled with greased up raving party animals, I will adjust myself accordingly and go for full tilt, bouncey partay nonsense. Vive le difference!
Between the Vegas residency dates you’ll no doubt be headlining a bunch of global festivals. Indeed I hear you have launched your own festival in Japan, ‘Big Beach’. Do you play many club gigs these days? Are the club gigs something you enjoy, or is Fatboy Slim now more of a festival kind of guy?
In between the big shows I still play clubs as often as I can. They keep me fresh, I can take more risks and it’s more relaxing and fun for me. It’s nice to flit between the two, that keeps me on my toes….
Will you be playing other American dates this year, or will Vegas be pretty much the only place for people to get their Fatboy Slim fix?
We do have about 6 other dates lined up in New York, San Fransisco, Dallas etc but the Vegas shows are gonna be the special ones.
Lastly, what are your plans for the next twelve months? I for one would love to hear some new original material from you. Is that something fans can expect? Any other exciting collaborations planned?
I’m not really a studio animal these days. I have 70 shows this year, so that takes up the majority of my time but I do have little collabs cropping up with Riva Starr and his Majesty Andre. And of course my cookery series……