From their humble Brixton beginnings, to their crazy, monkey-infused live shows and videos, Basement Jaxx have grown into one of the global giants of dance music. About to head Down Under to play some DJ sets, we got through to Simon Ratcliffe (pictured left) in the London snow…
So, is it proper snow? It was proper thick snow when I went to the studio this morning. It’s very Christmassy. I stopped to get some food and there was no one in the supermarket, it was like Armageddon. That’s quite exciting, but after a while it becomes a bit annoying, you can’t go anywhere without slipping and you can’t meet people.
You come Down Under quite a bit… Well, my Mrs is from Melbourne. I met her on the Big Day Out in 2004 and we have a daughter together. Most Christmas’s we try to go and see her folks.
So will you go to Melbourne’s Boxing Day Ashes Test? I don’t know anything about cricket. A few years ago I was in Australia and I ended up watching cricket. I really enjoyed it, but that was the first and last time I’ve ever watched it. I’ll have to brush up my understanding of the game a bit.
You recently played at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. How was that? I’ve never heard anything louder. The racecourse goes around the hotel and the noise just ricochets off the walls. It was like, “wow!”, five-dimensional surround sound. It’s quite frightening and overwhelming. Imagine you went to hell, and hell was patrolled by giant mosquitoes!
And the music? That night the guy playing after us asked me if we watched the race. He wasn’t a well known DJ or anything, but was like, “I was racing”. He was one of the drivers, he came 8th or 9th. He was a Spanish driver [Jaime Alguersuari] who did a bit of DJing in his spare time and probably asked if he could do a DJ set. I was like in awe, after seeing the race, how fast they go and how dangerous it is.
How was your show? It was just a DJ set. It was just full of very rich people who’d probably rather have seen Rihanna, you know what I mean.
How did you meet? It was through friends of friends introducing us. I had a little studio, I had already put out some early jungle records. Felix was playing at parties and DJing, he wanted to make some music. He came in and sort of used my studio for a day or two, we got talking, shared cake and talked about my record collection.
I see you’ve have just re-released everything on iTunes? Yeah, all our old stuff. It’s because it’s not been available. You had to find it on vinyl. Looking back to it though it’s wicked, I’m really proud of it.
Who would be your all time hero? I’d say Gandhi. Or Stevie Ray Horn, he’s a blues guitarist. Bob Marley as well.
Which one band would you join? Pussycat Dolls.
What’s your poison? Vodka. Well, at the moment it’s vodka. It’s the only thing you seem to be able to drink in most countries, but still not get a huge hangover the next day. I’m really enjoying red wine as well now.
Your worst ever haircut? About three years ago I had really long hair and chopped it off myself, it was a crude mullet. I looked a bit like the guy from Metallica when he was in his transitional stage, early 90s. I thought it was wicked. I quite fancied myself in it. It wasn’t a trendy mullet it was a proper dirty mullet, I wore it for about a month and I was quite proud of it really. It made people stop and stare. I wish I’d kept it longer but it was just a bit too conspicuous. Basement Jaxx play Sydney’s Ivy on New Year’s Eve, Melbourne’s THAT Party on New Year’s Day, plus Hobart on Jan 8