From their humble Brixton beginnings, Basement Jaxx have grown into one of the global giants of house music. About to head Down Under to headline the Good Vibrations festivals, along with The Killers, we interrupted Simon’s breakfast for a quick word…
Hi Simon, how’s it going?
I’m a bit jetlagged, so I’m feeling slightly dazed and confused.
You’re famous for your crazy live shows. What can we expect?
Well, we’re kind of in the process of rethinking it at the moment. It’s time to put some new songs in there, some new bootlegs. It will be a different show from what people saw last time, that’s for sure.
And how about your videos. You seem to have a thing for monkeys?
That’s just because we like monkeys and apes and they’re fascinating creatures. It started with an album of ours which had an albino gorilla on the front. Then there was the video to “Where’s Your Head At” and then the directors came on stage dressed as monkeys. From that moment on we just kept the monkey theme, we’ve had all sorts of people dressed as monkeys on our stage. All kinds of celebrities who probably wouldn’t want to be known, but because they’re wearing a monkey costume nobody can tell it’s them.
Are you over them yet then?
I think we’ve got to move on to something else yeah. Like with our music, we like intensity and the beauty of life’s diversity so we try to keep it as rich and full as possible. We try to stay away from stuff that’s bland I suppose.
Some might say you’d need to be on a lot of drugs to think up your videos…
No, no drugs involved at all. Life is trippy and surreal and just completely nuts and unbelieveable without any drugs whatsoever. I think that if you can make something that kinda freaky when you’re straight then when you’re drugged it should be really fucking nuts.
What’s your new album, Scars, like?
Elements of it return to Basement Jaxx of old and there’s elements that reflect our maturity, the fact that we’ve been here for a while now. It’s about growing up a bit I suppose, taking a few knocks here and there but picking yourself up and being proud of your scars.
How do you and Felix [Buxton – pictured left] work together?
We feed off each other. Nowadays, Felix is more likely to come in with a book of songs he’s written. I’m more into writing the groove and getting the beats. When we listen to a piece of music I tend to listen to the bass of it and Felix tends to listen to the details on top.
Do crowds vary around the world?
Well, we played some former Eastern bloc countries this year. In hindsight we would have been better off just doing a DJ set because people were really, really off their heads. I think they wanted to hear some hard, hard house music. Going to Korea, we did a live show there this year for the first time. That was a real surprise how up for it they were. They were going absolutely ballistic, probably the best
crowd reaction I’ve ever seen.
Do you like the travelling?
Yeah I like travelling in short stints. It’s always exciting when you’re going somewhere you haven’t seen before. You’re kind of in a bubble really, separate from the routine of normal life. Too much of it though and you start to feel a bit dizzy and want to come home. Also, I’ve got a daughter so I miss her.
Basement Jaxx play Good Vibrations in Sydney (Feb 13), Perth (Feb 14), Gold Coast (Feb 20) and Melbourne (Feb 21). For tix visit www.gvf.com.au