BASEMENT JAXX – Interview with the prolific London duo

Fresh from a whirlwind promo tour around the States and Canada, Basement Jaxx’s Felix Buxton talks to Lara Antonelli about his enthusiasm for the people’s return to dance music as well as headlining Good Vibrations 2010.

 

Let’s begin by talking about your eagerly anticipated fifth album entitled, Scars. What was the inspiration for the title?

Before we started making the album, we were doing music that was a little darker and more desolate, which is traditionally unlike Basement Jaxx. It was probably just a  faze we were going through and we feel we’ve sort of got our battle ‘scars’ from 10 years of being Basement Jaxx and human beings as well. We had a bit of growing up to do, of dealing with real life issues. We had been running around the world for 10 years and for once we were back home and it’s like, ‘OK, this is reality and this is what’s going on’. Kind of looking at the man in the mirror.

Also, wanting to work with people like Yoko Ono, I guess she has had her scars and her frictions with the world. Yet, she’s come out of it and she’s really strong, positive and inspiring. ‘Scars’ in a way that it’s made you stronger and wiser.

Where did the concept for the album artwork come from and who created it?

Matt Maitland previously did our cover with the albino gorilla for Rooty. He’s known us for a while and understands the Basement Jaxx mantra. We created figures that were mish-mashes of different beings set in the future.

It’s nice to get an image that actually feels like it describes what the music is and is a contemporary image we totally relate to and it seems like a beautiful piece of art.

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You have a lot of established artists doing vocals on Scars. Was it more a process of hand picking talent or did they approach you instead?

Well, with Yoko Ono, we approached her because we knew she was into our music, so that brought her to our attention, I guess. People like Sam Sparro, we also heard he was a fan and he was in London at the time so we worked on the song ‘Feelings Gone’.

What was it like working with Sam Sparro on the track?

It was great! He’s a really funny and witty guy, full of life and very artistic. He said he was a very big fan and it was a real fantasy of his to work in the studio with us. Which seems quite ridiculous because Simon and I are two normal guys. The whole experience was really good and we enjoyed making the video for that track.

Is it true that you do the vocals on the single ‘Raindrops’?

Yeah it is. Probably on every album there are 2 or 3 songs with me singing. I mean people often used to think that I was a girl singing, especially when I sang high notes. I sang on our first single, ‘Rendezvous’.

Where did the concept for Raindrops’ video emerge?

We wanted to do it simply as a dance video. I was keen for it to be set in the desert, to align with the artwork and everything. I see the desert as the place of the future, I don’t know why. We wanted it to be as surreal as possible.

What has been your most favourite Basement Jaxx video to date?

‘Where’s Your Head At?’ is definitely our best video and it cost more than anything else. It was a really great idea but I think to spend that much on a video now, well you wouldn’t be able to. Maybe if you’re Beyonce you could…….

Are you excited about Good Vibrations next year?

Oh yeah, it should be good, really looking forward to it! It’s always good to be back in Australia. You’ve got the wonderful weather and the crowds are always really great.

We’ve known Arman Van Helden for a few years, he came to our DJ set last Saturday so it’s always nice to see him. I’d like to meet Busta Rhymes and have a conversation with him.

What has been your craziest Australian festival moment?

At the festival we headlined last year. The last gig we did on the main stage we had N.E.R.D on before us. At the end of our set they all came back on stage and that was really nice actually. I mean it wasn’t anything that wild, it was just a nice moment of unity. They were all dancing and Chad Hugo was doing the can can.

Favourite Basement Jaxx track?

A friend of mine was saying the other day that when she first heard our track ‘Don’t Give Up’ from our first album, she loved it and still does. So they are the songs I want to listen to, the ones people really like.

Next artist you would like to work with?

No one for the moment. We just finished the second part of Scars which is called Zephyr, so that’s like a mini LP. That’s going to be released in January or February and it’s a bit more trippy and laid back and mostly instrumental. So I’m pleased about that at the moment and looking forward to getting it out.

 

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