The Klaxons

By • Mar 26th, 2007 • Category: Interviews

Rave culture is dead. At least in the eyes of the London-based trio, The Klaxons. And the three musicians want no part of reviving it. Since the band’s conception a little more than a year and a half ago, the members have railed against the term “nu rave,” what the British press was so eager to stamp them. While doing so, the group went on to win “Best New Band” at the 2007 NME awards in February — beating out The Kooks, The View, The Horrors and The Fratellis.

But that doesn’t mean the three friends have had smooth sailing since singing with Polydor Records, the home of the band’s debut LP that dropped shortly after the first of the year and entered the UK charts at No.2, “Myths of the Near Future.” Almost immediately following the success of “Myths,” allegations of fans’ ramped drug use at The Klaxons’ dance-heavy shows has only reinforced the comparisons to late-80s warehouse gatherings, and more rumors of groupies and late night escapades once spawned a “Klaxons Women’s Survivor Group” on Myspace.

But for keyboardist James Righton, all that baggage comes with the territory of being in a successful pop band. And the constant questions about those presumptions and associations allow he and his bandmates the chance to squash any misconceptions.

BEEP: You know the first question that is going to come up in each interview, don’t you?
James Righton: About being a rave band?

BEEP: Yes. Are you sick of talking about that yet?
JR: Not sick of talking about it. We’re sick of being associated with it. But I think it’s good to talk about the association because it gives us a chance to explain ourselves to people who maybe have the wrong idea about us. If your job is being in a band, then part of what you have to do is talk about things — like being a rave band. But these interviews are a chance to respond to things that might have been misleading for people who don’t know much about us.

BEEP: So clear up “nu rave.”
JR: Well, we don’t really know much about rave culture anyway. It was a term that came up one day and got tossed out to the media and then everybody kinda latched onto it. So we pushed it away and tried to detach ourselves from the label.

BEEP: Where do you think it came from? Is there one place, like how Legs McNeil is credited with coining the term “punk?”
JR: I don’t know. I mean, we’re not a rave band. It stems from our live shows really, which are these big, celebratory euphorias. We try to make our live shows as live and as colorful or large as possible. I think there are a lot of bands that play music or whatever, but they don’t really care about what they’re doing and don’t seem to be having any fun.

BEEP: So your upcoming debut U.S. tour should be great then, because you’re playing to significantly smaller clubs than the open-air festivals back home.
JR: Yeah, we’re really excited by that. We’re looking forward to the energy and excitement of smaller clubs. At big fests there’s a distance between us and fans. But we started in small places like that. Recently we toured Europe and the venues were smaller than what we were used to playing in the U.K. I mean, they were bigger than clubs, but those shows still have an element of chaos, like anything can go wrong kind of elements.

BEEP: Do you think your music translates better in one or the other?
JR: Well, we feel comfortable in smaller clubs, I guess. Like the dirty, trashy clubs kinda fit the energy of our shows.

BEEP: But aren’t raves supposed to be big dance parties? Just kidding. But did you take that into consideration when you wrote this record? Did you think to yourselves, “everyone has been calling us a rave band, so we have to make a record that translates to every setting and venue?”
JR: We weren’t really thinking anything besides how to make a good record. But as soon as that term got out there, we sort of rebelled against it. It has nothing to do with us, or our music. To be honest, we think it’s complete crap; we’re just a pop band. Maybe it has made us go the other way a bit, but to be honest, we just get bored very easily. I’m sure our next record wont sound anything like this one.

BEEP: Does “Myths” sound like you wanted it to?
JR: When we went into the studio, we didn’t totally know what we were going to sound like. We knew what we didn’t want to sound like.

BEEP: What didn’t you want to sound like?
JR: We generally didn’t want to sound like any of the post punk stuff — Maximo Park, Bloc Party, The Futureheads — that was big in the U.K. at the time. It’s fine for those bands, but it had already been done. There was also a lot of that post-Libertines stuff. People were writing a lot of songs about being in London with jangly guitars. I mean, the first Libertines album is great, but then it got lost. People were just making rather miserable music at the time.

BEEP: So it was kind of addition by subtraction? By default, you knew what you were because you knew what you weren’t.
JR: We wanted a bit of escapist reality. Fantasy lyrics. We knew we wanted our guitars to be textures, not just chords. We wanted grand layers. We knew what we liked in a lot of the bands that influenced us, and had lots of songs written that had parts of each of them in it. Like we took parts of some Krautrock bands that we loved, and some English bands and mixed them all together into like a melting pot sound.

BEEP: Did it work?
JR: I think so, yeah. We have a high level of quality in this band. And not to sound over-confident or anything, but we wouldn’t have put it out if it wasn’t exactly how we wanted note-for-note.

BEEP: But if the next album is going to be different, what do you have in store?
JR: Not sure for the record. But we’re spending a week now to get back to reality and do a little bit of writing. Then we’re going to tour the States, then tour Europe, do some summer festivals, then tour again. Basically we’ll be on the road until January or February of next year. Then hopefully have a good number of songs — that’s the key to going into the studio, having lots of songs before and not trying to write in the studio — and then put out the next record by mid to late next year.

BEEP: So no soon deadline, huh?
JR: We work best under pressure. If we have weeks to write, we get nothing done. I mean, we just flew back to do a song with The Chemical Brothers the other day. They had sent us some songs weeks ago, but we didn’t do anything with them. Then when we got there, we messed around with what little we had — which was total rubbish — but then pieced together something at the last minute there that turned out great.

BEEP: What is the song for?
JR: It’s for their new album really. It’s such a massive honor to work with them. They are legendary in U.K. music, and probably in American music as well. To be asked to do something with a band as great as that — especially since they are really nice and down to Earth guys — was fantastic. We just talked a lot, they told us stories about other bands, gave us some pointers… they were true professionals. They’re legends.

BEEP: The song they did with Noel Gallagher is one of the greatest pop songs ever written.
JR: Yeah, “Setting Son.” It’s great. It has such beautiful melodies. Big grand sounds. I love it. The song we did with them has this strange Britney “Toxic” feel, but more psychedelic.

BEEP: So then is that your life now? You fly somewhere beautiful, play a great venue, then fly home to collaborate with one of your idols?
JR: We’re living a dream. I’m not going to lie, and we’re loving every minute of it. But there’s probably going to be some big comedown right around the corner.

BEEP: But you can use that crash as fuel for your next record.
JR: We were actually just talking about that the other day. That how with everything Britney Spears is going through now, her next album will probably be a classic. She’s been to the party, and now she has made it through the worst. It’s rather exciting. I mean, not for her living through it, but that bad things can make great music.

BEEP: Don’t place any bets that Britney Spears will record a “classic” record.
JR: Yeah, you’re probably right. I wont go placing any bets. I mean, she could just hire Timberland, and if he actually works with her it’ll be great. But that seems sort of contrived now, doesn’t it? Just hire him to produce your record so you’re guaranteed a great song or two.

BEEP: Make some calls. He’ll produce the next Klaxons record.
JR: We’ll see about that.

Daily Herald BEEP, Mar. 26, 2007

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