- Beyond New Rave
New rave has been the sound of 2006, or so certain sections
of the music press would have us believe. The figureheads
of this glowstick-waving, guitar-toting movement are dance-influenced
indie trio Klaxons. With their debut album imminent and
contribution to the Tate Tracks exhibition currently being
aired, musicOMH caught up with guitarist Simon Taylor to
discover there is far more to the band than rave covers
and the headrush of their live shows.
singer Jamie Reynolds and keyboardist James Righton, success
has happened almost overnight for 23-year-old Simon with
the band playing the summer festival circuit, signing a
major record deal and appearing on the front cover of the
new rave championing NME within a year of them forming.
"We started playing in November 2005 and played a few
gigs before Christmas. We came back from Christmas and said
to each other, 'Hopefully by March we'll have some gigs',
and by the second week of January we had a manager and we
had label interest and it was just ridiculous," says
Simon. "It's just been completely surreal the entire
phenomenal speed of their ascent could be down to their
unique rave-meets-indie genre-mashing, their passionate,
madcap live performances or a highly supportive, bandwagon-pushing
music press. Simon, however, puts it down to a mixture of
luck and a lack of competition from other bands. "I
think we've just been lucky, we've had the right timing,"
he says. "There hasn't been a lot of great things happening
musically at the moment I don't think. It's incredibly dull
times and people don't really know what to do with themselves.
There's just this weird trend of trying to do what the Libertines
were doing really well. It's kind of gone off into something
that's really disastrous and really, really poor. I think
imitation is just a horrible thing," adds Simon. "We
were just something a little bit different to what was going
something different that makes Klaxons stand out could be
pinpointed as their rave influence. Simon explains that
is more than a mere gimmick. "When we were younger,
as well as being into loads of other music, we were all
into dance music, especially early nineties dance music.
They had these massive pop songs and there are some we cover,
like one by Grace called Not Over Yet. It's just this massive,
heart-breaking pop song. It's tragic when you hear mainstream
dance music now, it's pathetic. Early nineties dance compilations
were incredible and it was those really big dance songs
that we were really into and that element that we wanted
to bring to the band as well as fusing it with guitar music."
whole new rave tag they coined and has become such a media
monster in recent months was never meant to be taken seriously,
however. "We basically invented it as a joke. When
we started the band we were like, 'Let's invent a genre
and let's become a big pop band'. We thought it was hilarious
reading all these things like electroclash, all these genres
that have been kind of picked out of the sky and invented
and we just thought it would be quite funny to invent our
own genre and become kings of this genre, which weirdly
happened! It's just really funny to us something which we've
invented as this joke has become this kind of culture thing.
We were in Grazia which is just bizarre!"
expects the media fascination with Klaxons as the kings
of new rave, reigning over acts such as Datarock, Shitdisco
and New Young Pony Club, will come to an end soon, however.
"I don't think it's necessarily something that's going
to stick when people hear the record. To us it's not a bad
thing. If people are into your band because of that, that's
great. I don't think it's a bad thing as long as it doesn't
have a negative effect." The new rave bandwagon has
led some to label the band as a mere novelty act but Simon
believes they can turn this to their advantage. "We're
taken as a novelty band by a lot of people which we find
quite funny but it's kind of nicer for us because it means
it's easy for us to blow people's perceptions a bit."
asked to contribute to the Tate Modern's Tate Tracks exhibition
proves Klaxons must be being taken seriously in some quarters,
however. Billed as 'an experiment between art and music'
various musicians have been asked to select a work of art
then use it as inspiration to produce an original composition.
Artists involved include the Chemical Brothers, Graham Coxon
and the Long Blondes with Klaxons' track, inspired by a
piece from sculptor Donald Judd, currently being played
next to the original artwork until the end of December before
the exhibition moves on to another contributor's offering.
who studied fine art, explains the creative process behind
such a project. "We began the session by setting up
all of our equipment in one room and making a load of noise
literally, like these massive walls of sound and we edited
down some of the noise we'd made into the Tate track. It's
purely instrumental which is great as it's something we
wanted to do for ages but hadn't specifically had the time
or the purpose to do it. It's a really great starting point
for us doing something like that and it's led us off on
to trails we hadn't before discovered which we're probably
going to use again so it was a really good exercise."
physical appearance of Donald Judd's untitled sculpture
formed the basis of Klaxons musical interpretation of it.
"The sculpture we used, it's kind of like these big
square slats that fit into a wall," explains Simon.
"We took the number of blocks that there were and used
them as a mathematical starting point for the rhythm so
every however many blocks there were, eight or ten, every
eight we would kind of refresh and start the pattern again.
We used it more as a rhythmical starting point than a subjective
interpretation on something. It's something quite far removed
from where we are or where people might assume we are. It's
been a kind of weird out of band experience."
believes that any assumptions about Klaxons will be further
blown apart by their forthcoming album, Myths Of The Near
Future. "It's got some elements to it that are really
quite shambolic but it's got some other elements to it that
are really kind of pristine pop. We're all massive Bowie
and Eno fans and that was kind of like the sound we're going
for, that kind of glistening sound to it without making
it sound dull. It's really dark as well which is good. Actually
a lot darker than we originally thought."
by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco, the album is due for
release at the end of January 2007 with a UK tour to follow
(and possibly some underground raves to go with them - keep
checking myspace), setting up another 12 months that may
prove even more explosive for Klaxons than the last. "We
basically started this band with the aim to be a massive
pop band and to get a record deal and be on Top of the Pops,"
says Simon. "We didn't want to be an underground band,
we wanted to write some massive pop songs and be a huge
form is anything to go by, they may soon be just that.
- Ian Roullier, 09/2006 (Published 12/2006)