Basement Jaxx (DJ Set) – Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe – are heading to Australia to play Electric Gardens. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Simon about their latest goings on and whilst there are no big plans for Basement Jaxx this year they are still working on plenty of projects and are very much so looking forward to playing DJ sets around the country.
Happy New Year, are you looking forward to what 2017 brings?
We’re working on bits and pieces, we’re coming over to DJ but there are no big plans as yet. We’re not making a new album but there are loads of different projects. The DJing is something that we enjoy and get to play new songs that we are working on and play stuff we like from the past and present. There is no massive Basement Jaxx campaign as such.
Do you enjoy the DJ sets more so than the full band experience?
Both are pretty good and it is nice to be able to switch between the two. Over the years we have developed both. The live show works best as festivals with big crowds as there are loads of people on stage and there is tonnes of energy. DJing is a lot easier, it’s just Felix and I t worry about whereas with the live show we have to worry about twenty people including the crew and everything. Plus DJing is a more intimate experience in a lot of ways. With a live show there is a set list that we kind of more or less work out whereas the DJing you are more free to play whatever you want depending on the crowd depending on the night, the place and the time. They are two different things and it is nice to have them both.
Is it harder to plan for a DJ set though particularly when you’re going from a festival to smaller club shows?
The thing is you build up a collection of tunes that work well for you at the time and you will play clubs that are more commercial or more underground and depends on the night what you’ll play but largely it all depends on the crowd.
Does that create more pressure when the crowd is not responding as you thought?
If they are not on board, sometimes you’re lucky and you know that they like you live and want you to do what you do and they are on board from the get go. Other times they don’t really know who you are and they are not on board from the get go so you have to win them over. I think you still have to do what you do but it is more trial and error, how about this one? No, try this one! No, how about that one?
So each show is uniquely different?
That’s how it works exactly! Our show is quite eclectic and we don’t play all one thing, we’ll play some stuff that is techno, we play stuff that is funky, play some soul, reggae then go in to an acid track. We make it very colourful and varied.
How do you keep up with the sheer volume of music that comes out which might make its way in to your DJ set?
The thing is there is a lot of stuff and shifting through it, it isn’t always good stuff. There will always be chestnuts that you hang on to that really do it for you and were playing three or four years ago and will still play them because they are still so good which work so well. Those sorts of songs are few and far between. To be honest it is also how you put it all together and how the DJ presents it. What are people in Adelaide in to? What is the big thing?
Well that varies but traditionally Adelaide has always been known as a rock town but that is changing.
Oh wow! There isn’t many places where rock is big is there? Is House Music something that they are in to? [Absolutely!] Things do go in cycles and maybe it is time that rock makes a big come back because everything has been dominated by hip-hop and electronic music for so long. There was a long time where rock music was doing that. Bon Scott was from Adelaide wasn’t he?
How does the partnership with Felix work live on stage?
It is fine, usually Felix starts with an intro, we’ve been doing it for a long time and you know what the other guy is going to do, what to follow up with and you just stick together really. Over the years we have established patterns and a feel for what the other guy is like and is likely to play, what is likely to compliment what he has just played and where you think you might go next. Then every now and then we surprise each other. Felix likes to have a chat on the microphone and has a little talk to the audience, sometimes he doesn’t say a lot but depends on how the mood takes him. It is always a surprise and that is what is so hard to predict. We shall see how the Adelaide crowd respond!
The Fat Controller is the place to be when you play here…
I am looking forward to Adelaide, we have been there before with the Big Day Out. We have been to Melbourne and Sydney many, many times before but Adelaide it doesn’t feel like I know it at all. It is the first place we play so we’ll be lost as we fly straight there and I think I’ll be a bit spaced out as I’ll be just off the plane. Didn’t Metallica play the same Big Day Out we did? Is it hot? It’s close to freezing here, I’m standing here with a scarf on and jacket, it is really cold, it is hot there right?
The tour dates are…