Fatboy Slim Interview

After a momentous 2012 playing to some of the biggest audiences of his career, Fatboy Slim's taking time out from headlining arenas and heading off on his second '5 Night Stand'.


This time round the master of funk will be taking in some of the UK’s best clubs including London‘s Fabric, Cream in Liverpool (to celebrate their 20th anniversary) and such is Manchester’s importance – he’s playing here twice.


The tour kicks off at Sankey’s on 12th October 2012, and closes at The Warehouse project on 14th December. Anticipation for the Sankey’s gig is understandably at fever pitch as this will mark his debut at the Ancoats super club.


Fatboy Slim Interview


Congratulations on your Olympics closing party performance... It looked amazing, did you make a day of it and take the family with you?

Yes, it was one of those surreal moments, I really felt like I was representing Team GB, very surreal indeed. Zoe and my son came to watch, I think he was more interested in seeing Tinie Tempah and Tao Cruz than he was about seeing his dad in action.


How did you come down from the high of performing to more or less the whole world?

I left the Olympic stadium, jumped on a plane to Ibiza and played Space the next night, so I didn’t really come down, I just carried on…


On the subject of surreal moments, your Father-in-law's all over the Telly at the moment as a contestant on Strictly, are you finding the whole thing hilarious?

Yes, it’s a bit weird, more so for Zoe than for me because you know she presents the ‘It takes two’ show, tomorrow (Tuesday 09/10/2012) she has to interview her dad, that will be a surreal moment for Zoe i’m sure.


We can see from your 5 gig tour that you start and end the tour in Manchester, which speaks volumes about the way you feel about the city.

Yes, I was talking to my agent, and we started thinking - what are the 5 best clubs in England, and Manchester has 2 of the best, Sankey's and The Warehouse Project.


I have to admit, I was surprised to read that you’ve never played Sankey’s before…

Yes I know, i’ve been there many times as a punter but never played there. I think Sankey’s ascended just at the same time I started playing abroad. I’d been playing at Cream and other northern clubs but that was just before Sankeys took off.


They made real progress this Summer in Ibiza, Sankey's was the hottest ticket, especially with the workers.


At this stage in my career, there are boxes that need to be ticked and Sankeys is one of the fantastic clubs that i’ve not played before and that’s a good enough reason for me to go there now.


I don’t want to be on my death bed and someone say to me ‘Oh you never played Sankey’s?  Although it’s possible I could have played there in my drinking days and not remembered it!


My job as a Dj is primarily to play the latest tunes and what I believe to be the best tunes...


When you DJ do clubbers and fans hustle you to play Fatboy Slim tracks?

I don’t play that much of my own stuff now, I see my job as a Dj is primarily to play the latest tunes and what I believe to be the best tunes, I do put little nods to my own tunes but I don’t play any of my own stuff in its original form, I kind of mash up and drop in little bits.


I did have to have a word with Tony Blair when he started coming onto it and using it as Labour's theme tune...


What’s Fatboy Slim’s favorite Fatboy Slim track?!

Right here, Right Now. Mainly because of big sporting events, something magical happens when a football team walks out to it, I get goose bumps going up my spine when I hear it like that, and normally you just don’t get that with your own records, because you know how they were made and you’ve heard them a million times, but yeah, Right here, Right Now, because of how it sounds on big occasions.


Having said that, I did have to have a word with Tony Blair when he started coming onto it and using it as Labour’s theme tune. That almost killed it but fortunately it still has the power to excite me.


Did you think you were heading for a D:Ream moment?

Yeah, and look what happened to them...!


You’ve had a well documented battle with booze and over the years, would you say life's better booze free?

… Yes, especially now at my age, and the battle was relatively short. I enjoyed partying for a long time and then it became a bit much, I wasn’t really enjoying it and it was starting to hurt, so the actual battle itself lasted about 6 months, and I did need a bit of help to stop.


One thing that made it easier for me to stop was the feeling that i’d been there - done that and believe me; I left no stone unturned! I had tonnes of fun. No regrets and it was only when I decided to stop that I found it difficult..


I did have to think about what I could replace it with in my life and as a DJ I spend half my life in the company of drunken people so that was an interesting part of the journey.


Me and Zoe stopped drinking about the same time and she got pregnant about a month later so we were straight into preparing for a new member of the family, I started to get fit and started running marathons.


Does running Marathons and the time spent training allow you to slip away from the surreal events in your life and give you some head space?

Well that depends, if I’m running on my own I try and get my head stuck into music, but i’ve only started doing that recently, before it was almost an escape from music.


Most of the time I train with a mate of mine called Tony. We have some interesting chats especially on a 2-3 hour run, it kind of replaces the pub banter.


When it starts to hurt and it's not fun anymore, that's the time to stop, I wouldn't preach and tell people to drink responsibly because I didn't.


I imagine there will be young DJ’s reading this interview that probably see it as par for the course to get leathered when they’re Djing or diggin' for tunes. What advice would you give to them?

My advice would be, when it starts to hurt and it’s not fun anymore, that’s the time to stop, I wouldn’t preach and tell people to drink responsibly because I didn’t.


Drinking is a big part of club culture so enjoy yourself, and when it starts to hurt or stops being fun, don’t feel like you have to carry on.


Let's talk Studio gear, what’s your most trusted piece of kit?

My most trusted piece of kit is the Akai S950 sampler, on the grounds that i’m currently transferring all the samples I have - from it; onto my laptop. I’m still learning how to do it completely on a laptop, i’m learning Ableton.


For the last couple of years I haven’t spent much time in the studio i’ve been a Djing animal, in fact the last time was when I produced Rizzle kicks and yeah, I was still using the S950 – much to their amusement!


Fatboy Slim's fave piece of kit The Akai S950 sampler


What’s all the fuss about Serato?

I am a late adopter and a bit of a Luddite, I used early forms of digital software but they weren’t 100% reliable and when you’re playing out the last thing you need is your computer freezing up or crashing.


Serato I find very reliable and most important for me is that i’m still Dj’ing, the software doesn’t do the mix for you, it just gives you access to the tracks and you know every now and then I like to ‘clunk’ a mix just to let the crowd know i’m actually doing it.


The genius with Serato is that it organises your video files which you can sync with the music you’re playing, regardless of speed, if I play the track backwards the video will follow it backwards, we’ve actually been really busy exploring the possibilities with it, it’s great fun.


Before, I would write on a record sleeve and hold messages up to the audience, now we can write our own videos and scripts beforehand and play it on the big screen.


I notice form your website that you use topspin to handle marketing and sales stuff, do you rate their capability to handle the job?

Yes, it’s certainly getting that way. There has been tonnes of things i’ve mourned about the music industry that i’ve lived through for the past quarter of a century, one of the things I don’t mourn is artists retaining the power to sell their music without having to use record companies, they've always took the lions share and dictated what you had to do.. Yes, there’s a lot less money floating around but at least it’s now going to the artist and we have creative freedom as appose to being bullied by a record company.


Unfortunately, the quality control leaves a lot to be desired. Record companies did provide a kind of filtering mechanism.


It is massive thumbs up for technology that it's possible for anyone to make a finished tune with not much more than a laptop and a melody in their heads…

Yes, before – you’d have to borrow money from a record company to go to a studio to record it, now it’s easy to do it on your laptop and release it on ITunes yourself.


Unfortunately, the quality control leaves a lot to be desired. Record companies did provide a kind of filtering mechanism, you had to be fairly good before a record company would invest money in you, whereas now, as a DJ I have to wade through a lot more dross, it does make it more fun when you make a discovery.


I spend a good two or three days a week trawling through the internet to find tunes to play, this way I can get through more music than in the old days. I still get that same sense of achievement when I find a good one, when I find that diamond in an awful lot of rough.


There are a hundred reasons why I don’t get involved with Twitter, mostly because I’ve got such a big mouth...


I’ve been keeping an eye open for you on Twitter and Facebook but you don’t seem to be that bothered, any reason for that?

There are a hundred reasons why I don’t get involved with Twitter, mostly because I’ve got such a big mouth and i’m sure there are things I say that would be taken out of context and end up in the papers the next day.


Also, bizarrely enough i’m quite a private person, Yes, when i’m on stage i’m Fatboy Slim but when i’m at home i’m just Norman, father of two and I like to separate the two,  I don’t want people to know what i’m doing all the time and also i’m not arrogant enough to think that people care about what i’m having to eat.


I do like the DJ’s complaining Twitter page, it’s like a compilation of complaints from DJ’s, moaning about their hotel rooms and other things, that’s quite funny.


I’ll give it a few years and if it’s still around - maybe get involved then.


So you kick of your 5 gig tour of the country’s best clubs this Friday in Manchester, what can we expect?

You know, sometimes it feels as though I play so much around the world that I forget to play in England, in fact the last 5 night stand I did was organised so that I would get to play a gig in my home town of Brighton.


This time round it’s just me, getting back to my roots, remembering where I came from, getting down and working hard. We don’t have the big production like we have on the festival circuit; they’ll be no mysterious DJ somewhere in the distance, just me, nothing to hide behind, no bells and whistles, just me.


Fatboy Slim's tour kicks off at Sankey’s on 12th October 2012 (Press here for tickets), and closes at The Warehouse project on 14th December with Pete Tong, Madeon, Eats Everything and Greg Lord (Sold out).


Fatboy Slim Live: At The Big Beach Bootique – screened at over 600 cinemas worldwide this summer – is to be made available on DVD from November 5th on Southern Fried. Press here for more info and to purchase.


For all things Fatboy Slim, visit www.fatboyslim.net

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