“We always do stuff that nobody else wants to do!” Such is the blunt answer the leader of the Klaxons, Jamie Reynolds serves to those who question how they could sink into the dark territories of pop. Let’s face it, the two new songs from Love Frequency leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who welcomed the band’s novelty 8 years ago. Yet, as Jamie reminds “we always said we were a pop band from the beginning”.
"We tapped in some out-there business"
Their first record, Myths of the Near Future, was anything but pop. When it came out in 2007, critics and fans alike welcomed it as the first sign of a new genre that was quickly dubbed as “new rave”. Jamie saw a sign as well: “we seemed to have tapped into some out-there business that came down on us and gave us some songs. I don’t know what happed but there has to be some stupid magical reason!” With influences ranging from rock to hip-hop and dance, the 11 songs appeared like UFOs on a musical scene that was, at the time, inundated by the classic rock revival of the 2000s. Flash-forward 8 years, almost everything has changed. The sound, the fame, the lifestyle (James Righton got married to Keira Knightley, ed)… As for the garish outfits, they remained, as James’s tee-shirt proves it – it is the same one he wears on the latest pictures of the band- yet, they are now mixed with more classical pieces such as Simon’s tartan jacked or Jamie’s black jeans.
The Klaxon’s style has always been hard to describe or to explain. No wonder when you know the London trio was not exactly in their normal state to write their first songs. “we were literally quite drunk” tells Jamie. “We had lots of beer and lots of chips!, jokes James. There was a good efficient chip shop opposite the road where we were, we were like inspired.” Simon, the guitarist, remains unfazed by his companion’s jests and prefers to remind “we had the image quite early that we wanted to be very colourful and referencing the rave scene. We thought that was really exciting to see all the bands that were dressed quite darkly on stage and that were kind of moody. We wanted to kind of flip this out and be a kind of colourful fun band to watch!”
Broke but resourceful
To understand how the Klaxons came through, you have to go back almost 10 years ago. A time travel that is hard to negotiate even for Jamie who tries to dodge the bullet and asks Simon Taylor-Davis, who remains unruffled. “I guess you have to answer this one” he tells Jamie who starts to recount, “we talked about it for ages but we lived in different parts of the country. When we found ourselves in the same in the same place we thought it was time to figure something out. Then we met James (Righton) and then it was like “let’s go!” He continues: “I think it all started in Nottingham, where Simon went to university. We used to go to the Liars Club, they had lots of bands and we were like ‘these bands are rubbish we could make a better band than this’”.
Jamie was working at a record shop at the time while James was teaching English, or at least he was supposed to. When reminded of it, he starts laughing, a bit embarrassed. “I wasn’t like a proper teacher. I wasn’t fully qualified.” “You were a hippie teacher”, adds Jamie. “All I did was go into rooms full of school kids and chat for hours, answers James. It was an absolute scam!”
Could the Klaxons be a scam too ? More like a bunch of penniless teenagers who took a lot without giving much back. “It was dance music but without any equipment. We had broken synths and guitars and we couldn’t even afford the leads to pluck the guitars because we were on the dole! We had to borrow everything.” Now to a young female guitarist, whose career in the band was cut short when the trio fired her, all the while keeping her gear. Now to Finn (Finnigan Kidd), their former drummer who left the band just before they got signed. “He’s fine”, guarantees Jamie, doubled up in laughter. “He went to our after show in London”, adds Simon more seriously.
The trio approaches the June 16th release of their third album, Love Frequency, high on impropriety and with lots of gear. In spite of the criticism, the Klaxons keep on whistle, not the less be anxious about how the album will be received. “We can’t wait!” admits James. They are not even ashamed about their shift to pop-machine mode. “Apart from the kind of production we changed, our instrumentation and the songwriting are the same as they were on the first record”, explains Jamie. “It’s the same people who made this album, it’s just us three!” argues James. Yet Love Frequency counts many featurings: with the Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands, DJ Erol Alkan or Gorgon City… To bury all critics once and for all Jamie sums up: “they are different sizes of electronic on it. There is proper electronic and more accessible stuff, it’s a mix bag like our first record was!”
THE FUTURIST MANIFESTO
Time flies, the boys have a lot to say and many jokes in their bags. It is the perfect time to talk about the legend that says the name of the band comes from the Furturist manifesto. True or false? “I think that idea was slightly twisted. I wanted it to begin with a k. I read it was booted out of the alphabet for whatever reason and then it made a comeback. I was like ‘ok I feel quite close to that idea’. Then we were walking under a bridge in Deptford and the name just popped into my head. It was snappy and it was rave culture and loud noise, everything we wanted the group to be.”
The Klaxons sure make a lot of noise! With only a few days to go before the release of their new album, Love Frequency is already set to be the thing we will all talk about in early summer, thanks mostly to the 2 singles that have already been released, There is no other Time and Children of the Sun. Whether you like it or not, there will be a lot to contemplate with the trio’s new musical adventures. It is a good thing since Simon is also a philosopher: “it’s more interesting to provoke people than to be a people pleaser!”
Klaxons - There Is No Other Time