Klaxons: "it was such a scam"

Article published on May 28, 2014
Article published on May 28, 2014

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

The trio from London is back with a new album, Love Frequency, out on June 16th, 4 years after Surfing the Void. If the first songs are any indication, it seems the band has decided to fool everyone and to whistle in its own corner. Portrait of the Klaxons, a bunch of rascals who chose evasiveness as a mean to survive.

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 Bro­thersTom Row­landsDJ 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

Listen: Klax­ons - Love Fre­quency (2 juin 2014/RedUK, Available for Pre-ORDER here)