Right here right now, who doesn’t know Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim? Responsible for making dance music accessible to the masses, Norman will be in KL for the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix Concert. JUICE makes a long-distance call to the superstar DJ. Here we go….
What were you doing before this interview?
I’ve only just had breakfast, a ham omelette. In England it’s only 11.30am and I’ve just come back from the gym and had breakfast.
Quite the health freak these days?
Yeah! I’m very healthy at the moment. I’m just training to run my first ever marathon in my home town of Brighton. At the moment I’m training very hard and trying to be as healthy as ever.
You’ll be playing at the Grand Prix closing party. Do you have any favourites in the race?
Well obviously the 2 English drivers. The current world champion and last year’s worlds champion. I think Jenson Button is probably my favourite.
Do you have a need for speed yourself?
I appreciate speed but I’m the world’s slowest driver. It’s quite ironic.
What car do you own?
I drive a Jaguar.
But I drive it very slowly.
Well it’s not how fast you go it’s how many people you get off doing it. Anyway, you’ve been living in Brighton since your uni days. Is it pretty much your home now?
Absolutely. It’s been my home for 30 years and will be I think till I die.
Represent! You started a punk magazine called Peroxide with your neighbour when you were a teen. Were you a deviant youth?
I was a punk rocker. Yeah I was trying to be a rebel. I mean punk came at the perfect time. I was like 14 years old when punk came around. I loved the attitude of it and I think I still do. I still got a fairly disrespectful attitude for music. Well not aggressive but more interested in changing the rules slightly.
What’s the most ‘defying’ thing you’ve ever done?
Defying? I don’t know… Probably sampling other people’s music to make pop records.
Let’s set the record straight. Were you a DJ first or were you in a band before that?
I was a DJ first rather than in a band. When I was in college I thought if I was in a band I’d fail my A levels. So I thought DJing was a good way of being involved in music and still passing my exams. When I finished college I went back to being in bands but I think I’ve always been a better DJ then I’ve been a guitarist.
So what would you be doing if you weren’t a DJ?
I’d probably be trying to be in a band. I’d be a struggling bassist or guitarist.
What is Brighton Port Authority?
It’s a collection of stuff I’ve been doing with friends of mine that I’ve met over the years. People that play gigs in Brighton or people who I meet on the road, we just go into the studio, normally drunk, and mess about. And then we realised that we had all these fantastic tunes that were never released. So we thought we’d collect them all together. ‘We’ being people like Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Dizzee Rascal, Martha Wainwright, Jamie T and some other friends of mine.
People are saying that this is one of your last gigs as Fatboy Slim…
People have been saying that for the past 5 years. It’s an internet rumour. I once made a joke because I was gonna be the Brighton Port Authority, they said “So are you going to stop being Fatboy Slim?” You see I can’t because I am Fatboy Slim so I said “I’m splitting up and changing my name to Madonna” and they stupidly believed me. Even if I stop pretending to be Fatboy Slim, everyone recognises me. When I walk down the street people go “Oi Fatboy!”
Even though you are skinny. You’ve worked with Spike Jonze on numerous music videos, what did you think ofÂ his film adaptation ofÂ Where The Wild Things Are?
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve watched it with my son. I love Spike. I think he is an absolute genius!
What do you think about the British music scene right now?
I’m very proud of people like Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris who are taking the pop charts by storm again. It’s very similar to what I was doing 10 years ago. Sort of being up there with Robbie Williams and Madonna. It’s good for dance music to be in the charts. I think with the internet and mash up and things like that, it’s just as strong. The other day I was coming back from Dizzee’s show, he was performing with Florence And The Machine and he was still kind of mixing things around. I think it’s a very English thing. England is a cultural melting pot where you hear all this different kinds of music. I walk down my street and I’ll hear drumÂ and bass coming out one house, reggae music coming out another house and pop music coming out another house and you just meld it all together.
What’s the freshest thing you’ve heard recently?
I really like HervÃ© who I’ve just done a track with. And Crookers, their on my label. They are the next big thing I think.
You’re sort of like the artful dodger in terms of popularity. Was that your strategy all along?
I prefer to be the artful dodger then a fading star. I’m aware of my age and I don’t want to be seen as the old man who has been pimped. Haha!
A lot of old Brit bands are getting back together. Is there a lifespan to a DJ?
I think DJs can go on longer then bands because we were never suppose to be up there on the front of the stage. So we can get old, grey and fat and people will still respect us.
How many instruments do you play?
Well or badly?
I play all of them averagely. I play keyboards, drums and guitars okay.
What’s your favourite instrument?
I think it’s the turntables.
It’s funny that you consider the turntables an instrument because many serious musician-types would argue that turntables and decks are not instruments, their gadgets.
Well it depends what you do with them.
Exactly! So what will you be doing with them when you spin in Malaysia?
Well the thing about being a DJ is there’s only so much you can do as one man playing records. So for the visual element of the show, we’ve got big screens and lasers and lights and hopefully, it being Formula 1, we might have fireworks as well. So yeah, we’d like to put on a big visual show as well.
So are you gonna get everybody off of their tits?
Haha! Within the electronic visuals, we’ll have guest appearances and things like that. So yes, I hope to get your tits off!
In Malaysia, freedom of religion is a highly debated topic. If you were God for a day what would you do?
I’d let everyone worship whatever God they believed in.
And that’s why we’d like to praise you like we should. Thanks Fatboy… Sorry, Norman!
That’s alright, nice talking with you!
Fatboy Slim will be right here right now at the Malaysian Grand Prix Concert @ Sepang International Circuit on 4 April 2010. Entrance to the concert is free for Emerald, Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby and Tower 2 Upper Tier Main Grandstand ticket holders, whilst other 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix ticket holders will need to top up RM100 for the concert. If you just want to catch Wyclef Jean and Fatboy Slim, it’s RM250. Get tickets at www.sepangcircuit.com and www.ilovef1.com.my. Ticket hotline: 03 8778 2222.
More phat beats at www.myspace.com/fatboyslim.