Promo days can be quite stressful. You can ask all different kinds of artists, it’s never their favourite part of the release schedule. But you can try to make the best out of it, no matter of you are the journalist or the musician. On this joyful spring day in Berlin NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION was the 12th media to interview British indie trio KLAXONS. The lack of concentration as noticeable. But this doesn’t mean it was a disadvantage.
On June the 16th the trio will release its new album Love Frequency, a joyful and euphoric selection of danceable synthpop songs with the familiar KLAXONS vibe. Well, basically a ‘fun record.’ But one that was done with a decent amount of seriousness. Not much of this seriousness is around when I met the band for a little chat in Berlin. Keyboarder James Righton is wearing a shirt from FLEETWOOD MAC‘s poppy 1987 record Tango In The Night which gets us directly started on a discussion of this band’s finest records. Simon Taylor-Davis clearly isn’t a fanboy, singer Jamie Reynolds prefers 1977’s Rumours. We all agree to disagree. It’s a joyful and also giggly atmosphere which follows. We talked about a lot of things, with Love Frequency only being a partial subject of that talk. Still, the three gentlemen remain lovely conversational partners.
Let’s start with the obvious question: Why now? I know that you spend a lot of time in the past distancing yourself from the whole ‘nu rave’ thing. But on your new album embraces club beats, house pianos and everything else. So… why now?
James: It clearly got the most ‘nu rave’ attitude so far, that’s right.
Jamie: It was just time to do it, you know? We were just: ‘Let’s give them what they want’
Did it go hand in hand with the songwriting?
Jamie: No, we wrote the songs first and added the ‘rave’ aspect afterwards.
James: We were just ‘Okay, how can we make it as rave as possible’ (laughs)
Jamie: And that’s why we got all the legends of rave…
Exactly. Tom Rowlands from THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS worked with you on this one.
Jamie: Tom is the ‘rave godfather.’
And James Murphy was part of it as well.
Jamie. Yes, he’s the actual ‘rave grandfather.’ (laughs)
Simon: The ‘funk papa.’
And EROL ALKAN. What part of the family was he?
Jamie: I don’t know.
Maybe the weird uncle.
James: That’s it!
Jamie: Our Turkish uncle.
You know these guys for a couple of years now.
Jamie: They’ve been there right from the start of the whole ‘nu rave’ thing.
James: Back then we played the trashiest clubs and recorded with Erol for our first album.
Jamie: And we all played festivals with them. Steve Dub as well. Don’t forget him.
You’re always pretty risky in switching musical styles quite frequently. There are not many bands that are trying it these days.
Jamie: None of them are brave enough.
James: They don’t have the balls.
Simon: Yeah, seriously. What do you have to lose?
James: Maybe your fans and your balls.
Your second album ‘Surfing The Void’ was quite brave and noisy. Wasn’t there someone from the label coming in and giving you directions?
Jamie: No, they didn’t.
James: We haven’t talk to anyone from the label in years? (laughs)
Simon: Did we ever actually do?
Jamie: Our balls are too big for them. They are too scared to ask us.
Simon: We keep scaring them.
Jamie: … by saying we’re doing a reggae album next.
Maybe that’s a new business concept. ‘Don’t talk to your label.’
Simon: Seriously, we did everything on our own for this album. We asked the people, the producers. We also took care of the artwork and the music videos. 99 percent of our own energy.
Jamie: But in all honesty. They are phenomenal.
Despite ‘Surfing the Void’ was of good quality…
Jamie: It was a critically acclaimed album. (laughs)
Yes, but not in a commercial sense. I personally thought it was a brave choice for a follow-up. Do you think there’s too much pressure from media, critics and everyone on the artist today?
James: I think we made brave choices on every album we’ve made so far. Just look back on the first record. Doing ‘rave music’ was not cool back then. And the second one was almost ‘nu metal.’ I mean, making this in the year 2010 was also quite brave.
Would you consider ‘Love Frequency’ to be a feel-good record? To me it got thus quite euphoric vibe.
Simon: Well, I remember playing stuff to our former label Polydor and they replied just with ‘it feels good.’ It was a common reaction when you got nothing to say about the music.
Okay, I wasn’t aware of that. But you can’t deny the vibe on songs like ‘Invisible Force.’
James: For years people are telling us to make our own version of PRIMAL SCREAM‘s Screamadelica. I don’t say Love Frequency is it, but it’s probably our version of a poppy dance album with a euphoric feeling.
Jamie: Peace and love, man. That’s what it’s about.