Catching Up With the Klaxons

The Klaxons live @ Studio B on april 1, 2007

By now, you know the Klaxons. You know their trippy, futuristic dance-rock. You know they’re synonymous with "nu-rave." You know they exploded onto the scene with songs like "Atlantis to Interzone" and "Gravity’s Rainbow" that examined supernatural and apocalyptic themes; lyrically meditating on William Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon while set to a background of intense melodies and intricate beats.

So what have these lads from south England been up to as of late, post-album release / Mercury Prize – win / "It" band anointing? Co-singer and keyboardist James Righton was so kind to give us a call and fill us in on the latest Klaxon happenings as he makes his way to New York for their October 12 show at Webster Hall.

Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet Live on Transmission

2007 has been quite a whirlwind year for the Klaxons. They released their debut album, Myths of the Near Future and unleashed their outer-worldy, melody-driven dance rock (or “nu-rave” if you’re not already tired of the term) on a public eager for a full-length record after being treated to morsels such as singles like “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “Atlantis to Interzone.” They traveled across four continents and toured extensively. Here in New York, they went from playing Studio B to Madison Square Garden, where they opened for Bjork in September. They picked up a Mercury Prize. They rocked Coachella. They hooked up with indie goddesses like CSS’s LoveFoxx and (reportedly) fended off advances from Tinseltown trainwrecks like Lindsay Lohan.

“It’s been non-stop,” co-singer and keyboardist James Righton agrees when I mention what a ride they’ve had thus far. Righton’s at the airport in Vancouver with his bandmates – Simon Taylor-Davis, Jamie Reynolds, and Steffan Halperin – awaiting a flight to Las Vegas. (It’s their day off, so instead of playing a show, the guys have decided to head to Sin City for an evening and try their hand at gambling. And ride that rollercoaster at the hotel where they are staying).

Live performance of Golden skans by the klaxons on later with jools holland (01/12/06)

“One thing after the other has come along that’s surprised us and excited us and put a smile on our face,” Righton enthuses. “From when we first heard that record companies were interested in us, to having our record out there and writing and recording the record…the other day I read an interview with Debbie Harry and she was saying that we were one of her favorite bands! It’s just one more experience where all these people that we look up to and are respected are into what we’re doing. The response from crowds has been incredible. It’s just very very exciting being in the band.”

It’s not just Bjork and Blondie herself digging the Klaxons – the Chemical Brothers recently asked the trio to work on a song with them. “It was a great, great experience,” says Righton. “Basically they got in contact and gave us tracks that we really liked – the barebones of tracks, the instrumentals and beats and stuff.” After wrapping a European leg of their tour, he and Reynolds boarded a jet from Bologna to London, heading to the studio to work alongside the masters.

But first, there was a little writer’s block to get past. “We turned up with this little melody of our own,” Righton recalls, “and it was awful! We sat there for about an hour or two just kinda sweating and worrying and feeling like two idiots in front of like the legends, the Chemical Brothers, you know?! And then we just kinda worked hard and an idea, a melody came, and then another thing, and before we knew it…we were kind of working on the track and we finished it by the end of the evening. It was great.”

The fruits of this Klaxons-Chemical Brothers labor yielded “All Rights Reversed,” The Chemical Brothers - We Are the Night - All Rights Reversed a tune on the latest CB album, We Are the Night The Chemical Brothers - We Are the Night . (For those electro fans awaiting a live version of the song, the time is not yet ripe. Blame the scheduling gods. “It’s a shame,” says Righton. “We just got a text from them the other day. And they’re in America at the moment, and they’re touring. There are a lot of British bands that come and we’re all doing the same kind of routes and we find ourselves in the same city a lot, but that hasn’t come (with the Klaxons and the Chemical Brothers) on this tour.” )

The Klaxons live @ Studio B on april 1, 2007

Of course, it’s not just other people’s new albums the Klaxons have been contributing towards – they’re ready to go into the studio in January to get their own second record going, a record that Righton says will retain the same “spirit” as Myths of the Near Future.

“We don’t want to make a mature record, we know that,” he says. “I think bands, when it comes to the second record, can sometimes alienate and lose any excitement they originally have by growing up way too fast. That’s sort of the tendency – that there has to be something mature-sounding or something, you know, kind of grand and epic and aimed for the stadiums.”

He continues: “I think were gonna have a little bit more time. We didn’t spend that long on the first record, we spent about two weeks writing it, really. I think we’re gonna go a a little bit more full-out.We gotta keep it interesting. But we don’t want to grow up fast.”

Klaxons perform their hit single ‘Golden Skans’ at the 2007 Mercury Prize

Until then, the Klaxons have plenty of traveling to keep them young – and busy – until December, when they wrap up their tour in Japan. In addition, they’re the latest artists to contribute to the “A Bugged Out Mix” series – a two-disc set of both remixed songs and favorite originals of the band.

“We left Jamie to go off and come up with the first half of it, which is kind of a lot of minimal techno,” says Righton of the first CD, which features ta Brodinski re-mix of “It’s Not Over Yet”. “The second half is a section of our favorite songs and artists. It [the second CD) isn’t mixed, it’s just that we took songs that we liked” – songs from artists such as Wu-Tang, Frankie Valli, and Todd Rundgren – “and put it on as a comp.”

Justice’s “Stress” is featured on the first CD. The connection with the French dance dynamos doesn’t stop there; the duo recently remixed what Righton calls “a really good kind of Doobie Brothers”-re-mix of “As Above So Below” (States-side fans, it’s going on a version of the song, recorded in French, that’s being released there– you’ll have to try to pick the import up at Virgin).

The subject of remixes comes up, and I ask, out of curiosity, what Righton thinks of the Van She re-mix of “Gravity’s Rainbow,” telling him it gets played frequently on the New York dance party circuit. He laughs.

“We heard it a lot two years ago!” he says good-naturedly. “Actually, I don’t think it sounds anything like the original, really. It’s really like a kind of Daft Punk-disco kind of thing. But it works, ya know? We’ve been remixed by a lot of our favorite artists. De La Soul actually remixes one of the best – one of my favorites, personally.”

Ah, the life of the Klaxons. Muses to the masters. Award-winning dance-rock outfit. Forebearers of “a minor subculture,” as Jamie Reynolds so deftly called the day-glo explosion that erupted in the wake of Myths of the Near Future.

James & Jamie Klaxon at their after party after opening for Björk at Madison Square Garden

And let’s not forget one more: objects of affections. There’s the rumored engagement between Taylor-Davis and LoveFoxxx.. And of course – there’s La Lohan, whom, as NME alleges, “tried to lure little James back with her” to her hotel room this year at Coachella.

“Ah, my dearest Lindsay,” he says jokingly when the subject comes up. “Um, we met and you know, we talked. She seems like a pleasant girl, she seemed really cool. She was nice enough. She said she was coming to London, but I was on tour. There’s no romance.”

So that’s that. No bit featuring the band in the “Love Lives” column of Us magazine. It looks like if you want to find the Klaxons, you’ll have to check them out at the following venues, not the gossip rags (wait…doesn’t NME constitute a bit as a music gossip rag? There are exceptions to every rule, we suppose).  

Related Links:
• The Klaxons on MySpace
• Click HERE for exclusive photos of the Klaxons
Klaxons on
Klaxons on iTunes
Death to New Rave: Long live Klaxons

Remaining Tour Dates in 2007:
10/12/07 New York, NY Webster Hall
10/14/07 Mexico City, MEX Vive Cuervo Salon
10/20/07 Melbourne, AUS The Forum
10/21/07 Adelaide, AUS HQ
10/23/07 Perth, AUS Capitol
10/25/07 Sydney, AUS Enmore Theatre
10/27/07 Brisbane, AUS Tivoli Theatre
11/11/07 Berlin, GER Columbia Club
11/12/07 Hamburg, GER Grunspan
11/13/07 Paris, FRA Olympia
11/15/07 Cologne, GER Gloria
11/17/07 Zurich, SWI Rohrstofflager
11/18/07 Munich, GER Georg Elser Halle
11/20/07 Rome, ITA Qube
11/21/07 Turin, ITA Hiroshima Mon Amour
11/25/07 Dublin, IRE Ambassador Theatre
11/26/07 Manchester, UK Carling Apollo Manchester
11/27/07 Edinburgh, UK Edinburgh Corn Exchange
11/28/07 Newcastle, UK Carling Academy Newcastle
11/30/07 Southampton, UK Guildhall
12/01/07 Leeds, UK Leeds University
12/02/07 Cardiff, UK Cardiff University
12/04/07 Birmingham, UK Carling Academy Birmingham
12/05/07 London, UK Carling Brixton Academy
12/06/07 London, UK Carling Brixton Academy
12/10/07 Tokyo, JPN On Air East
12/11/07 Tokyo, JPN On Air East
12/12/07 Osaka, JPN Shinsaibashi Club Quattro
12/13/07 Nagoya, JPN Club Quattro

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