Klaxons - Golden Sons
3D’s Cyclone talks with Jamie Reynolds of Mercury Prize winning British group Klaxons, returning to Australia in December to headline the second Nevereverland.
They were the original nu rave heroes, opening the way for countless others. Now the UK’s Klaxons, deep into their next album, have resurfaced to headline Nevereverland. And, naturally, everyone wants the scoop on the follow-up to the brilliant Myths of the Near Future. Are Klaxons going hip hop- Or will the new LP be full-on progressive rock- Have they recorded with David Bowie’s old collaborator Tony Visconti, as rumoured- Questions, questions. But more later.
Over the past few months Klaxons have taken time out to recover from 2007, says Jamie Reynolds, one of two vocalists. “We haven’t done any work – well, I wouldn’t say we haven’t done anything, we’ve been making a record – but we haven’t played live since February. We just got back from a month’s touring last week, so we’ve been hanging around the house and enjoying being quiet.”
That mini-tour saw Klaxons visit places like South America, which they didn’t cover previously.
Following much hype about the ’80s revival, Klaxons – Reynolds, James Righton and Simon Taylor – ushered in ’90s nostalgia with Myths. Nevertheless, beyond all the talk of nu rave anarchy, Klaxons are an arty pop group. They meld punk’s energy and iconoclasm with the new romantics’ theatricality and contemporary dance music’s boundary-breaking.
Of all Klaxons’ hermetic songs, only Atlantis to Interzone ever sounded ravey with its sirens. Even a cover of Grace’s acid house Not Over Yet was pure indie-dance. Altern 8 they are not.
Today Reynolds believes – or hopes – that Klaxons have transcended nu rave. If at one stage Klaxons encouraged the ‘nu rave’ tag, which Reynolds, who briefly studied philosophy, accepts credit for inventing, they’re now bored of it. And their status as nu ravers is in decline. “I just didn’t say a word for a while!” the guitarist laughs. “After initially putting something out there, I closed my mouth for some time.”
The London-based trio were validated by the establishment when Myths won 2007’s Mercury Music Prize, proving themselves to be no novelty act. They also impressed critics. (Those ‘old ravers’ the Chemical Brothers recognised something in Klaxons early, soliciting them for a credibility shot – and All Rights Reversed.)
The hipsters pipped the Mercury favourite, Amy Winehouse. “I think that we made a record of the time, and I think that she made a record that was looking backwards. We were making a record of that period in time, and the Mercury Music Prize has always been about what’s going on at that specific time – and that seemed to be what we were doing.”
Klaxons are currently facing that tricky second album. The band joked about a hip hop makeover – they covered Blackstreet’s Dr Dre-featuring No Diggity for a Radio One compilation – but a collab with Dre appears unlikely. But, yes, Klaxons did speak to Visconti. However, they’ve since reunited with Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, who produced Myths. “We’re going back in with James to finish it off – hopefully [we’ll] finish off the record before we come out [to Australia],” Reynolds reveals. “The last studio day is a day before so, with any joy, it’ll be done then.”
Reynolds admits to being crushed that their sessions with Visconti didn’t transpire. “It’s absolutely heartbreaking because basically we didn’t have the songs written,” he says. “When we’d finished [touring] at the end of last year, we were tired and didn’t have anything written – and then the time scale didn’t work. But it’s not something that we wanna knock on the head. We wanna look into it in the future, but we just weren’t ready for him.”
Visconti adored Klaxons. “He’s a wonderful man. He came and hung out with us a couple of times and took us for dinner and he told us stories. He just said that he was in love with the band and was very excited to work with us – and, of course, we were in turn very excited to work with him and [then] upset that it didn’t happen.”
Ford has informed BBC Newsbeat that Klaxons are exploring a fresh direction. They’ve previewed two epic songs – with rumoured titles Valley of the Calm Trees and Moonhead – in recent shows. Reynolds promises that Aussies, too, will hear these tracks and possibly more if Klaxons can ready them.
It might be expected that Klaxons are feeling the pressure to return with another classic. Is Reynolds stressed- “I’d say up until yesterday no, but yesterday I sat there staring at the walls, looking at all my instruments, not knowing what to do,” he confesses. “The first record is really diverse and really exciting [but] it’d be ridiculous of us to try to replicate what we did the first time around. We have to mature as a band. But, pressure-wise, I’m not sure. First of all, we have to make ourselves happy as we did the first time and make music that excites us. But, replicate anything- I’m not sure whether that’s gonna happen or how it’s gonna pan out yet – but the next month we shall see.”
Klaxons don’t have a release date –they just need to cut “the best record possible.”
Fame has benefited Klaxons in other ways, too, with Taylor befriending CSS’ Lovefoxxx, the pair tipped to marry last winter. Jamie is coy about the status of the romance but, no, Simon hasn’t wed. “If he has, he hasn’t told me. I just got off the phone to him – and we have a tendency to tell each other everything. If he is married, I don’t know anything about it.”
The British press is notorious for pitting bands against each other, yet Klaxons have resisted. You won’t hear them dissing emerging rivals Late of the Pier, Gallagher-style. “We’re friends with everybody – that’s one of the rules. Steve Marriott of the Small Faces said, ‘It’s nice to be nice.’ We make friends with people who you wouldn’t think we’d be friends with in the first place. We’re just enjoying people’s company, rather than thinking there’s any necessity to go out there and make rivalry with anybody. We’ve specifically made it a point to have never even said a word about another band openly. We’ve never gone out and said anything about anybody else. We’re quite happy to be in that position. It’s unnecessary. We prefer to get on with people!”
WHAT: Play Nevereverland at Entertainment Quarter
WHEN: Saturday 13 December