â€œNot that I haven’t put tons of thought into the stupidity. It’s not just a random of the cuff stupidity. This is proper, well thought out, grade-A, primo stupidity.â€
Photo Courtesy of the Artist
When you’ve been in the game as long as Fatboy Slim, you need to spice it up a bit. Sometimes that means orchestrating the crowd at Creamfields festival into a giant smilie. Sometimes that means playing a surprise set for Bansky, and sometimes it means fabricating a story about how he and Riva Starr sampled a crackhead in Williamsburg talking out of his brain for â€œEat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.â€
â€œSometimes you get bored doing interviews, and sometimes you feed some disinformation just to see how far it will go,â€ the celebrated DJ and producer laughs. â€œNever let the truth get in the way of a good story.â€
Turns out the guy who put out a video of Christopher Walken flying through a hotel lobby has got a highly-developed sense of humor, as if you’re surprised. He draws inspiration from Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, always looking for a new way to elevate the same-old concert experience and turn it into an unforgettable ride. That was easy earlier this year when street art’s mysterious trickster Banksy booked him for a surprise set at the Dismaland installation.
â€œIt was one of those great, absurd, surreal things,â€ he says. â€œ[People] were expecting to look at some art and Banksy’s pranks, and then I just popped up at the end of the bar and started playing records, and I was serving drinks as well in the early stages, just to kind of break the ice.â€
Even when he’s not surrounded by melting mermaids and deranged Mickey Mouse bastardizations (like when he’ll play LIV on South Beach this Saturday) it’s that kind of electric atmosphere he tries to cultivate.
â€œWhen no one is spectating, and everyone is getting involved,â€ he says, â€œthat for me is when what [DJs] do is really at its best.â€
Maybe it’s because he came up in the late ’70s first wave British punk scene, but throughout his career, Fatboy Slim has always catered to that blissful idiocy at the core of dance music’s being.
â€œWe’re not like U2 where we’re trying to change the world,â€ he laughs. â€œWe’re there to get together and communally celebrate whatever it is we want to celebrate, or we’re there to communally escape whatever it is we want to escape. It’s a little slice of escapism and hedonism, and it is based around stupidity. It’s based around stupid loud noises and everybody waving their arms in the air and drinking too much and getting high.
â€œNot that I haven’t put tons of thought into the stupidity,â€ he continues. â€œIt’s not just a random of the cuff stupidity. This is proper, well thought out, grade-A, primo stupidity.â€
Actually, Fatboy Slim’s certain brand of stupid has won him numerous MTV Awards, Brit Awards, and even a Grammy. His fresh blend of punk rock do-it-yourself attitude and hip-hop breakbeats ushered him to the top of the mainstream music game at a time in American pop culture when dance music was the butt of jokes. For many of this generation’s EDM-crazed masses, he was a first taste of what house music could be, and you don’t blaze trails without catching some flack from the haters.
â€œWhen I fist came and played in America, everybody was like, ‘Oh yeah, but you’re signed to a major label and you’re making records that want to get played on the radio,’â€ he remembers. â€œI was like, ‘Fuck yeah. That’s my job.’ People were like, ‘If you get played on the radio, then everyone will hear it, and I was like, ‘Yeah…and?’â€
It’s that dedication to doing things his way that made him the living legend he is now. He’s reached that rare and magical level of artistry where he doesn’t have anything left to prove. If he releases a track, it’s because he wants to, not because he has to pump out an album to stay relevant. When he compiled his favorite old-school tracks into an LP titled The Collection, it was because he felt the time was right, not for anyone else. He recently decided to get in the studio with actor, and apparently talented DJ, Idris Elba, because he figures, why not? He’s tackling film scoring and touring the world, and he’s not playing â€œThe Rockafeller Skankâ€ like some kind of performing monkey.
â€œAt this end of my career, it’s doing things that I haven’t tried yet rather than just doing the same thing relentlessly over and over again,â€ he says. â€œLet’s try and make it a different experience.â€
Fatboy Slim. 11 p.m. Saturday, November 21, at LIV, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach;Â 305-674-4680; livnightclub.com.Â Tickets cost $75 plus fees viaÂ flavorus.com. Ages 21 and up.
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