By Margaret Chrystall
Published: 24 April, 2008
A QUIET afternoon in Dores, and there’s something in the air.
It’s a helicopter with Fatboy Slim enjoying the chance to get an aerial view of the Rock Ness site for the first time.
An hour before, there was just the quiet murmur of a handful of punters in the Dores Inn public bar.
But a press call has brought a gaggle of edgy journalists into the warmth for the chance to speak to the DJ/ producer as he returned for the first time in two years to the place he calls “my second home”, partly to test out some lasers he’s hoping to use as part of his set in June.
At last year’s Rock Ness, the rumour that wouldn’t go away was that Fatboy Slim would appear to do a surprise set.
“No, I wasn’t here,” he grinned. “If I’d been here, I would have been playing.”
OK, silly question.
But though he is back for 2008, it seems that he’s still not happy that he didn’t make last year’s event.
“I really wanted to be here. It was weird not being here last year. But the idea that I was sneaking around saying ‘I’m not playing!’, of course I would have played!
“But it was decided that I shouldn’t be here because it might become about me rather than the festival. So I was encouraged not to be here.
“I would have loved to be back, if I was allowed.”
But Fatboy Slim’s obvious disappointment, saying he wasn’t invited up last year, doesn’t seem to have stopped him returning for Rock Ness 2008.
Was he asked back?
“They allowed me to come back. And without being arrogant, a lot of people said they missed me Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ‘Yeah, come on, ask me back then!’.
This year is going to be a big one for Fatboy Slim. Live, he’s signed up for a rake of festivals. As well as Rock Ness, he’ll be appearing at 02, Hyde Park, Creamfields and at home town Brighton.
“…oh, and Glastonbury!” he recalled.
There’s also a new album, originally set to be released next month.
Though he’s talked about having veteran rocker Iggy Pop guesting on one track already, he wouldn’t be drawn on it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ though Fatboy Slim added that “a few guests crop up”.
“But it’s hush hush!”
There was speculation that the Ironworks set last Thursday might include a preview of the album.
But though Fatboy Slim denied that, it still looks as if he plans the Rock Ness crowd to be the first to hear it.
“The album’s not going to be out now till September, so I’ll be saving the preview for here at Rock Ness!
Fatboy Slim doesn’t make a habit of flying around rock-star style in helicopters, but he enjoyed the chance to fly over the Rock Ness site to get an overview.
“It’s nice to see it with the sunshine on the loch.”
With a recent DVD release of his tour of Brazil last summer, were there plans to film the scenic Rock Ness set for DVD release?
“I don’t know, we hadn’t thought of that. But part of the reason for coming up here is to see what ideas we come up with, seeing the site again.
“The first time we did Rock Ness, it was a bit of an unknown, as far as we were concerned.”
And with publicity before last Thursday’s gig revealing that Fatboy Slim had been watching footage of Daft Punk’s triumphant headlining set at Rock Ness last year, it looks as if he is planning on matching and bettering it.
There had been a plan, he said, to get graffiti artist Banksy involved, but it didn’t work out. And the lasers on the loch secret was out before Fatboy Slim and his team even made it to Inverness!
He said: “We wanted to have something special â€œ people know about the lasers now. But visually and musically, we’ve got more surprises.”
And the man who once said “It has to be an adventure” likes to embrace new challenges. After the Ironworks gig he was heading off to Los Angeles to film a new video in which he’s to appear naked!
“I still find there are loads of ideas coming up â€œ even stupid ones! It’s a job I love doing, the best job in the world.
“And it seems to get more funny as it goes on â€œ ‘What rules can we break this time?’.
Fatboy Slim headlines on Saturday, June 7.
Thanks to errorup