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Klaxons interview: 'We were completely nuts – everyone was taking drugs all the time'

Back with their most accessible album yet, the ex-new ravers tell us about the ‘eternal carrot’ of success and why their hallucinogenic days are behind them

© Rachel Lipsitz

Once the neon princes of ‘new rave’, Klaxons have grown up of late. Since their last album came out in 2010, James Righton, Jamie Reynolds and Simon Taylor-Davis have all turned 30. Righton even married Keira Knightley, transitioning seamlessly from NME cover star to OK! pap bait. Before an intimate London gig to promote new LP ‘Love Frequency’, they are distinctly not getting fired up with double whiskies and Class-As. Instead, they’re tucking into a civilised supper of pan-fried bream and kelp. It isn’t just their tastebuds that have matured: produced by a cast of dance music giants including Erol Alkan, Gorgon City, and Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers, the new record is their most polished and radio-friendly.

Now that you’re in your thirties, has your lifestyle changed?
Jamie ‘Definitely. The band once had a wild sense of abandon. We were completely nuts – everyone was taking drugs all the time. We were having the craziest time possible so that we could show other people what it was like to be the craziest band on the planet.’

You must have some pretty weird stories. Can you explain the mysterious ‘Mr Tabernacle’?
Jamie ‘Mr Tabernacle is a rotten apple! We were recording in France and we ingested a huge bag of unknown substances. During the whole of the recording, any decision that had to be made was referred to an apple outside the door. We told our management, “Look, you have to bring over a plinth. We want a plinth for Mr Tabernacle.”’
James ‘They turned up after we’d been alone for about four or five weeks in the middle of nowhere with just ourselves, this bag of substances, this rotten apple and a telescope, and we played them this really weird EP we’d made, and they cried.’

So have things changed now?
Jamie ‘This time, we’ve been on tour for three days and nobody’s had a drink. We’re not mental anymore. We’ve joined the club of sober people making music for people to get out of their minds to.’

No more ‘unknown substances’?
Jamie ‘Not for some time. Now it’s just green tea and a nice bit of kelp.’

It’s been five years since your last album. In the nicest possible way: what took you so long?
James ‘Well, the people we worked with do take their time. Tom Rowlands does not rush a record.’
Jamie ‘Everyone’s super-meticulous. They sit on it for so long before they’re willing to say it’s done.’ Simon ‘They’ll do ten versions of it and pick the best one.’

The new album sounds a lot more mainstream – is that a deliberate move?
Simon ‘The songs are still the same, but on the production level we want it to be contemporary.’

To reflect the current music scene?
Jamie ‘To be part of it. To be present. This record is us in 2014.’

Is that why you worked with some of the biggest contemporary dance producers?
Jamie ‘Yeah, absolutely. We saw that [Gorgon City] were not only making cool, heavy bass music, but were also interested in pop – making a fresh sound and new tunes. The bass music coming through last year was really impressive.’
Simon ‘And it’s huge.’
Jamie ‘Just look at the Top 40: it’s all real pop music in there, and it’s a pleasure to be part of that.’

Does commercial success matter to you?
James ‘I think this is the eternal carrot. Even if you’re the biggest band in the world, there’s probably something else you want. With this one, we want it to do well: we want to play big gigs to a lot of people. But it’d also be pretty amazing just to add a bit of colour and life and weirdness to the charts.’

‘Love Frequency’ is out now. Buy the album here.
By: Time Out editors
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