Comfortably holding court with all they need
KLAXONS discuss festivals, smoothies and games

By Michael Lara

“All I have is all I need. Enough for love, but not for greed yeah.” A decade plus since Kula Shaker’s bass-thumping breakthrough single of ’96, yet that live, let live attitude continues positively today with the ever-fluid London quartet KLAXONS. Augmented for their inaugural Summer Sonic performance in Japan of 2007, a full bill of health was still at hand as evident when approaching the wheelchair ramp festivities outside the Universal Music Japan offices. Recuperating from an ankle injury, a wheelchair-bound Jamie Reynolds (vocals, bass) nevertheless bathed supremely in their second coming to Japan as his mates James Righton (vocals, keys), Simon Taylor-Davis (guitar, vocals), Steffan Halperin (drums, vocals) and dear friend Joe Daniels (bass) held court together at their rectangular table. After wheeling and racing around outside with Simon’s guidance, Jamie and the rest of these restless interplanetary knights were ready to share a feast:


Thirsty: Before I forget, this is the next festival that you guys need to be play…

James-Yeah, Fuji Rock.
Simon-Yeah, yeah.
Jamie-Has that already been on?

Yeah, about two weeks ago.

Simon-Is it a bigger festival?

Well, that depends on how you look at it. Numbers wise Summer Sonic is, but that’s ‘cuz it’s held in 2 locations simultaneously for 2 days. Fuji Rock’s modeled after Glastonbury, whereas Summer Sonic is like Reading.

Jamie-Ah, Summer Sonic is indoors right?

Yeah, mostly so. Marine Stage and Beach Stage are outdoors, but the rest’s inside. Fuji Rock is the opposite of that. Oh, You’re playing Dance stage. Maximo Park is playing with you.

Jamie-Is that the line-up for this year (perusing Fuji Rock’s program)?


Jamie-Who headlined?
James-Lost Prophets headlined one of ‘em.
Jamie-Ah, they’re massive over here, are they?

Yeah, well, The Cure, Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers…

James-Hmmm… Blonde Redhead, Muse, Battles…

Oh, Battles were really good. They’re being pushed really hard here.

James-Are they?

Yeah. They’ll be back later this year.

Jamie-Fuji Rock’s on a mountainside now yeah?

Yeah. But it’s not Mount Fuji. Originally it was. It’s in the mountains of Niigata. It takes about 90 minutes from Tokyo to get there. It’s like 9 or 10 stages which takes about an hour to walk the entire site from each end, all along a stream. It’s massive.

Jamie-What’s the story of Summer Sonic?

Summer Sonic started 3 years later. They actually first started it at Fuji-Q Highland (famed amusement park) in 2000 that sits right by Mount Fuji, but they moved it to Chiba in 2001, a bit more convenient. It’s at a place near Tokyo Disneyland.

Jamie-There’s a Disneyland here (eyebrows up)?
James-Since when?

Oh, like 25 years ago.


Yeah and there’s a Universal Studios in Osaka too.

Simon-I went to the one in Florida a few years ago and it was brilliant. Jurassic Park was the big deal-where they find the sick dinosaur.

Where did you guys play last time?

Jamie-Uh…Daikanitsu Unit.

Oh, Daikanyama Unit-that’s real close by. It’s just a few mins from Shibuya. Ah, best warn you now this (referring to the huge bottle of sake) is dangerously smooth…

Jamie-Has it been left outside? Does it need to be warmed up?

No. You can have it warm, cold, on ice or room temperature.

James-What’s this?

Oh “omedeto” (written on the bottle) just means congratulations in Japanese.

Simon-What sort of percentage alcohol is this?

This one is…14%.

James-Oh, it’s not so much.
Jamie-Yeah, but stronger than wine though.

But you got to be careful-those special chemicals working inside do funny things to many people.

Jamie-Ah yeah. Cheers.

Now, when I saw your video for “Magick” I kept on thinking of Children of the Damned, the eyes, the slime coming out and the branding.

Jamie-It’s nasty I know.
James-It’s really dark.
Jamie-I watched that again in the day. It’s really good.

So if you were going to brand something, what would you brand?

Simon-Fruit (crisply said with a smile). I don’t think fruit has been branded to its full extent yet. I think you can get square melons can’t you?

Oh you can and in nearby Shinjuku. What about with all the stuff that’s going on in the world? In that video interview for Japan only (on the Japan release of their album), a fan commented that the end is near and he then asked you what would you do…

Jamie-Yeah, they asked us what we’re gonna do when the world ends in 5 years time, but I… think everything in the world is doing alright (all laughing). I think whatever type of music it is it is doing alright at this time. Whether it’s Celine Dion or The Enemy. Uh, everything is just kind of doing its job.
Steffan-I think a lot more more music has been exposed to a lot of different people than it has been in the past.

You guys a Jarvis fan?

All-Yeah, yeah.

He was brilliant at Fuji Rock this year and of course he finished with “Cunts are still running the world,” but you would say no?

Jamie-Ah no, I think there are plenty of cunts in this world (all chuckling).
James-But Jarvis can say that. Jarvis can talk politics.

It’s the delivery huh (smiling)?

Jamie-Yeah. He thinks he can save the world. Can’t wait for him to solve that one, but we’ll be dead by that time. But anyways that’s because we live inside this bubble.

Yeah, in this air-conditioned room with a bottle of sake.

Jamie-Yeah and with a bottle of sake (big grin) and somebody telling us what to do so everything…
Steffan- Can’t be bothered to hate bands really. I’d rather like them than hate them.

What about, you know, people who are trying to be health conscious. Always wanting a juice of some sort.

Jamie-I admire that.

If you guys were to collectively take yourself and squeeze, what would the juice be?

James-It would be white.
Jamie-What would the juice be? Hmmm…
Joe-It’d be a cloudy white.
Jamie-A pomegranate.
James-I think it’d be more like dust (grinning). It wouldn’t be juicy.
Jamie-It’d be horrible.
James-It’d be all horrible and dusty (smirking wide).
Steffan-It’d be bittersweet maybe, a bit of a filthy aftertaste.
Jamie-I watched this bloke the other day and he made a chicken and banana smoothie. Those are just two things that shouldn’t go next to each other that’ll taste disgusting, but you’ll end up liking it.
Joe-Can you imagine to squeeze a chicken? What would it be like?

(laughter ensues)

Simon-What if you put a chicken inside a duck?
Joe-No you couldn’t. In LA or something like that you can get like a quail to be in by a small duck to be in a cat to be in a small dog and then when you cook it and cut it, all the meats are all together and layered.
Steffan-my friend’s got a recipe book for that. This guys really into meat.

Okay, so a dust pomegranate chicken banana smoothie?

Jamie-It’d be horrible, wouldn’t it?
Simon-It’d be like the Blue Man Group.
Steffan-I just noticed they don’t have ears actually. That’s quite interesting.
Jamie-They don’t have souls either…
James-I just know they’re franchised. They’re like McDonald’s I just realized that ‘cuz they’re staying in our hotel.
Jamie-Oh really?

So you know what they actually look like?

Simon-Yeah, Steve, Gary and Barry (laughter all around).
Jamie-Smart, smart smart people.
Steffan-What do they do?
Simon-They hit paint and things… They sell millions of tickets everyday. It’s like a musical. It’s kind of like STOMP meets… um New Rave.

They’re on the Mountain Stage.

James-BLUE MAN GROUP are playing!?! Oh my God! Are they? Well we’ll have to see them.

Yeah, you can surely. They’re on first.

Simon-If you get up early enough.
James-And Travis are playing?! That is phenomenal.
Jamie-The Long Blondes, Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, Editors, The Twang and The Enemy… Big lineup.

Oh, I also brought this (a pocket Battleship game) for you ‘cuz I thought you’d get a kick of this. Why was it in your video? Why Battleship?

James-That was a lyric in our song. Lots of symbolic references to it.

What about RISK? Fancy that board game?

Jamie-Well, we’re doing that in real life aren’t we (smirking)? We’re dominating the world.
Joe-I used to play RISK.
Jamie-What’s RISK about? Taking over the world?
Joe-Yeah, it’s a bit like Othello.
Jamie-I really got into Othello on the plane over here-I was playing for hours.

So hey, last question, if you were going to have a tournament, what kind would it be and where?

Jamie-It’d be who could survive to the end of a band.
James-I’d think it’d be mud wrestling or something or like Krypton Factor, which is a show that…
Jamie-Oh, I really like that show.
James-It’s a show that has the players do an assault course….
Jamie-That’d be amazing.
James-There’s mental round. There’s all sorts of…

Which event would you each be in?

James-Well, I fancy to be good at the mental stuff.
Jamie-Paraplegics spoon race (huge grin and all ).
Simon-Where you fill in all the shapes in a box. Puzzling-solving ones.
James-Stef would be good at the introductory round where you get to say your name and what you do (each laughing as Stefan looks away). He could do the monkey swing.

Ah, out of time, real quick: Where would you have it?

Jamie-Many places simultaneously.
James-The Azores-I’ve only find it quite nice.
Simon-How about the island in Dubai?
James-No, The Azores, it’s the island that exists in the middle of the Atlantic. It’s halfway between America and Europe.
Steffan-Sounds great.

Start planning it…


Keeping tabs of their navigational charts in 2008 will certainly be easier than their unusual smoothie concoctions or tournament-creation process. Yet, perhaps like Jamie said, no matter what, you’ll inexplicably find yourself enjoying it.


Thirsty : February 2008 : Interview with Klaxons




All opinions expressed by Michael Lara are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.


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