They invented their own musical genre but are bemused by crowds toting glo-sticks at their live shows. Henry Northmore meets te kings of new rave, Klaxons.
For the first time the NME tour is splitting into two camps. The Indie Rock strand is headed by The Automatic who share the bill with Dundee’s indie saviours The View, rockabilly goth punks The Horrors and Mumm-Ra. But perhaps it’s the second leg, the so called Indie Rave strand, a few days later, that more accurately represents the future of indie music across the globe. It features Brazil’s CSS and their Björk-esque electro-funk, Leeds punk funkers The Sunshine Underground, London’s New Young Pony Club and is headlined by Klaxons, the granddaddies of ‘new rave’.
‘It’s incredible that it’s come to the stage where you can go on tour with a band from South America and people say your music has similarities. The world is indeed becoming a small place,’ says Klaxons’ guitarist Simon Taylor-Davis.
For once it wasn’t the music press that coined the new rave genre, it was the Klaxons themselves. ‘It was invented as a joke,’ explains guitarist Simon Taylor-Davis. ‘But now you see it used all over the world.’
As a term it’s a bit of a misnomer. Klaxons may cover rave classics like ‘The Bouncer’, but at heart they are art rockers specialising in futuristic ideology and a throbbing urgency. This is music for dancing to, not dance music.
Taylor-Davis is amused by the media attention the band has been receiving. ‘I don’t think I’ve heard any one term so many times in my lifetime as “new rave”. There’s as much David Bowie in there as rave, so it’s funny.’
That said, the trappings of rave culture have been enthusiastically taken up by their fans, who create a sea of fluorescent colours and glo-sticks wherever the band goes. ‘I don’t have a clear idea of what’s going on because we’re making this weird pop music and they’re dancing like it’s a warehouse rave. It’s really abstract ideas all put together,’ says Taylor-Davis.
‘I grew up listening to the Ministry of Sound box sets and Britpop. There’s this false picture that these two things never came into contact with each other and it’s funny that NME is trying to create this “war” with these two tours, rockers versus ravers. But we’re all mates with The Horrors and we’re sorry we’re not touring together.’
Klaxons play as part of the Indie Rave Tour, Barrowland, Glasgow, Tue 6 Feb. Debut album, Myths of the Near Future, is out now on Universal.