Interview with Klaxons

By: Michael Lara

“Seeing in your eyes… Words can never say… the way.” Massive shrieking lyrics equally unloaded musically within P.I.L.’s legendary visceral ‘Metal Box’ that vividly bleeds vitality like Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ of the same year. Nearly two decades later, both are alive and very well as KLAXONS and others give proof in their own constitution. Reconvening in Japan months past Summer Sonic to finish 2007 properly, a healed-up Jamie Reynolds (vocals, bass) and his mates James Righton (vocals, keys), Simon Taylor-Davis (guitar, vocals) and Steffan Halperin (drums, vocals) expound upon their childhood memories of senses working overtime:


James: Ah man, KLAXONS sake again (a 1.8 liter bottle was given in August)?

Thirsty: Oh yeah, but different flavor. You’re pretty much set: You got another from Hiro (Universal A&R man). It’s good to see you able-bodied again.

Jamie: Yeah (grinning big and a chuckle). Thank you so much.
Simon: Wait, you were wearing a Hawaiian shirt the other time right?

That’s right. Good memory.

James: Ah, I remember there were some weird questions you asked us last time (all grinning and laughing).

Yeah, don’t worry, there’s more of that this time too.

James: Ah, it’s so nice to play a proper-sized venue again (relaxing and absorbing the environs).
Simon: Now, what’s the name of that woman who had an affair? Not Demi Moore.
Jamie: Kathleen Turner?

Which movie?

Jamie: ‘Indecent Proposal.’

No, ‘Indecent Proposal’ was Robert Redford and Demi Moore.

Simon: No, not that one. Sorry.
James: ‘Romancing The Stone.’
Simon: No, I’m not thinking ‘Romancing The Stone.’ It’s a massive 80’s adultery movie.
Jamie: Yeah, I’m into that (mischievously smiling).

See how this is starting already?

Simon: It’s not ‘Disclosure’.  It’s not ‘Basic Instinct’
Steffan: ‘Showgirls!’
Simon: No. Oh, it’s ‘Fatal Attraction.’

Oh I know what you’re thinking, that’s not Sharon Stone, that’s uh… Glen Close.

Simon: Glen Close. That’s it. Yeah, that’s it! She’s great, a great film.
Jamie: She treats her husband wearing a cape (smirking)?
James: With nothing on underneath…(smirking big as well)
Simon: They share an umbrella in the rain and they have coffee and that’s where it leads…

Well, fantastic to see you guys again. Before I forget, it is Christmas time and this (a tea towel) is for the missing one: Joe.

James: Cheers. He’ll really appreciate this.
Jamie: Yeah, he’s having serious post-KLAXONS depression now.
Steffan: He’s splitten up with his girlfriend as well huh?
James: No he hasn’t, but he’s having a bit of a down phase.

Well, these tea towels for Joe and you all are from where I used to live: Kamakura. They said that you had a bit of time and it’s not so far away.

James: Had. Now where’s that?

Kamakura? It’s on the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line. It’s about 1 hour from here (JR Shibuya station) and it’s where they have the Big Buddha (‘Daibutsu’) with over a hundred temples and shrines.

James: Ah, fantastic.
Jamie: What’s the scale of the map? Is that walking distance?

No idea about the scale, but there’s the main station and the beach is over here.

James: Beach! Ah let’s go tomorrow morning. Come on!

So from the main station, it’s about 15 minutes to the beach. To the Buddha, by Hase Station, it’s 5 minutes on the little local train.

Simon: Brilliant (all studying their tea towel maps).

Sorry to hear about Joe’s situation, but I understand.

Jamie: Ah, he’ll be back and I’ll give this too him. Cheers again.

My pleasure. Now, here’s my first question from the first gift.

James: It really is like Christmas.

Steffan, if you could please...

Steffan: Yeah (reaches out to collect a plastic bubble-packaged toy).
Jaime: Is that rumor true that Michael Jackson goes to Kiddy Land every Christmas?

I’ve heard that, but cannot verify it. Sure he could sneak in during off hours.

James: Interesting (watching Steffan open the package). That’s the first question. It’s like a task!

The first question actually is growing up, your favorite toy, what was it?

James: That’s a really good question.
Jamie: That’s good. What was... Uh, I had a wooden train set. I think it was by Duplo, but I can’t remember the company that made it. It was like a wooden train kit. They all stuck together through magnets and you had to build it through separate pieces. You had a kit of little bridges. I set it up in the lounge of my Mum’s house. I loved it. Wait, Duplo is plastic, isn’t it?

James: Duplo is like kiddy Lego.
Jamie: No, it wasn’t that. It was like a wooden train.
Simon: Are you sure it wasn’t Playmo?
Jamie: No, it was made of wood.

I myself was big on Lego’s.

Jamie: Yeah, the wooden train set and also I remember the big deal was also when I got the real Big Yellow Teapot. I cannot remember who made that. It was a teapot that turned into a house.

Where is it now?

Jamie: I think it’s actually there in my Mum’s loft. I think it’s still there. She’s kept it if I have kids.
James: It’s always nice.

What about for you?

Simon: It would be Streetfighter 2 on of course the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). I was that obsessive even before I got the SNES: I read magazines and knew all the characters, everything about it. I was a genius of game before I even played it (proudly beaming)- the entire game inside out.
James: Did you know the cheat, before the Capcom come up?
Simon: I knew every cheat.
Steffan: There was a cheat to get to the last level as well, wasn’t there?
Simon: I had all the instructions in the eaves on the walls in my bedroom.
James: That’s kind of more teen than child, but still a toy.

Yeah, it’s amazing what your childhood represents. I asked Brian and Amanda of The Dresden Dolls, if they could curate any museum by their design, what would it be? Brian immediately said an olfactory museum, a smelling museum. They went on about the smell of food and clothes growing up.

Simon: Yeah, scent is one of the biggest memories you have eh?
James: I had a real flashback to my childhood today this morning walking in the market in Tsutugu or whatever it’s called where the fish market it.

Oh, Tsukiji, the world’s largest fish market right.

James: Yeah, the big stank of mackerel that I’d eat as a kid.  I’m a big fan of mackerel.
Jamie: I like mackerel. It’s good.
James: It’s a good morning fish.
Jamie: Stef, what was yours?
Steffan: I was quite into Legos myself, just building things.   And, um, Streetfighter 2 was a particular favorite, but a bit older then I think.

You succeeded (finishing superhero assembly)

Steffan: Yeah, just about (big grin). I couldn’t figure out the last bit there.

Well, it’s always about toys, sweets and treats during the holidays.

James: Mackerel was not my toy by the way (smiling).

No, of course, but the next question is yours:  In these two bags, there are two different kinds of treats, one is traditional and the other isn’t. Which one you pick?

Steffan: Are you going to tell us which one’s which first?
Simon: I think the paper bag there is going to be the traditional because a traditional treat comes from a traditional store which has a paper bag whereas the other is more casual.

So which one?

Simon: Casual bag.
James: Yeah, I’d go for that.
Steffan/Jamie: Yeah, casual.

Fair enough.  Go ahead and open it.

Simon: Ah, you’ve baked us something, haven’t you? Look at this!
Jamie, James and Steffan: Ah…
Simon: Wow… That is phenomenal. Did you make this yourself?

I did indeed.

James: What is it?

It’s chocolate brownie with coconut on top.

Jamie: Ah, that’s a great combination.
Simon: (Diving straightaway into it) 10 out of 10.

Excellent so gentlemen, what was your favorite sweet growing up? Patrick Wolf, he said The Flying Saucer.

Jamie: I like those yeah.

James, well, what would you say?

James: I want to say Push Pops. There was controversy surrounding them: They got banned in the UK for several people choking to death on them.  They were a stick that which came in a plastic container that you pushed and you sucked with and…

That vacuum was too strong?

James: I don’t know as I couldn’t see how you could choke on it, but it was a controversial sweet. It was always kind of exciting to engage in that.


Well said as there is plenty to feast on within their creative kitchen with a plethora of inquiries into the timetable for their next album. No fatal attraction here, but one can surely take a good look through these looking glasses:


Thirsty : January 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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