In a recent feature from the BBC published one week ago called “In Pictures: 20 Years,” legendary producer and DJ Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) shared a reflective journey through his career and life during the peak years of his touring days. Establishing the “big beat” electronic sound in the 1990's and some of the biggest hit tracks of that time, he still remains a bit of an enigma. He explained the joy of being anonymous.
“The fun of Fatboy Slim at the start was nobody knew who I was,” Slim said. “I was never in the videos and I never had my photo on the cover. It suited me really well to be known as an underground dance producer.”
The full interview is an endearing read. Of many topics, he discussed playing at the Big Beat Boutique. A weekly night that could only fit 300 guests, Cook realized an opportunity to host bigger shows.
Brighton's beach would host the first “Big Beat Boutique” festival in 2001, but the second festival the following year drew over 250,000 people. This led to a great story about trying to convince the city to allow such a big rave.
“They said the only way we could do it was to hold it on the most unpopular day of the year,” Cook explained. “Well, New Year's Day on the beach on the south coast of England is probably the last place you'd ever want to be. It was quite a leap of faith to expect people to turn out in freezing cold conditions with rain coming sideways at them off the beach. I was getting electrocuted because I was soaking wet. Poor old David Guetta had to stop playing because his equipment got so wet that it stopped working. We got away with it by the skin of our teeth.”
Some of his shows would even be made into classic DVD's. As a producer, he made some incredible singles like “Rockafellar Skank.”
Below, some pictures from Cook that the BBC labels out. See the full article “In Pictures: 20 Years” here.
As the BBC points out, a special edition of Fatboy Slim's second album “You've Come A Long Way Baby” is out now. HE's also just released a 20th anniversary box set from his label, Stint Records. Check out his website here for more.
He also talked about the DJ culture and how big it's become.
“There was a feeling that the first album [Better Living Through Chemistry] had established a new genre and if we refined it, it could go bigger. But we never dreamed how big it could go,” Cook explained.
He talked about the scene today and how it's lost a sense of community in comparison to those days.
“I was thinking the other day about how DJ culture has changed, and one of the things is you don't have the same sense of brotherhood,” he said. “If you were sitting in the airport, you'd know another DJ because they had a record box. So you'd immediately try to work out from the stickers who they were – and then you'd get into a conversation with them.”
Now 52 years old, the man who started out hosting youth club hip hop jams as DJ Quentox is still going strong. Along with associated projects – The Housemartins, Beats International and Freak Power – he's still shredding the decks and putting out great new material. Check out his latest mix called the “Smile High Club” below on Soundcloud, which is a free download full of great mixes and mash-ups. He uploaded it 5 days ago.
Read the full story here.
Listen to one of his famous tracks, “Right Here, Right Now.”