Meet the ferocious, socially conscious Essex indie-rockers raised on hip-hip and punk.
Legendary DJ Fatboy Slim, real name Norman Cook, announced a string of massive UK shows set to kick off in February 2019. The Round Trip will see Cook play to the masses in an immersive environment, placing the stage in the middle of the room for an all round experience.
The dates, which include the biggest ever DJ show to take to London’s SSE Arena Wembley, follow his return to Ibiza over the summer for a residency at the newly refurbished Pacha, as well as becoming the first DJ to play the i360 in Brighton.
As he gears up for his huge shows, we catch up with Fatboy Slim to find out about things to come.
You announced the tour earlier this week. How are you feeling about it all?
I’m feeling good. Explaining things to people in interviews is actually clarifying in my head exactly what it is we are trying to do here. People keep asking as a DJ doing an arena tour, whether I really know what I’m doing. I actually now feel like I do know what I’m doing.
What are the shows looking like at this stage?
The reason most DJs don’t usually play arenas, and the reason why I’ve avoided it in the past, is that it’s difficult to get an atmosphere in a venue like that. If you’re playing at one end of it you’re trying to project to the back. It’s almost impossible.
But then I did a show at The O2 last year where we did it in the round, and all of a sudden with the DJ booth in the middle you forget you’re in a big arena. We worked out that’s a way of turning an arena into a huge nightclub. You get all the benefits of collective euphoria with the budget to do a very big production. At the same time you don’t feel like you’re in a cavernous cattle market.
So what can fans expect in terms of production?
We’re going to build a revolving stage in the middle of the room so I can play to everyone at once. We’ve got the lighting rig and the visuals hanging above that. It’s kind of like a boxing match meets a rave, with smilies and confetti.
At the start of your career, did you ever see yourself where you are now?
I kind of felt like I’d lost any ambition. I did the Brighton Beach Party and the one in Rio, and decided that was as far as I could push it. In the last few years I’ve tried to go sideways instead of bigger. I suppose it was inevitable that at some point I would take on this challenge.
Why is now the time to do that?
I kind of have three generations of people coming to my shows now, so we can unite them all under the same roof. I’ve had a chance to try it out at The O2 and Alexandra Palace. It just reminded me of the collective euphoria of putting that many people in a environment of escapism. Something very powerful and beautiful happens.
How does that compare to your time in Ibiza?
Hopefully it will be just that, but on a larger scale. We’re upping all the antes. If that many people in (Ibiza club) Pacha can get that high, how high can we take ten times as many? We can also bombard you with that much production that you can forget where you are. It’s just an exercise in how far we can take this.
You’re working on a film with revered director Julien Temple about Ibiza. How is that shaping up?
Ibiza: The Silent Movie. He just asked me to be involved and I’ve always been a fan of his work. It’s the perfect choice. I’m not actually writing the soundtrack, I’m basically the musical director. I’m choosing the music and working out how to tell the story through music. Obviously it’s a silent movie so there’s no talking.
It’s been a fascinating experience. I’ve learned so much. It’s about how Ibiza came to be what it is now. It’s delving into the story of how people contributed to how the island is now. Telling that by recreations and archive footage and music is a wonderful experience. Julien is a great director to work with too.
I appreciate the island even more… if that’s possible after 25 years.
So you’ve conquered Ibiza, you’ve DJ’d at the top of the i360 in Brighton, and you’ve got a huge tour coming up. Where is the next place to play?
Let’s nail these arenas first, and then who knows. The Moon?
Catch Fatboy Slim on the Round Trip on the following dates:
21 February 2019 – The SSE Arena, Wembley, London
22 February 2019 – Birmingham Arena
23 February 2019 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
27 February 2019 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
28 February 2019 – Manchester Arena
1 March 2019 – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
Tickets for Fatboy Slim are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.