The Lords of the dance are back again as the irrepressible Basement Jaxx promote their new album, Junto.
It seems like only yesterday that they announced themselves on the scene with the phenomenal Red Alert, taken from their debut record Remedy, but 15 years and five further full-lengths later, they're still going strong, as evidenced by a triumphant headline slot at this year's Bestival.
We caught up with one half of the Jaxx, Simon Ratcliffe, to discover his Ultimate Playlist, and the stories behind them. Read, and listen, on for a treasure trove of great songs.
Junto is out now. Basement Jaxx are on tour throughout the UK in November & December. Visit www.basementjaxx.com for more info
"I’m not a ballads man, but I’m a huge fan of Johnny Guitar Watson. I think this song - I Get A Feeling - is beautiful...his voice is really delicate and sensitive. I love the arrangement and the tone. That’s how I listen to stuff a lot of the time – I’m not really a words man. The message in the song is not the hook for me, really. It’s about how the music makes me feel."
FAVOURITE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK
"I’d say David Bowie’s soundtrack to the film Christiane F. It’s the true story of a girl who became addicted to heroin when she was 13 and then became a prostitute in late ’70s West Berlin. It all revolves around the club scene. The star at that time was David Bowie - who they all love and look up to - and the music it features includes Heroes, TVC15, and stuff from Low, which is a beautiful, haunting album. It makes for an amazing soundtrack. I don’t think anyone comes close to David Bowie in general – that decade he had for complete unpredictability. I love his Berlin period and this film captures that time when, I think, he was untouchable."
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
"Paul Simon - Oh, Marion. My parents split up when I was about ten and my dad used to pick me up on the odd weekends. He’s a jazz and classical pianist - any musical skill or feeling I have is from him. When I saw him he used to have new music on. This song is from the album One-Trick Pony, which is the soundtrack to a film. There’s a line that goes, “The boy’s got brains, he just don’t use them, that’s all”. My dad always used to look at me with a knowing look! It’s one of those things that evokes a whole period of your life – emotional, but also happy. I love this album – it’s very gentle."
FAVOURITE SONG NO-ONE ELSE HAS HEARD OF
"Stanley Clarke – Concerto For Jazz Orchestra. Felix was into the latin jazz, and I was into the slightly more rocky side – this song was a connection for us. In the early days of Basement Jaxx, this is something we’d listen to quite a lot. Stanley Clarke is a legendary bass player and a part of the jazz/fusion scene of the ’70s; some of the jazz fusion stuff is just intellectual indulgence, but what I like about this record and this piece in particular is that it has tons of feeling and loads of soul. If I could do anything that approached the quality and richness of this, I’d die a very happy man."
FAVOURITE CLUB ANTHEM
"Anthem is a VERY big word! From the day it came out until right now, Robin S’s Show Me Love is undeniable. Regardless of what the song is about, regardless of what the lyrics are saying, it makes everyone feel good. Through all the phases that dance music has gone through, this has always been something that everyone can get into. This one is etched in stone – it’s killer!"
FAVOURITE WEDDING SONG
"Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up. Weddings are tough gigs! Because it’s friends and you want it to be perfect, it’s always a lot of pressure. No-one gives a monkey’s who you are or what you do – they want to have the best time ever. You get requests left, right and centre – one person asks for Show Me Love, the next asks for Dire Straits, the next asks for Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the next for Beyonce. This song is one that I played recently and it seemed to get grannies, mums, aunts, uncles, kids all going. It ticks all the boxes."
FAVOURITE NOVELTY SONG
"I think The Flying Lizards’ Money is wicked. It’s such a wonky, clattering production. It’s a cover of the Motown classic by Barrett Strong. I love Vivien Goldman’s deadpan vocals. To me, novelty records are The Birdy Song and Mr. Blobby – but this is something that’s a bit of novelty because it’s quirky, but I genuinely like it. I think it’s cool."
FAVOURITE LYRIC FROM A SONG
"It’s got to be from Tom Waits’ Step Right Up: “Change your shorts, change your life, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife.” This is from the album Small Change, from about ’74/’75 I think. The whole song is him ranting on about how ridiculous consumer culture is. How we’re being sold stuff that we don’t need. It’s still completely relevant now and always will be!"
FAVOURITE CURRENT SONG
"It’s got to be Chimes by Hudson Mohawke. I think he’s a wicked producer – probably the best of the new crop of bass producers. His stuff seems to have something very filmic about it – real drama. I love the brass stabs in this and the epicness of it. His songs are very clean and very sharp, plus this has balls as well. It’s sophisticated!"
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR OWN MUSIC
"That’d be Never Say Never. You tend to like the things that you’ve done most recently, because all the other stuff you’re a bit sick to death of! The vocalist is this 18-year-old guy from south London called ETML – he’s only been out of college for eight or nine months. We wanted to write something with emotion that we could DJ. We tried a few people and then we found Elliot. He’s unaffected – not part of this X Factor world. A lot of people can sing these days – you see them on telly hitting the high notes – but a lot of it leaves you cold. What you want is authenticity, something believable, sincere and real. That’s what he’s got. I’m very proud of this song."