"Our other records have spoken about mystical themes, this one is from the heart" - Klaxons
When Klaxons wrapped up their extensive world tour in support of their debut album Myths Of The Near Future in 2008, it seemed like they had the world at their feet. They’d sold over 300,000 copies of the record, filled huge venues and bagged the Mercury Music Prize. It seemed that their second album would be the one that took them into arenas and to the top of the charts.
Only it all went a bit wrong, sessions for their second record ran on and on, with a whole album recorded by Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford in France ending up on the cutting room floor and the band forced to bang out an album with Slipknot producer Ross Robinson. When the record eventually arrived in 2010, it was titled Surfing The Void and ended up as a full on rock album, dark and brooding, without the lightness and mystery of their much-loved debut. Needless to say, it didn’t sell half as well.
It would be nice to say that the making of their third effort Love Frequency has been a bit easier, but that would be a lie. Eventually due to come out on Monday (June 16th) after three years in the works, the album features four producers in all and a lot of false starts. We spoke to Klaxons’ mainman Jamie Reynolds to find out all about the album’s long gestation…
You must be relieved that the album is finally about to come out?
“Yeah I am. I just want to get it out there so people can get their hands on it, it must feel like people have been waiting for a long, long time so it’ll just be a thrill to finally let go of it.”
You worked with a number of different producers, including Tom Rowlands from the Chemical Brothers, Gorgon City and Erol Alkan, how did the sessions come about?
"Basically, we got asked to draw up a shortlist of people we liked and they all wanted to come and work with us. We went the demos off to the producers and they all expressed an interesting in working on certain tracks. Fortunately they were all different ones so everyone got to do what they wanted to.”
How did each producer compare?
“Tom is just the master, he’s the king of electronics, he just comes up with these amazing sounds so the whole thing was a massive learning experience. We’ve known Erol for years and we’ve worked with him before, it was a case of going in the studio and making sure we got the tracks down to the best of our ability. With Gorgon City it was that contemporary songwriting school where you go into a session and try and come out with a song.”
Was it recorded all over the world?
“Bits and bobs, with Tom we were at his studio, it was nearly all done in London, it was either in London or at his studio.”
Last time you went off to California, did you want to record at home this time?
“Yeah, we wanted this to be a UK-focused record. When a band goes away and makes an album somewhere else, it can feel a bit weird, we really wanted to put ourselves back out there.”
Was recording difficult or a pleasure?
“It was a total pleasure, the experience of taking our songs from being on piano or acoustic guitar and seeing them brought to life as full electronic songs was such a joy. We got to work with top people and to watch them do their thing with the demos we made was incredible.”
How did you want to move on from Surfing The Void? That was much more of a rock record..
“For sure, with that album we’d taken our performance element and put it through a school of rock. With this it was about songs and production, we were determined to make the best electronic record we could. We wanted to make an electronic record, with the best producers around.”
What kind of stuff were you listening to? Newer material or older stuff?
“A real mixture, the best from the past, but also keeping up to date. I was listening to electronica from the Innervisions label in Germany, Simon was listening to loads of hip-hop and James was listening to classic records. This band is a real melting pot.”
What kind of record is it lyrically?
“It’s a lot easier to ingest and a lot more direct. This record is about our experiences and emotions, whereas our other records have spoken about mystical themes, this one is from the heart.”
Why did you settle on that approach?
“We wanted to be more present on this album, we wanted it to be about us, we wanted it to be personal, which was a challenge because it’s not something the band had ever tackled before. We always want to do something different and we really wanted this to be a really emotional album."
Can you put your finger on why it takes you so long to get an album done?
"It does seem to be our groove, we haven't had a day off working for a long time, we write all the time, we can do things quickly, we did the Gorgon City track in a day. But we'd like to make a record quickly next time."
Where did the title come from?
"It was the second song written for the record and it reflects the fact that there are a lot of love songs on the album, it really suits the album's curve."
Tell us about the cover...
"Normally we do our own covers, but we wanted to commission this one and we got the artist Trevor Jackson to do it. This is his intrepretation on the album musically. It's more understated, our designs are very busy, this is crisp, clean and it suits the record's focus."
Was there lots left over from the sessions from this album?
"Yeah there's loads, we were still writing songs on the night we'd finished our album, we were sitting there writing and we suddenly thought 'We don't need to do this anymore'. Hopefully all those tunes will see the light of day at some point."
How have found the songs have gone down live?
"Amazing. Totally amazing. We've been playing the tunes for about six months and people have been really appreciating it. I think the live show is at its best right now, the new songs sit perfectly alongside the older ones, we're enjoying playing out so much."
What have you got lined for the summer?
"We've got European festivals all over, Reading and Leeds, this festival in Jersey, lots in France, lots and lots of weekends away."
What kind of world do you feel you're coming back into? You were making dance music before it became the driving force behind contemporary pop...
"It's nice. It feels good to be coming back like this now, dance music is all over contemporary pop and that's naturally what we fall towards, with our little twist. There's some brilliant stuff out there at the moment."
Klaxons’ new album Love Frequency is released into hmv stores on Monday (June 16th) and can be pre-ordered now.