Fatboy Slim: The Original
Tiesto had just commenced the In Search of Sunrise series, Ferry Corsten was into hardcore gabber, Armin van Buuren and David Guetta had just released their first tracks and Skrillex was confined to boarding school: but Fatboy Slim was already the original superstar DJ. Musician, producer and a dance music icon, Norman Quentin Cook would lead the big beat revolution. With his 1998 album You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby churning out hits The Rockafeller Skank, Praise You and Right Here, Right Now across MTV and radio waves, he would bridge the gap between mainstream and the underground, thrusting dance music onto its steady incline into commercialism.
From there, the Brighton turntablist’s influence has only grown: 2001 saw him sweep the MTV awards with the now-iconic Weapon of Choice clip. 2002 saw over 250,000 people gravitate to Brighton for the second of Cook’s open air beach gigs, the traffic from which jammed the town until the next day and resulted in a ban imposed against Norman ever playing in Brighton again. The following years saw a slew of gigs around the world, including an iconic performance at Glastonbury, with his sets performed before a visual stage of video screens with 3D lighting. After 2006, Fatboy Slim was invited to perform in his home town once more, and he has since been included in every major festival and event around the world. While his career of late has been besieged by health issues, the DJ has recently bounced back stronger than ever. In the lead up to the 2012 Future Music Festival tour, we caught up with Norman Cook and confirmed that looking back, he’s come a long way, baby.
Hi Norman. So what are you most looking forward to at Future Music Festival?
I’ve always loved touring Australia: just getting back there and seeing the mental crowds you have. Doing these festivals is great because you get to hang out with other acts, and it’s quite a nice lineup as well. Normally, you go to a festival and you never get to see anyone else’s set. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Swedish House Mafia, Tinie Tempah and all of the other amazing people who are going to be around. It’s good because it feels like you’re on a big school trip!
What weapons of choice will you be bringing to the dancefloor?
I’ve got an audio-visual show coming. I’m more of a VJ these days. We write visuals first and as I play the CDJs, that triggers the visuals – we have sync’d visuals, which makes for a tighter and visually more exciting show. And the same full on acid house party nonsense, really! I’ll be DJing with Serato and CDJs which will be triggering the visuals; but still mixing with CDJs – so you’ll know I’m doing it live.
Since you last hit Australian shores, it seems you’ve had a very difficult couple of years plagued by health issues, controversy, and family problems. What have you learned about yourself over these last few years?
I faced my demons and beat them off with a stick. I’m happier, healthier and I’m doing a better job. I’ve been focused on my inner wellbeing. I’ve been on tour for the last two years now, so the demons have been banished.