Interview: Simon Taylor of Klaxons

The UK band's guitarist discusses playing live, writing songs, and drinking and "driving"

Craig Monts

Written by Craig Monts Published on 01.07.2013 10:54:50 (updated on 01.07.2013) Reading time: 3 minutes

British band Klaxons shot to fame after releasing a number of limited 7-inch singles that swept through the UK at a rate of knots. Their hugely successful debut album “Myths of The Near Future” and the 2010 follow-up “Surfing The Void” earned the band a Mercury Prize and a loyal fan base that spans the globe. I managed to grab a few minutes with guitar player Simon Taylor ahead of the band’s Rock For People performance to talk about the band’s recent reacquaintance with live performances. 

CM: So how have you been? What have you and the guys been up to recently?

ST: I’m well, thank you. I planned a nice day in the London sunshine but it’s typically pouring with rain at the moment so I have decided to stay indoors. Band-wise, things are great. We decided to take a break from the live shows but recently got back into the swing of things. We have just done our first 3 or 4 live shows in the UK since the break and are putting the finishing touches to the record. It’s a good time for us, we’re really really busy but it’s really, really good. With summer just around the corner we’re tweaking the album tracks and our live show in preparation for the busy summer ahead!

CM: Sounds like you guys have your work cut out for you! How were those come-back shows you mentioned? Is it like riding a bike?

ST: [Laughs] It’s like riding a bike after a few whiskies. You can remember how to do it, you know you can do it, you’re just a little bit shaky. Also, I think the first 5 or 10 ten times you play new tracks half of your brain is focusing on not screwing up and the other half is trying to gauge the reaction of the audience. It’s always quite a strange and yet exciting process, being burrowed away working on the tracks and then we go out to performing in front of crowds of people. It’s a good test to see weather we’ve just lost the plot or if we’re on to something good here. But the new tracks are going down really well. There are one or two tracks in particularly that have been received really well. 

CM: How much of the audience reaction/feedback do you really take on board? 

ST: I find the thought process far more interesting, it’s like trying to double guess people’s thoughts. I’m totally fascinated by this as an idea. For us there are always two or three tracks that we’d present as our first piece of music to play to people from our forthcoming record. From those two or three we’ll usually find one that people responded to more excitedly when compared to the others. So usually the audience reaction simply confirms our initial feelings. If one song gets a better reaction we’d say, OK perhaps that should be the one we release first as the energy levels seem to be high for that track.

CM: So often you guys are watching the audience as closely as they’re watching you!

ST: Exactly! Only once have we scrapped something because the audience were completely dead to the songs. That was around 2007/2008. We recorded this really weird folk/prog record, we went out and tested it. We played about 4 or 5 of these really slow songs and decided that it was not only a bit too left-field for people but more that once you start playing music in relation to your old songs you get a feel for how they relate to the other music you’ve made.

CM: Klaxons will be playing this year’s Rock For People, what can we expect from the live show?

ST: I guess you guys are going to be in a pretty fortunate position. I really like watching bands who’ve just started playing again after being away for a while. They have this ferocious intensity & real gang attitude of “Here we are, this it and we’re up for it.” We’ll definitely be in that head-space having not played for a while. I think it’s going to be a great time to catch us being quite rawkus. It’s a full-on heavy live show and it’s been great getting back into it!   

Klaxons will perform on the Staropramen Stage, Thursday, July 4 at 22:15. For ticket info or to check out the remaining the line-up, visit the Rock For People website.

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