The Klaxons: New noise warning

The Klaxons are being credited with bringing back the rave scene. Don't believe a word of it, they tell Charlotte Cripps

How have the indie pop band the Klaxons - imagine a super-charged Bloc Party - found themselves at the vanguard of the new rave scene that is championed by the NME and includes Trash Fashion, Shitdisco and New Young Pony Club? Well, the music shares some of the trappings of acid house - whirling strobes, wailing sirens and air horns - and they endeavour to turn the gig-going experience into one big party. Then there's band leader Jamie Reynolds' "vision".

Reynolds, 26, a former philosophy student and now the Klaxons' singer-songwriter and bass player, is the brains behind the "new rave" concept, a term he coined as "an amusing joke" he says, though it has served the band well up to now. "There were lots of guitar bands making what was being bandied about at the time as the new wave of new wave. I decided to replace the 'w' with an 'r'," he says.

The highly ambitious Reynolds is the only band member with any passion for dance music. It was his idea to bring the glowstick back from the grave as a gig accessory, replacing mobile phones held aloft - so last year. Reynolds was in the Cubs when he first caught sight of a laser beam illuminating a countryside rave so was a little too young for the original scene.

"Later," he says, "it became startlingly apparent to me that my initial idea of revisiting dance music and recreating it on guitars - something that had been bubbling under for a few years, with bands like Soulwax, Rapture, and LCD Soundsystem - could appeal to a lot of people," he says. "I wanted to make a popular British version of a scene that hadn't hit the mainstream."

Since the band's inception 12 months ago in New Cross, south London, the Klaxons' large underground following has blossomed via MySpace, rather than record sales. The band have released a mere 500 copies of each of their two seven-inch singles - "Gravity's Rainbow", named after the Thomas Pynchon novel, and "Atlantis to Interzone", which references William Burroughs - on small independent labels (Angular and Merok). In August, they signed to Polydor, and their first single for the label, "Magick" - a song that after the thrashing bass and pounding beats of the chorus sweetly withdraws into beautiful falsetto vocals - is released at the end of the month, along with an acid house remix by Klaxons' producer James Ford, and his band, Simian Mobile Disco.

I meet up with the band backstage at the Camden Koko, London, where they are set to perform later. The Klaxons used to make their own neon clothes and strut around looking fluorescent. But these days there is little trace of that as they arrive in black, just like any other indie band.

While they have entertained their audiences with glowsticks and been NME cover stars adorned with that badge of the rave era, the smiley face, the band claim to regard these details as little more than enjoyable props and now want to step back from the rave label - nobody wants to be regarded as a novelty band. They may have given two rave hits an indie makeover - "The Bouncer" and Grace's "Not Over" - and employ the sirens characteristic of rave at the start of "Atlantis to Interzone", but they have little in common with acid house.

Reynolds's band mates are guitarist Simon Taylor (aka Captain Strobe), a former fine art student; James Righton, 23, the co-vocalist and keyboardist, and the drummer, Steffan Halperin, 21, who is absent from our meeting. They are in the midst of a tour that will cover Europe, Australia and Japan before Christmas. If that wasn't enough, they want to write a second album before the debut album, Myths of the Near Future (the title of a collection of short stories by JG Ballard), is out in January.

The Klaxons signed to Polydor after a label tug-of-war. The deal extends to the UK and the rest of the world, minus France, Australia and the US. Negotiations are under way with four major and two independent US labels.

Things have happened quickly for the band. When they formed in October 2005, they completed two songs in the first week of being together. "We rehearsed for five days in a row and then we did a gig," recalls Reynolds. When people wanted to book them after the first gig they needed a longer set list. The band were sharing favourite books, which betray a taste for the supernatural and magic realism. Reynolds, whose favourite book is Lewis Carroll's Silvie and Bruno, says: "We disappear in bizarre dreamlands that we immerse ourselves in, including cosmology, the Apocalypse and Egypt - it's not just about meeting someone on the dancefloor - but it is escapist pop.

"We locked ourselves away for a couple of days and wrote 'Gravity's Rainbow', 'Atlantis to Interzone', and '4 Horsemen of 2012'. The next day we recorded them. Then I set us up on MySpace. Within days we were contacted by a lawyer and a management company."

From the outset, the Klaxons decided they wanted to be an extremely successful pop band, making big pop songs, and selling records. Reynolds wants to make make anthems for his generation. "We haven't made 'the one' yet," he says, "though 'Gravity's Rainbow' is our biggest song." "We haven't even released an album," says Taylor. "I can't wait until people have the album and know the songs."

After this year's Reading Festival the new rave scene really exploded when the crowd burst out of the Carling tent in a sea of glowsticks after the Klaxons' set. Other highlights in their short existence have included Lily Allen joining to sing "Atlantis to Interzone" when the band headlined the Isle of Wight Bestival's Big Top Stage, while Peaches Geldof DJd with them in Ibiza. "I wasn't there when rave was around," says Taylor. "But I've heard there is a similar atmosphere and vibe to our gigs."

Reynolds left school after his GCSEs, with no intention of going on to further education. He'd joined a band at 14, Thermal, making "left-field, quirky music". But he went on to do his A-levels and to study philosophy at university. He met Taylor a few years ago. Reynolds had already formed a band, with people who he says couldn't play too well. He invited Taylor to jam with them. And in no time at all, Taylor's old school friend, Righton, was on board. The following week they played their first gig.

The band have barely had a day off since new rave hit the headlines. To switch off from work, Righton steals his dad's gym membership card and retreats to a steam room in east London, while Taylor occupies himself with what his friends outside the music business are up to. Reynolds likes to read, but not as much as he used to before glowstick sales took off again. Despite needing a holiday, the band are enthused by what they are doing and very talkative.

Later that night, they play to an excited crowd as lime-green lights shoot across the venue. (Reynolds recently had to ask a venue to tone the strobes down a bit. "I don't suffer from epilepsy, but I felt I was about to," he says.) Down front, the teenage crowd is packed in like sardines and are all waving glowsticks, while upstairs the balconies are thronged with less demonstrative twentysomethings.

The Klaxons play some new, slower pop songs, including "As Above, So Below", while leaping around in the midst of a strobe-light show, as if it were their last ever gig. There is something refreshingly unpretentious about what is happening, because nobody is taking it too seriously. After the crowd find euphoric collective release in "Not Over", it is over, and the venue continues as a rave.

Outside, teenagers wanting to party, many far too young to get in, queue around the block. "When we turned up at Stoke, hundreds of kids wore white clothes with neon slogans," says Reynolds. "This is something we did to get noticed. As soon as we got noticed, we stopped doing it. We are still in the process of changing our minds as to what we are doing with our image."

What may be good news for young fans unable to gain entry is that the Klaxons are playing a matinée warehouse party in the East End in December, before the later adult show. "It is important we identify with this younger crowd and give them the chance to enjoy themselves," says Reynolds. What is more amazing for the band is that on New Year's Eve, in Nottingham, they are playing the first Fantasia party, a regular, massive event in the 1990s. This one is the first for 13 years. "I was obsessed with Fantasia raves when I was a kid," says Reynolds, "and now giving back a pleasure I had always got as a teenager from bands is what it's all about," he says. "I hope that people will like the slower pop songs on our album and still come out and go nuts at our gigs."

'Magick' is released on 30 October on Polydor

Arts and Entertainment
'Banksy Does New York' Film - 2014

Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist

Arts and Entertainment
Woody Allen and Placido Domingo will work together on Puccini's Schicchi


Arts and Entertainment
The sixteen celebrities taking part in The Jump 2015


Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge has announced his departure from Blink-182

Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups


An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment


Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original


Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'


Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore