Back in May the inaugural Common People was held in Southampton, within walking distance of our Highfield Campus. The two-day festival was a roaring success, with 35,000 of punters heading up to the common to see the likes of Clean Bandit and Grace Jones perform.
The Saturday headliner was the legendary DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, who performed a slick set featuring a live choir and Rob da Bank playing a grand piano. Rising to fame in the 1980s as bassist of The Housemartins, Cook adopted the Fatboy Slim moniker in 1996 and since then has released countless hit singles and records, and become one of the most esteemed DJs in the world.
After a quiet winter this was one of Norman’s first shows of the summer. “I’m raring to go!” he told us, when we managed to nab him for a quick chat before his headline set, “I’ve been caged for too long. My wife has been doing Strictly for five months and this is my official start of the summer season so I’m raring to go!”
One of the big appeals of Common People was that it was based in a city over only two days of music, as opposed to the normal three-day camping festivals in the middle of nowhere. This wasn’t the only urban festival Norman was playing, with a set at Parklife a few weeks after we spoke to him. We asked him how he felt about the huge rise of these city-based festivals: “I don’t know, for me, it might just be a sign of my age, but for me it all depends on the relationship between the festival and the city. If this goes well then the people of Southampton will be proud of Common People. If there’s fights and trouble and noise people will go errr, ‘cos it’s a lot easier to put on festivals in the middle of nowhere – there’s less people to upset. Doing them this close to a city, and I know from doing them on Brighton beach, you have to be very careful about your relationship with the locals and keeping them happy, so lets hope everybody is happy at the end of the weekend!”
Following on from one of our latest features, where The Edge team wrote about the items we band from festivals we thought it was only right to ask the celebrated DJ what he’d ban.” Very interesting question…I’m trying to think of a witty answer!” Cook responded, whilst evaluating his reply. He was eventually prompted by his tour manager into responding: “Generators that don’t work! Nah there’s not really [anything he’d ban]– the whole point of a festival is anything goes. I mean I think everybody holding up their camera phone and filming you all the way through should be banned. I think there should be something where you can only film for a minute, but people who just stand there for the whole gig, why not just enjoy the gig instead of filming it?! But nah that’s not really [anything he’d ban], I’m up for any kind of stupid behaviour.”
We finished my asking him which tracks from his extensive back catalogue go down best at a festival: “It depends on the mood really. Every festival is different,” he explained. “Some festivals like Glastonbury have been running for years so you know exactly how it works. Doing one when it’s a whole new bunch of people is almost like a party where everybody doesn’t know each other, so you don’t really know how it’s going to go!
“I did Snowbombing the other week and a bloke came up to me and said “When you played ‘Right Here Right Now’ with ‘Born Slippy’ I lost my shit!” and then his mate when “I lost my shit too!” If it’s an old enough crowd that they recognise ‘Born Slippy.’ then probably the moment of ‘Born Slippy’ and ‘Right Here Right Now’, that’s hopefully the moment when people loose their shit.”
Fatboy Slim will be playing in Ibiza and at festivals for the rest of the summer. You can watch the full interview with him below.