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Fatboy Slim looks back on summer in Ibiza

The Brit superstar DJ on a year of firsts with Cream and Float Your Boat

In his youth, Norman Quentin Cook (a.k.a Fatboy Slim) bore witness to punk rewriting the rule book and as an avid music collector - with laborious hours spent rifling through records in thrift stores - he too had the goods and knowledge to push the rulebook through the shredder and pen a new chapter in dance music history. Considered to be one of the founding fathers of big beat, alongside The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and Basement Jaxx, among others, he bolstered the genre to reach mainstream status for the raving masses. Melding pop hooks and hip-hop beats with an acid house sensibility was his method, and to take a prime example, 'Praise You' was a bona fide game changer.

The ever-gregarious superstar DJ has worked hard and partied harder while donning over 30 aliases, crafting five solo albums with a slew of ten Top 40 singles, being one of the first to fly the dance flag at music festivals, amassing multiple awards, headlining gigs across the planet, crossing over from underground to mainstream and back again, and he was the first DJ to play at the House Of Commons. Needless to say, he can lay claim to having seen and done it all - so much so, that three decades on from entering the game, he's confessed that as he can't get any bigger, he's taking his projects sideways. However, there is one feat that has had him propelling his already illustrious career skywards, and that is landing his first EVER Ibiza residency with Cream. And it doesn't end there for the family man, as with the Cream brand he'll be steering the crowd at his first Ibiza boat party for the residency's big closing bash with Float Your Boat on Thursday 15 September.

With all that excitement in mind, Ibiza Spotlight snatched the Hawaiian-shirted don for a blether on his first Float Your Boat voyage, his Cream residency, and Carl Cox's climatic year at Space.


Ibiza is a special place for you - both professionally and personally - what is it about this little island that makes it so special?

The clubs are the beating heart of the world's dance scene (my own heart skips a beat, as I just played my last set at Space). The heart pumps blood around the world but also supplies the island with enough corpuscles to sustain it through changing fortunes and fashions. It endures change and fashion and will outlive us all!

You've been playing here for years – Manumission was the first to book you. Why has it taken so long to finally have you as a resident in Ibiza, and why Cream?

Originally, it was for my own health and sanity that I didn't stay on the island too long - I was like a kid in a sweet shop. Also, I have so many friends running nights on the island that over the years I wanted to please everybody by playing everywhere. Then I had kids.... There are so many reasons, but this year I figured it was time to settle down. Cream and Amnesia were gracious enough to let me still play for Carl at Space and do my regular Mambo party, but I have loved feeling regular and comfortable week in, week out at Amnesia.

Float Your Boat Cream closing is your first Ibiza boat party, are you buzzing to get out on the Med to crank out the tunes?

Positively so. Gotta tick that box and see what tunes have sea legs...

As you mentioned, Carl Cox stole you for a date at one of his final season showdowns. How did it feel to get in there for what is such a momentous moment for Coxy?

It was very emotional for me because I have so many memories of that club as a punter and a DJ. It honestly is the best club in the world. I can only imagine how Carl will feel saying goodbye after all these years. It meant a lot that they let me sneak my son in for my last set there. He so wanted to see it after hearing so much his whole life.

That leads us onto Space. What are your sentiments on its closure this year - do you think the brand will move elsewhere on the island?

It's a sad loss to the island because no other club fills the same niche. It will be interesting to see where elrow, Gliterbox etc go next year. Could we see the revival of Privilege? Is Sankeys gonna get even sweatier? I've heard of a new Space in San An but that could just be island rumours...

2016 has been a year of firsts - are you still crossing things off on the bucket list?

New ones keep cropping up that I never knew were even in my bucket... You, me bum bum train, Morning Glory, Dismaland, the 02... I'm ticking Albania off this month.

Can you tell us more about the Smile High Club concept - do you think the dance music industry is guilty of taking itself too seriously?

It was born out of trying to make an arena at Creamfields more than just another tent with a few banners up. Rather a club within a festival. Somewhere in between the underground and the commercial is stoopid smiley fun which was what got me into raving in the first place.

The last full length we had from you was Here Lies Love in 2010, although you did release a compilation album in 2016. Will we be seeing any new material from you in the near future?

I have a single up my sleeve....

What are the production challenges for you now, considering that you created such solid game changing tracks that are still so timeless? Does it become harder to compete with yourself when you've had such a massively successful career?

Yes, as I get older I feel I only want to make records because I have a passion about it rather than putting stuff out because I feel I ought to. Consequently, my release rate has nose-dived, but I haven't had any flops lately! To be honest, my heart is more in DJing than producing right now.

You talk about growing up during a key period when punk tore down the rules, then dance music came along and did the same. Do you think we're living in an age when this could musically happen again?

I certainly hope so. I fear it might not be club music that kicks over the statues but it is a lovely idea.

What do you miss about those formative years in dance music when there were no rules, and what do you really appreciate about your relationship with the dance music industry in its current state?

I miss the camaraderie among DJs. Back in the day we were an oppressed minority, so we stuck together and looked out for each other. There was no bitching. I'm comfortable with my relationship with the industry right now. I seem to get respect from the new and old and I seem to be part of the furniture. A seat at the table is all I ask.

And finally, you've said that it's hard to get any bigger with your feats, so you're enjoying going sideways. What sideways gigs do you have planned over the next 12 months?

Autumn is when I rest up with the kids while my wife works on TV, but I will be off the leash with some big production shows in the round just before Christmas at the London O2, Glasgow Hydro, Dublin Arena and a bit of Warehouse Project. Not so sideways, but the Holy Ship in the new year will more than make up for that.


WORDS | Aimee Lawrence PHOTOGRAPHY | The Independent & Cream

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