Fatboy Slim

The whole point of DJing is communicating with the crowd,
and having a party along with them

Not many DJs have the ability to crossover from underground to mainstream and back again the way that Norman Cook aka. Fatboy Slim does. His music is played around the world, simultaneously on commercial radio and by top club DJs.

A career that has spanned 30 years, and that grew out of a love of sharing music, continues to evolve as Fatboy Slim headlines festivals around the world.

"I think there's a certain sort of person who becomes a DJ. They're the sort of person that when you hear a record you really like, the first thing you want to do is play it to all your mates. Some people hear a record they really like, and just put their headphones on and listen to it over and over again. I have this desire to share it with other people.

It's a kind of love of sharing something that turns you on and turning other people on by playing it. That love has never gone in the thirty years that I've been doing this. For some reason, there's something about playing your favourite records to other people and making them dance that is delicious."

Growing up playing guitar in a band, Norman started DJing just because he was the person who collected records.

"I used to get invited to parties because I had the box of records. But in those days, you leave the records lying around at parties, and you get them home and they're covered in vomit and cigarette ash.

One day, I got invited to a party and I said "Yeah, but I'm not bringing my records, is that ok?" and she said "well, that was the only reason we invited you." But the girl's parents had a bit of money and she said "what if we hire these double decks and you can be in charge of the records all night - that way they won't get damaged?" And so, we did and I really enjoyed it, and the crowd seemed to. That started a career as a sort of party and wedding DJ."

But DJing was never considered a serious profession.

"In those days, DJing wasn't really a career, it was just a hobby. For the first ten years, I was DJing as a hobby and playing instruments as a profession. I was DJing five nights a week, but still had to work in a record shop during the day to pay the rent, because DJing didn't do that.

Just because of the way the music industry turned around, it's now the opposite way around - you get paid money to be a DJ, but making records is a bit of a hobby because you have to give them away."

Now, renown worldwide as a producer with numerous top ten singles and a number one album, Cook never expected the commercial success that came with hits like "Rockerfella Skank" and "Praise You".

"I think the success of Fatboy Slim as a DJing career didn't surprise me because I'd kind of been doing that as a sideline. But I didn't think the music had any kind of commercial, crossover potential until we were making the second album. It was never intended to be a big commercial success, I kind of got lucky; it was the right mood and the right time for something that messed with genres and ripped up the rule book, (which is what I do best)"

He has performed through the technological evolution in the DJ industry, seeing people move from vinyl to CDJs to digital vinyl systems and now moving towards controllers.

"I'm very wary of technology taking over, especially for DJing. The whole point of DJing is communicating with the crowd, and having a party along with them, not being hunched over pressing tons of buttons or wanking off on how much gear you've got. I much prefer a simplistic approach to DJing."

A love for a traditional DJ setup and a desire to grow his live show saw him add Scratch Live and Serato Video.

"The thing is you're just one bloke standing there playing records.. and you're pretty much stuck static standing there. You can wave your arms around, but as the show's got bigger and I would be kinda following rock bands on main stages at festivals, it's like, how do we make this show bigger?"

"Introducing the video element was just a way of making the show bigger. When you're on a festival stage and you have to follow the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, you gotta do something pretty big. So the big break through for me was when I ditched vinyl and started using Serato."

The result is a live show that you have to experience for yourself.

Serato Icon Fatboy Slim