JOE meets Fatboy Slim to talk Idris Elba, football and still being a rave animal...
Holed up in a studio with Fatboy Slim and Luther must be quite an intense experience. Or rather, Norman Cook and Idris Elba.
In one corner you’ve got the grandfather of DJs who's been filling dance floors for 30 years with hits from all over the world as well as his own, in the other is the British actor who grafted for 30 years before Hollywood even sniffed.
Cook and Elba are collaborating on a music project - due to be unveiled next year - but are keeping mum on the detail. What is already apparent, though, is the mutual respect between the pair.
"He’s always wanted to be a DJ," says Cook. "So he looks up to me for that, whereas I look up to him as he’s Stringer f**king Bell. We’re both star-struck but in a different way.”
"Idris has been DJing since he was 18, but sadly he has this other talent...you know his acting thing which has interfered with his true path," he says tongue-in-cheek.
They’ve spent enough time with one another to deconstruct the world’s woes including the query that's become Elba’s biggest annoyance: Elba for Bond?
Cook says: "I think it would be the coolest thing in the world if he were the next James Bond. I think he's got that constant cool, and to be the first black Bond would be brilliant.
"When we’ve been working in the studio and he’s doing a vocal, I sometimes say over the mic 'pay attention 007’...just to see what he does but he always keeps a poker face."
If Elba is up for Bond, what's Fatboy's next move?
Cook is a caring father and husband, while Fatboy Slim is a dance music superstar wreck head. Although nowhere near as hedonistic as he once was.
"It was important for me to separate the two behaviours,” explained Cook.
"Fatboy Slim is a liability, he's a party animal who hasn’t got an off switch. Over the years there were times when I wasn’t sure where Fatboy ended and Norman began. Now I keep them quite separate.”
Some artists and DJs wear masks, whereas his uniform has remained a Hawaiian shirt.
“When I put on the shirt, I become Fatboy Slim" he explains. "Over the years I’ve had to learn the only time to get Fatboy out is on stage. He’s not to be trusted with the rest of my life.
"On stage I can be as irresponsible and hedonistic as I like but off it I snap back to a responsible human being."
— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) August 2, 2015
Anyone who has witnessed him play live will know even after all this time he still loses his sh*t on stage.
"Even though I’m sober these days I get so intoxicated by the atmosphere, being at the centre of the euphoria and over-excited people, I start speaking in tongues and become possessed by a rave spirit. For two hours of the day I turn into a different person.
"In the past I’d carry on partying until the next night and that’s when things start to go wrong. To enjoy the moment yes but to do it for 30 years, you can’t live it 24/7."
— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) September 2, 2015
So you still enjoy the job as much as you did?
"I enjoy it more now, probably because I remember all of it," he says. "It’s about entertaining people and making them happy and free and high and all of that nonsense. I take it a lot more seriously, I used to go out and have a party but now I craft the party."
Fatboy has been resigned to the cupboard for 12 weeks while Norman, 52, stays at home to look after his and wife Zoe Ball's two children Woody and Nelly.
"This is Zoe’s time of year," he says. Zoe presents Strictly Come Dancing's BBC2 sister show It Takes Two.
After a family Christmas, the tropical shirt will be pulled out for New Year’s Day at Sankeys in Manchester, a party he ‘always loves playing’.
"After 12 weeks of parenting, I’ll have a lot of excess energy to share with everyone," he says.
A normal week sees him DJing Friday, Saturday and Sunday returning home for parental duties in the week - which is when he's back in the studio sifting through tracks hunting for the next 'banger'.
"I get sent an awful lot and there’s never a lot of gems in it," he explains. "You’re always looking for that new banger. Everyone has the same access nowadays so you have to dig a bit deeper. I still get joy discovering a big tune, when I get one I still get so excited and think ‘they’re going to sh*t themselves when this goes out.'
Hanging on the wall in his office side by side are two football shirts - Pele and (Brazilian) Ronaldo's.
“I played a load of gigs around the World Cup as I’m quite well known in Brazil," says Fatboy. "One of the shows was in the São Paulo stadium for a Pele event. Sadly he hurt his leg that day so he sent his daughter in with a shirt to give to me, which was lovely."
(Norman was happy to share pics of his treasured shirts)
It might not be on a par with Brazilian football but Cook's beloved Brighton & Hove Albion F.C are enjoying a brilliant run this season.
"We’re in some weird dream!" he exclaimed "We’ve always been in the gutter looking at the stars but to us, unlike Man United fans, we’re used to losing and it doesn’t hurt, although after our latest run, it will do."
There's no question of Premier League promotion if they continue in this form.
Excited by the prospect, Cook says: "We’re settled in the Falmer (stadium), we got the crowds, we got the money and we got the squad, I think we're now ready for the Premier League. We now look like a team that can show consistency and look forward to the day we qualify.”
On the way up maybe passing Chelsea on the way down?
"Something very interesting has happened to football, the day Alex Ferguson left Man United, something happened. It’s like football is now open again. It was always the same teams going up and down and now it’s back to the old days as a game for everyone," he says.
"Chelsea had their chance and blew it. I think the demise of the classic Ferguson/Man United has opened the Premiership up. United are now human and fallible like the rest of us, which, is very good to see."
Fatboy Slim will headline Sankeys Warehouse NYD. Go to sankeystickets.co.uk
— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) October 28, 2015