Fatboy Slim – You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby
Exclusive Tour of Fatboy Slim’s Studio
If you’re a fan of Fatboy Slim, then you’ll love this episode of London Real. Join Brian Rose as he travels to Brighton to spend time with Norman Quentin Cook aka Fatboy Slim at his beachside home and studio in Brighton.
Fatboy Slim in the 1990s
When I moved to London in the late 1990s, Fatboy Slim was EVERYWHERE.
You couldn’t turn on the radio or click past MTV or watch the Grammy awards without being bombarded by his bigger-than-life anthems like “Praise You“, “The Rockafeller Skank” or “Weapon of Choice”, featuring a dancing Christoper Walken. His tunes created a special vibe in this “pre-internet” world and I can still remember that warm feeling to this day.
At the time Fatboy Slim was truly UBIQUITOUS…something I doubt the world will ever see again. But it wasn’t just that, it was that his music TRULY meant something. Fatboy Slim was born out of the rave and ecstasy culture of Brighton…a coastal counterculture enclave only one hour from London but worlds away in terms of ethos, vibe, and culture.
His music made us come together. It made us celebrate each other. It was loving and happy and uniting.
And it still is.
Meeting Norman Cook and seeing his studio
Back then I concluded that I would never have the chance to meet the man known as Norman Cook.
So when I got the invitation to travel to Brighton and spend time with him in his beachside home, to visit the ACTUAL STUDIO where he recorded the entire album “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby“, I packed my drone and grabbed the crew quicker than you could say “Right Here, Right Now“.
The following is what happened. I met a 54-year-old man who no longer aspires to be #1 in the charts, but who instead tours the world relentlessly as one of the most in-demand DJs on the planet. I met a reflective man now sober, who ultimately has only one mission in life:
To make people happy. Amen.
Making people happy is his mission
This episode is a truly special one as it’s not that often, I get to tour the studio where so much amazing and life-changing music was created. Norman was generous enough to let us into his world and I loved talking to him.
If you’re a fan of Fatboy Slim or even a music fan in general, this episode is epic and I know you’re going to love it.
Please join us as we discuss:
- His studio, djing with vinyl records and b-sides
- Grandmaster Flash, punk music, and Brighton
- Sampling, No.1 hits, and drum beats
- Spike Jonze, Keith Haring, and big beat
- Rockafeller Skank, Cash Money Records, and the Housemartins
- Skint Records, the Prodigy, and the Chemical Brothers
- Jon Carter, Puff Daddy, and Richard Fearless
- The Clash, Paul Oakenfold, and Carl Cox
- Pete Tong, staying fit and going sober
01:56 Brian’s introduction.
03:37 The Studio where experimental music was made under the influences mood board.
09:24 Fatboy Slim not quite what Americans were expecting.
13:40 Records were a rarity, they had a ‘B’ side and people had to attend a gig to hear them.
16:35 Grandmaster Flash turned Norman from a Punk Rocker to wanting to be a DJ.
21:31 Why Brighton, not London, has remained central.
26:32 Sampling with no rules, having fun, but not always getting away with it.
28:51 ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’, goes to number one in the charts.
30:36 Using feedback by being a DJ as to what pleased the crowd.
32:19 Record sources of his riffs, drum beats etc
36:27 Norman’s “have fun and break rules” attitude harmonised with Spike Jonze’s video.
40:37 Does great art have first to offend people and why he loves Keith Haring’s work.
42:26 The difference between a star performer and a DJ and why he prefers DJaying.
45:09 When 250,000 people came to his gig on the beach in Brighton..
48:43 The power of music to create collective euphoria, perhaps religious, even tribal experience 59:02 DJaying is powerful, intense and very rewarding.
1:04:21 DJs can go on for ever.
1:06:20 How Norman keeps in such good shape, able to be on stage until 6am.
1:06:59 Norman is involved in other creative projects, but doesn’t want another number one hit.
1:10:05 Why he’s never taken a break from working.
1:13:02 Phone call to the 20 year old Norman Cook
1:15:46 Best advice ever received.
1:16:04 Advice to the 20 year watching who wants to be a DJ.
The Rockafeller Skank
Dub Be Good to Me
The 900 number by The 45 King
Cash Money Records
London 0 Hull 4
Better Living Through Chemistry (album)
I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy
The Eagles documentary
Big Hero 6 (film)
Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally) London
Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat
People mentioned in this episode:
The Chemical Brothers
DJ Kool Herc