The band have been serial collaborators over the past decade: Lily Allen, Robyn, Dizzee Rascal, Siouxsie Sioux, and JC Chasez of N*Sync have all made appearances on tracks; but it’s the largely unknown Meshell Ndegeocello for whom Ratcliffe reserves most praise, for her work on the Kish Kash album. “I think we felt quite honoured to have her, because that was the first time we felt like we’d worked with a proper inverted commas ‘musician’… she’s kinda soul, jazz; she’s an amazing instrumentalist.”As well as releasing their own material on XL and Atlantic Jaxx, touring and Djing, the band have also found time to remix other artists’ material, most notably Missy Elliot’s ‘4 My People’ and Daft Punk’s ‘Phoenix’. Ratcliffe prefers creating Basement Jaxx’s music to remixing other artists’, even though remixing is often a more straightforward process. “Remixing is good if you’ve got a great song there… that’s half the problem really, half the battle.” Usually other artists look for a club version of their song which means that, for the duo, “your path is carved in a way. You know what you’ve got to do.”However, when it comes to making Basement Jaxx tracks, it’s not as clear cut: “I mean a lot of problems with Basement Jaxx is that we don’t quite know what we’re supposed to do, or we think we should do, or what we want to do, because we tried so many different styles and we’re known to be quite diverse. It’s always hard making up our minds what direction to go in.”The direction the band took in 2004 proved to be the right one, as the duo won a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album for Kish Kash. Ratcliffe describes their win as “a surprise” and reveals that he very nearly didn’t go to the awards ceremony. “I didn’t really have much awareness of the Grammys to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was something for music or for film. I get confused with these awards things.” Luckily, however, Buxton felt the two should go to the ceremony, where they were among stars like Andre 3000 of Outkast “and God knows who; basically the top musicians in the world from every department, every category. I thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty good.’”The pair also blagged their way into an afterparty - “I mean, you have to blag so much” – and found themselves among Quentin Tarantino, Nelly and Usher. “We felt like tourists watching it all, you know. But that was exciting, yeah. We had a good night.”The same night as the Grammy win the pair also met legendary producer, and now co-chairman of Columbia Records, Rick Reuben, in a little pizza place. “We were about to leave, and then we said, ‘Hey, who’s that in the corner?’ And there’s this huge bearded man, by himself at a table in the corner, just eating. And we went up to him and said, ‘Hey, we just got a Grammy and we’re big fans’, and shook his big squishy hand. That was nice.”
“We went up to him and said, ‘Hey, we just got a Grammy and we’re big fans’, and shook his big squishy hand. That was nice”Basement Jaxx have reportedly had a royal fan dance on stage with them, if rumours are to be believed. This summer a story ran in The London Paper declaring Prince Harry to have danced on stage in a monkey suit, at the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park. Ratcliffe neither confirms nor denies this rumour: “We’ve been asked if we could just not say yes or no either way… He wasn’t there, and he might have been!”Basement Jaxx seem to recognize the importance of their image and how it’s communicated to fans, whether it is through videos or album artwork. Ratcliffe says that the videos “are very important; obviously you’re in the hands of a director, and they’re going to make something that’s going to represent you around the world, so it’s a very delicate subject.” For the memorable ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ video, directed by Tractor and featuring the bands’ faces morphed onto instrument-playing simians, Basement Jaxx were already big fans of the director so “we just let them get on with it, basically… Most other videos we have don’t have quite so much trust and faith in the director.”The artwork for the new album is bright, colourful and features an owl’s head on a human body – cross-species morphing is evidently a recurring theme – brightly attired in a variety of items with a tribal feel, set against a mountainous background. Ratcliffe explains the artwork: “It’s basically the world today being a mish-mash of cultures… everything’s a hybrid, everything’s interconnected; like music, a lot of music we hear is tribal, but it’s got this modern sheen on it.” He goes on. “There’s a thing coming out now: hippies with iPhones, you know? It’s this modern world today. I don’t know what I’m trying to say but that seems to represent the world, and hopefully our music at the moment is the colour clashes that go on that record cover.”A mish-mash of sounds, the album looks set to be another hit for the Jaxx and will keep their fans them dancing in a perpetual summer, though more and more raindrops will undoubtedly fall.