They’ve done everything quickly – booked their first gig a few weeks after forming and wrote their major-label debut in 10 days. It’s surprising that the British dance-rock act Klaxons didn’t form and take the stage when separately attending Glastonbury 2005 as fans.
They didn’t actually meet there, despite what they said to the crowd at this year’s installment of the festival. To clarify: “It was the first time we were all at the same place,” Jamie Reynolds, who handles bass, lead vocals and keyboards, told Pollstar.
The band’s progress might still have a few things in common with the sci-fi content it sometimes draws from for its songs. The famed “Gravity’s Rainbow” novel, which the band used as the title of its first single, spends much of its 780 pages on Germany’s V-2 rockets. Like the WWII-era rockets, Klaxons’ career has been topping the speed of sound.
“Every single day between [our formation] and now, something has happened that ticks one of those boxes that say, yes, we are a band now, there is something happening,” Reynolds said. “It’s just been a continuation of a growing process. Nothing’s come off as a shock. Everything is happening organically and it’s been equally amazing on a day-to-day basis. It’s just mind-blowing.” One of the high points so far during the band’s ascent was again at Glastonbury, this time as performers on the festival’s Other Stage in front of an estimated 20,000 fans in June. Reynolds described it as, “Genuinely the best show of my entire life. … I was sort of overwhelmed. Actually, it was ridiculous.”
It wasn’t just fun, however. Big Life Management’s Tony Beard told Pollstar the band, which formed in 2005 over a five-day period of rehearsals at Reynolds’ studio, was second only to The Killers in the increase of records moved immediately after playing the festival.
Paradigm’s (formerly Little Big Man) Steve Ferguson, who books the band in North America, said promoters on his side of the globe are also very keen on the band.
“Demand is very good and high. If anything, you can’t sell shows as much as maybe the demand is sometimes, given the amount of time they can allow themselves to be here,” Ferguson, who also books Frank Black, The Magic Numbers and The Pipettes, among others, told Pollstar.
Shortly after the band formed and put one of its songs on MySpace, a music lawyer contacted them and sent them to Big Life Management. “It took a few days to realize we were actually talking to a big management company that had a history of managing big acts [Gang of Four, Badly Drawn Boy, The Futureheads],” Reynolds said.
They got along well and it didn’t take long for Beard, who has a longstanding working relationship with Little Big Man, to be hooked.
“The first gig I went to see was a Friday night at 1 o’clock in the morning at the 333 club in London. They played for about 15 to 20 minutes. Very shambolic,” he said, laughing. “But there was an energy to it, and a bit of star quality. Not only that, but the place was full with about 200 or 300 kids, all with those damn glowsticks, that we’re now trying to phase out of our shows.”
Early on, the band released a limited edition single of “Gravity’s Rainbow,” but made four other tracks available for free download. “Like the Arctic Monkeys had done, we realized there was a value to kids circulating the music among themselves, rather than waiting to have to buy it,” Beard said. “That proves the case. The shows from the very early stage were all sold out. … The band had invented a sub-genre and it was something fresh and original.” And their debut, Myths Of The Near Future, dropped at the end of January and hit the U.K. charts at No. 2.
But could being pigeonholed in that new sub-genre, jokingly coined by the band from the beginning as Nu-Rave, stunt their progress?
Reynolds doesn’t seem to think much of the tag, saying he finds the press bandwagon amusing and that he feels fortunate the band is being noticed. “They’ve got enough intelligence and originality and original ideas sitting around their brain that yeah, the next record will sound like Klaxons but it will be a move on,” Beard said. “I think some of the bands coming off the slipstream will be tagged Nu-Rave and will die when the glowsticks get put away.”
After doing a short, sold-out stateside club run in April, not to mention a Coachella appearance that left the Los Angeles Times calling Klaxons the breakout band of the festival, they’ve been on the European festival circuit. They endured a minor setback when Reynolds broke his leg after jumping off the stage during Garden Nef festival in France at the end of July, but the proceeding canceled Australian dates have been rescheduled. “I’ve never had more fun in my entire life. I’m on top of my game. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. Every single moment of it,” Reynolds said. “I can’t complain about being tired, because I am really living a dream.” Ferguson said the band will hit the U.S. again in the fall, taking in bigger clubs this time (S.F.’s Fillmore and D.C.’s 9:30 Club, for instance) and some tertiary markets. “This ultimately will get three trips to America with them this year, which is key to breaking any foreign act in this country,” Ferguson said. “The record label [Geffen] is very excited by them. … Basically it’s everybody in the boat rowing in the same direction, which will help build this band in this country.”