“It makes the evening more memorable and more beautiful … and because I live on the beach in Brighton, I kind of feel at home as well.”
It is in Brighton that WAtoday finds Cook when he picks up the phone to chat about his upcoming ‘World Tour of Australia’ and decades-long run of DJing and producing under the Fatboy Slim moniker.
It’s a run which has produced notorious earworms, big-beat anthems that rumble stadiums, memorable hits and even more memorable video clips to go with them (a gravity-defying Christopher Walken, anyone?)
But for Cook, it was a “cheeky little hobby” started on the sidelines of other projects Pizzaman, Freak Power and the Mighty Dub Katz.
“The last thing I needed was another alter-ego,” Cook laughed.
“It wasn’t just about me; musically, there was kind of this reaction that house music had got a bit dull.
“Me and the Chemical Brothers, we were playing every weekend and the queues were going further and further around the block and we felt like we were part of some kind of movement. It was very exciting times!”
Those early days eventually led to four studio albums and a slew of music which has consistently pumped through club speakers since, even as recently as 2013’s acid-tinged radio hit Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat and 2017 single Boom F—king Boom.
But the chances of a new Fatboy album are, at least for the time being, well … slim.
The drive to produce a new studio album isn’t there, Cook said, and nor is the time. Having poured a lot of energy into his life as a touring DJ and other creative ventures (such as curating an exhibit of ‘smiley’ art at a recent gallery show) means “there just aren’t the hours in the day to do it”.
“I’m 56 now, and at some point I’ll be too old to be travelling around the world and DJing and staying up late, and maybe when I have to come off the road then I’ll get bored, then I’ll want to go in the studio, if that’s my only outlet then I might (record another album),” he said.
“I enjoying DJing so much … because I can do it all around the world all year, it sort of takes up all your time or energy.
“If that was cut off, if that was taken away from me then maybe I’d have to find another outlet.”
There was a flash of excitement and inspiration earlier this year, however, when young climate activist Greta Thunberg gave her passionate speech to the United Nation’s Climate Action Summit.
A clip pulled from the Swedish teen’s speech of her saying “right here, right now” was layered over the original vocals of Cook’s 1998 hit of the same name, which he then played to a crowd, drawing a rapturous response.
A clip of the gig soon went viral.
And for Cook, it was a magical moment.
“The first time I played that I nearly burst into tears because it was just so powerful and emotive that someone had linked a record I’d done 20 years ago to something now, and something I passionately believe in,” he said.
“And I like that it kind of sticks it to people who don’t believe in climate change, or find Greta Thunberg annoying, it’s quite a defiant move for me as well.
“If you stick around long enough things come around again, and a whole new meaning has come into Right Here, Right Now.”
While there may not be time or energy for another studio album, there’s plenty of both when it comes to the DJ booth.
Cook has long been associated with the rise of the ‘superstar DJ’, and makes no attempt to hide his love affair with the turntables – and the crowd.
“For me, [DJing is] about a conversation with the audience,” he said.
“It’s about looking at them and trying to probe and see what they want that will take them higher.”
And the experience isn’t reserved for the audience alone.
“My personal life in the last few years has been a little topsy-turvy,” Cook said.
“And I’ve found rather than me just standing there generating cathartic moments for the audience, I’ve been doing it to myself as well.
“For two hours I forget all my worries and you escape into this world of loud music and dance. I’ve been cathartic with myself as well as the crowd.”
Fatboy Slim will play at Whitfords Nodes Park in Hillarys on Sunday, February 2, supported by 2ManyDJs – brothers Stephen and David Dewaele as the genre-mashing DJ arm of Belgian band Soulwax. For more information and tickets, click here.
Cameron is the homepage editor for WAtoday.