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Basement Jaxx are an electronica duo hailing from Brixton, London, England who formed in 1994. The band have released seven studio albums and have enjoyed massive success in their home country and all across the globe.
Ever since Oasis’ heyday every two-bit guitar group has to talk like they’re going to take over the world. Viva Brother began their first ever gig by saying “If anybody here doesn't want to see the future of music, leave now” and now they’re a punch line, and not even a very good one at that. It leaves a band doomed from the start, cos the reason that Oasis sounded so exciting was that believed every word of what they were saying to the very core, and could back up every outlandish statement they made at that. Save for a very select few, nobody believes anyone else saying they’re going to be legendary for a second. Most of the time bands are formed not out of a desire to change music history or headline Wembley fourteen nights in a row, but out of an honest desire to play and create music.
This was exactly why Basement Jaxx formed and they went on to do everything that Viva Brother said they were destined to do. And thank the music Gods for that. The duo are made up of Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton, who first struck up a friendship at a river boat party over the Thames, and Basement Jaxx was originally the name of their club night. Their original ambition was simple, to put on great parties and release great records, which they did on their Atlantic Jaxx label. However, by 1997 Ratcliffe and Buxton were making their own music and releasing it either on their first E.P’s or their label compilations. Even at this early stage of their career they were doing something revolutionary, releasing music that was as inspired by international music like soul, samba, reggae and house as it was by British institutions like punk and rave. Armand Van Helden summed it up best when he said they took house music and “f***ed it up the ass”.
In 1999 their music got the attention of XL Records, who at that point had given the world The Prodigy and were already as achingly cool as they’d ever be. Their debut album “Remedy” followed and was an instant success with both critics and the public. To wit, the second single from that album “Rendez-Vu” remaining their highest charting single in the U.K, hitting number four in August that year. The single also topped the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the States, as did their debut single “Red Alert”. High on their debut records success the band toured everywhere that would have them, before hunkering back down to Brixton to work on their follow up.
True to form, part of their work on that follow up was putting on another club night, which they called Rooty. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it became the title of their second album, which was released in 2001. It was another critical and commercial smash, giving the world the deathless hit "Where's Your Head At" in the process. Ever since then they’ve held on to their title of the “other” elder statesmen of British dance music alongside The aforementioned Prodigy with aplomb. They’ve headlined Glastonbury, sold out arenas and collaborated with the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Siouxsie Sioux. They’re a shoo in for the status of national treasures, and it all stemmed from wanting to put on a good party and make some good music. Mission accomplished, I think.