Future Music

Fatboy Slim

Skint, 1998


By his second album, the man now known around the world as Fatboy Slim had hit upon the formula for making hit records – just add equal parts breakbeats, some acid house, and a big repetitive pop arrangemen­t and hook. Then let it bubble, and stand well back.

He’d developed this magical musical alchemy through what he refers to as ‘The Holy Trinity’ of mixes – Brimful of Asha, Renegade Master and The Rockafelle­r Skank. These three tracks were certified global chart smashes, and went on to become the blueprint for everything that followed.

“After those I was absolutely buzzing with ideas,” says Norm. “And I’d hit the formula, of what was, by then, called ‘big beat’. A lot of the undergroun­d club stuff was great, but they were missing that verse/chorus, verse/chorus, middle eight. I’d been in enough pop bands over the years to know that’s how it worked.

“I wanted to take this music out of the nightclubs and onto the radio. So I took all of those dancefloor ingredient­s, but arranged them in a manner that the human brain would associate with pop music. That was one of the many things I learned by the time I got to this album.”

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby was 11 tracks of pure jukebox gold. Built for dancefloor­s, house parties, student dorms, car rides, keggers, and ragers, on both sides of the Atlantic. It would be one of the albums of the ’90s, and the soundtrack to a generation.

“It was also the soundtrack to my life, so far,” says Norm. “The idea of what big beat was for me, at that point, was the sum collection of everything that’s gone before into your head, with no kinda agenda.

“Not, ‘Oh. I make rock ‘n’ roll music’, or, ‘I make dance music’. I grew up listening to The Beatles, then a bit of glam rock. Then I cut my teeth during punk rock. Then I got into hip-hop, then acid house. Basically, it’s all those influences, without any kind of reverence of the rules or genre.

“Back then I was like, ‘What can I get away with?’. I’d try to make pop records out of the wrong ingredient­s. As long as it had a catchy hook, a bit of repetition, and you could dance to it, you could get away with pretty much anything.”

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