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Chemical Brothers- We'd Hate To Be Famous

Author: Jonty Skrufff (
Sunday, September 7, 2003
"We're incredibly grateful for the position we're in; I'd hate to be famous and recognised in the street and in shops and restaurants, there's no upside to it at all. To have had number one records is great but doing it without any intrusion into your life is brilliant."

Sitting across a conference table in his record label's West London's headquarters, Ed Simons frowns slightly as he considers his image. Though both he and his Chemical Brother partner Tom Rowlands are regular magazine cover stars (Jockey Slut being just the latest title to stick them on the front) both remain elusive and strangely anonymous.

"People never bought our records because of us, and that's been a good thing for us" Tom agrees.

There's an idea of what we're like and what our band is about, and people might following that idea but I don't think anyone buys our music because of myself or Ed as individuals."

10 years after they first started producing 'accidental pop records' (Jockey Slut again), The Chemical Brothers remain figureheads of dance culture, headlining last month's Creamfields UK ('as good as any of those big events we've ever done', Ed) and continuing to be one of genre's few successful album acts. Shortly about to release a Best of album (Singles '93-03) the pair took time out to chat to Skrufff's Jonty Skrufff.

Skrufff: You're just about to release a Greatest hits retrospective album, looking back do you think some of your tracks have stood the test of time more than others-

Chemical Brothers (Ed): "We're not the sort of people who'd deny anything we've ever done, every single track we've released we've always been really pleased with at the time. I think that's one of the best things about this compilation- nothing sounds out of time. A lot of dance music is of its time and when you listen back to it, it does sound dated by the year it's produced. We've always been doing our own thing, for better or worse. I listened to Songs To The Siren the other day, which we recorded in Tom's bedroom on quite primitive equipment and it doesn't sound a million miles away from the track we've just done with Kaos. The main thing you hear in our records is ideas and I think all the tracks on the compilation have a lot of vitality and include a lot of ideas. We're both very pleased with it."

Skrufff: Lots of band release 'Best of..' albums then disappear ('yeah', both of them nod cautiously), and is there an element of closure-

Chemical Brothers (Tom): "There's definitely an element of closure, yeah. When we were thinking about doing it we did feel a little unsure, we didn't want people to think this is the end of our band. So to not feel that way, we wanted to put two new pieces of music on the CD that are really good and when we recorded the Golden Path and Get Yourself High we felt great. We believe they're both tracks that are as good as any we've ever made. That made us feel better about the whole project and during the process of doing it we've written lots of other pieces of music and we're now some way towards completing the next album."

Skrufff: The last time you spoke to Skrufff we discussed mainstream dance culture beginning to unravel, what do you make of it two years on-

Chemical Brothers (Ed): "It's unravelling on a purely commercial level, you read about magazines closing and clubs that are considered institutions shutting down but as far young people wanting to get together and dance is concerned, that pastime is not going to go away. A side issue of that fact is that people have to make music to feed those people so that's not disappearing. Last weekend we DJed at Creamfields which was as good as any of those big events we've ever done; the people were mad for it and the crowd was fantastic. I spent the rest of the weekend at the Notting Hill Carnival and what's the Carnival all about- Dance music, or at least different forms of it. We went to a party organised by Jockey Slut which was f