‘I might stand there and cry for an hour and a half’

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‘I might stand there and cry for an hour and a half’

Don’t worry, Maxi Jazz isn’t talking about Faithless’ Dubai show tomorrow night. We spoke with the laidback frontman just days after his dance outfit officially announced their split

By Adam Zacharias (adam@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Thu 31 Mar 2011, 9:13 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:13 AM

ON APRIL 8 at London’s Brixton Academy, Faithless will play their final concert to a sell-out crowd before parting ways forever.

Centering around the trio of rapper Maxi Jazz, DJ Sister Bliss (both pictured) and elusive producer Rollo, the dance group became one of the UK’s most revered electronica forces of the Britpop era – beginning with the anthemic Insomnia in 1996.

In the past 15 years, the band have toured relentlessly while releasing six studio albums and a triple-platinum selling Greatest Hits compilation in 2005.

But earlier this month, Maxi posted a statement on the group’s official website to their fans (aka ‘The Faithful’) announcing the split.

Far from a bitter swipe at his bandmates, the 53-year-old made an emotional farewell, commenting, “I think we’ve probably made our collective point by now…it’s time to close the book and return to the library.”

City Times rang Maxi to chat about his time with Faithless, and what he’s planning to do next.

First thing’s first – what prompted the split?

It’s a big decision, and one that I actually made at the beginning of 2008. Thank goodness I was dissuaded from my decision by a friend – he said it had been two or three years since we put a record out, and we had all of these fans all over the place, wouldn’t it be better to leave them with something than to just say ‘ta ta’. I thought that was undeniably true, so I rang up the guys and said why don’t we make one more record and do one more tour, as a goodbye and a thank you.

So the band has been preparing for this for three years?

Well, probably just me actually. Rollo and Blissy are quite happy to carry on for at least another 10 years. We’ve got the best fans on the planet, and I know they’d happily still come out and see us for that long. But I just genuinely feel that everything has to have a start, a middle and a finish. It’s always better for me to end with people wanting more rather than looking at their watches.

What’s next for you?

This has been a very long and arduous tour. After that I’ll take at least a month to go stay with my mum in Jamaica, not doing very much at all. My plan after that is to come back to London and start getting a routine. I’ve got a bunch of new equipment in my studio, and it’s going to take me a good while to learn it.

So you’re venturing straight into a solo career after Jamaica?

You can call it a solo career, but I’m just going to be making music, which is what I do. If I manage to get 10 tracks that I like so much I can’t wait to play them to people, then I’ll stick them together in an album, get a band together and start doing some gigs.

And what have Sister Bliss and Rollo got up their sleeves?

They’ll continue – they’re workaholics, and they define themselves as people a lot of the time by what they do. For sure, the anthemic house grooves that they’re famous for won’t stop.

Is there a chance they’ll still be called Faithless?

No.

Your final gig is on home turf at Brixton Academy. Was that a conscious decision?

It’s in my back yard! Brixton Academy and Shepherd’s Bush Empire are my two favourite venues in London. I have a special bond with them. Plus it makes sense – it’s 10 minutes by cab, I can leave the car at home and hopefully leave on a high note.

What have been your highlights in Faithless?

There are probably too many to mention. The first thing that comes to mind are the Glastonbury shows in 2002 and 2010. They were both unbelievable gigs. The 2002 show was the first time we played on the main stage, and we were supporting Coldplay. The ever-wonderful (late DJ) John Peel said on TV that he’d never really got Faithless before, but after that show he really liked us. I was very chuffed with that, because he’s my favourite DJ of all time. Then in 2010 we played before Stevie Wonder in broad daylight in front of 120,000 people. It was absolutely amazing.

Faithless have sold millions of records, but none of you ever became tabloid fixtures. Was that a conscious decision?

Absolutely. None of us are married to the idea of being pop stars. If you make records that are popular, then you become a pop star by default. That doesn’t mean that you become a celebrity by default. If you want to become a celebrity, there’s a certain path you have to walk. You get yourself a press officer who tells you where all the parties are and where the paparazzi are going to be. If you need to keep your name in the limelight to sell your perfume brand or whatever, then that’s what you do. We’ve never done that. I’m not a celebrity, I’m a musician who happens to be famous.

How do you want to say farewell – do you have any grand plans for your final London show?

You know what, it’s weird you ask me that. While we’re on tour I’m very much in the moment, I can’t worry too much about tomorrow because right now is taking up all of my attention. But April 8 is sticking at the back of my mind, and as it gets closer and closer it’s assuming more and more significance. It’s our last gig and I need to make it special. But I’ve actually got no idea what I’m going to say or do on that gig. I might stand there and cry for an hour and a half! Don’t laugh, it might happen! It’ll be the summation of everything that’s gone before, and what has gone before has been absolutely immense.

event details

What: Faithless live show

Where: Nasimi Beach, Atlantis Hotel, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

When: Friday, April 1

Cost: Dhs200 regular, Dhs300 VIP

Tickets: Available from Nasimi Beach, Virgin Megastores, selected ENOC and EPPCO stations, and online from www.virginmegastore.me and www.timeouttickets.com


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