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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Oxegen 09: Q&A - Fight like apes

Published 03/07/2009 | 00:00

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Fight like apes' Maykay talks about Katy Perry, Peaches Geldof and mourning Michael Jackson

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How does it feel to be simultaneously the most loved and reviled band in Ireland?

It's what we want. There is something unfulfilling about not getting a reaction. If we wanted to be in a band that everybody was going to fall in love with, we certainly wouldn't be writing the lyrics we write or performing the way we perform.

Fight Like Apes are festival veterans by now. What are your thoughts on Oxegen 09? Our indie trainspotter friends tell us it's one of the best bills yet.

I still can't believe the line-up. It's really amazing. We love TV On The Radio and are looking forward to seeing them for the first time. Stuff like Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, though -- I always find it strange seeing people like them at festivals.

'Strange' in a good way or a bad way?

I hate Katy Perry. I can't stand her. This effort at making herself cool because she's possibly bisexual. She absolutely wrecks me head.

Rrrar. Saucer of milk for you! Next you'll be claiming you don't like Lady GaGa...

The thing about the two of them is that I find them really disingenuous. Lady Gaga -- I think she's completely crazy. I actually implore you to go see her -- unless you've got little kids. I don't want them seeing that part of her anatomy. I guarantee she won't be wearing any underwear.

You'll have to excuse me, I just spilt coffee all down my front.

We were playing Glastonbury and we saw her there. She managed to show the crowd a lot more than what they wanted to see. I couldn't believe it. It's the kind of the thing that, if somebody had told me about it, I'd say 'of course she did'. She was looking for the attention. When you actually see it on the big screen ... It took the camera man about a millionth of a second to get a close-up.

I'll never be able to listen to Pokerface the same way again. Speaking of Glastonbury, were you on-site when news of Michael Jackson's death started to spread?

It sounded like one of those wind-ups that someone starts at a festival. And then people were literally running around shouting about it. A friend of mine saw girls crying on their boyfriends' shoulders. It was really crazy. There was a sense of calm panic.

It's hard to imagine Jackson being a mere mortal, isn't it?

He is one of those people who, as crazy as his life has been, you don't expect he has organs that can give in. Surely at this stage he has been given titanium-enforced lungs and heart so that he can stay being entertaining and brilliant forever.

So did you throw in a few snatches of Billie Jean at your Glasto set?

If we were talented enough to break into an impromptu cover, I'm sure we would. All the DJs were playing his stuff. People were dancing along and making inappropriate jokes about him.

See anyone glamorous backstage?

Peaches Geldof was everywhere. She was there with a couple of people and seemed to be enjoying herself. We saw Natasha Khan from Bat For Lashes. And Cerys Matthews, who used to be in Catatonia. How boring. I actually camped for the weekend with some friends.

You also toured with The Prodigy. Who was scarier: the band or their audience ?

The band were lovely. The first day Liam [Howlett] came in and said he loved Fight Like Apes. He's been awesome. We've seen our name crop up in interviews of his, where he's mentioned the band and stuff. There's a quote from him on the Japanese edition of our album. I don't know what it says -- it's in Japanese and it could say, 'Fight Like Apes are pathetic'. But I'd imagine it's a lovely thing. It was just nice that Liam and Keith made an effort.

Their crowd must have terrified the bejaysus out of you, though.

That was probably the toughest tour we've ever done. We are a bunch of cocky little brats going on stage. And then you realise you are going on before gods, really. The crowds The Prodigy play to are insane. It makes you work harder -- it gives up a kick up the ass. It's the kind of wake-up call that is so needed by a lot of bands who get to where we are.

We've heard -- okay, we read in Wikipedia -- that Fight Like Apes are connoisseurs of Buckfast. Apparently, it's the fuel that keeps your well-oiled machine on the road.

It's a bit of a constant in our lives, alright. I don't know how this ever happened, really. Jamie and Tom are big fans. I was a bit of a latecomer. We do enjoy a gin now and again. Unfortunately, our wallets don't feel the same at all afterwards. So we do always tend to come back to Buckfast.

Ed Power

Fight Like Apes and The Mystery of the Golden Medallion is out now. Fight Like Apes play Heineken Green Spheres Stage at Oxegen, Friday July 10.

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