Burton is more elusive when the conversation turns to which sensory experience
he himself would prefer as an audience member - an evening seated on a couch at his Brixton jaunt 10 years ago, watching old-school
Basement Jaxx, or Wembley Arena now, alongside the masses, and miles from the stage.
"A couch?!" he objects, with a chuckle. "Why do you think I'd be seated on
a couch at a Basement Jaxx show? I love them both... but there's nothing like being in the middle of several thousand people
who are rapt in a show."
Basement Jaxx established their street-credentials via tracks like "Samba
Magic" (1995) and the subsequent "Fly Life" two years later, which tied together innovative North American house music sensibilities
with traditional South American and Caribbean rhythm structures, and set more inspired dance floors afire across the globe.
Atlantic Jaxx was a flagship imprint for open-minded deejays, and Rooty was
reputed to be the most up-for-it club in London.
A decade later, Rooty has disappeared - traded in as the name of Basement
Jaxx's 2001 album - and Atlantic Jaxx has slowed down its release schedule as its founding fathers' tour schedule has boomed.
An indication of the duo's success is the popularity of their Myspace site:
at last count, they had 424,041 hits, and 38,987 friends.
"It's a fantastic way for new musicians to get their music out there," Burton
raves about the Myspace phenomenon.
"If people want to find out more about a particular producer, this is a great
avenue to do so - and it's creating a global underground, rather than a collection of local undergrounds."
It's a tool that he thinks aids new artists rather than established ones
like Basement Jaxx. "We don't use it so much," he admits.
A decade ago, when Burton and Ratcliffe started out, there was no online
friends network to help kick-start the band's career.
"We sent tapes out," Burton explains. "And all of them got knocked back.
In the end I went to a distributor and introduced myself and said we'd pay to press copies - and he said yes. That distributor
was Mark Jones from Wall of Sound. I didn't know who he was at the time. Then we went around all the record shops ourselves.
It was a lot of legwork."
If Myspace has accomplished anything of note aside from putting millions
of musicians' music on the Internet, it's been the recent success of British singer Lily Allen, who tweaked the network in
innovative self-serving ways.
"I know Lily," Burton says. "She worked on our last album, doing backing
vocals on one song ['Lights Go Down']."
Allen recently told The Daily Yomiuri newspaper that fans in Japan choosing
between Basement Jaxx and her own upcoming gigs should head to her own.
"Well, of course she would!" Burton chortles. "I love what she's doing -
but our gig would obviously be far better. No arguments there."
Basement Jaxx will perform Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Big Cat in
Osaka, (06) 6258-5008; Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. at Zepp in Tokyo, (03) 3599-0710.