After spending a good part of the spring digging through U.S. record stores, Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook) has settled down in his hometown of Brighton, England, to write the follow-up to 2000's Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars. The album is due for release on Astralwerks in September 2003.
"At the moment, I'm going through all the records I bought over the last year and a half to sample," he told Rolling Stone. "Oh my God, are they mad! I just bought stupid records in L.A. thrift stores. I'd call it pre-production."
Though the album is in the early stages, Cook already feels the pressure to take things in a new direction. "I've done the rock with break beats and done the house roots trying to get more soulful," he says. "My main motivational force is just to do something really freaky. If I do something dull, then that would be the end of me. The antithesis of Moby's last album -- don't repeat yourself. Don't play safe. At the moment what I want to do is something completely nuts, so it'll be either genius or bollocks."
In typical Fatboy Slim fashion, Cook says he is planning on recruiting guests for the release (past contributors have included Macy Gray and the late Jim Morrison), but he's keeping mum on the subject. "There's American [artists] Americans wouldn't have heard of that I'm going to work with and there's English people that Americans might or might not have heard of that I'm going to work with," he says.
Cook's fourth artist album will come on the heels of a few other projects: He'll release three remix EPs taken from Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars on November 19th, he's working on a remix of the theme for the upcoming Spike Jonze movie Adaptation, and he recently went abroad to Marrakesh to do production work on Blur's upcoming album.
"It's not dancey," Cook says of the Blur material. "It's not like they got me in to turn them into a dance band. We've been having tons of fun. The only thing I can say is that it sounds more like the Clash, the Clash on a good day."