"I’m going to be trying out some new tracks, which I’m trying to get finished, and just trying to do the best possible sets I can and [trying to] enjoy myself – ‘cause I always have a laugh when I’m down there."
Is Theo Keating dance music's cleverest DJ/producer? After pioneering big beat with The Wiseguys, the sometime DJ Touché devised the electro-goth outfit The Black Ghosts alongside ex-Simian frontman Simon William Lord. More mysteriously, he introduced the rebellious fidget house of Fake Blood with 2008's Mars. Some imagined it was Norman Cook. Keating finally disclosed his true identity in Mixmag. Clever.
“There's no masterplan – there was no plot or anything, it was all very accidental,” insists Keating, who rarely gives interviews. “I won't use the word 'organic', 'cause that's a bit rubbish, but it just started with one song. Then people liked it and so I thought I'd make another and remixes… The anonymity thing was really just to avoid confusion with The Black Ghosts thing I was doing at the time… It just sort of snowballed under its own force.”
In the early '90s the Londoner formed The Wiseguys with DJ Regal (Paul Eve), who quit after their debut. Ironically, Keating enjoyed greater success on his own. A second Wiseguys album, The Antidote, spawned the crossover singles Ooh La La and Start The Commotion, both licensed for ads. He now refers to all that as “the early days”.
Keating purportedly hooked up with Lord online. The Black Ghosts cut 2008's eponymous album for Southern Fried Records, Damon Albarn a guest. The psy-folk Full Moon was memorably used in Twilight – and included on the best-selling OST. “I've never seen the film, even now – not out of deliberate avoidance, I just never got 'round to checking it out,” Keating admits. On the DVD commentary Robert Pattinson asks what The Ghosts' song is. “Does he?” Keating says, chuffed. (He'll subsequently call Pattinson's character, Edward Cullen, “Bobby Vampire”.)
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
The Ghosts suddenly found themselves fielding a huge number of MySpace 'friends' requests from (especially American) female fans. “That was quite a strange little bubble.” They considered touring the US to capitalise, but decided that their album had “finished its cycle”. Ultimately, any mainstream interest proved “quite transitory” but, says Keating, it was “fun”.
The DJ switched focus to Fake Blood, disseminating singles and EPs, his biggest hit, I Think I Like It, and select remixes. Keating recently dropped the first Fake Blood album, Cells, its material “maybe slightly odder or not really straight-up club tracks or for DJs”. He'll follow the single, Yes/No, with All In The Blink in the New Year.
Lord sings on two Cells tracks. The Ghosts last presented 2011's stellar LP, When Animals Stare. Keating is non-committal about a follow-up. “They just come 'round when they come 'round.” Again, there's no masterplan.
Keating presaged EDM's rampant hybridisation with Fake Blood's electro/techno/house. But, while he pays little heed to genre distinctions, dubstep – or, at least, “the tear-out dudestep stuff” – isn't for him. “The original spirit of that stuff is great, but obviously it went off in a slightly obnoxious direction.”
The DJ is returning to our festival circuit, escaping a wintery UK. The one downer? Boarding the plane on his birthday. “I'm really looking forward to coming back – it's been a while. The stuff I'm playing has shifted. I'm going to be trying out some new tracks, which I'm trying to get finished, and just trying to do the best possible sets I can and [trying to] enjoy myself – 'cause I always have a laugh when I'm down there. So I'm really psyched for it.”
Fake Blood will be playing the following dates:
Tuesday 1 January - Summadayze, Sidney Music Bowl, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 6 January - Summadayze, Patersons Stadium, Subiaco WA