How come you’ve never played in Dubai before?
I’ve always turned down gigs in Dubai – I’ve never felt comfortable fitting in, and it’s a long way to travel for a one-off show. But at the moment we’re not doing anything and three days on the beach sounded fun.
Have you ever visited Dubai on holiday?
I’ve never set foot anywhere near it – the closest I’ve been is Turkey. I can imagine it’s good fun, quite an affluent place. We’re lucky enough to be staying at Atlantis so I expect there’ll be lots of mucking around with diving equipment. We’re going to party a lot, and I’m sure there are a few good clubs.
What do you think of the Sandance bill?
It’s a good bill. We played with Travis 12 years ago – I know a lot of their crew – and I’ve met the guys a couple of times. As for Fatboy Slim, I remember hanging out at his house in 1990. That was pretty crazy, seeing him in Brighton [in the UK] and going back for a house party.
We hear you met Morcheeba lead singer Skye Edwards at a party too – sounds like a Sliding Doors moment.
I think that’s a very valid point. She ended up going out with this guy I lived with, who was our bass player at the time – she later had two kids with him – and we just hung out. She was a nervous, nervous character at the time; you had to put your head right next to her face to hear what she was singing. Because Skye was so timid we mellowed the music, which gave it the voice and sound, the relaxation and ambiance, which is a key element. I’m sure we’d have ended up doing music anyway, but we had a dream of a career.
So why did you fire Skye from the band in 2003?
I think we just got sick of each other, took each other for granted, stopped respecting each other – ten years is enough to drive anybody crazy. It’s just like being a family, you have to break out, get some sanity back. We started ploughing in different directions and it was painful. We needed a break.
And it was another chance meeting that saw you reform in 2010…
I was out on the street, I wasn’t sure if she saw me, but she just jumped in front of me and gave me a big hug. We met up for dinner, had a drink and decided it would be great to make a record.
Do you play any of the songs from the two albums you made without Skye?
We don’t do any songs that she didn’t sing; I don’t think it’s a major issue.
If Morcheeba was an alien planet, what would it look like?
Completely blue and green, mainly covered with water, with plankton, algae and jellyfish.