James Nicholas Righton (born 25 August 1983) is a British musician. As well as singing, he was the keyboard-player of the London-based new rave band Klaxons, which disbanded in 2015.[3] In March 2016, Righton announced his new project Shock Machine with a video directed by Saam Farahmand.[4] Righton released his first solo album The Performer on Soulwax's Deewee label in March 2020.

James Righton
Righton in 2006
Righton in 2006
Background information
Birth nameJames Nicholas Righton
Born (1983-08-25) 25 August 1983 (age 40)
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
  • Musician
  • singer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Years active2005–present
Formerly ofKlaxons
(m. 2013)
RelativesWill Knightley (father-in-law)
Sharman Macdonald (mother-in-law)

Early life


Righton was born in Leamington Spa, England. Righton's father, also a musician, encouraged him to be a part of several bands that performed regularly while he was still at Stratford-upon-Avon High School.[5]



While attending the High School at Stratford-upon-Avon, Righton met Simon Taylor-Davis and taught him to play the guitar.[6] While working towards a career as a performer, Righton worked as a music teacher.[7] He attended the Benicàssim festival, where he again met Simon Taylor-Davis, and soon after that the two met Jamie Reynolds in New Cross, London.[8] When Reynolds lost his job, he bought a studio kit with his redundancy money. The three men began to record and perform live under the name of "Klaxons (Not Centaurs)", a name inspired by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's The Futurist Manifesto.[9] In 2005 this band played with Finnigan Kidd as drummer,[10] until Kidd left and Steffan Halperin joined in 2006,[11] Around this time, the band began using the shorter name of "Klaxons".[12]

Klaxons signed to Polydor Records in 2006.[13] After many successful tours, they announced in 2014 that their current tour would be their last.

James Righton signed to Marathon Artists/House Anxiety in 2016 under the moniker, Shock Machine. Righton's new project was announced in March with the release of the video for the first single, Shock Machine, directed by Saam Farahmand.[14] The eponymous introduction to this project was recorded in a cabin in the south of France with producer James Ford. The first single Shock Machine, released on 8 March 2016 with accompanying video directed by Saam Farahmand, was featured on his four-track debut EP Open Up The Sky. After the release of the EP, Righton released the single Lost in the Mystery . Remixes of Open Up the Sky and Shock Machine by Soulwax, and Beyond the Wizards Sleeve were also released.[15] Shock Machine's debut album was released on 25 August 2017.[16]

Work in film and theatre


Righton scored the short film William by Simon Amstell in 2015. He went on to score Amstell's film Benjamin in 2018, and compose music for Amstell's 2019 Netflix stand up special "Set Free".

He worked alongside Tom Rowlands for The Life of Galileo, directed by Joe Wright at the Young Vic in 2017.

In 2021 it was announced that James would be working with ABBA on their ABBA Voyage concert shows in London.

Other musical contributions






With Klaxons


As Shock Machine

  • Shock Machine (2017)



Personal life


In February 2011, Righton began dating actress Keira Knightley[17] and on 4 May 2013 they were married in Mazan, Vaucluse, in the south of France.[18] Since early 2014 they have lived in Canonbury, Islington.[19] They have two daughters.[20]


  1. ^ "Klaxons Mercury award winners". Clash. 1 September 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  2. ^ Pollock, David (10 October 2006). "Get out your glowsticks". The Independent. Archived from the original on 19 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Klaxons Announce Final 2015 Tour Before They Disband". Music Times. www.musictimes.com.
  4. ^ "Sailing the psychedelic seas with Shock Machine". Dazed. www..dazeddigital.com. 8 March 2016.
  5. ^ Rolls, Chris (6 April 2007). "The myth and magic of the Klaxons". MP3.com. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Ready to rave?". European Vibe. 2006. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  7. ^ Abney, Barb (18 April 2007). "MPR: The Klaxons perform in studio". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  8. ^ Smyth, David (5 September 2007). "Klaxons feeling a little bit Mercurial". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  9. ^ Pareles, Jon (15 October 2007). "Pumped Up With an Artsy, Postpunk Jolt of Rave". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Klaxons". Fasterlouder.com.au. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  11. ^ MacBain, Hamish (2006). "Interview". Dummy Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 August 2007.
  12. ^ Singleton, Simon (December 2006). "Q&A Klaxons". FACT. Archived from the original on 19 September 2007.
  13. ^ Cripps, Charlotte (20 October 2006). "The Klaxons: New noise warning". London: Independent News & Media. ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  14. ^ Robinson, Collin (8 March 2016). "Shock Machine – "Shock Machine" Video". Stereogum.
  15. ^ Reeve, Joe (8 March 2016). "Music Video: Shock Machine - Shock Machine". HUH Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  16. ^ "SHOCK MACHINE SHARES 'UNLIMITED LOVE' VIDEO - Shock Machine". DIY Mag. 18 July 2017.
  17. ^ Gicas, Peter (25 April 2011). "Keira Knightley's Latest Starring Role: Bridesmaid at Brother's Wedding". E! Online. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Keira Knightley weds James Righton in France". Hub 24x7. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Canonbury's celebrity status is confirmed as Keira Knightley moves in". Homes & Property. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.