Had to repost this video, can’t get enough, but as an added bonus BigStereo favorite Metronomy finally got around to answer a few questions about american music, our favorite album of the year, and the new line up.
First of all thanks for taking time for BigStereo. I can honestly say I’m one the biggest believers that Metronomy is one of the greatest bands in the last ten years. I was absolutely in love with ‘Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe)’ but when ‘Nights Out’ was released I was just floored. It was one of the greatest albums I had heard from start to finish in years. I thought nothing would be able to top that. Now that I’ve listened to ‘The English Riviera’ it’s clear I was wrong. The band seems to be getting tighter and maturing which is lacking in most bands these days. It’s a one hitter quitter on the most part for bands and with the decline of the music industry as we know it it’s good to hear a band that’s dedicated and can supply the demand. I usually save the ass kissing for last but with you guys I will gladly serve it up front.
Thanks, that’s very kind of you.
What have you been doing to keep Metronomy alive and kicking? Has changing line ups helped in a way?
Well, I think in all honesty what has kept Metronomy alive and kicking is largely the fans. I don’t mean that in a ‘never forget your fans way’ (obviously comes into it), but Mainly I mean that when making music you embark on a relationship with the people that like you. For me, the most important thing is to not let anyone who likes us now, or whoever has liked us before down. That maybe sounds slightly odd, but it is honestly how I feel.
In the beginning I had no idea that my music would end up being liked by so many people and with a reasonable amount of influence and power comes a reasonable amount of responsibility. These days, when music holds such little value for so many people, I think it has never been more important to think about some kind of legacy. Perhaps Metronomy and other bands around at the moment will be the last to release music the way we are, it seems only right that you should try your hardest to make something that is interesting and relevant.
The line up changes have really helped, not that anything was going stale before, but these little shake ups give you little kicks up the arse. At the point when Gbenga and Anna joined it was a really make or break moment, we were all quite aware of that. Thankfully it worked out.
Can you introduce us to the new band members and tell us a little about how you met and maybe a little something that most fans wouldn’t know about them?
Well, on the drums is Anna Prior and playing bass guitar is Gbenga Adelekan. Gbenga was someone who I met through mutual friends, I didn’t really know him well before we started touring, now I know him very well. Me and Anna still can’t remember when or how we first met, but that’s the London party scene for you. Gbenga loves energy drinks and is the only person I know who drinks tonic water without the Gin. Anna owns the nicest pair of ladies trousers I have ever seen or been jealous of.
Rest of interview
Tell us what what was different in the process for writing this album than was for the others. How does this one stand up against the last two albums?
It was very different. Firstly I was forcing myself to ‘demo’ songs rather than finish them. Secondly I was taking the demos to a studio to actually record them. For someone who has spent so long working alone on a computer this is a massive change.
I think that waiting for the third record before going in a studio was the perfect idea. I’d always imagined the day that I would use a studio and so had hundreds of ideas I wanted to try, so many in fact that I am very excited to go back. I guess I will be recording this way for a while now, so I suppose the whole thing stands up well against the previous records.
Can you tell us a little about what ‘The English Riviera’ is about lyrically?
It’s about a few things in my mind. Mainly it’s about being in love and about remembering your childhood through slightly misty rose tinted frames. It’s also about missing home to some extent.
With album sales dropping and bands and labels struggling are there any ideas on what you guys can do to keep the art alive while still being able to live, at least for yourselves as a band? What’s the most sell out moment for Metronomy if any?
These days, it’s very hard to think of what selling out actually is. It’s slightly naive for fans to think that a band has ever ‘sold out’ as such. Some music ‘fans’ don’t buy music anymore, this means that bands and artists have to find other ways of buying food and recording albums. Sadly, the easiest way to do this is to accept money from Nokia or some other company. Product placement seems to be a pretty common way for bands to get money to fund touring etc these days. I guess my mentality is that if you make good and well constructed albums then people with hopefully want to buy the whole album, not just the singles. In some way that seems to be working for us. As for our most sell out moment, I’m not really sure, there are so many. We’ve done stuff with Blackberry and Lacoste and Ray Ban and Jack Daniels…the list goes on. It’s really impossible to avoid these days I’m afraid.
When I first heard you guys I was automatically in love mostly due to the fact that you guys took me to a warm place, fusing past and present. It was like the 8 year old me and the present me collided music tastes and discovered their favorite band. A lot of it due to the fact that some of your songs remind me so much of old nintendo games, particularly Zelda. I don’t know if you’ve heard that before but I can totally hear Link playing the ocarina in some of your tracks. NERD ALERT! I was just wondering if you guys have any nerdy influences that maybe you incorporate into your music. Can you tell us other influences for this album musically or not?
Well, I certainly love playing computer games. I expect all the outside influences slip in without me really paying attention though. I think my most nerdy influences involve synthesisers and drum machines. When I was making the record I hired a few keyboards I’d never used before. Most of them ended up influencing a song.
I’ve seen you guys a few times and you guys always have an incredibly fun show. You guys used to wear those push lights for your show. You guys still using those or do you have any new infomercial products for the show? If you could do something musically with the magic bullet and make it sound good it wouldn’t surprise me. What’s up your sleeve for the new tour?
Well, it depends when you last saw us really. But, we have upgraded the old light show. We started playing as a live band when loads of night clubs in the UK were putting on more conventional shows, the only difference was that we’d end up playing to clubbers at about 3 am. Because of this I think we’ve always tried to put on quite up tempo shows and to do something that people (even drugged up club people) will remember. For the festivals this year we are venturing in to the world of backdrops, but at this stage I can’t really say much more.
I’ve read in an interview that you were quite disappointed with American music as of late stating that it was all being influenced by Europop that has been ruining Europe for the last 20 years. I completely agree and believe that America has been late to the game in lot’s of musical influences from around the world. Yet America is one of the biggest musical markets in the world. What do you think is so fascinating about american musical culture if anything, and maybe some differences?
I think as a European I do find American music culture quite fascinating really. The thing that I am most constantly surprised by is just how often I can completely get the wrong idea about American acts. This can manifest itself in things like Kings of Leon turning out to be a stadium rock band or Danger Mouse being the kind of person who thinks U2 are a good band to work with. I suppose other positive examples would be things like Lil’ Wayne sampling MIA (or whoever it was that actually did it first) or Britney working with Rusko. Anyway, that age old phrase remains relevant ‘Two nations separated by a common language’. Fact is, we have very different cultures really and there is no reason to expect that what’s happening thouands of miles away should be the same.
Are there any american acts that have peaked your interest as of late?
I heard some of the new Bon Iver album and thought it was refreshingly ballsy. But I worry that maybe someone, somewhere working for him is imagining that he might be the next Sting. I guess that maybe plays in to the last question, America does have a HUGE music market and I guess some people are still able to just see dollar signs. Kanye West is obviously doing something quite exciting. Tune Yards too…and Janelle Monae.
I just want to say thank you so much again for doing what you do and can’t wait to see you guys in London! Metronomy forever! Ok now time for the silly questions.
If you guys could play a festival with three acts dead or alive who would it be?
Mr West (this is actually happening this summer), Ringo Star and Britney.
What are 3 things you wish you were big enough to ask for on a rider and get?
A new suit, a ping pong table, a bed.
In movies about music there is generally another arch nemesis band, sometimes in real life like in rap and in britpop. Strictly in a fun an humorous way who would be the band you were battling in the movie about you?
I think we decided that we were going to build up some beef with that English band Brother. If they can be called ‘the new Oasis’ then surely we’re allowed to be the new blur.
What’s the drunkest/most drugged up story moment on tour, either you guys or people at the show?
Well, strangely we’ve been pretty well behaved of late. I mean, we have fun, but nothing goes wrong. But, we’re always quite confused why at almost everyone of our shows a fight breaks out near the front…people seem to get kicked out every time (sorry it’s not better than that).
Whose all of your celebrity crushes?
Me, Oscar and Gbenga like Gillian Anderson, Anna likes bearded men.
Is there anything Metronomy will never do?