Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:23:26
"When I'm writing songs, I try to take my cues from things that feel very honest to me," admits Joseph Mount of METRONOMY.
That same honesty courses through Love Letters out March 10. It builds upon the dreamscapes of The English Riviera, while expanding the group's inimitable style infinitely. As a result, you'll fall for Love Letters immediately as it remains a passionate, powerful, and poetic symbol of METRONOMY's brilliance.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Joseph Mount of METRONOMY talks Love Letters and so much more.
What ties Love Letters together for you?
It changed as the recording went on. When I started doing the album, I was just trying to record as many tracks as possible. I had this slightly wild idea I would do a double album. I was recording and recording and finishing tracks even if I wasn't one-hundred percent convinced of them. I thought it was important to work. Then, I was saying to people, "Don't tell me not to do a double album. Don't tell me this would make a good single album at the end". For some reason, I was very into the idea. Finally, I told myself it was enough to do a single album. That's the point at which it really started to make sense and come together. When you have the luxury of twenty tracks to whittle down to ten, you can really start to pick stuff on the merits of how they work with other songs. You can build a bit of a feel throughout the record. What I ended up with is a record I thought could convey the feeling of more tracks. It ended up being much better concise.
How did you cull it down to ten tracks?
Previously, I've been in the position where I had to finish things in order to put them on the album. If I had any misgivings about any songs, they wouldn't make the grade. At one point, it was going to be a twelve track album. Then, I wasn't quite sure about the other couple tracks. It was "on" or "off". There was no middle ground. There are tracks on previous records that I wasn't one-hundred-and-ten percent sure of. Every time you listen to the albums, you listen to the tracks, and you're like, "Those are things I would've done differently". I didn't want to end up with that same thing.
What's the story behind "Never Wanted"?
Throughout the record, a lot of the ideas on the tracks come from me traveling around and being away from people. That song's maybe the more explicit track about being away. When I wrote the guitar part, I imagined the track at the end might be a full band number. When I was recording that album, it was a bit of an analog studio. That makes you re-evaluate the songs. I had recorded the guitar parts, and I was like, "I'm not sure if it needs anything else". I'm happy for the vocal to be quite present. That's something I haven't really tried before.
Is it important for you to tell stories in the songs?
It's something I'm beginning to understand the value of. I haven't been the most confident lyricist before or anything like that. With this album, I tried to push aside any embarrassment I might've had. It makes for more vivid songs. The great thing I love about music is you can make these little atmospheres out of sounds, especially in the context of an album. That's probably why I love albums so much. You have this amount of time in which you can convey feelings. It's obvious.
What artists shaped you?
Like everybody else, when you're young, you blur all of your musical ideas. I had an older sister, and she would play things I'd pick up on. My parents had David Bowie records, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles. That was what I would listen to without trying to find it. When I hit my teens, I went through a phase of listening to a lot of conscious rap like DJ Shadow trip-hop. I've gone through phases. There are always significant records from each phase. It's things like DJ Shadow and The Beatles. Then, I got into Devo and The Ramones. They all end up contributing.
How did "Monstrous" come together?
That one started live. I sat down at the keyboard and came up with this keyboard line. It's normal for most people but weird for me. I recorded on a harpsichord, and it sounded like this crazy medieval dance. The lyrics were a bit odd for me. You become more comfortable with these things. We eventually replaced the medieval harpsichord with a slightly less medieval organ [Laughs]. It reminds me. I used to play this game Columns. It was like Tetris but on Sega. It reminds me of that game now!
If you were to compare Love Letters to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
It'd probably be like French films made in the sixties that were kind of odd. There's one À bout de soufflé or Breathless that I'm thinking of. Those films were trippy [Laughs].
Metronomy - I'm Aquarius
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