Interview: Eddie Argos of Art Brut (Pt. 3)
Wed, 13 Jun 2007 15:43:24
Have you shied away from working on any new material while on tour, or do you have some newer songs in the works?
I find it hard to write lyrics when we're on tour... but, actually now I've sort of gotten the hang of it now. We've just come out of writing the album, so our heads are still in that place. So, I've started writing some new songs already. I think they probably have, too—you know I don't write the music or anything. We do it separately. At sound checks I start mucking around with things. I think that once you start writing, you can't really stop. So even though we're on tour, our heads are still sort of half in the studio. So, we've started writing [new] songs already, which is good. We're ready. Maybe we'll have another album in a week!
Now that you've solidified the new line-up and had the experience of the first album, how did that affect the way you wrote and recorded It's a Bit Complicated?
With the first album, we were all still at work and stuff, so we couldn't all be in the studio at the time. We couldn't really gang up on the producer and do what we wanted. We had a more like-minded producer anyway, who we really like, and we'd all be there at once so we could gang up on him. We'd say "Do it like this!" You're just more comfortable when you're all there. So, that made it better. Ian [Catskillian, guitarist] lived at the studio for a bit. We'd come in and find all these new backing vocals and things [that he had done overnight]. When someone is living in the studio, you sort of get into it. It's funny, I love the way I see Ian and Jasper [Future, rhythm guitarist] play guitar together. It's like pick-up sticks or legos or something.
You have a track on the new album called "Sounds of Summer." Do you have any favorite summer songs?
Well, all that was talking about making girls mixtapes, and knowing whether or not there's clues in them. There's a song by Roy Harper called "One of Those Days in England." Now that I'm older and listening to it, I realize it's about smoking drugs on a rainy day in England, but when I was younger—for some reason in my head—it was a summer song. [sings] One of those days in England… It's amazing. He's a hippie. In the summer when I was younger, my Mum—she's quite young—used to drive around me and my brother in her little blue car playing all these funny hippie songs. She'd play The Cure—probably not very summer music, but in my head it's summer music. "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," that's a summer song I suppose. But, that's the sort of stuff my Mum was playing in the car when I was about 11, so those are the songs I remember when I was just sitting around eating chips… by the harbor. Roy Harper is really great. I don't want to say all his songs are good, but that one is.
To celebrate your new album, there's going to be Art Brut karaoke in some US cities. Do you karaoke?
I've only done karaoke twice, actually—but I did do it recently. I did… what did I sing? Oh, I did "Ballroom Blitz" by The Sweet. I did it once before that, and I did "Man of La Mancha." [sings] Dream the impossible dream...
Broadway show tunes aren't usually the best choices for karaoke...
Neither is my voice! But, I love that song. I love the lyrics to that song.
Some consider you a great band to drink to, because of your style and some of the lyrics. Do you write about drinking to play up to your image, or because it's just a part of young life?
Well, I wrote "Late Sunday Evening" because I was hungover. You know how you wake up and you're a bit upset with yourself? What did I do last night? Something stupid I'm fairly sure. And you can't work out whether you feel sick because of the drink or because of something stupid that you've done, and you haven't quite remembered yet. I wanted the song to say to myself, "Don't worry, you'll be alright." And I couldn't think of one, or find one. I wrote it with a hangover, on a Sunday night, to try and make myself feel better. I woke up the next day and thought, "Oh, we should record this." I was lying in bed reading magazines… I couldn't really get out of bed. I got up at 10 or something and still wasn't quite ready to eat. Everyone has hangovers! It's a comforting song, well, that was the plan.
The majority of the shows you'll be playing over the summer are at festivals, and to me, you feel like much more of a club band. Do you prefer playing one type of show over the other?
We always try and play as big as possible, even in small venues. I like festivals, actually, because you get to see a crowd gathering around you where you can win new people. It's nice. It's like at school. You see a fight going on, and then a crowd starts to from. You see that at festivals, too, sometimes—but not with fighting!
Art Brut's new album, It's a Bit Complicated, is available in the ARTISTdirect store.
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