METRONOMY: Good Times
Metronomy has delivered “The English Riviera,” an unforgettable album that we can’t seem to take out of rotation. Lucky for us, the band is even willing to talk about how it all came together.
Words: Vanessa Denis
It all started way back, when Joseph Mount, lead vocalist of Metronomy, purchased a computer from his dad because he wanted to make music. Inspired by such artists as Aphex Twin and LFO, Joseph found his passion for remixing in those early “creation” days of in his bedroom. “The idea of a remix has kind of changed a bit. [It’s] turning someone’s song’s into either what I might have done with it or just [turn it] into something else. If someone’s done a really good, dance track, you don’t really want to try and do a really good, dance version of it [be]cause it’s already there” Joseph said. “When I was doing a lot of remixes,” he continued, “the line was a bit blurred between whether they were sampling a whole vocal or then just building a new track.”
But the future of Metronomy came when Joseph received a request from DJ Trash to perform “You Could Easily Have Me” live. And as fate would have it, there were a couple of elements needed for a live performance that were missing–that’s when the band began to take shape. “Before I joined Metronomy [in 2009],” Anna Prior, Metronomy’s drummer reflected, “I hadn’t played drums for a year and it was the most freakish year of my life. It was horrible.” Fast forward two years and the band’s signature electronic sound is unmistakably compelling.
The band’s third album, The English Riviera, released in this past April 2011 shows just how much the band has grown sonically. “The most different [thing] to me [about the new album] is the way that it sounds on a stereo,” Joseph shared. “It’s a much warmer kind of thing. I listen to it and it sounds kind of confident in itself and comfortable in itself.”
But what’s the formula for creating their latest or as a group overall? “Well, yeah it’s more like that [I bring the band the music], [rather than] the idea of jamming something [together], which we find repulsive.” Joseph confided. “[When making new music] it’s more like coming in[to the studio] and getting people to play their parts and doing things like that.” Their music sessions, under Joseph’s direction, become the early, raw, “live” versions of their songs, which slowly evolve as their grooves meld into one another organically. “I remember when we first started playing a song like “The Bay,’” Gbenga reflected, “It’s very different now. It’s just cause [that] we’re comfortable enough to play it a little bit more, whereas at first, you’re just like worried about getting parts correct and not making mistakes.”
Keeping their single “The Bay” in mind, it’s not just the music that’s constantly evolving. Moving beyond the relentless ’80s esque production of the song, the music video is just as impressive. “With that video, the idea was to make this pretty stylish, glamorous video in England and in the area of the English Rivera,” Joseph enthusiastically explained. “People in England don’t believe it’s in England. They think it’s in [the] South of France” Joseph said. “Or in LA,” Anna added with a look of amused disbelief. “And people from there had gotten on hump about us, because they’re like ‘it doesn’t really look like that,’” Gbenga, the band’s bass guitarist/vocalist added before the room erupted in laughter.
So who or what is Metronomy today? “[Metronomy was a] teenage dream,” Joseph said. “[While] It’s not a real science, we could probably start a degree or something online.” Currently on an international tour throughout the UK, France and the US, the British band is on the road until November. When I randomly asked the crew what they most enjoy during their days off, Gbenga confessed randomly, “Goddamnit, cats are expensive. I’ve never had a pet before, I wasn’t aware of how expensive they are, [but] my girlfriend and I just got a cat, [and we] hang out with our cat. I moved into a new flat just before we started touring. So when we’re not doing music, I’m trying to basically sort my life out.”
“I like to cycle,” Anna said. “Well, Oscar and I, we took our bikes when we did a European tour and [we would] just get up and go cycling around the city.” Of course Joseph chimed in, wording it perfectly. “I think we all, when we’re not doing music, [we] aren’t very musical at all. Cause that’s [making music] our life.”