Words: Andrew Swann (Substance is Meaningless)
Photo: Warner Music Group
It’s loud backstage at Out of The Woods festival as I meet Joseph Mount, singer and mastermind of Metronomy for a quick chat, so loud that we have to retreat to a quieter spot. Our search sees us end up on the outskirts of the festival, with Joe perched on a dusty bar stool, leaning against a rusty fence surrounded by stage props – this is what a life on tour is all about.
It’s over ten years since their debut album “Nights Out” was released, so how has the music scene changed for Metronomy over those years and how important is social media for artists these days? We found out.
How does the creative process work for you? Could you write a song with your kids hovering around or do you need to be in an artistic place?
I have a little room, a studio where I go to work that isn’t in the house. The whole thing with kids is that you become less self-indulgent, but then when you do get the time to self-indulge you just go for it big time. So when I’m focussed, I’m fine and I can get on with it, but generally I have less time these days.
Do you have a song writing routine or ritual to get in the zone?
Not really. I generally work on about four or five things at the same time and skip between them. When I get sick of one thing I jump to the next and come back to the other that I was sick of and think: ‘Oh that’s really good!“ It’s very haphazard. I have a way I like to do stuff, but it doesn’t always get results (laughs).
You create everything yourself – you are Metronomy – could that change in the future?
I love working with other people, but I think I’m in too deep with Metronomy to let other people in on it (laughs). I thought about working with others producers for the new stuff, and I did try it a little bit, but it changes the feel of the music too much. I’d love to, but not as Metronomy.
How important do you think social media really is for musicians these days?
It’s crazy important. It’s a very mysterious world though. And I always feel a little sad, because by using it as an artist, you’re advertising these companies and I always find that strange. No one is paying you to put the little F for Facebook or the Instagram logo on your website, but you do it anyway. That’s insane promotion, and I find that a bit odd.
Do you think it would have been easier for you to rise to quick fame if there had been so many channels like there are now?
Possibly. If, in some alternate universe, “The Bay” or “The Look” was released next week then maybe it could explode like some of these songs today.
With your own meme.
(Laughs). Yes, that would be great! “Radio Ladio” definitely has potential for that. It’s memetastic.
But then the music isn’t the focal point.
Sometimes it doesn’t always need to be about the music.
Like Drake and Hotline Bling?
Yeah, he’s clever, he knew what he was doing – or at least someone in his team is clever!
How do you feel about the evolution of digital streaming platforms – are they helping musicians or are they killing the album?
This may shock some, but to be honest, who cares about the album? It doesn’t really matter. Albums are brilliant, and while they were the only format for doing stuff they were really cool. There have been some amazingly well thought out albums and people are used to consuming music that way. But I don’t think streaming means the end of albums or anything really. Music and musicians will adapt.
In what way?
Look at the concept album. That only really happened because the album format was invented, and people will always find cool ways to use streaming to their advantage as well. You can’t stop it or fight against, it’s just pointless. Adapt or die out.
It definitely puts more emphasis on writing a hit.
For sure. But then again, that’s all that anyone ever wants.
It would be really cool to have a massive one hit wonder, I’m up for that. All of my favourite songs are one hit wonders.
Get to work then!
I’ve been trying for f**king ages (laughs).
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