Ahead of their sold out Liverpool gig at the Kazimier on Saturday, Getintothis’ Liza Williams talks to Metronomy’s Joe Mount about their Mercury nominated album, whole sale purchases from Poundland and being more ‘bandy’.
Joe Mount has been saved from a life of discount shopping.
Gone are the days of obscure 2am club sets, where his band Metronomy needed the aid of touch sensitive flashing lights purchased from a certain pound shop to entertain the crowd: ‘We needed something for people to watch, to get their attention.
‘I remember making whole sale trips to Poundland to stock up. I was quite ham fisted and used to break them constantly. We still have lights now, they are a bit more up market but not by much.
‘It is good to have these experiences in the early days, it keeps you grounded.‘
And many an ambitious musician may be forgiven for floating away with the success of the band’s third album, The English Riviera. 2011 has been a big year for Metronomy, with a main stage performance at Glastonbury and a Mercury Prize nomination.
They are currently on a UK tour, visiting Liverpool’s The Kazimier next month.
Mount can’t deny it has been a pleasant surprise: ‘The difference between this record and the last one is that every week we seem to get exciting news.
‘I guess you would be weird if you did not want it to be popular, you hope people will enjoy it, but I really did not expect for this year to be as exciting. It is a really nice position to be in.‘
The Mercury nomination, which pit them against big commercial names like Adele and one of Mount’s musical heroes – PJ Harvey– must have been a highlight, I say: ‘If you are making records you are aware of it and know how it can help a band, but to be in a shortlist with artists like PJ Harvey is amazing. I never expected this, to be on a list with someone like that, that i have always liked and listened to.‘
Much of the new album centres on Devon, the county Mount grew up in, but he explains people have often misunderstood his take on the sleepy south west holiday spot: ‘The tourist board have this gift and people tend to see it as an idyllic place.
‘But the album is about my want for it to have been much more happening than it really was. The funny thing was when we put the video for The Bay (basically lots of models lying on a pier) on YouTube people were commenting, saying ‘Torbay is nothing like this’, but this was exactly the idea, it is nothing like that.
‘Some people have the idea it is me trying to say that is what it is like. But it is me wishing it had been somewhere a bit more happening, in terms of music really.‘
Mount knows Liverpool well, asking about the fate of Korova and explaining visits up North to see an ex-girlfriend in Widnes.
He says his performance memories are mixed, from ‘amazing’ shows to being booed off stage while supporting Kate Nash: ‘They were shouting various things, like ‘you’re gay’. But that’s the way it goes.‘
He has also been co-writing material with Nicola Roberts for her album: ‘I have always really liked pop and wanted to get involved in that world in some way. I used to joke about doing stuff with Girls Aloud, not because I wasn’t being serious but because I thought it wouldn’t happen!
‘So when I was approached about it I said yes. And it was a really genuinely rewarding experience, she was great to work with and I am so glad she is doing well.‘
This album sees the band grow in size to four, with Anna Prior and Gbenga Adelekan joining Mount and original member Oscar Cash.
Mount says this is reflective in the music they are making: ‘We have been touring with them for two years, and for me and Oscar it is a real breath of fresh air. We went from doing everything on computers and not much live to becoming more of a band.
‘If you are touring as much as we are now you want to feel like your live show is different every time and that you can change with the crowd. That is what has changed, we are like a real band.
‘On the new album it is still me doing the writing but it would not be as bandy as it is if we had not played as a band for over two years. It brings much more than is obvious on first inspection.‘
Metronomy play The Kazimier on Saturday.
Metronomy reviewed at Liverpool Sound City 2009.
Metronomy at the Academy 2008.