Ahead of their massive comeback tour and Sound City 2017 headline slot, Getintothis’ Matthew Wood catches up with the mastermind behind the name, Joe Mount.
Metronomy began as the electronic, instrumental bedroom project of Joseph Mount who was in his early twenties when he released his debut album, Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe) back in 2006. Mount is now widely considered one of the most influential and unique figures in the world of electronic pop and with an impressive five albums under their belt, they’ve got the talent and the tunes to make their comeback a memorable one.
The band’s discography is that of a musical journey; each album representing a new beginning, a fresh perspective, and as he professes, he aims to be a musician that ‘keeps moving’ and offers something new to the world with each project. Pip Paine featured elements of 70’s glam, lo-fi and tripped-out jazz which seemed to exhibit Mount‘s capacity for creativity but perhaps lacked proper execution. With Nights Out he honed his skills further producing massive tracks such as Heartbreaker and A Thing For Me before the arrival of his magnum opus, The English Riviera.
Love Letters sees the band at their most experimental while Summer ’08, recorded entirely by Mount alone, dabbles in disco, funk and his love for sex and dancing. So in terms of ‘keeping moving’ it’s safe to say he’s more than pulled off such a feat, with each album completely unique in it’s approach. With his instantly recognizable voice he’s been able to always sound very ‘Metronomy’ while experimenting with what surrounds it. Mount is a solid rock amid a melting pot of musical transformation.
Getintothis: So how have you spent your two year break? ‘What have you been up to?
Joe Mount: ‘Everything! Finding myself!’… ‘looking after my children and making music’. He’s a modest chap and very aware of how lucky he is to be able to take time out, unwind and to ‘put all the time you spend on the road into making music’… ‘it was perfect for right now’ he adds ‘it’s been a really nice thing to do’. Mount exudes that sense of focus required to be not only a successful musician, but a developing musician with new challenges mapped out for himself. Himself and the band seemed to know exactly what they needed at this stage in their careers, what effect that has on the music waits to be revealed but Mount himself seems to have taken a lot from his time off.
Getintothis: So is this music for Metronomy in particular?
JM:‘Yeah it’s Metronomy stuff… while people are still interested it would be kinda crazy not to concentrate on Metronomy and take my foot off the gas’. Momentum is key and Mount was never about to let adult life get the better of his creativity, ‘once we start touring again this year, we probably won’t ever stop’ he laughs, ‘it’s kinda of impossible to refuse things’.
Agreed, it must be tough for bands to turn down festivals and shows when it’s what they love doing, and Metronomy are at a level where the requests will come flooding in, so it’s safe to say we’ll all have our chance to see the band play live. His commitment to each project is admirable and even after an impressive five LPs he has big aspirations for his sixth record. ‘It’s hard to maintain a level of exciting output when you reach a certain amount of albums’ he adds, but he’s confident he can launch over this discography hump that in itself is a special achievement, not everyone can say they’ve produced five albums in just ten years.
Getintothis: So what can we expect from the new music?
Joe notes that he is striving for the success he had with The English Riviera, ‘not musically like it… the appeal it had and reaching people again – more people!’ Perhaps we can expect something more tailored to mainstream, which frankly Mount deserves but has actively avoided in the past, tittering on the edge of the mainstream but never quite submerging himself in that world. Playing tiny sessions in grand houses in Paris is more their style, perhaps a sidestep away from the mainstream but undeniably cool.
JM: ‘The way I look at [The English Riviera] … I was trying to make a poppy record… I wanted it to be accessible.’ His desire to appeal to the masses with his music is apparent and we’ve every right to anticipate something fantastically funky (as usual) as well as a massive resurgence for Metronomy since the band’s two year hiatus. What we can confirm is that Mount shan’t be returning to the English Riviera to record the album, as he reveals the band’s synergy and how comfortably and easily the band can pick up where they left off after leading very different, distant, separate lives.
JM: ‘I don’t think I have to talk about [Torquay] again, but to do something with a similar relevance to me’, he admits how having a personal connection to that album made it an extra special achievement, so we can expect a personal touch to the new album, at least. He also admits his obsession with French house pop duo, Paradis; perhaps we can look forward to Mount exhibiting his French fluency over sumptuous electronica since he now resides in Paris?
JM: ‘In the end it doesn’t really matter where we are… we just need a bit of time to remember each other’s faces… it’s kind of wonderful… we can have these disparate lives but getting back together is a piece of cake… then we’re fed up of each other again after 20 minutes’.
It’s a fine thing for a band to have such a close-knit relationship despite their lives being hundreds of miles apart, knowing that they can slip straight back into old habits is something not all bands can boast about.
While we’re on the topic of locations I see my opportunity to pick Mount’s brains about his visits to Liverpool and his thoughts on our city. He transports us back to his childhood, having spent a lot of time with family in Liverpool, skateboarding, avoiding bullies trying to nick his skateboard and soaking up the music scene.
He cites the importance of skateboarding in his musical education, ‘skate videos in the late nineties taught me just as much about music as reading NME – the skateboarding the culture is really influential.’ This would probably explain why Metronomy are such a great band to skate to, their rhythm at times is unbeatable for a sunset cruise down by the docks. Mount goes on to remember the good times Liverpool has offered him: [In Liverpool] ‘we always go out and have a great time… I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad time there.’ He recalls top gigs at the Kazimier and the O2 Academy for EVOL and holds Liverpool high as a city of great culture and one with ‘an amazing musical identity… there isn’t many of them’.
So with fond memories of our great city, Metronomy are set to add another at this year’s Sound City as Saturday’s headliners alongside The Kills, The Kooks and The Cribs. The festival headliners have a real reminiscent feel about them, a blast from the past but far from testimonial; these band still have a whole lot to give. I asked Mount about the importance of Sound City and its growing importance with the closure of and threat towards smaller venues in today’s music scene.
JM: ‘Smaller venues are so important for bands’, when a venue gets closed down it’s due to councils or the government ‘taking their eyes off the prize’.‘The music industry is a multi-billion pound industry but relies on single little step, he continues, ‘often what I see is venues getting shut down because of noise complaints/redevelopment… this is so short sighted’.
Metronomy owe so much to the smaller venues themselves, as do so many bands of our generation, ‘everyone goes through the smaller venues… small venues are where The Beatles started’. ‘Sound City is a great thing because the city can reap the benefits, but nobody should take their eye off the ball‘. Amen to that!
Metronomy headline Liverpool Sound City 2017 on Saturday May 27 and embark on a massive tour across Europe, starting May 16.