Metronomy: "I just do what pleases me"
Bands release albums and then tour, right? It’d be crazy to drop one of the hits of the summer and then… take a break?
Published: 8:53 am, December 22, 2016
When Metronomy released their fifth album ‘Summer 08’ in July of this year, frontman Joe Mount made a bold decision. Instead of touring, they’d take some time off. Now the band have announced dates for May 2017, the big question is: why the break?
“It was purely practical, like I’ve got children and stuff,” Joe laughs. He’s reached a point in his career where real life has to take precedence. “If I put out a record and I’m touring, when I come home I feel so guilty, I don’t do any music or anything because I’m trying to be a family man.”
Ultimately, this decision should benefit both Metronomy and their fans. “It’s been a really enjoyable time for me, I’ve just been at home hanging out with my family,” he continues. “The great thing about having not toured and stuff is I’ve been able to write - it’s been the first time in probably 10 years I’ve done that.”
With this reinvigorated creativity, the fact Joe had to add an extra album onto his record contract to make up for his tour-less year should pose no issue at all. “As far as I’m concerned, the record label I’m with are really good and have kind of been part of the story and part of the reason why everything’s going well. I think at the moment the record label are still important in the career of an artist.”
2016 also marked the tenth anniversary of Metronomy’s debut, ‘Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)’, not to mention the fact Joe actually started the band back in 1999. During his time as a musician, he’s seen “everything change”.
“When I first started putting out music,” he explains, “iTunes was around but there was no streaming and people were still buying CDs. Live music has become this insanely popular thing, arguably more important than buying an album or listening to an album. As a musician it’s a thing that affects you and how you think about what you make and what you do.”
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Indeed, if he were starting from scratch right now it would be a different ball game entirely. “I’m 34 now and imagine if I was 15 years old, having the possibility that you can find any kind of music that’s ever been made, really easily. I think it’s weird, because if I was younger and starting out again I think it’d be quite a different situation.”
Mind you, quantity isn’t the same as quality. ”Half of the stuff I hear about I don’t like, and that’s just how it is. Obviously, if you want to be popular you have to change what you do, you have to adapt to what the world is like, but I think it’s just too pointless to complain about it really. You just have to get up to speed, you know, and move forward.”
The key to Metronomy’s longevity, according Joe, is: “You have to stimulate yourself. If you’re not interesting to yourself then there’s no way you’re going to be interesting to anyone else. You have to focus. I guess for me it’s not really that much of a conscious decision, I just do what pleases me, and hope it pleases enough of the people to keep me in a job.”
He continues: “The more I make music the more I realise that kind of approach is finite. One day I’m going to run out of ideas, but for now, I think if you can get really gee’d up by the fact you still got ideas then I think that’s enough.”
So while ‘Summer 08’ may have so far seen little touring, it’s far from over. “The thing is I love touring, that’s the problem,” Joe considers. “I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t like touring, but basically as soon as you bring a partner, like a girlfriend or boyfriend, into the equation then touring becomes a different thing - it starts to get between the people you love. As soon as children are in the equation it’s even more difficult.” He concludes, laughing: “It’s easy to be selfish when you’re young and single.”
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