Interview: Metronomy

Metronomy Photo by Gregoire Alexandre
Photos by Gregoire Alexandre

From the first strains of “The Upsetter,” the first track on Metronomy’s Love Letters, it’s easy to tell that the English electropop group has changed since their last album. From the purposeful strain in lead singer Joseph Mount’s voice to the dizzying instrumentals, Love Letters is a minimalist soundtrack to broken bones. It’s certainly a far cry from the beachy bliss of The English Riviera, but every stretch and pinch by the English electropop group is a well-orchestrated push in the right direction. More than anything, Love Letters is a story of distance and the pain that comes with it, and they couldn’t have done a better job telling it.

Metronomy crash-lands in Vancouver on June 10th for their show at Fortune Sound Club. We caught up with Joseph Mount of English electropop act Metronomy in the midst of their busy  tour to talk about the stories and sounds behind Love Letters.

LotusLand: Hey there, polar bear. First off, could you introduce yourself?

Joseph Mount: Yeah, this is Joseph from Metronomy!

Right now you’re touring in support of the new album, Love Letters. If you could describe the opposite of your sound on that album in three words…

The opposite? Crazy, loud, and depressing.

Metronomy-Love-Letters-608x608What kind of story do you think Love Letters tells?

It’s not a single one, not to me anyway. It’s about travelling. There are all the things I was experiencing when I was touring. It’s about being away, travelling around the world, and missing people.

If you sat somebody down, and had them listening to this album… if you wanted to make them look for one thing, something to make the get the album, what would it be?

Oh, it’s difficult to say. The way that I made [the album]… I made it with the spirit that you make gifts for someone with, you know? You spend quite a long time, even if it’s hard, and you make it personal. It’s a little bit of a vague, but the album’s got a personal touch—that’s what you’re looking for.

Some of the sounds on the album aren’t designed to be perfect or exact. They’re telling a story instead. Do you think it’s more important for music to be expressing the story , or to sound nice?

I don’t think we’re quite used to hearing and comparing the two. Nowadays… it really helps to have music that instantly sounds good on a mobile phone, or whatever. I think people forget that one of the things we have in our arsenal is the sound production. [The album] sounds like it does on purpose. It’s not a mistake. I hope people can get into the feel of it

Love Letters was an electropop album, recorded at an acoustic studio, and you’re about to play it live. For an album that’s in between so many places, where is the perfect place to listen to it?

I think there’s no one location, you know? I think it sounds beautiful on the stereo at home, and it’s definitely going to sound good if you come to watch it live. It has a very different feel. And personally, I think music should be played in the car.

Your Vancouver show is coming up on June 10th at Fortune Sound Club. What’s the difference , as a performer, between recording an album and being able to share it with the audience live?

Well, there’s something unique about each performance. Every day is different when you’re on tour. It’s just so much more fun live, you get energy from the listeners.

Last question: before settling on Metronomy, did you have any absolutely terrible, cringe-inducing, horrible ideas for a band name? 

[Laughter] I was mostly just… Joseph. When I first started getting into bands it was obsessed with Nirvana and I tried to find alternative names. I had Valhalla. I thought Valhalla was quite good, but it never happened.

Metronomy will play a sold out Fortune Sound Club on June 10th. A full list of tour dates can be found here.

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