After a four year absence from Montreal, Metronomy return to perform at the city’s famous Jazz Festival. Since the release of their last album, Summer ‘08, the band has remained relatively quiet, aside from steady touring and a few remix releases. However, new music is iminent with Metronomy in the early stages of a new project. While in town, we caught up with band founder Joseph Mount to discuss a number of topics, including upcoming music, Drake, philosophy, and plenty more:
Gigwise: How’s the tour been going so far?
Joe Mount: It’s been cool. I’ve been ill the whole time, so that isn’t amazing. But we always enjoy coming to North America.
GW: Metronomy are in between albums at the moment. When you make a project like your last record, Summer ‘08, do you aim to have a two-year plan?
JM: My plan was that we would release the record and have a break, but that of course we would tour again. We weren’t breaking up or something. I thought that we would tour a year after the record released, and that I would have some new music by then. That was the plan the whole time, and we started playing a new track in the set.
GW: For a very mundane reason, it hasn’t quite happened in the way that it’s supposed to. The person who was in charge of the label in the UK left. They were finding someone else, nothing really happened quickly.
JM: That’s always a good way for delays to be caused.
GW: Exactly. But it’s cool because it means I’ve had more time to work on the new album.
JM: To play devil’s advocate, there are definitely some artists who become too comfortable having so much time on their hands…
GW: It depends how you want to work. I believe that the act of putting things out, whether or not it’s perfect at that time, can represent a period of where you’re at. It’s also something that fans can absorb and keep getting into. That’s more important than waiting until it’s perfect.
JM: Of course, waiting until something’s perfect is cool. For me, the industry side of music slows creativity down quite often. You see it with the artists who are big and free.
GW: Look at somebody like Kanye West. He has finally dismissed the notion of making albums perfect, in lieux of making something more contemporary.
JM: You can release whenever you want when you’re a big artist. Gorillaz did the same thing last year. You can do that if you’re a Drake or Kanye West. I think one of the reasons Metronomy has continued to interest people is because there has never been a five-year period where nothing is happening. It happens quite often with a lot of people, there’s an abyss.
GW: You just touched upon Drake and Kanye West, one of whom recently released a double album, and the latter’s latest only 7 songs. How do you feel about album formats constantly evolving?
JM: I have not yet listened to either of those albums. You can do a lot with whatever you want, you know what I mean? There’s no amount of songs that does a servicing.
GW: Are you more inclined to a certain format?
JM: I think albums are this kind of traditional thing, which are great. Summer ‘08 had a deluxe vinyl edition. On it, I made a 25-minute mix of different versions of songs on the album. That was probably the best thing I’ve done in a long time. It was something I did without thinking. But for me, albums are cool. It’s a nice body of work.
GW: It’s a full story.
JM: Right. A 20-something track album is amazing. With all due respect to Drake, quite a lot of his music doesn’t really rely on traditional songwriting values.
GW: I know what you mean. We’re living in a time that is literally quantity over quality in order to profit off of streaming. A longer album is more beneficial for such a system.
JM: For me, there’s also this thing of luck. Even Metronomy is very lucky with how much people stream the music. If you’re Drake, you’re crazy lucky! You’re lucky because you’re good and have a fanbase, but also because you’ve been adopted by the new model. Your music just works really well. There is skill. There’s also old tracks that have been resurrected thanks to Spotify because it’s a vibe. It’s amazing.
If you’re a fan of music, there’s so much good stuff that the world doesn’t know about. The only thing that stops that from crossing over is marketing.
GW: What can you tell us about new Metronomy music?
JM: I’m trying to make a record that feels right in this modern way of listening to music. The way I listen to music now is by thinking similarly to a teenager. I just put stuff on Spotify and listen to “Discover Weekly” or “SZA Radio”
I enjoy this passive way of listening to music, hearing music that you don’t really have to think about. The album I’m trying to make is quite a passive record. I imagine it feeling really nice atmospherically, not really something you have to concentrate on. I’m really excited about it.
GW: Sonically, how would you describe it?
JM: I got influenced by a lot of mid-90s Manchester bands. Kind of dancy, groovy stuff. Like Happy Mondays.
GW: From what you’ve said thus far, living in the moment seems to be a big theme in your current outlook on life.
JM: I heard that Bag Raiders tune, “Shooting Star”, it came out around 2008 or 2009. I met my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, around then. She used to DJ that track all of the time. And now me and her have got two children, we live together.
I was listening to that song the other day, it’s now a meme! It was making me feel crazy nostalgic about meeting my girlfriend, now we’ve got kids! I quite enjoyed that feeling, but I didn’t necessarily look for it.
GW: What’s your first memory ever? I feel like these memories have a big correlation to the trajectory of people’s lives.
JM: I have lots of very early memories. I remember Christmas, I distinctly remember getting a He-Man toy. I must’ve been 3. And then I started to think that maybe it’s a fake memory!
GW: I’ll leave you with this, what is the meaning of life?
JM: It’s just like, to reproduce. [Laughs] There is no really meaning of life, but humans feel the need to give it one because they are conscious beings. For humans, the meaning of life is to get money, be happy, fall in love, and reproduce. But there’s no real meaning.
The meaning comes from your own experience in life. For me right now, my meaning comes from my kids, my girlfriend, my family. That isn’t a meaning, but it’s all I’ve got. The problem is, if you start to believe in God, you start to believe there’s something after [life]. And that’s where it starts to get twisted. People are pretty afraid of what it is. A lot of people waste their lives by worrying about what’s going to happen after it.
GW: Everything you just said seems to once again come back to living in the moment.
That’s how it should be for everyone. When you’re young, you think about growing. Even when you’re in your early 20s, jobs worries come into play. Right now, I’m in my mid-30s. When you get to 40s, you probably stop living in the moment again. I’m in this period, and I’m probably not going to get some kind of terrible disease for 10 years, so I might as well enjoy it now.