It Feels So Good…in LA: Metronomy’s West Coast Return
Metronomy make their return to Los Angeles this weekend, playing two dates (10/15, Troubadour and 10/16, Detroit Bar). On their last visit, they played to a sold out show at The Echoplex and were soon after KCRW canonized on Morning Becomes Eclectic with Jason Bentley; “She Wants” and “The Bay” from their latest album The English Riviera have since maintained regular play on 89.9 FM during morning commutes and late-night downtown drives.
The group has enjoyed escalating success and growing attention; they were recently nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize. Mythologized as NME’s Nicest Guy in Music 2006, Metronomy’s originator Joseph Mount took a moment to answer a few questions before the quartet’s arrival in the City of Angels.
This will be your fourth time playing on the West Coast and to sold out shows. Is it safe to say that LA loves you?
Oh god I hope so! It is safe to say that we love L.A. that’s for sure.
Anything memorable about the city that lingers in your thoughts on trans-Atlantic trips home?
Everything. Last time we came we took a drive to Malibu, we went to that beach where the Statue of Liberty is going to be in the future. We also went to proper house party in the hills that got shutdown by helicopters. It’s just like the movies!
I think I would like to move to L.A for a year or so.
Has there been a venue in LA or anywhere else you enjoy playing over and over?
I don’t think we’ve ever played the same venue twice in L.A. We had a great time at the Echo last time though. There is a venue in Paris called La Cigalle which we always love returning to, but at the moment people keep trying to book us into bigger venues…which is obviously a good thing. I hope we will return to all our favourite venues on the way back down.
The concert going experience is a special one. It can define your teens, outline your twenties, and have you reminiscing into your late 30s. What was your first concert or the one that had the greatest impact on you?
I saw Les Rhythm Digitales and the Beastie Boys at Reading festival in 1998 (I think). That was probably the most memorable concert for me. I don’t think I’d ever been so excitable before, I felt like I was becoming a man, in truth I was becoming a teenager, but anyway, that weekend was the beginning of the rest of my life.
A couple of minutes ago I was listening to Leonard Cohen. I did an interview for KEXP and had to pick one of my all time favourite songs, so chose his version of The Partisan. The other day I listened to Ingenue by K.D Lang for the first time in a while, that record is really very good. I’m actually about to put it on again now.
What is an absolutely must have on your playlist during touring?
I am partial to the Cardigans, Oscar is always playing the first Panic at the Disco record, Gbenga loves Watch the Throne and Anna has been playing the latest Male Bonding record.
The ensemble has grown. The push light sequences have been polished. How would you describe the journey from Wonders to The English Riviera?
Ha, well, Wonders is the name of a shoe company in Spain. I did some songs for them to release to get some money. So, the journey has been quite long and varied. But, I think that is what I wanted when I started making music. I fell in love with story of the Beatles and of Nirvana and many other people and bands besides. I’m not trying to compare the Metronomy story to that of the Beatles, but in it’s own little way it is interesting. I suppose the great thing for me and Oscar is that we have both been there since the beginning, so we know just how special this year has been for us.
Your music has been visualized with the help of Lorenzo Fonda, Jules and Matt, and most recently with Alexander Orlando Smith. What imagery flashes in your head when you write and then play your songs?
I think when I was writing and making the album I was forcing myself to remember my teens. So I guess it was all long summer days, first girlfriends and trying various things for the first time. I wanted to harness that way you have of remembering your youth. You know, never a rainy day, rose tinted specs and all that.
“The Bay” is reminiscent of “Holiday”, with a string of international cities in both. Relational distresses set in prominent geographical locations. Was it something you had in mind in writing the two songs?
Yes and no. It was kind of obvious that it was almost Holiday part two, but I think I maybe wanted Holiday to sound like The Bay in the first place. Anyway, there was no way that my first time recording in a studio I was not going to try and record something quite overtly disco…you would do the same thing I am sure.
There seems to be that indiscernible 8 bit playfulness of Metronomy in every album and EP. Do you feel that you have synthesized a recognizable sound (of wonky pop)?
Well, I don’t really like the term wonky pop, but I can see why people might use it. But, to me it is only really us that are wonky, Britney Spears makes crazy ’wonky’ pop music, but she doesn’t look wonky. Anyway, a lot of what comes out of me musically is quite subconscious, I think I’ve reigned it in better for this record, but I am glad that it can still be heard.
You’ve remixed a number of songs, from Lykke Li to KD Lang, giving them wonderful new dimensions. Have you been approached by any unexpected offers?
How topical, I am in fact now listening to Ingenue. Nothing that surprising really, I mean, KD Lang was very out of the blue, but in an exciting way. Lady Gaga was quite a surprise too.
Metronomy has been on the road and joyously busy. Have thoughts of any collaborations, solo, or side projects been entertained or acted on?
It’s been very hard to act on anything in the last few months, but I’m already excited about a few little song ideas that I have. I guess next year I will clear the decks and see what’s possible.
With the release of The English Riviera and being nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize, does it feel like you have graduated?
I’m afraid to say that we didn’t actually win the prize, but being nominated represents a kind of graduation for sure. People look at you differently.
What will you miss while away from home?
Cooking and a familiar bed.
Anything you will be happy to return to in LA?
2011 Tour Dates
15th October – Los Angelas, CA, Troubadour* – SOLD OUT
16th October – Costa Mesa, CA, Detroit Bar
18th October – San Diego, CA, Voyeur
*The Troubadour show has been sold out for sometime but for procrastinators and latecomers, you can still can purchase tickets for the show at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa; it is only 50 minutes (or less) of actual driving time (freeway traffic on a Sunday in Orange County is almost non-existent) and what’s been said about life behind the “Orange Curtain” has been greatly exaggerated but you will see more of these.