With the release of a new album (Love Letters) and a US tour, Metronomy has solidified its place on our summer playlist. We caught up with frontman, Joseph Mount in New York following the group’s Music Hall of Williamsburg performance to discuss his unique style of lyric writing and traditional recording approach on Love Letters. The group, with one of the classiest on-stage looks in the game, continues to bring a new sound to the scene, foregoing expectations set by past albums and creating something completely new.
What inspired you to start Metronomy?
Probably the friends of mine that could play melodic instruments, I was just a drummer at the time. I felt quite trapped in a world of just hitting things. What they could do seemed so much more expressive.
A lot of your lyrics are about fictional characters. What is your process? Does coming up with these other characters create some form of personal exploration or release for you?
To be honest, I don’t really over think lyric writing. Often it’s not until after I’ve finished a song that I begin to see how people might read into it. I wouldn’t say a lot of my lyrics are about characters, but I would say that I don’t write exclusively about myself or my life. Perhaps there’s a middle ground. I’m actually only really now beginning to enjoy writing lyrics, I don’t think it’s a release, but realising that there are no rules to lyric writing, just conventions, is quite liberating.
How did you pull this group of musicians together?
Oscar is my cousin, Anna is the best drummer I know and Gbenga is someone we met when looking for a Bass player.
How do you think fashion and styling (such as matching) plays into your experience as musicians and as a band?
I think it’s different for different groups. But we dress up because we want audiences to see how much we care about putting on a show. It also helps to give some visual cues as to your style, sense of humour, musical influences etc. To me, going on stage wearing a suit is as identifying as someone wearing a Nirvana T-shirt. Both things help an audience understand what you’re about.
In my mind Fashion and Music are joined at the hip.
Love Letters has a distinctly different sound than The English Riviera. What did you differently? How did you approach this album?
Put simply, I approached the record in a more much more ‘traditional’ way. That is to say that I wrote and recorded the album in the same way that older musicians would have recorded their records. I did this because I wanted to see what would happen if I detached myself form the computers that I’ve become so reliant upon. I also wanted to have a break from the sound of The English Riviera, I think if I’d recorded Love Letters in the same way then it might have ended up sounding a bit like The English Riviera 2.
How does technology factor into your process? What are the pros and cons of technology in music?
Technology and music are joined at the other hip. Computers helped me learn about how to write and record music, so I feel like technology will always be something that helps people push what they are capable of. The only real problem is that technology (computers to be precise) often make things a little too easy, the same thing is echoed in photography and film making. I just sometimes worry that technology dumbs down the craft of making something…but I’m probably just being old fashioned.
What’s next for you and for Metronomy?
We’re going back to America! This time it’s a west coast adventure and we can’t wait.
Written by Kate Koeller
Photos by Daniel Topete