Backstage in Amsterdam

In town to perform at the launch of Ralph Lauren's Denim & Supply range, Metronomy's show will be broadcast to fans around the world via the brand's Facebook page. Launching a series of shows, ClashMusic were invited backstage to talk about the project, touring and their breakthrough year...

Sat in the backroom of the Compagnie Theater, Amsterdam, in anticipation of their gig that same evening, all four members of Metronomy talk to me candidly about the their most recent album and the way that the last year has seen them add a completely new dimension to their live performances.

Just under a year after the band’s last album was released - ‘Nights Out’, 2008’s 80s-influenced electronic odyssey - original member Gabriel Stebbing announced his departure from the band to concentrate on his own musical endeavours. Metronomy 2.0 (as it has been affectionately labelled by the band themselves) was therefore left with no other option but to transform itself into a live act bar none. And transform itself it did, returning with two brand spanking new members (Anna Prior, previously the drummer for Lightspeed Champion, and Gbenga Adelekan on the bass), an armoury of new-fangled tricks; including dance routines and light shows and a critically acclaimed new album, ‘The English Riviera’.

"The way we play the songs live has kind of evolved from the way they are on the record, but that’s what would be nice to focus on next time; doing it the opposite way around and recording the album first and then learning the live performance from there on", says Mount in relation to the way the band’s dynamic has taken considerable shape thanks to the touring onslaught that followed the album’s release. Although Mount is still largely responsible for the composition and writing process, it seems that Mount’s dominance in the creative process has fortunately, as yet, not ruffled any feathers amongst the other members of the band. ‘I think that when Anna and I joined, the idea of collaborating was already a thing that existed’, contributes Adelekan, when probed if there are any future plans to write together as a foursome. "I think the thing that Metronomy fans gravitate towards will always be the way that Joe writes songs and his production".

Indeed, there’s considerable truth behind what Adelekan says. Mount’s musical trajectory has so far seen him release three albums, all met with widespread praise, yet ‘The English Riviera’ seems to be the album, out of all three, that has been met with the most critical approval.

An ode to Mount’s home, the market town of Totnes, Devon, the album is steeped in the nostalgia and charm that personifies the English seaside. "I was writing a lot of the album in Paris, which is really far away from Devon in many senses. I was trying to remember what it was like being a teenager there and the kind of stuff you hear when you switch on the local radio station. But I was trying to make it feel a bit more up to date", offers Mount. "It was more like remembering where you grew up and how quickly you wanted to get out of there, and now, looking back and thinking, well actually I would kind of like to go and stay there for a bit longer". 2011 alone has seen the band pack in around one-hundred dates across Europe, Australia, South America and the US since the release of the album, and once again Mounts’ thoughts come straight back to home; "I think touring means all of us have got quite a good appreciation of what we miss when we’re away".

Aside from his domestic longings, Mount cites groups like Fleetwood Mac as important influences on the album. "Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ is local radio for me", says Mount. "I didn’t like it when I was young but I remember driving back from B&Q or something with my Dad and it was the kind of song that would come on that I would hate. But now it is so important for me".

So the road always comes full circle and, thankfully for Mount, always leads back home. Just once their superstar global road-show takes its last curtain call.

For more information on Denim & Supply just click HERE.

Words by Laura Humphries

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