What are your favorite electro pop albums
Interview with Joe Mount, head of the indie pop electro project Metronomy
Joe Mount, head of the indie pop electro project Metronomy, on the search for the lost feeling of awakening, listeners who have yet to be educated and what gardening has in common with music
Mr. Mount, your last album was about missing youth. Now you are working on eternity with "Forever".
For me the last album "Summer 08" symbolized a break. I wanted to close an era: We have always been on the move since 2008. "Forever" is the first album in a new phase. I've been releasing music for 13 years and it took me time to understand where my place is - in music, in music history, in the world. You start out naive and young, and then you go on this journey of tours and albums - and all you learn is that it was better when you were naive and young. That's all you try to catch over and over again - what you already had before you knew how valuable it was.
Is that a feeling that you have more as an artist or as a person?
The thing about music is that everything is built on the artist's story. The audience enjoys building romantic myths about the musicians, about albums. That's why I fell in love with music in the first place. But the deeper you go, the more you realize that this is just a job, too. You're still a parent, for example. And then it doesn't matter whether you're a musician, a salesman or a scientist. You pretend that the world of music is very special and somehow magical. But actually it isn't. And actually this human element is exactly what makes music good and appeals to people.
Do you notice when you produce the songs when and how exactly this connection is created between you and the audience?
Not at all. The most successful metronomy songs were never the ones I wanted to make particularly pop. It's all democratic. You make music, you want to be comfortable with it, you want people to love it. But in the end they decide all by themselves. This is bigger than what you do. And if you take all these moments in which music and people connect, you end up on a mixtape - or on the playlist of a radio.
I think it's funny that radio is the association you give people on a new album. That sounds very anachronistic, as if you were actually still thinking in album format. You actually do nothing else than Billie Eilish, who is associated with the Spotify playlist and is therefore perceived as peak postmodern.
Admittedly, that's how I listen to music. I hear playlists made by algorithms. And I wanted to make an album that tries to capture that feeling. Formats are possibilities for artists. The vinyl gave artists the chance to make 40 minutes of music. The CD provided 80 minutes. But we haven't really explored streaming yet. Are people now making playlists that last three hours? Do you have to understand music as a subscription rather than a closed work? The value of the individual album has to be completely redefined. It's true: it devalues the product, from an economic point of view. But it also helps to relax. I used to have to think a long time about which songs would be on the album, whether I might keep a hit. With streaming, it's more like this: the more there is outside, the more is heard. I don't want to gloss over it, money is a huge problem, especially for young artists. For me, as an artist with a large audience, it's a great opportunity.
In a way, it brings pop back to its roots. The Beatles originally made singles, not albums.
That's the irony that nobody sees: nothing has changed. The single is the basis. Then the bands made albums, but most of them made bad albums. People have always looked for their favorite songs and put them together. Just like today in the playlists.
However, your music is still taking its time, metronomy songs are not yet optimized for streaming, so the hook does not come after two seconds.
Yes, that is my message to the young people. I don't want to reward people for being impatient. That's not cool. It's like bringing up children. If you are online indefinitely, then you can also wait 20 seconds for the song to start properly.
What topics are you dealing with on the album?
Making music in the middle of a career. When you're young and your audience is made up of teenagers, music has the potential to be really powerful. For people who were 16, 17 years old when my second album "Nights Out" came out, it was a super influential album. Today they are 26, 27 years old and music is less important for them and for me. It's about getting older and being happy and taking things easier. An egocentric album, actually.
On the other hand, you have not only become a father since then, but have also recently started working as a gardener. Surely that brings with it some basic sensitivities towards life.
My friend is the gardener, I do the jobs for the clumsy, I do the destructive work: uprooting, digging up. But basically it's just like making an album: the act of creating something out of nothing. It's not the product that is the greatest, but the ongoing work on it.
Columbiahalle Columbiadamm 13-21, Tempelhof, Thursday October 24th, 8pm, advance booking € 39 plus fees
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