It’s 1am on the coast of Spain and Metronomy frontman Joe Mount is cheerily chatting away ahead of their late night Benicassim set, which still lingers a couple of hours in the distance. The subject in question is their next release – the follow up to 2016’s ‘Summer ‘08’ – and it is, so says Joe, “110% done”. “No wait,” he pauses. “Actually probably like 90%. Or 85%”. Still not bad.
The plan, it seems, was originally for new material to already be out in the world. Following a slightly unusual roll out for their previous LP (“I managed to convince the label to let us release a record without really touring or promoting it,” he laughs), Joe and his band – keys-man Oscar Cash, bassist Olubenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior, wanted to reintroduce themselves into the live arena and then get back in the saddle proper. “The idea was to start touring, do some festivals last year and then start to release music for the next album,” he summarises. Due to changes out of their control at label Because Music, that didn’t happen. But the actual songs themselves did. And if Metronomy have always had a knack for tasteful, gradual evolution, moving from the skronky blips of ‘Nights Out’ to the breezy pop of ‘The English Riviera’ through the darker lilt of ‘Love Letters’ and beyond, then LP5 looks set to continue that in even more surprising form.
“I’m aware that if you’re cynical, you might listen to Metronomy stuff and feel like it’s referencing older stuff too much or it doesn’t live in the now. And I think this record is supposed to be the record that’s from 2018,” begins Joe of the album’s genesis. So far, so understandable. Influenced by the Spotify culture of cribbing things, mixtape style, from everywhere, it’s seen the singer look to making songs that are “a bit more adventurous than the standard way of doing things. Not so classically song-ish in a way”.
The first fruit of this labour comes in the form of ‘Lately’ – a heavier, more insistent track that the band have been touting in their live sets for a while now. And this is where the curveball comes. “I was listening to that band Twenty One Pilots and I was so into it.” Sorry, what now!? “I kept hearing that song ‘Blurryface’ and was like, what is this?! And after a while I thought God, if I was 15, I would be obsessed with this. I would hammer this properly,” he continues. “I thought, I get what’s happened to me now. I’ve crossed over. I’m a parent now, and I’ve crossed over into that world and I can’t understand the kids! But my job is to make music and I love the idea of still having some kind of connection to teenagers. So I was listening to this Twenty One Pilots track, great track, and I thought yeah, this is brilliant. So ‘Lately’ is a quite serious little rock song. It’s a little bit angsty, you know?”
“After a while, you realise, y’know… love the skin you’re in!”
Elsewhere, there are other slightly unexpected influences creeping in: namely, the Englishness at the heart of the baggier end of the ’90s. “My girlfriend is obsessed with The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays. Now I have this appreciation for it that I didn’t have before and there’s something about the Englishness of [that kind of] groovy, indie music that I like,” says Joe. “I remember somebody saying that Metronomy was very English, and when I first read that I felt like, oh that’s not where I see myself. But now I realise that’s completely where I exist. And I’m not patriotic in the slightest, but in music England has been a very important place and you can get obsessed with American music or rap and wish you weren’t who you are. But after a while, you realise, y’know… love the skin you’re in!”
As well as dishing up Metronomy’s next serving, likely slated for release next year with, hopefully, some new material out before this one’s through, Joe’s also been busy racking up the credits, co-writing and producing with Robyn. “I started working with her nearly four years ago, so it’s taken a long time,” he informs. “But if I’d been waiting for a Robyn record as long as her fans have, then I’d hear [single ‘Missing U’] and be like, brilliant. Everything’s cool.” There’s also plans in the works to hopefully collaborate on the next Nicola Roberts record (Joe co-wrote the former Girls Aloud star’s debut) and as for other big name pop collaborators, he’s got a few ideas. “I think I could do some stuff for Zayn…” he muses, grinning. “Not Louis, though. Louis is a bit white bread.” So that’s the hot take. Twenty One Pilots: yes. Louis Tomlinson: no. Album: imminent. You heard it here first.