Metronomy - That Riviera touch is a winner

Metronomy's third album wasn't just a huge success because of its summery feel – it also had killer tunes. Mainman Joseph Mount tells Gillian Orr his plans

For Joseph Mount, the brains behind Metronomy, there is an obvious explanation for the break-out success of The English Riviera, their Mercury Prize-nominated third album that made an appearance on just about every critic's best of list last year. Forget about the infectious tunes, or the enthusiastic reviews. For him, it was simply the weather. "It was released in April and we had this unseasonably lovely May," he recalls.

"It was really beautiful, really hot, and the album was quite summery and I guess it kind of caught people at the right time. There's an element of chaos theory to it. I was trying to express how I used to feel in the summer when I was growing up; that's why it seems to have worked well in the sunshine. If it had been a crap spring then maybe we wouldn't be here."

Of course, there's more to it than that; the album did well because it was a great album. But it's nice to see that all those record sales, awards, and fan adoration haven't gone to the affable 29-year-old's head. I've come to meet Mount in Paris, far from the Devon coast that informed much of the album. And, quite unlike the warm good vibes that the last album elicits, it is freezing and dreary. Mount's girlfriend lives in Paris so he's mainly here when he's not busy with the band. It goes without saying that he doesn't get to spend much time here these days.

Having formed the band in 1999, Metronomy had released two well-received, predominantly instrumental, electro albums – Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe Me) and Nights Out – but mainstream success had eluded them. They seemed destined to remain under the radar; a niche band with a small but loyal following. With The English Riviera, Mount decided to sing on all the tracks, save for the instrumental intro, and rejigged the line-up, bringing in drummer Anna Prior and bassist Gbenga Adelekan, to join him and Oscar Cash. Re-imagining the dreary town of Torbay, where Mount spent much of his youth (he's from the nearby Dartington estate), as a glamour capital akin to somewhere like Monte Carlo, it was an altogether poppier offering than before. Filled with sparse synths and smooth basslines, tracks like "The Look", "She Wants" and "The Bay" soundtracked the summer for many. Had he started to doubt that it would ever happen for him?

"With the previous records I would play through these childish little scenarios in my head of what could happen," he says, sipping on a bloody Mary in a Parisian café. "I imagined that things would go incredibly well and we'd win the Mercury prize or something; you imagine that someone on the radio is going to pick up a song and suddenly you'll be in the charts. It's just letting your imagination run wild a bit. After two records and a load of touring, your expectations are much more realistic. When it does finally happen, it's like, 'this is enjoyable'."

Like any band, they no doubt have their detractors; but those not on board certainly don't make a lot of noise. Last year it seemed that everyone fell for Metronomy: the old, the young, the hip, the painfully uncool. They united rather than divided. Now that they've "made it", is he aware that they are likelier to rub people up the wrong way? "With more popularity you realise you're going to get scrutinised a bit more," he smirks. "You have to be careful with your choices and there's a bit more pressure to not be a twat, basically." Mount also reckons that it was a lucky escape to lose out on the Mercury Music Prize to PJ Harvey.

"Really I think it's great that we didn't win because by being nominated you receive the same boost in press or interest or whatever. But if you win you get £20,000, sell a few more records and then there's just loads of pressure," he says. "The prize money is almost like the compensation for that pressure. But someone like PJ Harvey wouldn't feel that pressure by now anyway so it's fine. We used the evening to have a proper good time and take advantage of the free drink and have a little dance afterwards."

Unsurprisingly the main difference for the band post-Riviera is just how busy they are. "The size of the venues we're playing and our festival offers have also changed," he says. "I know they're not romantic ways of looking at our success but you notice that suddenly you're higher up on the bill and playing a different tent. It's nice." They've also been invited to support Coldplay on their US tour that kicks off next month, which could have huge implications for future Stateside success. He hopes to have another album out next year and has just started properly demo-ing some tracks. But if you presumed Mount plans to put out The English Riviera part 2, then you're much mistaken. He is already toying with another sonic overhaul.

"I do have quite specific ideas about it but I'm always wary to say them too quickly," he says carefully. "I like the idea of doing something that's a bit psychedelic but not in a clichéd, psychedelic way; not in a Beatles way, basically. And I want to get back to what I was doing on the first record, including more instrumental stuff as well.

"I imagine I'd like it to be about 30 songs long and be very indulgent. But still obviously good. I would like to make something that's much bigger in size. Saying that, I'll probably end up making a nine-track album but you have to have these ideas to begin with.

"You've got to give yourself slightly different goals." Does he have his eye on filling stadia with his next offering, in the hope of emulating his new tour-mates' success?

"No!" he laughs. "I think that would only ever happen in error."

Metronomy's double A-sided single "The Look" and "Corinne" is out on 5 March on Because Music (www.metronomy.co.uk)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments