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Metronomy: One man band

Joseph Mount’s latest record celebrates his formative club experiences – and instead of touring it with his band, he’s set for a summer of DJ gigs

  • Words: Thomas H Green | Images: Carston Windhorst
  • 16 August 2016
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‘Summer 08’, on the other hand, is filled with squelchy funk, polished alt-pop, scratching from Beastie Boys associate and turntablist legend Mixmaster Mike, a guest vocal from Swedish star Robyn, production by Erol Alkan and an almost hip hop chorus on the single ‘Old Skool’: “Have a party in the west end, make some money, make more money, with your new friends throw a party.”

“Back in 2008 I was living in Homerton in east London,” he recalls. “I was part of the first wave of gentrification. I had a little room in a house owned by Milo Cordell who ran Merok Records [original home to Klaxons and Crystal Castles]. One of Klaxons was living there too, Jamie Reynolds, so I was in an exciting part of London, with exciting friends, playing gigs at places like Turnmills, Erol Alkan’s night Trash, or at 2am at Fabric to a bunch of gurners. It felt like I was part of something…” Getting swept up in the nu-rave scene must have been a hedonistic blast, we suggest. “To be honest,” he replies sheepishly, “I’ve never been to a club on drugs. I’m a bit of a pussy really. I was more of a mildly hedonistic observer. The first time we were mentioned in NME it was as part of the nu-rave scene. It felt fucking great, but also made it look as if we were nu-rave also-rans. I genuinely didn’t care because [nu-rave] afforded us gigs. We did a tour with CSS and Justice. That was proper fun.”

Mount grew up in Totnes, Devon, the second child of artistically inclined parents (a photographer and a graphic designer). He was in a series of bands with his childhood friend Gabriel Stebbing, who was in Metronomy until 2009, although the project has always been Mount’s baby. Nowadays the popular live incarnation is a four-piece, sometimes even a five-piece. “It’s got to a point where there are two Metronomys,” Mount admits. “Recording is my thing, not really allowing anyone else’s input, but when Anna [Prior] and Benga [Adelekan] joined we became a live band – such a fun thing. The fans really responded, so, for a lot of people, that is Metronomy. It’s now a quantum entity. Metronomy exists in two states that are each as valid as the other.”

It’s a model that works for The Prodigy, so why not, but for the new album Mount has chosen not to tour. Now 33, he has a young family, as does Adelekan, while fourth bandmate, Oscar Cash, recently moved to the States. And they only stopped touring ‘Love Letters’ last September. “The sad thing about today’s music industry is that to give a new record its best chance you have to tour it to fucking death,” he sighs. “But surely that shouldn’t stop me releasing music?” Instead, while Metronomy will tour again at some point, ‘Summer 08’ will be supported by a series of DJ dates. “I want to use the DJ thing as a way to preview the record,” he explains, “playing favourite remixes done for other people, remixes people have done for me. I’m not going to become a club DJ, that’s not what I want. I’m shitting myself, actually. That environment is very alien to me. I see pictures of big DJs with their hands in the air – I just can’t.”

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