Metronomy are an English electronic band that have played together for a decade and somehow, still manages to create bigger and better sounds.
We caught up with Metronomy earlier this year to discuss their album Small World.
HAPPY: Hi Joseph, Oscar, Anna, Olugbenga, and Michael. Thanks so much for chatting today, and a huge congrats on your upcoming 7th studio album, Small World. You guys have been working together as a collective since 1999, which is so wonderful, and quite an achievement. What’s your secret?!
METRONOMY: Hi! Well, that’s not entirely correct. Metronomy has been around in one form or another since 1999. But we as a band have been together since about 2010/11. Still a fair old length of time. But, I imagine after 20 years together we’ll hate each other’s guts. For now, we still get on well enough.
HAPPY: Small World was created in 2020 – the infamous year of lockdowns and loneliness. Do you think this influenced the reminiscent nature of the tracks in some form?
METRONOMY: Yes it absolutely did. I didn’t want it to be a bleak record, but certainly, everything that was happening because of the lockdowns had a big influence on my songwriting.
HAPPY: Your return single, It’s good to be back (clever), has this Scissor Scissors-esque punch to it, it’s such an infectious bop! Did anything inspire the synth-summer return?
METRONOMY: I guess Scissor Sisters are quite a good point of reference. I just wanted to make an overtly joyful song, almost sickeningly nice, I was thinking of songs like Shiny Happy People by REM and Mrs Jones by counting crows.
HAPPY: The music video, directed by Dreamjob, takes on a Groundhog day theme, which you all portray so humorously. I’m guessing it was a fun day on set filming this one?
METRONOMY: Yes it was a nice day. It was actually the first time we’d all seen each other in quite some time. But, I did get pretty pissed off with the directors as they made me fall in the water more than once.
HAPPY: The top comment on YouTube for the video says Metronomy can make you feel “happy, sad, and unsure at the same time”. Is this intentional? If so, how do you sonically juggle the conflicting emotions so effectively?
METRONOMY: Well I just do what comes naturally, I don’t really have a technique per se. But, I think the music that I enjoy often has that mixture of feelings within it. I think doing things instinctively can often be quite revealing.
HAPPY: Follow up single Things Will Be Fine is yet another convicting track holding a bubbling pot of emotions. How was the experience of looking back to your youth to write this one?
METRONOMY: It’s probably the last time I’ll do it, to be honest. I used to feel quite close to my teenage self, but now I think it’s time to let it go! I actually had a very fun time being a teenager…which is lucky. So, I look back at that time very fondly. But now I have children and realise that they’re way closer to being teenagers than I am. So it’s time to grow up. So perhaps that song is a sort of farewell to those heady days.
HAPPY: In the music video, there are a few cheeky band references, from a Soundgarden poster to Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Blood Sugar Sex Magix album artwork. Also, Nirvana! Were these bands a formative part of your teenage years?
METRONOMY: Yes totally, I was a big fan of those three. Green Day and Weezer could have also been in there.
HAPPY: Joseph, you describe the video as a “sort of pseudo role-play therapy session in which we all re-visit our teenage selves. Everyone ended up more scarred than they did before making it… apart from Michael and his fucking guinea pigs”. This is hilarious, but also, I think, pretty telling. Any theories as to why teenage memories are so excruciatingly vivid for so many people?
METRONOMY: It’s probably got something to do with the hormones. But it’s a period when you try so many things for the first time. For that reason, I think things get lodged in your head. Having said that, my twenties were pretty memorable for similar reasons. I guess in the end it’s just youth, isn’t it? Everything’s great when you’re young. Youth is wasted on the young etc
HAPPY: The closing lyric, “I try to forget that I was only your lover” hits like a truck! What do you hope listeners get out of this track, and to a broader extent, Small World?
METRONOMY: I hope it makes people feel hopeful. Like, I know that the world seems absolutely terrifying sometimes, to be fair it IS terrifying. But, there are still plenty of good people out there to share uplifting experiences with. So I hope the record helps people forget the bad stuff for a short while.
HAPPY: Thanks so much for your time, and all the best for the album release!
Small World is out now.