After a seven-year wait Art Brut are back. A new calibrated line-up, and a slight shift in personal responsibilities for songwriter and lead vox* Eddie Argos, means the focus is sharp, the affection for creativity is revamped, and the trademark honesty is turned all the way up to eleven.
Over the last couple of years popbollocks has been speaking with Eddie. Sometimes we talked about rocking out, sometimes we talked about art, and sometimes we talked about rocking out AND art – but we’ve never really sat down and discussed his work on Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out! – the first bunch of tunes since…, erm, the beginning of the end of the world? Anyway…
Ahead of release, we figured it wise to drink tea and ask Eddie to discuss the kind of stuff we discuss with artists when they share new stuff with the world. Then we can provide you with a link to preorder of the album – which is available on Alcopop! Records. See, there’s the link; your eyes just passed over it. Imagine the joy you’d get from clicking on it and being amongst the first to hear a cracking new album from Art Brut. Anyway, don’t worry – if you missed it you’ll see it again at the bottom of the page when you’ve read a whole bunch of stuff, including how good it feels to sing ‘Kultfigur’ on a stage, the inevitable win at this year’s Mercury Awards, and what Eddie would say to god (if he existed) about Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!
popbollocks: In the time since Brilliant! Tragic! You moved to Berlin, you’ve become a father, you’ve experienced, and recovered from serious illness, and you’ve seen the end of a relationship. You’ve never stopped being creative, but we’ve waited for seven years for an Art Brut album. Can you explain how those events influenced your appetite for making music, and how hungry you are today?
Eddie Argos: Well I was really ill for quite a while without realizing. I was just tired all the time, all my energy was gone not just my creative energy all of it. After coming out of the hospital I suddenly felt like my old self again and ready to create an Art Brut album.
I’ve always liked having a few things on the go at the same time and healthy me can absolutely write a book, a comic, a spoken word show and a musical, while writing an Art Brut album simultaneously. Sick me just couldn’t do it though.
It was great to feel healthy and be totally focused on this album. I love being in Art Brut. I had to tweet out the stage times the other day and even that gave me a little thrill. That I lost my grip on the band for a while there shows you how ill I was.
popbollocks: The band has a newly calibrated line-up. Can you speak a little on the relationships you have with newcomers, and what you’ve learned from their input?
Eddie Argos: Well Toby joined Art Brut 5 years ago! Right as Jasper and Mike left its just we took ages to release anything. It feels like he has been in the band forever. Charlie I’ve known since we were both teenagers so he’s also a good friend, they are both great, I love them. I love Jasper and Mike too of course, but their hearts weren’t really into Art Brut by the end. It’s great that everybody is very enthusiastic again. Buzzing with ideas. I can really feel the difference.
popbollocks: You’ve played a couple of gigs with the new material, and the new line-up. How does it feel to be back up on stage?
Eddie Argos: Amazing. I was worried I’d forget how to do it but within seconds it all came back.
popbollocks: So, promise you’re looking after yourself; staying hydrated, eating fiber, and getting plenty of sleep?
Eddie Argos: I’m just back from playing the album launch show and I did not take care of myself and I feel terrible. Lesson learnt. From now on I’ll take care of myself better. I get excited, and forget I was genuinely very unwell.
popbollocks: From ‘Hooray!’, the very first track, and then through the album there’s a whole bunch of references that explicitly discuss rebirth. Aside from this album, can you detail any new life goals that you set yourself?
Eddie Argos: I guess I’ve been going through a period of rebirth so all those ideas snuck into my lyrics. I mean lots of it’s obvious; Art Brut returning with new people is like a rebirth, me coming out of the Hospital and not feeling like I’m going to collapse is a rebirth, got out of a terrible relationship that felt like a death into a new amazing one feels like a rebirth.
I mean my life was just Art Brut for a long time, we toured so much; so to stop and really have a life also felt like a rebirth. It also gave me a lot to write about.
popbollocks: Can we touch on the birth of your child? How has that birth affected your approach to work, and touring?
Eddie Argos: Well I definitely won’t tour as much as we used to, I think in 2007 we played something like 300 shows. I don’t want to be away that much (and to be fair there probably isn’t the demand) Having a son means I have a lot less time than I used to but I’ve found it’s just focused me more. I tend to procrastinate less and just get on with everything. I don’t have the luxury of being able to have 10 cups of tea before I start work anymore. I love it though; being a Dad is the best.
popbollocks: ‘Too Clever’ is a belter of a track. Feels like you’re more frustrated with your own inner landscape than the outer world. You’re not known for holding back – so is this subject really about intuition fighting with a more cerebral approach to life? Can you talk a little on the origin of that lyric?
Eddie Argos: Too clever just seemed like a better way of saying overly paranoid. I spend a lot of my time over thinking everything and it can completely paralyze me sometimes. I hate it. Always trying to second guess everybody and everything. I wish I could change that about myself. I would rather be outside howling at the moon, then trying (and failing) to be the cleverest person inside it. I just can’t help myself.
popbollocks: ‘Kultfigur’ is a fucking awesome track. Not much of a question – but that sounds like it’s fun to sing live?
Eddie Argos: Very much so.
popbollocks: You’ve mentioned it outside of music, and again in the album lyrics you directly mention the awards – so, how important is the dream of ‘winning the Mercury Prize’?
Eddie Argos: It would be hilarious wouldn’t it? We definitely deserve it.
popbollocks: Do you believe in god? If not, can you please invent one – describe that god – and which of these new tracks you’d play to impress him/her.
Eddie Argos: It’s an album it needs to be played in its entirety. If there is a God he knows that. None of this ‘best tracks to download this week’ nonsense. It’s an album – listen to all of it.
HURRY – PREORDER/BUY – ART BRUT MUSIC
*we totally said ‘lead vox’