Joseph Mount on the measured rise of Metronomy

Joseph Mount brings Metronomy to the Body&Soul festival this weekend, writes Ed Power

JOSEPH Mount is living the dream. Or, at least, his version of the dream. The Metronomy frontman has just arrived back at his Paris apartment, having completed the school run (the child-minder is sick). It’s an idyllic existence, just not especially rock’n’roll.

“A few of us in the ranks have very young children,” says the thoughtful, quietly-spoken 33-year-old.

“That’s why we took 18 months away from touring. I’m aware those first few years of your child’s life are where people say, ‘oh, they change so quickly’. You don’t want to miss that.”

Not every group would prioritise parental bonding over tour-bus excess. Not every group are Metronomy, the critically lauded, UK dance-pop outfit, whose 10-year career has been a story of quiet triumphs and hand-on-the-tille r patience.

“It’s foolish to put your career first,” says the quietly spoken Mount. “We did that for a considerable period — the best part of a decade. It was about time we took a little while off and had a taste of normality.”

Metronomy are a very 21st century party band. With quicksilver grooves and rhapsodic melodies, they suggest a sort of mild, English Daft Punk.

It is in this guise that they return to Ireland at the weekend, as headliners of the Body and Soul Festival, at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath.

There is ennui to go with the hedonism. Metronomy’s Mercury-nominated, 2011 album, The English Riviera, doubled as a pensive gaze into the pre-Brexit soul, with Mount concluding that, under its placid surface, provincial Britain was a place of considerable turmoil.

At a time when too much music is concerned with short-term gratification, it was a rare example of an LP daring to think big.

The received wisdom is that Metronomy have had a gilded rise. Not for them overnight success and the inevitable pressure to top themselves. Instead, they have enjoyed incremental progress.

“With hindsight, I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” says Mount. “There was a time I would have been jealous of other bands who were getting more attention — a petty thing, but it was real.

“What I understand, now, is that the only reason we are still here, and I’m still here, is because there wasn’t any expectation at the beginning of our career. By and large, that’s when bands are under pressure and can’t do anything but disappoint. It’s a bit like a relationship. Going in, it’s important not to create unrealistic expectations.”

He moved to Paris with his French-born partner several years ago. He says that leaving the UK has widen his perspectives and enriched his music.

“You start to understand that London and Britain aren’t the centre of the world.

“If anything, Germany is probably the centre of Europe. You see things in a different way, and that can only be positive.”

  • Summer 08 is out now. Metronomy headline Body&Soul, Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, this weekend


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