Made in Devon
It all started in 1999 when Joseph Mount got hold of his dad’s old computer and began imitating leftfield electronic artists such as Autechre and Aphex Twin. In 2002, Mount began performing as a DJ and creating his own soundtrack “animations”.
Under the name Metronomy, Mount horded material and gained experience playing live alongside his cousin, Oscar Cash, and school buddy Gabriel Stebbing. A prolific remixer, his back catalogue includes notable remixes for the likes of Gorillaz, Roots Manuva, Lady Gaga and Goldfrapp.
This summer saw the release of Metronomy’s fifth album, Summer 08, the first to be solely recorded by Mount since the band’s debut release Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe) a decade ago. We talk to Joe about the records that have influenced him; from his teenage years right through to the producer he is today.
1. Weezer - The Blue Album
“At the time this came out I would have been listening to bands like Nirvana and stuff like that. I was stealing lot of my sister’s tapes and I think that this was the first new - well, new to me - rock band that I’d heard of.
“They’re probably the only band to this day that really struck a chord with what I was into at that age. They did these two fantastic records that came along at just the right time during my period of teenage angst. Their other albums are varying degrees of ‘okay’, but the first two are incredible and The Blue Album is a classic.”
2. Missy Elliot - The Rain
“When I was a teenager and playing in my first ‘good’ band, we were all very young. My knowledge was limited to Weezer and I was stuck in the world of The Beatles and The Who. My bass player, Gabriel – who used to play in Metronomy, started playing me this Missy Elliot record, and also The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
“I think The Rain was one of the first rap records I’d heard that sounded like it was from another planet. I couldn’t really judge it against anything I knew because it was in a completely different universe.”
3. N.E.R.D - In Search Of
“N.E.R.D was Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who used to produce stuff under the name The Neptunes. By the time this came out I was interested in electronic production. The album in its original form was very odd in the way it was put together. They re-recorded it as a band, so there are actually two versions – an alternative, rocky version and a very unusual electronic version, and I liked the electronic one.
“It was just a very eye-opening record, because I was listening to a lot of anal electronic music like Antipop Consortium and Aphex Twin – the arsehole-y region of electronic music, and In Search Of was just this really free and easy pop record, which was just what I needed.”
4. Britney Spears - Toxic
“The funny thing with her is that she’s never pretended to be a songwriter, but she’s ended up having an ear for a song and production. A lot of her music, like (Hit Me) Baby One More Time, is quite unusual really. I remember when Toxic came out, again, it was a piece of pop music that everybody had to like because it was so good and so confident.
“After that song came out she had a knack for working with crazy production teams like Bloodshy & Avant, but Toxic was the first Britney Spears song that made me go ‘wow!’”
5. De La Soul - Buddy
“I can’t remember the remit for picking these songs, but I think I was trying to pick stuff that punctuated certain points of my life, and when I first heard this De La Soul record I was just a teenager hanging out with friends playing Gran Turismo and Tekken.
“It was at an age when we were trying to outdo each other regarding the sorts of music we liked, and I just remember all of us hanging around listening to that song, and the album, and feeling excited about life. I know they’ve got a new record out next month, and I’m always interested to hear what they do next.”
6. Beck - Mixed Bizness (Cornelius Remix)
“There was an original version, but it was the Cornelius Remix that stood out. A few years ago, I was doing an awful lot of remixes, especially when I started out as Metronomy, but this was the remix that became a template for what I did. It takes the original vocal from the Beck song, but everything else about the track is completely different and it’s just a really ambitious remix.
“Whenever I do remixes, this is the one that makes me want to do them in a particular way. I’m not a dance producer or anything like that, so the idea of me trying to make something better for a club has always seemed a bit odd - I’ve always preferred to try and make a track sound more like me.”
7. The Who - Pictures of Lilly
“It’s weird actually because when I was in my first band I was probably a bit obsessed with this song. I think it was just because I fancied a girl at school called Lilly – then someone pointed out that this song was about wanking and I was like ‘oooh, that’s interesting – very subversive’.
“I used to really like The Who, although I like them less and less the older I get, but this is one song that I still like a lot. I used to have their Greatest Hits compilation and the first half had quite aggressive rock and roll like My Generation, but as they went on they got a bit too prog rock.”
8. Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow
“Around the time we started touring, they were our contemporaries. On occasion, they’d support us and we’d support them, so we became friends and I remember hearing this song a lot. It’s weird because a lot of bands may be more than just a flash in the pan but have a short career and often never actually do anything that memorable. But with this song, I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking it was like nothing I’d heard before.
“I still think Gravity’s Rainbow is a really good song and, irrespective of whatever else they did musically – I’m not a massive fan of their other albums, it ended up inspiring a lot people, including myself.”
9. DMX Crew - Good Time Girl
“With this song, I was listening to stuff like Aphex Twin and Intelligent Dance Music and I remember hearing about DMX Crew so I bought this song. I remember thinking how it was a really catch piece of ‘80s-influenced Pop music, and I think they were on the same label that Aphex Twin ran, which put out a lot of very interesting electronic releases.
“I thought it was funny how these guys couldn’t release that sort of music without it being ironic in a way, and this song is really great but it’s a shame that they didn’t just forget about the irony and give it 100%. At the point I heard it, I used to think that if you want to write pop songs, you don’t have to give it a twist, just do it with conviction.
“Depending on the artist, saying that something sounds ‘80s or retro can either be a slight or a compliment, and some people talk about that era in a derogatory way, but all music is old and born from other stuff anyway."
10. Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy
“Was it really 20 years ago? Aphex Twin will probably always be the biggest weird dance act in the world. There is something about his stuff that is catchy, and you can imagine that if he wanted to be more commercial he could do it, but none of that matters because he still makes these really odd pop songs.
“This song was released at a time when he would have probably hated the idea of being a Pop artist, but I’m sure he’s quite proud of what he’s done now. When I started, I was trying to steal or replicate his ideas, and by doing that you can learn quite a lot because you’re forcing yourself to do something on a computer that you wouldn’t normally do. That’s not so evident in the music I write now, but when I switch back into that mode I guess he’s still there in the back of my mind.
“If you were lucky to pick up on him when you were a teenager, it means you would have learned about ambient music, which could always add another string to your bow."
The new Metronomy album ‘Summer 08’ is out now on Because Music. For more information, check out the Metronomy website.