This’ll be your 3rd album. How do you think this album speaks to where you all are right now, this point in your career and lives?
Eddie: I think the album is a pretty accurate portrayal of us right now. A lot of the lyrics on the other albums were about things that had happened in the past. The lyrics on this one are what Im up to right now. I love DC Comics, Public Transportation and I have just discovered The Replacements. The lyrics on the next album will all be about the future. I think the music on this album sounds the most like us. That is how we have always sounded live. We are all feeling very confident at the moment.
Frank Black is huge fan of yours and produced Art Brut vs. Satan, Frank Black is a legend – especially here in Massachusetts. How do you think this changed or enhanced your latest LP? How do you think collaborating with not just another artist, but another musical vanguard – an innovator – influenced the production of Art Brut vs. Satan?
Eddie: We decided early on we wanted to record this album, in one or two takes as much as possible for a more immediate sound. Black Francis is the expert at this style of recording. That first Catholics album was recorded in one take with no overdubs. SO just having him to agree to work with us was a massive confidence boost. When Frank Black tells you you’ve written a good song its a pretty awesome feeling. Also all the advice he gave us over the arrangements and things we should try was spot on we wouldn’t have written an 8 minute song without his encouragement and im glad we did that. Working with Frank Black was a brilliant experience.
In your official press release, you were described as an indie “witchfinder” (on the track ‘Demons Out!’)- calling out bands who cling to this “epic” U2-like production and with lyrics “This is Art Brut versus Satan/The record buying public, we hate them!”. Do you think there is a right way to sound? On the same token, you’ve said with Art Brut vs. Satan you cared less about what others might think, do you feel like Art Brut, after 3 albums, has more room to experiment and grow?
Eddie: I don’t think there is a right way to sound. I just personally dont like overblown production or lyrics that are filled with platitudes and overwrought cliche. So would like there to be less of that and unfortunately that seems to be whats popular at the moment. We have always kind of done what we’ve wanted to. We’ll just carry on doing that, but yeah I think we now have more room to experiment and grow.
There is a healthy lining of both self-deprecation and narcissism in your lyrics, but they remain completely relatable and grounded in conversational overtones- does it come more naturally to you, Eddie, to write in first person?
Eddie: I try very very hard to make our lyrics as ‘conversational’ as possible. Im glad its working. Yep writing in the first person comes naturally to me. Ive just finished an album with my other band Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now in which the songs are about other characters from songs and I even managed to accidentally turn most those into songs about me. Maybe Im a sociopath.
Thank you for writing about the Replacements – “how have i only just discovered the replacements?” – great. I think a lot of us do look to an older generation of music to improve the quality of our music libraries. I know this is wildly predictable question, but can you speak to some of your musical influences? Is there a reason for your references to Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” and Top Notes’ “Twist and Shout”?
Eddie: After I found out it was possible to name songs with the same names of other famous songs I just couldn’t help myself. With The Passenger though I had always thought Iggy’s was about riding the bus/train so when i found out it wasn’t I felt we should rectify the situation.
In Art Brut we all have very different tastes in music my favourites tend to be singer song writers like Jeffry Lewis, Daniel Johnston, The Mountain Goats or stuff like Half Japanese. Mike likes power pop Weezer, Eels that kind of thing, Fred is into Pixies Husker Du that kind of thing. Ian likes metal Lamb of God, Sepultura etc and Jasper doesn’t really like music maybe some pop music at a push. When we write its always a bit of an argument trying to make all those things fit.
What is the greatest part of being a successful, touring band?
Eddie: I really like meeting people and traveling so its the best job in the world for me.
Can you describe some of the differences in playing for a US audience? do you find some of your music is lost on us?
Eddie: Nope in fact I think the opposite. British people can be very cynical. US audiences seem to be ready to accept us at face value and understand we are being sincere.
So far you’ve released an album every 2 years, got any plans for the next?
Eddie: Hopefully sooner. Early next summer is what we’re aiming for.