Q & A with Eddie Argos from Art Brut
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 16:04
English indie rock band Art Brut are releasing their fourth album Brilliant! Tragic! May 24. The album was produced by Pixies frontman Black Francis. Working with Pledge Music, a web site designed to assist bands with raising money, the group is selling a variety of exclusive material, as well as giving away a non-album track titled "Unprofessional Wrestling" for free. In the midst of all of this hype, Prospectus News was able to have a Q & A with vocalist Eddie Argos.
Prospectus:What has Art Brut done different this time around with Brilliant! Tragic!?
EA:We had a bit longer in the studio this time and our relationship with Black Francis is closer, we're proper mates now. So we took all the songs apart and examined them in greater detail this time and I think Black Francis felt he could push us a lot further this time.
Prospectus:What was it like working with Black Francis?
EA:Brilliant. Even better than last time. I want to make 5 albums a year just to hang out with him more. Not just him, either. Everybody we stay with in Salem. I love making records over there.
Prospectus:Take us through the usual songwriting process for Art Brut.
EA:I write all the words in my head, go to a practice; they've written some music, and then I change the words till they fit what they've written. Easy.
Prospectus: There's a track on the new album called "Axl Rose." I know you've written about him in the past, as well as name-checking him in a previous song. What makes him appealing to write about?
EA:Axl Rose is everything a rock star should be. He does what he wants and tells everybody to f*ck off and maybe in the real world sometimes that isn't something people shouldn't aspire to. But when you are on a flight of fancy it is incredibly appealing. I would really like to be friends with Axl Rose. He is definitely someone you want in your corner and of course Guns N' Roses are a f*cking awesome rock band, if not the best rock band ever.
Prospectus: What song are you the most proud of on the new album?
EA:I love them all. I'm proud that I can finally sort of sing, so anything I'm sort of singing on really.
Prospectus:How did the idea to sing on this album come about?
EA:We had a bit more time. I think it was Black Francis' plan from the beginning. On the first day he locked me in a room with him for a few hours until I got it right. It was great to find out I could use my voice as an instrument.
Prospectus:On the previous album, you made mundane topics such as public transportation and having a song stuck in your head extremely interesting. Do you continue this theme at all in the upcoming release?
EA:I was really enjoying writing about "mundane" topics on the last couple of albums. It was exciting for me to see how far I could take it. Injecting bus journeys and having songs trapped in your head with the sort of excitement that I get from them. I think I might have taken it as far as I can though. This album I tackle weightier topics like having a song for my own funeral or the principality of Sealand. The lyrics are a bit less straight forward than before too as the songs are more personal. I think I may have made some of them a bit more cryptic.
Prospectus:You wrote about discovering the Replacements in the last album, what are some amazing artists you've discovered since then?
EA:I'm still pretty hung up on the Replacements. There is a band called Ezra Furman and The Harpoons from Chicago I really like. A guy called Akira The Don who I think has a new album out soon. And I've just moved in with my girlfriend; she plays The Rolling Stones a lot more than I used to. They are a lot better than I thought.
Prospectus:What are your favorite songs to perform live? Why?
EA:I like any of the songs where I get to improvise anything with a bit of space for me to talk. We've been playing around with "Modern Art" like that for a while now; it can be about 10 minutes long some nights. I like talking myself into a corner and then trying to find my way back. It's a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to playing the new songs live. Especially Axl Rose. I just love playing live, really, so all of the songs.
Prospectus:Any plans for a United States tour?
EA:We're doing an East Coast tour fairly soon. June, I think, and then a bigger tour later in the year.
Prospectus:What inspired you to start making music?
EA:I'm a big show off. I used to go and watch bands when I was younger and get jealous of the people getting all the attention. Then when I started playing in bands I realized how cathartic it can be working out your problems on stage in song and how fun sharing your experiences with an audience can be with all the conversation and friendship it brings. That's what kept me making music.
Prospectus:If you could perform with any musician (alive or dead), who would it be?
EA:I've nearly really had an answer to this question before and then my friends The Lovely Eggs played with Jad Fair from Half Japanese and I got a little bit jealous. So deep down I must really want to play with Jad Fair or Half Japanese, or maybe The Lovely Eggs. I was definitely jealous of someone, though.
Prospectus:Has your side project Everybody Was In The French Resistance…NOW! started working on a "Fixin' The Charts, Volume Two?"