The Bankable Arctic Monkeys
Published Apr 21, 2007Any guesses as to how in demand Arctic Monkeys are? Well, first off they have become a daily target for the infamously diabolical UK tabloid press. Over the past weeks, members of the Sheffield-based sensations have allegedly called the BBCs Radio One play lists "crap and publicly slagged hot producer Mark Ronsons latest single a move that prompted Robbie Williams, a Ronson collaborator, to offer to "smack them.
According to drummer Matt Helders, what is being printed is far from the truth. "We never said anything about Mark Ronson; I never even said his name before. The Radio One thing, that was blown out of proportion it was a mistake really, he says with little bother. "Its all tabloids, its never true. Were on this tour right now and theres something on us in the paper every day thats bullshit. Its annoying, but we kind of have a laugh at it. Its not that serious yet; theyre not digging into our personal lives.
The hubbub is largely to do with the fact that these barely 20-year-olds have a brand new album out. In little more than a year after the mark of their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, the fervent four-piece have roared back with the heavier, more sonically ambitious Favourite Worst Nightmare. Talk about difficult second albums all you want few indie acts have to follow up a record that set record sales (fastest selling album ever in the UK) and won awards from the Brits, NME, PLUG and the highly coveted Mercury Prize. Theyve managed to produce something that not only builds on their signature sound, but also shows that these lads can handle everything thats thrown at them. Helders says the immense pressure everyone assumes wasnt, in fact, too much for them. "We just got more used to this lifestyle.
This new lifestyle has allowed them to work more with their sound. Another sign of their in-demand status came from a request to work with UK grime star Dizzee Rascal. Supporters of the "grindie movement sparked by London producer Statik, the Monkeys were excited about the possibilities. "A year ago, hed suggested working with us, and we had this song with a beat like we could have a rapper on it. We were all fans of his music and thought hed be perfect on it, so we approached him again and he was more than happy to do it.
The band were wise to keep "Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend off Nightmare though. Unlike some eager young artists, they understood that the collaboration could work against them. "There were about 19 or 20 songs from the session and it was difficult to narrow it down to 12 at the end, Helders says. "The Dizzee Rascal song, we obviously think its amazing, but it might have been seen as a bit of a gimmick someone like that guesting on the second album. So we kept it as a b-side.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the Monkeys impact was their invitation to compose a song and make a cameo in Alfonso Cuaróns Children of Men, the Oscar-nominated film set in an infertile future world. "They wanted a song for it first of all. Then they wanted to make it so we were playing the song in the film, but 20 years older, explains Helders. "So they would age us by 20 years and then wed be playing the song on a video billboard. The song was supposed to sound like what we imagined something to sound like in 20 years too. We really liked the idea, but it was another time thing. We didnt really have a day where we could do anything like that last year. Looking back I really wished we would have done it I love that film.