Headliners at Glastonbury, a presentation at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, five studio albums, a Mercury Prize, and a Grammy nomination, are some of the credentials that Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Nick O'Malley and Matt Helders can boast.
With the pretext of their participation in the Corona Capital Music Festival, we talked with Nick O`Malley, bass player of the band.
History and friendship.
Before becoming rock royalty, the Arctic Monkeys were just regular boys from Sheffield. In 2001, Alex and Jamie each received a guitar as a Christmas present. Then they began to rehearse with a couple of schoolmates: Matt and Andy.
By 2003 the incipient band already began to have fans, to whom they distributed their music in burned CD´s. Thus began to be recognized thanks to the recommendations of word of mouth, until some fan created, in the then still cool MySpace, a fan page in their honor.
They spent another two years and in 2005 they released Five Minutes with the Arctic Monkeys, their first EP, which included "I bet you look good on the dance floor", the first single that they managed to place in the number one spot of the music lists of United Kingdom. That same year they released Whatever people say I am, That's what I am not, album with which they surpassed Oasis like the band with the greater debut in the United Kingdom.
On the eve of his first US tour, Andy Nicholson, the band's original bassist, decided to leave the band due to exhaustion. Apparently there really was no conflict and his statements about tiredness were not a mere publicity stunt. Nicholson was replaced by Nick O'Malley, who eventually became a permanent member of the group.
"We are from a small city where everyone knows everyone. We have many acquaintances in common, we were friends since before playing together, so we share many things besides the band, that makes everything easier," said Nick.
Far from a flash in the pan
Despite the success, the band was surrounded by ambivalence: on the one hand, young people in love with their sharp accents and witty lyrics, had named them chroniclers of their generation; the industry also adored them, and some specialized magazines qualified their debut album with 10 points of 10.
However, his critics, including Thom Yorke at that time, claimed that the success of the band was the result of the media's attention to any musician who would find success on the internet. For them, Arctic Monkeys was an overrated band that would soon be diluted into nothing.
"We are very far from that, we have been praised and hated, but we are still here. We are at a point of our career where we no longer have to prove anything. AM is having an incredible respect from the audience. We have played the new songs and the audience already knows them, not only the first single. It feels overwhelming. In the United States AM is doing very well on the charts".
Now their critics complain of their success, and say that they have become what they denounced in "Old tales of San Francisco."
When Humbug came out, many people hated it, but we really thought that it was one of the most decisive steps in our career, a new course. This may not sound right, but I can not think of another band of our age that is doing what we do".
A matter of discipline
Before Humbug, the Arctic Monkeys decided to move to the United States, first to Brooklyn and then to California, where they recorded their most recent material. However it is not in their plans to remain in that nation forever.
"We are very British, you know, we have a lot of things ingrained, it is not permanent, we are very connected to England, moving to America was a matter of work, but to be honest it is very pleasant to live in a place where there is always sun. You can ride your motorcycle all year round. We wanted to try it because there is incredible music here and also very good studios".
"For Humbug, Josh (co-producer of the album) took us to the Mojave Desert and it was an incredible experience. We had a great time, so for AM we invited him to collaborate.He has a very small participation in" Knee socks ", thirty seconds. More than anything it was an excuse to see a great friend, and we loved that the QOTSA will play in the same festival as we in Mexico".
A little more than a month after AM was released, the Arctic Monkeys' fifth studio album is rapidly positioning itself as the most successful of its career. The material was produced by James Ford and Ross Orton in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California. In it, Cook's riffs, mixed with Turner's ever-better voice and lyrics that are still challenging but without the teenage epithets, combine to create an album with more than one stadium anthem.
"It's not a secret that the name of the record makes reference to Velvet Underground´s VU." We feel that we are at that point in our career, but besides that it has multiple meanings. AM stands for after midnight, midnight is a theme in the album. It's our sexiest album, we did not plan it, it just happened. It's been commented on how much it speaks about women, but that's not new, all men talk about it."