They’ve already been signed to Bad Boy (sort of) and can count [artist id="1244169"]Diddy[/artist] as an honorary member of their entourage, so now the [artist id="2023193"]Arctic Monkeys[/artist] are aiming even higher: They want to conquer one of New York City’s most famous landmarks too.
“We’re gonna do a tour in September,” frontman Alex Turner told MTV News. “We definitely want to play the Garden.”
“I don’t think we’re big enough for the Garden, though,” bassist Nick O’Malley countered. “I think we could play somebody’s garden, but not Madison Square Garden. So in September, we’ll come play your garden. Like, at your house. Cool?”
Cool with us. And perhaps the Monkeys are being a tad bit modest. They probably could play MSG if they felt like it … after all, they’re massive in the U.K. and they maintain a loyal following here in the States. And, on their new album Humbug (which hits stores Tuesday), they’re aiming to expand both of those fanbases, working with a pair of sought-after producers from either side of the pond — Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme and Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford — and loosening their tightly wound guitar/drum attack to explore twisty, slightly aggro riffs (first single “Crying Lightning,”) distorted, grunge-y chords (“Potion Approaching”) and even starry, straight-ahead balladry (“Cornerstone”).
For the first time in their career, the Monkeys sound very much like a full band, one you’d most definitely hear on modern rock radio — which was sort of the point this time out.
“There’s a bit more musicianship than on the previous two records,” O’ Malley said. “The goal this time was to become more of a fluid unit, as far as the music goes, and I think on this third album, there’s more of a musical evolvement than on the first two. There’s a bit more snake, a bit more leather.”
“A bit more hips,” Turner added. “There’s a good feeling about it.”
And that loosening, that focus on the shimmy (you know, “the hips”) can directly be attributed to Homme and Ford, who expanded the Monkeys’ sound through their disparate production techniques, which varied from sheer intimidation to vibe-y, mellow mysticism. Or, you know, something like that.
“It was very motivational, because you think, ‘It’s Josh Homme. I don’t want him to know how terrible I am, so I have to up my game slightly,’ ” O’Malley said. “He made you want to be better on your instrument, so you didn’t upset him.”
“I’d say what you’ve got there is James Ford, a bit of a Ghostbuster, ex Dreadlock, and Josh who takes a bit of a Bill Sykes approach to it,” Turner said. “The way Bill Sykes would approach eating an apple — like with a dagger — Josh is like that with the task.”
Totally. We think.