Nick O'Malley of Arctic Monkeys on measuring your success by your grandparents' reaction
Since the band started, each album comes with a sound that's progressively less sharply urban and perhaps more rock 'n' Western. The thing you said about crossover between you and the Black Keys -- maybe there would have been less a few years ago. Where did that influence come from: age, maturity, touring?
I think it's a combination of all of those things, really. We've been spending more and more time touring in America every tour, but we're also getting older and listening to more music. When we were younger, we only listened to a handful of things. I still don't think we sound particularly more American and everything, but we've opened up a lot in ways that we were closed off before. We just get out there a lot more.
If you had to measure the band's current level of success, what benchmark would you use?
I suppose it's when your grandparents have heard of you. For example, my grandma loves Adele. If she's heard about it, that's the benchmark for me.
And what does she think about the band?
She likes it, obviously, but she's biased. My grandda -- or grandfather, or whatever you say -- he just thinks we're noise. Just a big bunch of noise. He's come to a few shows and all of that, but he's not as biased. Today, obviously, album sales are still a big thing, but people can download things and it doesn't count toward the chart these days. I guess you sort of know [when you're big], don't you? It's when you're in demand a lot. We just played South America, and it were crazy. You just want to have a lot of fans demanding that you come and play. That's how you really know.
If you could borrow any band's career trajectory, which would you choose?
I really like the way Radiohead have done things. They've really done well in America in a good way. It's difficult not to go straight toward these massive, legendary bands, but it would make me feel a bit weird saying that. There are these bands like Flaming Lips, though, that have done well without compromise, and I think we'd like to be at that level.
With the band's videos, most feature Alex [Turner, lead singer] or Matt [Helders, drummer] in slightly silly or dramatic roles. What would it take to get you on camera as the star of one?
Matt's always the one who's best on camera. He could have a great acting career. I've never been that comfortable on camera, so if I had to do something, it would probably be wearing some sort of disguise. Me and Jamie are both sort of camera-shy, and we avoid it if at all possible. I'd need covering.
How does the band come up with its song titles -- things like "Don't Sit Down, 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair"?
That always used to be a thing at school, where someone would move someone's chair right before they sat down. Most songs just come from inside jokes or something personal for Alex while he's writing it. We've only got a couple of idea songs right now, and they're quite serious. No silly song titles yet, but there will be. We just did one called "R U Mine?" [the band's latest single], and we thought about saving it for a new record, but we thought that we were doing this tour with the Black Keys and thought, "Why not just release it and have something new to play on tour?"
After that, we're going to have a rest and get some new songs together, and I'm really looking forward to that. We were already really excited after "R U Mine?," because the riff and melody of that is something we've not really done for a while. It's not even on any album, but it's the song fans are getting the most excited about at the moment. We'd love to create more songs like that at the moment.
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