Exposed meets… Matt Helders
With new album 'AM' dropping this month and a massive homecoming gig on the horizon, Exposed takes a look at the rise and rise of the Arctic Monkeys.
We caught up with some of the bands friends and collegeues who've worked with the band right from the start to find out how things have changed and how they haven't changed at all. Take a look in this months issue to catch the whole feature but here's a sneak peek at our exclusive interview with drummer Matt Helders…
It was recently the 10th anniversary of your first ever gig at The Grapes. Firstly, how old does that make you feel? Secondly, was there any sense at that gig that the band actually had something special, or did it just feel like mates having a laugh?
I want to say it makes me feel old, but it doesn't, so that's that. I mean, 10 years is a long time – but everything seems to have happened so quickly. But yeah, it was more a laugh than anything, although at the time we took it pretty seriously! We hadn’t dared do a gig for ages, we were probably a band in Al's garage for a year at least before we dared do a gig.
On each album you've really adapted/ evolved the style of music you play, none more so than the new one, which is far more hip hop than the 'four lads with guitars' formula. Do you ever (even now) worry about the fans reaction to new music?
Obviously we want people to like what we do and the records we make but, at the same time, it's got to be fun for us too. For us it's important to push things forward while still sounding like Arctic Monkeys. It took making 'Humbug' for us to realise we could do something different and it would still be 'Arctic Monkeys'. I also like the thought we might be turning some of the fans onto something they might not have listened to before, maybe.
How excited are you to finally, legitimately compare some of your music to your long time idol, Mr R Kelly?
It's pretty nice, and a long time coming, to be honest. I mean, Kellz is in a league of his own – but I'm very comfortable being a close second.
To touch on Glastonbury, it seemed to really resonate with fans as a massive comeback after you'd been away for a while. Did it feel like a pinnacle for you guys?
Definitely. For us it was also a chance to get another go at it – which in itself was amazing. I felt a lot more comfortable and confident this time. I think the reaction afterwards made me think it was an even bigger moment than I'd first thought.
Following on from that, there was a sense of finality about it. You won't be wracking up headline #3 for a while. Oh, and you've already played at The Olympics! Where do you go from here as a band and as musicians?
It's hard to say really. We consider ourselves very much a live band, and it's what we're good at, so shows and tours are important to us. We should probably just play in space.
Well, if Will.I.Am can do it. Also, do you have any comment on your choice of leather chaps/ trousers for the big event?
Crucial. Every girl needs a statement piece.
Do you feel like the move to LA has changed you at all/ changed your influences?
Mainly my pigment. I have a nice tan at certain times. I think it makes me listen to more music that sounds good in the car with the windows down, which then made us make tunes like that too.
More importantly, how many Man V Food joints have you visited?
Not enough. But then again, most places out there are like that. Also, I did see the man himself at a party not long ago.
You're back to tour the UK towards the end of the year. Now you're a bit older, and perhaps a little wiser, do you still enjoy the touring process?
Yeah, we still have a laugh. It's a lot of fun being on tour, it obviously has it's downsides, but we're still very much enjoying it and getting better at sleeping in essentially, a coffin.
What's the worst film you've ever collectively watched on the tour bus?
Without a doubt 'Cash' with Sean Bean. Sorry Sheffield.
Will playing Sheffield still feel like homecoming show?
Yeah, definitely. It's still what we all call home and will be a very special night for us. We always get a bit more nervous though. It's nice to go home for tea after soundcheck as well.
What do you miss most about South Yorks?
Gravy, Chips and Cheese from Aslan’s. Without a doubt.
And finally, did you ever think you would make it this far with a band called Arctic Monkeys?
No chance. We thought about changing the name early on – but as soon as one of the grown ups suggested we change it, we rebelled and kept it to be stubborn. We should probably have listened to them!
Interview by Amy Collin