The English Avant-Pop Band Stroll Along Manhattan's Aerial Park
Enjoying downtime from the international leg of their latest tour, British yacht-pop group Metronomy explored a recently opened ten block section of the High Line, a snaking oasis of concrete pathways and lush greenery built atop the old elevated subway lines of Lower West Manhattan. "Aside from the blistering heat and bird's eye view of a roller-skating jam, I'd have to say it was the lone butt that we could see in a hotel window that I liked most," says frontman Joseph Mount of the experience. Having set up Metronomy as a solo project in 1999, he later recruited cousin and keyboardist Oscar Cash, drummer Anna Prior and bassist Gbenga Adelekan to pursue his quietly surreal vision. Named in homage to Mount’s upbringing in a resort town on the South coast of England, the group’s self-produced third album, The English Riviera, was nominated for a Mercury Prize this year. With its saturated color, aerial shots of ocean-side pools and bikini-clad models sipping cocktails, the video for current single “The Bay” transforms Torquay into Saint-Tropez and embodies the band's eccentricity perfectly. We chatted with Mount about summery matters.
If you designed a High Line, what would it be like?
It's funny you should ask. I was thinking about that. I would probably have very little concrete and just make it a very long strip of grass and plants. That could look pretty incredible. I suppose there would have to be a "no shoes" rule.
Where is the English Riviera?
The English Riviera is a small stretch of coast where I spent many an enjoyable summer throughout my youth. It's half an affectionate and nostalgic reference, but it's also me dreaming of a place more similar to the French or Spanish Rivieras. It's a proud reference, in the same way that the Beach Boys sang about California.
Are you trying to challenge the perception of England as a drab and rain-soaked isle?
Not really, but it's important to note that it doesn't always rain here. It's like anywhere else really, just less predictable. England is a martyr of sorts. It bears the brunt of the harsh Atlantic weather so that the rest of Europe can bask in sunshine.
What's the story behind your glamorous video for “The Bay”?
It's obviously influenced by those Hype Williams videos and “Miami” by Will Smith. England is always depicted as quite raw and miserable in music videos. It seemed like a nice idea to try and make it look glamorous and desirable. We had to hire in foreign models though.
In one sentence, define Metronomy.
Metronomy is the little brother you never had.