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Art Brut

Art Brut








Hometown: Bournemouth (UK)

About:

"That's what we kept saying all the while we were recording the album," says Eddie Argos, 'It's a bit complicated'. So it just made sense that that would be the title."

Oh yes, with their Dan Swift produced second album, their first for new label Labels / Mute, Art Brut (Eddie Argos – vocals, Ian Catskilkin – lead guitar, Freddy Feedback – bass, Mikey B – drums and new guitarist Jasper Future) have grown up. But don't worry, they've only grown up a little bit. "The first album was kind of me when I was 17, and I suppose this one is me when I'm 19. If we do another one, I expect it will be me when I was 21."

As chief rapier wit and unlikely champion of Britpop's new wave, the 27–year–old Eddie Argos is used to living life at the speed of pop. It was (a bit) complicated enough for the band who combined kitchen sink drama and French philosophy to even get here – "here" being encroaching international superstardom – from humble beginnings as champions of London's DIY New Cross Scene, class of 2004. And you'll know about Eddie Argos, former postman, lifelong dreamer, occasional indie prophet whose only real ambition in life was to one day get on Top Of The Pops.

The TOTP dream may be over now the show has ended, but It's A Bit Complicated takes Art Brut's love affair with pop music to dizzying new levels. From opener Pump Up The Volume's awkward fumbling, wondering aloud, "Is it so wrong, to break from your kiss to turn up a pop song–" to the deranged dancefloor melodrama of new single Direct Hit, or the rolling, melodious I Will Survive, the new album takes their ascent to pop supremacy to its next dizzying stage.

Art Brut's debut single 'Formed A Band' became a rallying cry across indie London, a call to arms to a new generation determined to poke fun at everything and everyone.

Their star was rising. Next single, the stream–of–consciousness ode to unrequited love that is 'Emily Kane' narrowly missed a top 40 placing because an administrative error meant that none of their download sales carried forward. "But I kind of like that," says Eddie, "because I didn't get in with Emily Kane either in the end. So they're both a bit disappointing." Their debut album 'Bang Bang Rock 'n' Roll' was eventually released on Fierce Panda and things were moving faster than Eddie could ever have anticipated.

Their process of licensing 'Bang Bang Rock 'n' Roll' one country at a time started to pay serious dividends in Germany. "I think they think I'm more intelligent than I actually am," continues Eddie, "they were saying it was a concept album." As things took off, they found themselves playing two nights with Oasis in Hamburg. "Liam Gallagher was at the side of the stage both nights, clapping and dancing," remembers Eddie with awe. "And then during 'Modern Art' he was jumping around, saying 'this is my favourite! Fucking ave it!" Later on in the dressing room Eddie gave Noel a copy of 'Bang Bang Rock 'n' Roll. "He's like, 'Oh, I've got it,' and started singing a bit of 'My Little Brother'. I told him it was like Half Man Half Biscuit supporting U2. He said he loved Half Man Half Biscuit and starting singing 'Trumpton Riots' at me. It was the most surreal moment of my life."

But this was nothing compared to what was going on in America, with the band getting plaudits on influential US music site Pitchfork Media Rolling Stone named 'Formed A Band' their Single Of The Year. Spin named them one of the 15 Best Live Bands In The World. And they appeared on the coveted Jimmy Kimmel talkshow. "I'm quite a nervous man anyway," confesses Eddie, "but that was terrifying because it's real television isn't it, American television– And you know Americans, they're all enthusiastic. I realised then it was going quite well."

But in any adventure, there will be those who don't make it, and eventually the time came for guitarist Chris Chinchilla to depart. Having left their jobs for a not–exactly–lucrative album deal, the band found themselves without any money. "I'm quite stupid," Eddie reflects, "I thought it was romantic, starving to death in a bedsit somewhere. But Chris likes comfort more than me I think, so he left."

But by the time replacement Jasper Future came in, with a brazen Weezer/Nirvana influence to beef up the band's sound, they were already a very different prospect. The gilded palace of showbusiness was opening itself up; from the sublime (playing with Ghostface Killah and meeting Russell Simmons, Wyclef Jean and Gnarls Barkley) to the ridiculous (being covered by We Are Scientists), Art Brut were becoming America's favourite sons. "In America and Germany I think they're a lot less cynical than us. So when they hear 'Emily Kane' they say, 'Oh you must have loved Emily Kane, that's a lovely love song', whereas over here they'll go, 'Oh, that's funny; is she made up– That's like an emo song'. But oh no, it was all true."

Actually, the song put Eddie back in touch with Emily, "and her new boyfriend's lovely," he says with a sorrowful face, but with that – and TOTP – behind him, he was ready to return to London and work on stage 2.

"I didn't realise how much I love England, being away from here for so long," says Eddie. The band had just completed their biggest ever US and UK tours, festivals across the globe including Coachella, Pitchfork, Benacassim and New York's Siren, had a hit single in all–new track 'Nag Nag Nag Nag' and, recently signed to Labels / Mute, they were quick to work on 'It's A Bit Complicated'. "It's good," muses Eddie, "because we never really got to write the first album. We just had to use all the songs we had. This time we knew what we were doing."

And in every sense, it's a better album – a bit complicated, but not so much that it muddies the cast–iron pop principles the band were founded on. "The album is more if the same, but better. We've got a sense of humour, but we're not a joke."


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