Drummer Matt Helders says Arctic Monkeys are often reluctant to play their older material because, “It feels like we’re doing karaoke of our own songs.”
Helders revealed this in an interview with comedian James Veitch, best known for a viral TED talk describing his correspondence with a spam emailer. It’s an aggressively silly three-part series, where Helders tried to teach Veitch drums. But in the final video, the comedian asked the rock star about his most recent tour, in which the band retooled the old song “Mardy Bum” into a slow ballad.
Helders suggested that Arctic Monkeys have a strained relationship with some of the older cuts in the catalogue. He said,
“Some of it feels fine to still play, some of it feels like we’re doing karaoke of our own songs… like a bit of a caricature. It doesn’t feel as genuine playing it anymore, I’d rather they just have the memory of a version where we really meant it, rather than we’ll do this for you.”
Elsewhere in the video, we learn that the next Arctic Monkeys album is already underway. Helders is currently in London “to write with Alex [Turner].” Helders added, “We’re all going to go [to the studio] together this time and see if there’s anything worth recording.”
The rest of the interview is teeming with wackiness. Veitch keeps mixing up details about the rock star, introducing him as the drummer from the Kaiser Chiefs (“Arctic Monkeys,” Helders mutters) and asking him if he learned the drums on “the mean streets of Manchester,” (“Sheffield,” Helders sighs). Check out all three segments below, and look for details about the next album and Helders feelings about old songs in the final video, titled “Drumming With Arcade Fire Legend Matt Helders.”
While the next tour will probably have to wait until the new album is completed, check out recently unarchived footage of Arctic Monkeys playing Austin City Limits.
Last month, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker said that Alex Turner is “in another league to me as a songwriter.”