What kind of mindset were you in when you guys wrote Black Holes And Revelations? It was pretty relaxed, actually. It was the first time we started an album without any kind of deadline. I think every album we’ve done we’ve had some kind of deadline. Quite often the tour is booked before the album is done. And I think that’s something we really wanted to get away from. We’d have a lot of songs become b-sides and that’s not because they weren’t any good but because they weren’t finished properly. It’s always frustrating to look back a couple of years and realise that could have been great if we had worked on it and had a bit more time. So with this one hopefully we can look back on it in a couple of years’ time without any regrets. You’ve said this is the Muse studio album, allowing yourselves loose on the technology and not worrying about how you’ll pull it off live… I think it’s the first time we’ve gone into the studio and actually learnt about the gear. So often we’ve been in the studio before and let the engineers do everything. You just assume the producer is going to come up with this great sound and it’s all going to be brilliant, but you just never know. You never learn the capabilities of something until you get your head around it yourself. It’s all such a digital process now and it’s something we’ve always been keen to learn how to use, which means in the future we might be able to produce an album by ourselves, or do bits and pieces on our own. I heard a story about you leaving anagrams in your setlists for fans to discover and eventually find a bicycle. Could you elaborate? We had four or five new songs we were playing live and we didn’t have song titles so we just used anagrams and it was just a joke between us. I can’t believe how quickly the fans jumped on to it. The next day it was all this thing about hidden meanings – “It must mean something”. So we just kinda pushed it. We got these bikes to ride around in the States so we started putting in all these anagrams which lead to an email address with other anagrams that led to the address. So there was this one bike which we left dangling behind a rail bridge. We got on the tour bus at about 2am that night and got up the next morning, hopped on the message board and there is this picture of a lad who had apparently driven 300 miles to Austin, Texas, after solving the anagram and the bike was now in his bedroom. He got caught for speeding on the way. It was fucking crazy. We were expecting it to be solved, but not the next morning. Have you done that since? No. I think people were expecting an album full of anagrams. That was just a joke really. I dont think we were ever going to continue with it. Explain the cover art. It struck me as very Pink Floyd-ish. That’s Storm Thorgerson – he’s done a lot of the Pink Floyd covers. He has a very definite style. A very keeping-it-real type of photography. It almost looks like it’s fake but it’s not. We used him for the last album, Absolution. People think the shadows were computer-generated but it’s all real and that’s something that has always appealed to us about him. Is Pink Floyd an influence on the band? Not really. To be honest it wasn’t until we started recording this album that any of us really knew anything about them. Obviously we’d heard of them but not a lot by them. But the studio we were recording in, in France, was where The Wall was recorded so we started checking it out. There were Wall gold discs all over the studio. So I bought a bunch of their records on iTunes. I’ve started getting into Dark Side Of The Moon, I think that’s a really great album. You mentioned there were some ghosts of previous artists that had used that studio still lingering, like David Bowie? I think it’s great to have that history. Every studio we’ve recorded in has had some big classic album that’s been recorded there. I don’t know why that matters but it’s a great feeling to know that something that big has been done. You feel a weird presence. Or maybe you’re desperate to make yourself feel better. And make you feel you’ve got something to live up to? The Wall was such a huge album. You can’t start blaming studios then, can you? Black Holes and Revelations is out now on Warner Music
About The Author
TNT Magazine has been guiding independent travellers around the world for 35 years. Originally founded in 1983, TNT Magazine has been regarded by many as the youth travellers bible, offering a mix of inspiring travel content, news, lifestyle, fashion, jobs and accommodation. Our mantra is live life & travel which encompasses what we are all about. To live life to the full, and help young adults navigate the tribulations of working, living and experiencing adventure through travel. We have developed a great reputation throughout the world as an independent and trusted source of quality content and advice.