“This album is really the debut of what Modestep really is” – hmv.com talks to Modestep
As they prepare to release their second album London Road, we sat down with Modestep’s Tony and Josh Friend find out how it all came together and how they made sure to keep things aggressive…
How long did London Road take to put together?
Josh: “We locked ourselves away for about 15 hours a day for about 13 months. It was longer than we’ve ever spent on any music in our lives before.”
Did that mean you came up with hours and hours and hours of music?
Tony: “Not really, there wasn’t that much left over when it came to putting the album together. The main bulk of the time was coming up with sounds, we spent ages getting the basic drum and bass sounds down, trying to tweak them to make them as good we could get them.”
How did you want the album to move on from your debut record?
Josh: “We wanted to move everything on. Our debut album was Evolution by name and Evolution by nature. We had a couple of tunes that got picked up by radio and we had to write an album to fit those tunes. We’ve been touring for three years now, we know what works for us live and what we like playing, so we wanted to write an album to reflect that.”
How did you go about doing that? Did you use a lot more live elements?
Josh: “We did, we used a lot more live experiments. We’ve got a new guitarist Kyle (Deek) and a new drummer Pat (Lundy) and they were really helpful in realising the songs. We used our experience of touring and working on what dynamics work well for the crowds. We wanted to capture the live energy we get.”
When did Pat and Kyle get involved?
Tony: “They joined about two or three months into making the record. We got really lucky with Pat, he came from Funeral For A Friend and originally he was just going to do a couple of shows, but he really loved it and has ended up joining. Same with Kyle, he’s never toured before, but he’s super talented and he’s really taken to it. They’re both real grafters.”
Did having fresh ears make a big difference?
Tony: “It did, it injected more energy for sure, but we’ve known what kind of record we wanted to make for the past three years. This album is really the debut of what Modestep really is.”
How did you go about getting the cast of vocalists you’ve got on the album? You’ve got Skindred, The Partysquad, Big Narstie and loads more. Are they friends or were they suggested to you?
Josh: “We just work with people we really like. It was just a case of reaching out and saying ‘You want to do a track?’. Everyone who is on the record has a got a very British style and we think they’re the pioneers of this very specific London sound, which is what we wanted.”
Where do your lyrics come from?
Tony: “It comes from us. Apart from The Partysquad, they brought their own top line. We just want to cover relatable topics, events that happened to us, topics that connect with people.”
Is there anything more outward looking? Political even?
Josh: “There’s bits about social media, stuff against the system. It’s all designed to make you feel like you’re right in it. It’s angry and angsty, we can’t be writing songs about wanting to go for walks when the music is designed to make you want to punch each other.”
How much live stuff do you have lined up?
Josh: “Lots of festivals and then we’re looking to do lots more in the UK and Europe after that.”
Your music opens you up to a huge variety of festivals, you seem to get booked for all kinds of different events…
Tony: “We spent three years doing that. We can do heavy festivals like Reading and Download and then play Global Gathering. We needed that from this record too, we want to be able to do both.”
Modestep’s London Road is released on Monday (May 25th) and is available for pre-order in store now.
The band will perform live and copies of the album on Tuesday (May 26th) at hmv 363 Oxford Street. You can find full ticket details here.