"I wanted it to be a record that could be the soundtrack to the summer..." Example
Last time we spoke you said you’d decided on an album title but hadn’t released it yet, so now it’s out there, why did you decide on Live, Life, Living?
"It actually comes from the title of one of the tracks from the album, but that particular sentence is from the line ‘I don’t want to live live living without you’, so it was actually just from that lyric but I didn’t want to use that whole thing for the album title because, I dunno, it sounds a bit up yourself, doesn’t it?! I suppose in its own context though you can interpret it how you like, it’s quite uplifting and positive, you know?
"I wanted to call the album something like ‘Living for the Weekend’, but Calvin Harris already did an album with that title! But it’s quite a ‘clubby’ album, if you know what I mean, there’s a lot of tracks on there that work in nightclubs, but I wanted it to be a record that could be the soundtrack to the summer. You know, stick it on at a barbecue, stick it on on on your holidays and all that. But also I didn’t want it to be just individual tracks, I wanted it to feel like a dance compilation album."
Are you looking forward to people hearing the whole thing? There’s been a few singles released already doing the rounds…
"Yeah, there’s some stuff out there already, the three singles - ‘Kids Again’, ‘All The Wrong Places’, ‘One More Day’ - then there’s other tracks we’ve performing in the live show for a while now like ‘Take Me As I Am’, which we’ve been doing since last August I think, we played it at Clapham Common. It’s quite an aggressive track, it sort of starts out with this soft piano and then just goes completely mental. That track was kind of inspired by people like The Prodigy and Pendulum.
"The whole record has a lot of nods to various acts from the 90s, I mean it’s all me, it’s still very much my vibe, but you know, anyone who grew up in the 90s will notice a lot of references, Chemical Brothers, Technotronic, Soul II Soul, that kind of stuff. Then again if you’re, like , 16 or something you might never have heard those acts, so hopefully it will be completely fresh for some people too."
You’ve got Stuart Price working on it as a producer haven’t you?
"He’s done three tracks, yeah, Fraser T. Smith has done four. He’s worked with Adele, Britney Spears, Tinchy Strider, he’s been around for years, amazing producer. Stuart’s another one who’s been amazingly successful, one of the best British producers I’d say, then the rest has been by me and a guy called Critikal. He was in the hard house scene and a lot of those guys are amazing producers, the sequencing and stuff is incredible, but I had to get him to slow everything down a bit because 160bpm is a bit frantic for what I’m doing! Especially at festivals!
"So it’s a nice mix, but it’s a lot more coherent than anything I’ve done before. The last album had nine different producers, the one before that had eleven, so we started this time with the tracks with Stuart and then kind of did our own interpretation of that with some of the other tracks."
So would you say that’s the main way the new album moves on from Evolution of Man?
"I think musically it’s basically a dance record, it’s lots of different genres of dance, house, techno, breakbeats. This comes back to what I was saying about the 90s influences on the record."
Only Human in particular has a bit of an Acid House vibe to it…
"Yeah, Only Human, Live Life Living and At Night all make use of a Roland 303 (bassline synth), then there’s obviously the deeper, big euphoric piano stuff. Lyrically though I think it’s happier, much more positive. I think I was just in a better place, you know? I mean there’s a couple of sad stories on there, and I guess I’m known for doing that sort of stuff but in the past it’s always been about breakups, dealing with fame, partying too much."
Has married life settled you down a bit?
"Yeah, definitely. Playing in the Shadows was mostly about the stuff I was going through at the time, whereas Evolution of Man was basically an apology letter to my ex-girlfriend about how I’d changed. This album’s more like I’ve come out the other side of all that stuff, and I didn’t want to write songs specifically about relationships, it’s more about life in general. But I haven’t made these songs too personal this time, because I wanted them to appeal to a wider audience, you know? Something everyone can get, on a global level."
That kind of leads us on to another question we wanted to ask, we’d read recently you were trying to crack America with the new record. Did you have that in mind when you were writing?
"No, not at all, I never think about a particular country or audience when I’m writing really, I don’t really care about cracking America as such. When I signed a one-off single deal with Mercury Records over there about three years ago, everybody back then was going ‘oh, you’re trying to crack America’, but I’ve never tried to do that, not really. To do that I think you’ve got to go and live over there for six months, or at least have a presence there. You’ve got to do every chat show, radio show, acoustic session, you’ve got to extensively tour around the country for at least six months I think, playing to every audience whether it’s 50 people or, if you’re lucky, 300 people at a time. If you work really hard at that it can pay dividends, but I’ve just never really had six months in my schedule where I can go and do that properly.
I’ve played two gigs in New York, one in L.A. and one in Miami, and that’s it. I could count on maybe four hands the number of interviews I’ve done with American radio stations, you know? I’ve probably done about 2% of what you’d need to do to crack America! But I’m more focused on the UK, Australia, Europe and parts of Asia really. I’ve travelled to all those places, I have a presence there and people there want to see me. There’s not as much demand right now in America, so I’m not going to start changing my style to suit the Americans, doing EDM or whatever. So there’s no tracks on the album where I’m trying to sound like Avicii or whoever."
So what are your touring plans for the new album?
"We’ve got about six UK festivals, around 22 in Europe, we’re adding more as we go. Ten Ibizas and Majorcas, a few gigs in Cyprus, Greece, Ayia Napa. South Africa in September, then we’re hoping to go to Australia… we’re just gonna keep going until people get bored basically, haha!"
Are there any U.S. dates in there?
"We’re going to do some interviews and promo stuff. I mean, there are some hardcore fans in some of the big cities over there, but I think we need a big radio hit before we attempt it. Everyone’s always obsessed with America! It’s all anyone asks about! It’s not that I don’t care about America, but there are other parts of the world where people love music, you know?!"
Live Life Living is available from Monday July 7th from hmv stores and our download store. In the meantime, check out Example's artist page on hmvdigital