McFly talk coming back together and their new album, Young Dumb Thrills...
In the first five years of their career, pop-rockers McFly managed to bang out four albums.
Now, as bands get older, inevitably they slow things down. People have families, tours get bigger and longer, other projects come up. But, I don't think anybody in the foursome expected when they released their fifth album Above The Noise in 2010 that it would be another decade before they get around to the next one.
The reasons for the gap aren't all that complicated. They did a Greatest Hits, they did other projects, some together like supergroup McBusted, some apart. And, all bar bassist Dougie Poynter, have children now.
That's not to say there weren't personal issues as well. The band have fully admitted that they undertook therapy after the end of McBusted and had issues to solve. Thankfully, those issues are now behind them, and when they did reunite to begin work on new material, they turned to familiar faces.
Their new album, Young Dumb Thrills, has been produced by A frontman Jason Perry as well as co-frontman Danny Jones. It features guest appearances from Blink-182's Mark Hoppus and gnarly indie type Rat Boy.
The album, which is the band's first for new label BMG, heralds a return to a rawer, more organic sonic, with songs composed in the studio as they were recorded.
As the album drops, we spoke to the band about their long-awaited return...
It’s been 10 years since your last studio album, how did you approach the subject of recording a new one? Did it take much discussion?
Harry (Judd, drums): “We really didn’t want to think too much. When we connected for some initial sessions, we made sure that we felt free. There wasn’t a big discussion about the kind of album we wanted to make, what kind of industry we were coming back in, we wanted to work together again and write as we went along.”
Danny (Jones, guitars/vocals): “It was a lot of fun, but expectations weren’t crazy and nothing was set in stone.”
You've worked apart from each other in recent years, was it easy enough to find your groove as a band again?
Danny: "It was. And it was fun, really fun."
Harry: "We let ourselves explore and work things out. We've been guilty of overthinking things in the past and focusing too much on other things. We deliberately didn't think about the industry were coming back to or how this album would come out. We just wanted to enjoy the process, and being together doing it."
Was it quite a business-like process? Lots of individual sessions or did you devote yourselves to the album for a solid period of time?
Tom (Fletcher, guitars/vocals): “We booked out the studio for two months, with a week off in the middle. We didn’t want there to be distractions or for the process to be too stop-start. We all have lives and kids, so quite a few times, you’d spend the day at the studio, grab a cab, put the kids to bed and then go back and keep working.”
Danny: “We didn’t want it to feel like a lot of individual sessions with lots of producers. We wanted to have the studio ready to go all the time. Someone always seemed to be in the studio working.”
You worked with Jason Perry on the album, who you’ve worked with a lot in the past, when did you decide to go back with him?
Tom: “It was always going to be Jason. He’s like a fifth member of the band. He’s got so much enthusiasm and he’s so full of energy and ideas, when we thought about making a new record, he was the only one we thought of.”
When did you settle on Young Dumb Thrills for the album title?
Danny: “It was Dougie’s idea. He’s the one who was strongly behind that. I liked it from the moment he said it, but Harry and Tom took a bit more convincing.”
Dougie (Poynter, bass/vocals): “I just liked the vibe of the words and how it summed up the way we worked.”
Tom: “Generally, being in a band is about picking your battles, so if someone feels really strongly about something, it’s a good idea to let them have it. None of us had any better ideas…”
You’ve got Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Rat Boy on the record, how did those collaborations come about?
Harry: “That was Dougie too!”
Dougie: “Mark’s a friend of mine. I reached out to him for the track. Rat Boy, I’d been working with away from McFly. Jason Perry was working with him too and brought me in and I thought he’d be perfect for the track.”
Harry: “I remember you telling me about Jordan (Rat Boy) when you first started working with him and how exciting he was. He did such a good job on the track. He came in and injected it with something different.”
You must be gutted you can’t tour these new songs...
Tom: “We’re in the same boat as every other band. We’ve got our dates from this year that have been pushed back and then we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
How have you kept writing? Or do you think you’ll want a bit of a break?
Tom: “Yeah, we’re obviously headlong into promoting the album, but we’ve found ways to stay creative and we’re already talking about the next one.”
So there won’t be a 10-year-gap…
Danny: “No f**king way!”
Tom: “No, it’ll be a lot sooner than that. We promise.”