Chris, in a recent interview with Designer Magazine, told them that MUSE has already recorded 6 songs for the new album and explain it will be musically different to Showbiz...
Muse will contribute to the soundtrack of the next Quentin Tarantino film, "Little Nicky", with the song 'Cave'.
1. POD "School of Hard Knocks"
2. Incubus "Pardon Me"
3. Deftones "Change"
4. Cypress Hill "Rock Superstar"
5. Insolence "Natural High"
6. Linkin Park "Points of Authority"
7. Disturbed "Stupify" (Fu Remix)
8. Un Loco "I"
9. Powerman 5000 "When Worlds Collide"
10. Muse "Cave"
11. Filter "Take My Picture"
12. Deftones "Be Quiet and Drive" (acoustic version)
The band is still working in studio for the next few days, working on the second album, before they go to Japan, to play four gigs.
Q: Does it feel good to be in the studio after months on the road?
A: Its been good, totally different from when we've been in before. We've been in for about 2 week and there's about six tracks completed. I think its a lot better this time and its sounding different from what you'd expect Muse to sound like.
The first half of the album is produced by a guy called Dave Bottrel who did the last Deus album and a Tool album. The second half is going to be produced by John Leckie again. It doesn't sound like Tool but as you imagine its going to be more rocking. The idea of getting two producers in was to get more of a diversity on the album, to get the heavy stuff more heavier, and the more mellow stuff to be done by John Leckie because that's what he's good at.
Q: How do you feel about "Showbiz" in retrospect?
A: Looking back there isn't much difference sonically between the mellow stuff and the heavier tracks. The heavy stuff really could have been a lot heavier and that's what we want to do with this album. I think it was perhaps a bit of a one sounding album. But were going to bring this one together by getting Andy Wallace to mix the whole lot, just to get that consistency so it doesn't sound like two different albums.
Q: Would you say its been a gradual change into the rock beast that is now Muse?
A: Well, Melody Maker said in a review that we'd gone metal but its not quite like that. The new material is a lot heavier and its just generally more raw. When we've been recording drums we've brought in this massive big PA and recording it that way rather than the traditional miking up the actual drums. That's what Dave does to get that really heavy drum sound.
There's is going to some ballads on the album, but I don't think they'll be as obvious as "Unintended" which was a straightforward love song. With that track everyone said that it had to be a single whereas with what were recording now I don't think there is an obvious single's. When we recording we did at first think "Shit" but as a band we really care more about the whole package of the album than how we perform in the singles charts.
Q: What do you think will be the first single?
A: "Plug In Baby" was one of the first things we recorded, its ready for mixing now and I think people can expect that as the first single around January or February.
It would be funny more than anything if we went and got a top 10, just because we know we'd be straight out the next week. I don't think the current musical climate of Coldplay and co will affect us because there's very few of our fans that would say "Unintended" or "Falling Down", the majority of the people are into the heavier stuff anyway. The people who have seen us live will know its heavier and it been heavier the longer we've played.
Q: Why re-release "Muscle Museum" again?
A: Its something that we haven't particularly happy with. But we came to an agreement that if we were going to do it we'd do totally different artwork and besides. There was a lot of pressure put on us by the record company and you kind of have to put your trust in them at the end of the day. It does upset the hard-core fans because only about 4,000 people bought the single the first time round which compared to Sunburn and Unintended which sold about 40-50,000.
Remixes is something we've always wanted to get into on the B-sides and with the Soulwax one it just worked out. The song structures identical but its got beats and weird noises over the top. The controversial Timo Mass remix of "Sunburn" is also on there, but we really like. As well as that there's a couple of rare muse tracks, "Agitated" which was a vinyl only track and "Spiral" which was on the Japanese album.
Q: What are the plans for America next year?
A: There's nothing mapped out as yet but I think we will be spending more time in the States. The only tour we did over there this year was with the Chilli Pepper's which lasted about a month. The tour went really well but as far as record sales went it wasn't too hot.
There's so many ways you can approach the States. We were talking about releasing a different album, just one that was really rock because that's what goes down well over there. It was an idea but we really didn't want two albums floating around.
We're not really the sort of band to have any radical image changes, so Matt's blue hair was definitely a one off. I've never seen Slipknot but from what I've heard they put on really great shows. One of the best bands from America are probably the Deftones who don't really fit in that category of a big rock show, they just get on stage and rock. From a live point of view its bands like Rage and the Deftones who'd I like to watch.
As regards the UK and Europe we will definitely do a tour, but we will be concentrating more on America. This year we've already done 5 tours over here whereas we only spent 3 or 4 weeks over there.
The band has started to work on their new album with dave botril (he produced the last tool, deus, remy zero albums)
Matt wrote : "just finished our 49th festival or something, probably our biggest tooo, about 60,000 people in italy goind mental, that was a surprise, as was the austrian one, good to do a few gigs with the deftones."
By anyone's standards, the last twelve months have been nothing short of incredible for Muse. From brushing off the Radiohead-wannabes tag to sold out shows at the Astoria, two hit singles, a gold album and triumphant festival appearances. Not bad for starters but you sense Muse are itching for part two. Their virtual non-stop touring schedule is finally coming to a halt with just a month long Japanese and Australian leg to go. Then Matt, Chris and Dom head back into the studio to start work on the follow up to 'Showbiz'.
Apparently you've done 50 festivals this summer?
Matt "I've heard a rumour"
Dom "Apparently we have done about fifty. We've been everywhere, all over Europe, Japan"
Matt "...most countries Europe's got to offer"
Chris "...the states in March touring with the Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters"
Dom "...it's been non-stop for a year and a half."
So how are you feeling now?
Matt "A bit blurry, it's a good feeling. Confused, I don't really understand what's happening. No, I do. I don't know what it is. I think we're being controlled by a force; some sort of alien being is controlling us all on a delta force. You get those different wavelengths to be on. I'm not sure what purpose I'm being controlled for and I'm trying to discover the answer to that."
Is this level a good one?
Matt "We're not on that one, we're on the level below that but I don't remember what they call it. It feels like something's driving you and you're not sure why."
What's the reaction been like to you in places you're played?
Chris "Mostly good. There are a lot of places we're only been to once or twice. France, Germany we're done tours there. Italy we've only played twice and last time we played there it was really good, we played to 60,000 people at this festival. We went to Portugal for the first time and loads of little places."
What's the reaction to the record around the world?
Matt "Sales are close to half a million. The way it is in the UK is pretty similar in the whole of Europe, more so in France. Japan and Australia are the same as well. The USA we've got a lot of work to do there."
It must have been an amazing 12 months?
Matt "Yeah. I'm up for making a second album now. A lot of mistakes were made along the way that you don't know about until they happen. On a worldwide scale it's difficult to comprehend but hopefully we'll be ready for it second time round."
You must have played virtually the set during this period. Does it become a drag?
Chris "We've put new stuff into the set. We've never played exactly the same set, we've always changed it. Obviously some of the songs we play more than others but we change it all the time."
'Muscle Museum' is coming out again?
Dom "We made an EP with it on and only released it locally at gigs, years ago.
Matt "It was given away really"
Was there a discussion about releasing another single or did you just want to do another album?
Matt "The discussion was 'do you want to do it' and we said 'no'. And they say 'well we'll do it anyway' so we said 'right we're off to Japan'..."
A feature recently said that megstardom is beckoning for Muse. Does it feel like that for you?
Matt "Not right now, no. If anything bigger than what's happened to us so far, had happen quicker, I think we'd have trouble dealing with it. It's happening at a reasonably steady pace. I think it does beckon...but not right now."
Do you want that?
Matt "Yeah - very much"
You've said you feel like you've got no souls anymore. It must take it out of you?
Matt "I say a lot of things. It's all definition of words. Who knows what we are as a being. A soul is something I felt a lack of at that particular point. It can take a lot out of you."
Dom "Sometimes it's very hard to comprehend what you're actually doing and where you are. You never really see what's going on until you move away from the whole thing. Like touring - we haven't really moved away from at the moment. We're still going. Hopefully we'll sit back and reflect."
What's the next stage for Muse?
Matt "We've started work on the new album and we've record a few songs. We're going to Japan and Australia for a month to tour and then Dublin and some Scandinavian gigs which takes us up to early November. We're going to take some time off and then December time make the album."
How much time do you get off? Six months might be in order.
Matt "I'm arguing about that at the moment. I want a couple of weeks. I enjoy the work. If you can't do it when you're young when can you do it?"
What's the situation with the next album? Any titles?
Matt "The first new single will be early next year sometime, January, February. There are a few loose titles floating round. Very positive words."
How is it different to 'Showbiz'?
Matt "The stuff I'm doing now speaks to me more. The first album was a lot to do with fears, fears of the unknown. I've realised a lot of them and faced up to them. I've realised a lot about the outside world and people in general and how we exist. I've taken a lot of the situation onboard and I can sing a bit more clearly about it. When I hear it back now I can feel it, whereas before I was confused, now it's more focused."
You said it was coming out a bit more positive...
Matt "There's a couple of songs that I'd say the vibe that we're laid down, the three of us, is more positive, more confident. We're done some work with David Bottrill (Tool, deus) but we'll be doing the remainder of the album with John Leckie. There are a lot of people we'd like to work with."
What were Muse's influences when you formed?
Dom "It started off with Primus, bit of Nirvana, early English bands like Senseless Things and Mega City Four..."
Matt "...this is when we were 13 and 14. Around that time it was all 'Fraggle Rock' type music Wedding Present, early bits of Sonic Youth were coming through. That was the stuff that got us going. I learnt some Spanish guitar music that opened up a world of different harmonies and making music and a different sort of passion, very heavy music but it hasn't got a distortion pedal. Then I got into some blues music and Jimi Hendrix Experience"
What about Radiohead?
Matt (laughs) "I think, in the last 10 years, they are probably one of the best English bands around"
What do you think of their new album?
Dom "It's ok. It sounds very much like Aphex Twin to me."
Matt "It's Aphex Twin, DJ Shadow. I think they are very concerned with being at the cutting edge of what new music is and people like Aphex Twin, to DJ Shadow and even Moby are doing modern things, mixing techniques with real live music. They are very paranoid of ever being seen as just an old guitar rock band...which I can understand."
They seem to want to withdraw from the situation they put themselves in. You said you were up for superstardom. Can you see this happening to you?
Matt "I don't know until it happens. I've still got a thirst for knowledge in general and thirst for the world. I enjoy going out and playing and I like getting lost and f**ked. So who knows where that will take me"?
The Astoria webcast we're re-showing ended in a fantastic destruction of the stage. Do you do that every night?
Chris "Around that time we were doing it every night but then we ran out of gear and had to stop"
Didn't you smash someone else's gear up recently?
Matt "It was my mistake. I thought it was our own bass amp. I was on it and pushing it over. This guy told me to get off and was giving me loads of shit. I told him to piss off and it turned out to be his amp. I felt really bad for a few days. That was the realisation that maybe it was time to slow down in that department"
Dom "It all came to a head when you (Matt) smashed up a Wurlitzer"
Matt "It's nice to get carried away on stage, do what ever you want and be free. That can involve getting violent or emotional. You're seeing the true self"
Is it good fun?
Chris "Yeah really good fun. Too much fun that's why it's difficult to stop"
Matt "We've started smashing each other up. Chris usually picks me up and lobs me on Dom"
Is there anything you're listening to that will affect the new album?
Matt "For me...Tom Waits, Daft Punk, Hendrix, Rage Against the Machine"
What did you make of the Mercury Prize? Are you bothered about not being nominated?
Matt "I only recently found out what it was so I don't care. I'd never heard of them"
Chris "It's a big industry thing. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the public. It seems like a pointless thing. It's an excuse for the record companies to get together and kiss each other's arses"
Matt "I honestly wasn't aware of it. I heard that Badly Drawn Boy had won and Coldplay were up for it and that was the first I'd heard of it."