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- Posted on Jan 25th 2010 4:30PM by Julian Marszalek
On the eve of the release of their second album, 'The Optimist,' Spinner hooked up with producer-guitarist Andy Spence to find out just how bright things are looking for the band.
What have New Young Pony Club been up to?
We've been writing and we've been touring as well. Once we finished touring the UK we went all over the world. We've been to Australia and Thailand and other amazing places and we've recently finished the new record. And we're doing everything ourselves this time.
What happened with the previous label?
Essentially, we left. I don't want to go into the specifics of it but we left because we couldn't go on working with them and given the way the contract was written, they couldn't keep us. If we'd have stayed we'd had to have taken a huge pay cut. So we decided to go on our own.
How hard was to start to a new label?
Personally, me and Ty have been getting everything together, getting the video together, choosing the director; it's been really exciting and really fun. Literally, we've spent weeks on end on the phone or on a computer. You know, I get to six o'clock and I realise that I haven't done any music because I've been sending e-mails out all day.
But the results have been worth it. We've got the remixes in and they're great and we're really happy with them; we've done the video and that looks amazing and so we can make those decisions without having to indulge some record company's little whims.
The new album has been touted as a change in direction. What prompted this shift?
All sorts of things. After we finished the last set of promotion, we were really drained for one thing and we then didn't really do any music for about six months and that was such a shock to the system. I think that had something to do with it.
Ty went through some personal stuff – she had a break-up.
But you know, we genuinely loved the music that we made on the last album and it was influenced by stuff that we loved and that's all we tried to do this time round for this album. But I think that we have moved on as people a little bit. And you hear that sound [of the first album] a lot on the radio these days and I guess that we were one of the first bands in the country that championed that.
Are you annoyed that bands like La Roux have had greater chart success with something that you were doing three years ago?
No, it's not good to be bitter. We just wanted to make something that excited us creatively and I don't think we could have made an album like the first even if that sound hadn't broken big. I'm really happy for those bands but we only want to go so far into that commercial area. Those bands are quite happy to take it all the way to the bank.
You were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for your debut, 'Fantastic Playroom.' Did this put you under much pressure when it came to recording the follow-up?
There's been a bit of self-imposed pressure, no doubt about that. But we've kinda removed ourselves from the music scene and from any kind of scene. The only way to work was spending time in the studio and just dig whatever came out and once that started to come out and we made music from our heart then we didn't really think any more about pressure.
Is it healthy for you as musician to not pay attention to what's going on?
It's difficult because I love new music and I do get inspired by things that are around and I can't not listen to what's going on around. But at the same time I don't want to be too influenced. I don't wanna get too sucked in to a sound or a scene.
On the one hand I do wanna hear new music but on the other I wanna stay away from that. The way to do that is just listen to the radio and the internet but that's also dangerous because the internet has this whole other thing going on with all these different websites and bloggers and you attach more weight to a blogger than you really should.
How do you navigate your way through that?
With extreme difficulty! Now, I find it a bit of a minefield. It was certainly difficult when we came out of the touring cycle.
The new album is called 'The Optimist.' Are you optimistic?
A little bit. It's been a bit of a gloomy year for us, especially for Ty, personally. We look for optimism in our band, especially in the music even though a lot of the album isn't like that. It's not so much the music itself because there were optimistic moments when we thought we'd created something really beautiful.
What can we expect from the album?
It's a quality piece of music and it's much more mature. It's darker than the last album and it's introspective but it has big moments and big dance moments as well.
So is your glass half empty or half full?
Well, it's half! I can't really answer that because that's the thing about this album: it's both! It's dark and it's light; a bit like a light and bitter!
New Young Pony Club's 'The Optimist' is out on Monday (Mar. 8).