Let Metronomy Give You a Personal Tour of Paris

Frontman Joe Mount talks about Michel Gondry, eating raw beef and bumping into Jarvis Cocker.

Brighton indie-pop band Metronomy.
© Gregoire-Alexandre

Leaving behind the British coastal scene that informed Metronomy’s third album 'The English Riviera,' frontman Joe Mount (pictured above left) followed his French girlfriend to Paris to write his follow-up, which turned out to be 'Love Letters,' released this week.

He can now say “Hello, Paris!” to an audience in French and eat steak tartare, and he spends approximately 80 percent of his life on the Eurostar train between London and Paris. We asked the Englishman abroad for his quick guide to the Paris music scene.

What is Paris listening to at the moment?

They’re all listening to Metronomy! Actually, London Grammar are really big here, and Disclosure. The French still take a lot from English music, but with a two-year delay.

Has Paris brought anything out in you as a songwriter?

I think it has, though maybe not in the way you might imagine. There’s French music I’ve heard through being here that I quite like. And there’s definitely a different attitude towards socializing and children. Being in Paris is like being in New York – everywhere you go feels like something you've seen in a film. But more than anything, it’s being separate from the London music scene, where we were fighting for years, being free from the same concerns.

Are you becoming a Frenchman in any way?

I am. I can eat raw beef now. If I have a steak at a restaurant I order it completely rare. And if my mum pours a glass of wine it horrifies me, it looks disgusting, because in France filling a wine glass to the brim is very uncivilized. I now pour delicate amounts of wine.

Michel Gondry directed the video for 'Love Letters.' Did you just bump into him in the boulangerie?

It would be so good if that’s how it happened. We heard that he wanted to make a music video again and so we went: 'Do it for us!' Our label were old friends with him, and he liked the song. When I first met him he thought I was French. He didn’t know the band. The more he worked on the video the more he realized everyone he told about it knew who Metronomy were, so he started to feel a bit silly.

Do you ever bump into Jarvis Cocker?

Funnily enough I do. We have mutual friends. He once saw me getting off the Eurostar – we were heading to the same party one evening and he was picking up some friends – and he was impressed that I was the very first person to get off the front of the train. Yes, that’s absolutely a talent I pride myself on.

Do you have a favourite Paris venue?

There are lots of characterful small venues that are the equivalent of upstairs at the Old Blue Last in London, but with a much nicer outdoor area! We launched our album at the Maroquinerie. There’s Point FMR, where we saw our friends Veronica Falls. And there’s a place called Le Baron, which used to be a strip club, probably. It ticks all the boxes of what you would imagine a club in Paris to be like: expensive, small, velvety curtain, very red. That’s a good place just to feel a bit cool.

Where do you buy your records?

Exodisc, which is just round the corner from my flat, on the 18th arrondissement. It reminds me of what English record shops were like when record shops were everywhere.