A Minute With: The Arctic Monkeys, on America, old songs and synths

Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:22am EST
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By Carlos Ruano and Daniel Ruiz

MADRID (Reuters) - They have recorded in America and frontman Alex Turner lives in Los Angeles and affects an Elvis look in their latest stage show, but the Arctic Monkeys remain a British rock-and-roll phenomenon.

None of the four members - all from Sheffield in northern England is even 30, but they already have five albums under their belts after surfing an Internet-built fan base to stardom - one of the first rock groups to do so.

On stage on their current tour to promote new album "AM", Turner sports an Elvis Presley-style pompadour and swivels his hips. Famed for vocals inflected with a Yorkshire accent, his spoken voice is these days overlaid by a California drawl.

While other rock groups of their generation have morphed into more electronic or synthesized sound - following the dance-floor trends of the day - the Arctic Monkeys have gone the other way, with more distorted guitar, powerful bass lines and Matt Helders's signature percussion.

They have consolidated their formula on their latest album - which ranges from ballads to psychedelic themes - and returned to the top of the British charts.

Turner and Helders spoke with Reuters in Madrid before a show at the Palacio de los Deportes arena near the beginning of a world tour that will last until the middle of next year.

Q: How did you escape from the synth-fever we had a few years ago?

Turner: Oh, synth-epidemic. I didn't know it was going on actually. We just keep taking the tablets, I suppose, drink plenty of water... It seems like when a guitar band get the synths, it's like it's not enough. That's not something that was ever on our agenda. But I'm not going to rule it out, I've got nothing against.   Continued...

Musicians (L-R) Nick O'Malley, Alex Turner, Jamie Cook and Matt Helders from the Arctic Monkeys, nominees for the Mercury Music Prize, pose for a photograph ahead of the ceremony in north London, October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris