Massive UFOs, inflatable lilos and a huge love of Orbital... Yep, NME's been talking to Matt Bellamy (20060824 NME article)

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Massive UFOs, inflatable lilos and a huge love of Orbital... Yep, NME's been talking to Matt Bellamy

Massive UFOs, inflatable lilos and a huge love of Orbital... Yep, NME's been talking to Matt Bellamy

NME: Your Glasto 2004 headline slot went down in festival legend. How are you going to top it this weekend?
"There's a whole number of things we're trying, but permission-wise there's not a lot you can get away with these days. We wanted to get a helicopter in to drop like a million giant balloons over the crowd, but we couldn't get permission for that. And we wanted to build an enormous inflatable UFO - and hang it from a kilometre-long chain from a helicopter, then shine a big beam on it, so it'd look like a big UFO coming down over the audience. But flying a helicopter over a crowded area and dropping objects over people doesn't go down too well with promoters, so we'll have to save that stuff for if and when we can do our own festival. But we've got a few special tricks up our sleeves."

It's all about 'Knights Of Cydonia' this year, isn't it?
"Oh yeah. I can't work out whether we should open with it or end with it. It might go down well at the end. When that riff kicks in it never fails, everyone just goes mental.

You're on after Arctic Monkeys. Are you worried they'll show you up?
"I've seen them play before, in York I think. It was one of their first gigs. They're kings of the north, so they'll clean up in Leeds I'm sure."

Is it true you recently tried to chat up ex-Arctic Monkey Andy Nicholson's mum? Apparently you thought she was hot...
"Ha... er, I think what it was, there was a woman chatting to me after the New York gig, and then at some point she said 'I'm the mum of one of the guys out of Arctic Monkeys'. I was just quite surprised because she didn't seem old enough to be a mum. Maybe I'm getting old, I don't know! But yes she was lovely - a nice lady."

So you don't think it was you who was responsible for him quitting the music industry?
"I really hope that wasn't the reason. I'd be surprised if it was."

What's your top tip for surviving the Slayer moshpit?
"Take one of those inflatable chairs or a lilo and basically cruise around on top of their heads. That's one of the best ways to enjoy a gig, until somebody puts a cigarette butt into it and you fall into a rugby scrum face first. But it's fun while it lasts."

Are you 'down' with new rave?
"There's a rave vibe happening is there? There's a song on the album called 'Map Of The Problematique' that's like our little ode to the rave days. It's got a little piano twinkle with an early '90s rave look in its eyes. I was a teenager a little bit after the real explosion in the late '80s, but I used to go and see Orbital and stuff, waving my arms in the air and waving light sticks."

Will you throw a super-elite backstage party after your slot?
"I tell you what, it's depressing being a headliner sometimes - you finish, and everyone's left. If there's any kind of aftershow parties we'll be hanging around, but in Leeds we're playing on Sunday so I guess we'll just have to go to the hotel."

You're in luck, there's a Club NME party in Leeds on Sunday. Come along and we'll line you up some Orbital.
"That sounds good. Thank you."


THE SONG THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

Tom Waits - Blue Valentines (from the album 'Blue Valentine', Elektra, 1978 )
Matt: "He's a singer who summed up what was attractive to me about writing lyrics and singing, and it was him that gave me confidence to do this. He creates musical landscapes that put you inside what he's singing about. Whether it's a song about love or about killing the president, if ths music is right, his songs mean you can actually become that. It's like virtual reality or something. He's the absolute master genius at doing that and he's the master at getting out of the ordinary and into the unusual. 'Blue Valentines' is the best song I can think of that describes what it feels like to go in and out of a relationship, but he's done so many great songs, in so many different styles, that it's really hard to pick out a favourite of his. I could have picked any of his songs."

MY PLAYLIST THIS WEEK

1. Blondie - Atomic
Chris: "This reminds me of being really happy as a kid. It's the kind of song you want to listen to loud in the car with the windows down - and it's got a real disco element to it. I could listen to that, 'der, der, der, derr!' opening riff all day long!" www.blondie.net

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Phenomena
Dom: "I love Karen's voice. I think she's the coolest female vocalist around. They're like a two-piece fronted by a ghost. Somehow they manage to be really intense and heavy at the same time." www.yeahyeahyeahs.com

3. Primus - Tommy The Cat
Chris: "I'm not saying Muse are anywhere near as competent as Primus, but we all became better players by sitting there trying to work out their mad, very complicated songs." www.primusville.com

4. The Strokes - Electricityscape
Matt: "I remember hearing this and thinking it sounded like a Muse song. A lot of The Strokes' stuff sounds very retro, but there's something futuristic about this song. I understand where it's coming from." www.thestrokes.com

5. Be Your Own Pet - Adventure
Dom: "[Jemina]'s just got such a sassy vocal and this song has the most amazing guitar hook you're ever likely to hear. I can't wait to see them live, I just spend all my time watching their videos on MTV2 at the moment!" www.beyourownpet.net

OTHER STUFF

BOOK - Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline Of The American Empire At The End Of The Age Of Oil by Michael C Ruppert
Matt: "It changed the way I look at news. These clandestine organisations, the FBI, CIA, NSA, just announce something like, 'This country has nuclear weapons' and you can't investigate it."

FILM - From Russia With Love
Chris: I have a total fascination with James Bond films - I've got them all on DVD - but this one has a real old-school spy movie vibe about it. Sean Connery plays Bond, and I think it's only the second one they made. I don't think any of the Bond films that have come about since have been as fucking cool as this one."

FOOD - Maki rolls
Dom: "They're Japanese, and they're like spicy tuna bound in rice. It's like bits of fish mixed with herbs and avocado and loads of spices, and they're lovely! I absolutely love sushi".


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