Inside the making of M83's 'epic' new album
Frontman Anthony Gonzalez reveals how 'Punky Brewster' and 'Who's the Boss' inspired the follow-up to 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.'
How do you top an album that earns you the biggest success of your career? If you’re Anthony Gonzalez, mastermind of the electro-pop group M83, you go just as big.
More than four years after releasing the sprawling, Grammy-nominated double LP Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, the songwriter is plotting a follow-up that’s equally epic in scope, which he’s set to put out in 2016.
“It’s a very strong album with a lot of eclecticism,” Gonzalez tells EW. “It’s very epic. There’s a lot of different genres that are not supposed to live together but I tried to make them live together, which is quite challenging. It’s also quite different from the previous albums which is what I’m the most proud of.”
After wrapping up the grueling world tour behind Hurry Up, Gonzalez realized he wanted to retreat from the spotlight. “I wasn’t focused on writing,” he says. “I just needed a break after making music, especially because I started jumping into different projects like movie soundtracks. I just wanted to be excited about being in the studio again. It took a while.”
He got that excitement last year and called upon touring bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails) once again to help produce the tracks. “We worked with a lot of classic drum sounds, with bass and drinks, an Elk synth, I felt like we really tried to be very modern but also very old-school at the same time,” says Gonzalez.
Lyrically, the French-born, L.A-transplant says there’s a narrative thread connecting the songs on the album—and he reveals the inspiration came from ’70s and ’80s television. “Shows like Punky Brewster and Who’s the Boss,” he says. “I feel like TV shows are starting to sound and look the same. There’s no more passion anymore. So this album is a tribute to those old-fashioned shows.”
Another change for this record: Morgan Kibby, who provided vocals and keyboards on Hurry Up and 2008’s breakthrough LP Saturdays=Youth, will not be featured. (She’s working on her solo project White Sea.) But Gonzalez promises plenty of “unexpected” guests.
“It’s more fun and fresh than my last album,” says Gonzalez. “But it’s good to take your listeners into a different maze, you know?”