Is what you’re doing on the new album trying to bridge the gap between your live shows and your albums?
Joe: That is part of the reason we chose to record stuff live. Yeah, people have been telling us for so long that the live shows have this kind of energy, which they totally do. When I listen to Coming on Strong now, it’s one of the most gentle records you could possibly imagine, and mellifluous and soft-sounding. At the time, we thought it was a club banger, but we were obviously wrong. Yeah, we wanted to capture that energy. Totally.
Made in the Dark really shows your full range of moods. What was the rationale for making this record hit the highest highs and the lowest lows?
Al: That’s been part of what we’ve been doing for a while. We always have the more quiet and introspective songs, but we just don’t happen to play them live because they don’t always work in that setting. But it wouldn’t be true to what we were doing if we didn’t put them on the record.
Joe: I like the idea of there being these extremes, of making a record that if you put it on, you’re either entranced by the funkiness, the ingenuity or the intricacy of these rhythms that makes you excited or makes you want to dance. Or you’re captured by a beautiful melody or a lyric. For me, I want either one of those things in music I listen to. I want it either to capture me and just entrance me on the dance floor or just take my breath away from the starkness or the emotion of a quiet song. We didn’t want any in between and thought it would be a powerful thing to put those two things together on a record. But that also made it difficult to sequence. We took a long time trying to work out if it even works and how does that work to put something in that order.
Al: Loud song, quiet song, loud song. Or loud song, loud song, loud song, quiet song. Or anything in between.
And ending with the two quiet songs.
Al: Yeah, and a loud song at the start. Gotta have that.
You guys have been DJing quite a bit, too. How did that inform the sequencing?
Joe: In all of our DJ sets, we move between different types of music. And you learn about what works and what doesn’t from doing that. I tend to prefer when I’m watching a DJ to see different variations in styles. I’m more excited by that personally. You get ideas of ways things will work from that. Not like if you listen to my DJ set I’ll go into Leonard Cohen or something. It doesn’t prepare you for that. But we wanted to give people something that had these pop moments but in some ways was quite uncompromising.