Matt Bellamy, Muse: 'Dead Inside' is about "losing the idea of love"
…Matt and Alex.
On Triple J.
Very excited for this morning is a brand new day for some new music from Muse.
Absolutely, on the phone right now is the singer for that band, Matt Bellamy. Matt Bellamy, thanks for joining us!
Matt: Hey, thanks for having me. How’s it going?
Good, how’re you? I mean I think we’ve caught you at an interesting time of the night. You’re about to head out.
Matt: Yeah, I’m just about to do a gig in Brighton, cool little seaside town in England, and uh, it’s the end of a little short tour we just did, like six dates around the UK just playing like these little venues that we played back in 2001. And uh, it’s been great, y’know, had real crazy fans and stuff and it’s been mental. It’s been a good fun tour.
Sounds like you’ve been bringing in out some songs from that era as well. Uh, Matt. That was a good play a couple of things like Muscle Museum and various other things live again.
Matt: Yeah, yeah, it’s nice to… most of the set we’re playing like a three piece, y’know, so just playing the old stuff and uh, yeah. Felt really good. Actually pulled out a bunch of b-sides as well: songs that never got released on an album. And I realised some of them are actually better than the album tracks. We really dug it, songs like ‘Futurism’ and ‘The Groove’ just sound really cool. Might have to bring them into the setlist more often, y’know?
How’s the crowd response to that? Do they know these b-sides? Were they um, superfans and checked it all out across your career?
Matt: Yeah, it’s loads of real hardcore fans. Y’know the front row is pretty much the same people at every gig for the last 10 years, I think. [laughs] Basically. So there’s a bunch of girls down the front. They’ve… I’ve spoke to them, they’re like, they’ve been to like 50 gigs each or like 40 gigs each. I mean it’s like, it’s pretty mental.
But, the whole audience seems to know them. They seem to like these more rare tracks more than the main tracks, ’cause obviously they haven’t been played very often and a lot of them, I’m guessing, a lot of the people that have come to these gigs are pretty much the deep, deep-rooted, hardcore fans that we have, y’know?
Sure, and how are they finding the new tracks? I’m sure you’re bringing out the ones off the new album, Drones. What do they think of a track like ‘Psycho’ which we just played?
Matt: Oh, ‘Psycho’s’ going down amazing. I’d say I’ve never seen a reaction as good as that to a new song before, y’know? I can’t remember ever seeing a crowd kicking off that much that quickly to a new song, y’know? And it’s just a huge mosh pit, basically, from the beginning to the end.
Yeah, sure. What’s the inspiration behind ‘Psycho’? Can you tell us about that track?
Matt: With part, the album, this is more of a concept album than we’ve done before in terms… it has a bit of a narrative. It basically follows the journey of a person who kind of starts with like, losing hope, then going through sort of being brainwashed in the military, and being sort of, and battling these dark forces that are trying to sort of brainwash them. Then towards the end of the album they kind of liberate themselves and of fight back. It’s got kind of themes of a lot of stuff we’ve talked about in previous albums, but it’s kind of put into a narrative form. And the song ‘Psycho’ is basically the second song, which is um… Well, the first song is actually ‘Dead Inside’ which is gonna play in a minute, which is kind of the person loses hope and feels sort of abandoned and lost. Then that leaves him vulnerable to being brainwashed by the military, and then they go on into war and stuff like that. Then towards the end they’re sort of revolting and defecting against it all, y’know?
And I can imagine the mosh going off for it live. How about the like, the drill sergeant and the young private potentially are in the live experience? Is that Chris and Dom doing a pantomime? How do you bring that to the stage, Matt?
Matt: Well, I do think Dom would be the recruit. And I’d be more than happy to be the drill sergeant screaming in his ear, to uh, like that film. What was that film with the crazy drumming teacher?
Uh… *snaps* I dunno. Full Metal Jacket?
Whiplash! Yeah, that’s it.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. I think uh, I think Dom would make a good recruit. But yeah, live it might be cool to get a drill sergeant in.
In the recording studio, were there any roles like that? Was there someone that needs to whip the others into shape and like, ‘alright guys, enough mucking around this. We gotta get a light another take here(??).’
Matt: Oh, that was definitely Mutt Lange. The guy, he produced the album with us and uh, and he was, he’s a slave driver, man. He’s crazy. He made us do like 35 takes of every song, you know, to the point we’re just exhausted, y’know? I actually couldn’t play anymore. Y’know, kept making us play again and again and again and again, and it was like, wow. Maybe that’s what inspired that lyric. I dunno. [laughs]
Potential, eh? Well we are chatting to Matt Bellamy on Triple J this morning. Frontman of Muse and, very kind of you, Matt. You’re gonna let us play for the very first time the new single ‘Dead Inside’ from the album, Drones. It is the lead track. Is there anything we should know before we play this for the good people of Australia?
Matt: Uhhh… Yeah, it’s a… what, it’s cool track, man. It’s good. [laughs]
That’s all you need to say
Matt: That’s um, yeah, yeah. It’s the beginning of the album, y’know. It’s kind of the only song… there’s really only two songs that have kind of love themes. And this is kind of the song that’s kind of losing hope and losing the idea of love and stuff. And then the album goes into a dark place after that. And then there’s a song called ‘Aftermath’ which is kind of the end of the narrative, if you’d like, where the person re-finds love again. So there’s only two songs that talk about love on the album. This is the first one, but it’s like the, a dark take on a love story, yeah.
[♪ Dead Inside ̆♪]
There it is, ‘Dead Inside’ by Muse, played for the very first time on Triple J. So excited to be doing that this morning and also very pumped to have Matt Bellamy from Muse on the phone from um, from Brighton, where he’s gonna be playing a gig in a moment. That was awesome, man. Thank you so much!
Matt: Ah, cool, cheers!
And I think when we played ‘Psycho’ for the first time, people are like, ah, well, this is the Muse— the sound Muse are going for in 2015. It’s nice and heavy. I’m not sure they’d be expecting this from you! Where does the rest of the album sit in relation to these two yardsticks we can look at now?
Matt: Those are the two extremes of the album, I’d say, in terms of ‘Psycho’ the more heavy side and obviously ‘Dead Inside’s’ the more melodic side, y’know? The album is kind of in the middle, moves between those two extremes all the time, y’know? But it probably leans more toward the heavier side. There’s definitely a lot more guitar action on this album than any previous— the last few albums, anyway. Eh, but yeah. It’s a mixed bag, y’know.
You said that ‘Dead Inside’ is a, like a song about love. So what’s the other song that uh, love song. That’s on there? [‘Aftermath’!]
Matt: Yeah, ‘Aftermath’. It’s kind of like, it’s basically you have ‘Dead Inside’ and then ‘Psycho’ then after that it just gets darker and darker. You’ve got songs like ‘Mercy’… ‘The Handler’ is really dark. That’s kind of… and the theme is kind of like battling the dark forces of other people trying to control your mind and make you do stuff you don’t want to do. And it eventually gets to songs like uh, ‘Defector’ and ‘Revolt’ where basically sort of, the person starts to fight back, y’know, the powers that be. And obviously that’s kind of the positive side of the album. And then ‘Aftermath’s’ just kind of the rediscovery of love again, y’know?
Is this person you?
Matt: [laughs] I’m not sure. It’s like, yeah, well, it’s obviously it’s like a narrative reflection I guess of my life, d’you know what I mean? It’s… I’m not sure, I mean obviously… It’s written from a truthful place. But some of it’s been put into a more dramatic context, y’know.
Of course. And you must be inspired by a lot of the way you see the world heading. I mean, how much research do you put into things to be able to sing songs like this, say, y’know, news websites or whatever. Do they come out fully formed in this way? Or how much do you work on the concept of the album as it flows through an entire whole?
Matt: Well, yeah. I was reading a lot and I was reading a lot about drones and stuff, and drone warfare and obviously. And to me, y’know, just the drones, y’know they seem like a such a contemporary metaphor, a modern metaphor for what it is to be a psychopath, or what it is to be a person that can kill with no feeling. And how, and again, how, a lot of don’t know, but we are sort of gradually being turned into being able to make kill decisions. For example, these people are making kill decisions in foreign countries using remote control, p—, y’know, toys, basically. And basically technology enables us to kind of be a little bit less empathetic towards what’s going on. In as much as we’re all getting connected we’re also more disconnected, y’know, so I think I’m sort of. The album’s started… that’s where the concept started. From the idea of drones as a metaphor for both, to modern technology to how we all become a little less empathetic in the modern world, y’know?
Thank you so much, Matt Bellamy, for joining us this morning. You got a gig to rush off to, Brighton, at Brighton Dome. Best of luck for it.
We’re gonna go out with ‘Time is Running Out’ by Muse, to celebrate the release of Drones, which is coming out on June 5 in Australia. Cannot wait for that, just in time for my birthday. That uh, so, Matt, you know what to get me.
Thank you so much! Have a great show tonight, Matt, and we’ll chat with you soon!
Matt: Cheers, thanks a lot. See you later, Matt.