Oct. 03--Perhaps surprisingly for a band that earned comparisons to Brit-pop giants such as Oasis and Blur remarkably soon after its creation, Arctic Monkeys has always operated under a mantra of "slow and steady."
"We never saw this coming," says drummer Matt Helders, who has been with the indie band since he and three high school friends -- Alex Turner, Jamie Cook and Andy Nicholson --formed it a decade ago.
"Just doing a show used to be our biggest ambition," Helders continues. "Then, once you get over that milestone, you set another ambition. They were all modest, like to release a single or have a song on a vinyl record. It's still like that; it's all one step at a time."
But the band achieved those milestones more quickly than most.
Helders says Arctic Monkeys, like many fledgling bands, spent about a year touring around England "playing shows to just three people," but the indie rockers' popularity rose meteorically after playing a sold-out show in 2005 at the London Astoria to a crowd assembled largely through word-of-mouth praise online for their demo recordings.
From there, the momentum continued to build. When it was released in 2006, the band's debut LP, "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not," set U.K. sales records. Later that year, the band earned the Mercury Prize, an honor given to the best album from the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, the New Musical Express Award for Best New Band and the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act.
For all its early success at home, Arctic Monkeys struggled with breaking into the market in the U.S., where total sales of the first album were less than first-week sales in the U.K. Partly, Helders says, it was a matter of being young and stubborn.
"At that age, I suppose we ... were quite content to come here for a couple of weeks and play an exciting show in a small club that was sold out," he says. "We didn't want break our backs trying to sell a load of records here.
"Now, we see the importance in it and the appeal of being popular in America."
After a sophomore appearance as headliners for the opening night of the Glastonbury Festival in June, Arctic Monkeys now is touring the U.S. to support the Sept. 10 release of its fifth studio album, "AM." On Monday, the band will take the stage at Track 29.
Pitchfork rates "AM" 8/10, and Seattle-based KEXP Blog writes: "The boys are more confident than ever, smoothly transitioning into what they never thought they would be: rock stars."
"We felt like we'd done something really good and unique [with this album], but you're always proud of what you do when you release it," Helders says. "You can never take for granted what people are going to think of it, [but] since the first record, this is the biggest reaction I've seen for [one of our] records, live and critically."
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205.
Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
(c)2013 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Visit the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at www.timesfreepress.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Diplomatic, Financial Fix Sought for Ukraine Crisis
- 2 Million Long-term Jobless Have No Benefits
- Las Vegas Casino Wants 'Blackout Drunk' Gambler to Pony up $500,000
- Florida Insurers Reach Out to Hispanics
- Disney Lays Off 700 From Interactive Unit
- Stocks Get Green Light on Weekly Jobless Claims
- Staples Closing Stores, Moving Online
- Last Call for Hispanic Health Care Signups
- Costco Revenue Up, Profits Down in Q2
- Hillary Clinton Smacks Putin Again