Muse’s Matt Bellamy: “We’ve gone back to our safe space”

Matt Bellamy wrote Muse’s new album in a Santa Monica recording studio painstakingly adorned to resemble the so-called crimson room from “Twin Peaks.”

Crimson curtains, leather-based armchairs, black-and-white zigzag flooring: The 44-year-old frontman of one among England’s greatest rock bands reproduced each element of the otherworldly chamber from the cult-fave TV present he remembers devouring throughout Muse’s first tour on a bus again within the early 2000s.

“It just sets a certain tone, you know?” he says, wanting across the house with apparent pleasure on a latest afternoon.

But as Bellamy sat composing amid a thicket of electrical guitars and classic synths — together with an previous Roland mannequin he says was the identical used for the “Stranger Things” theme — what actually impressed him was the tumult unfolding outdoors the studio, which he noticed by way of an infinite one-way mirror within the constructing’s entrance wall.

This was mid- to late 2020: Bellamy, who’s written for years concerning the menacing encroachments of expertise and authorities, watched (with out these on the road with the ability to see inside) as outlets went out of enterprise throughout the pandemic, as Black Lives Matter protesters marched by way of town, as riot-gear-clad police and Nationwide Guard moved in to close down demonstrations, as a person took up residence in a automobile parked proper in entrance of the studio. Helicopters appeared to be circling consistently; a drone hovered over Bellamy sooner or later as he loaded gear in by way of a again door.

“It was like being inside a scene from ‘RoboCop,’” he says now. “All the anxieties and the dystopian strangeness that had always been kind of speculative in our music — suddenly it felt like it was all coming true. It was actually happening.”

The results of his observations is Muse’s ninth studio album, “Will of the People,” on which Bellamy rhymes “a life in crisis” with “a deadly virus” and “tsunamis of hate are gonna drown us.” (Pattern music titles embrace “Kill or Be Killed” and “We Are F—ing F—ed.”) But when the LP confronts a courageous new world, it additionally knowingly seems again: Musically, the band — rounded out by bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard — dials down the fluorescent electro-pop vibe of 2018’s “Simulation Theory” in favor of the more durable, extra guitar-oriented sound that made Muse a prog-metal sensation greater than twenty years in the past.

“We wanted to get back to what made us Muse in the first place — what the best and the worst parts of us are,” Bellamy says, then laughs. “I mean, ideally we focused on the best.”

Muse performs in Philadelphia in 2013.

(Owen Sweeney / Invision by way of AP)

What are these so-called worst components of Muse?
In all probability a bent to veer off and experiment in areas that we’re not very skilled in. Most of [2012’s] “The 2nd Law,” for example — classical dubstep, bizarre clarinet solos, no matter else is on that album. I believe we felt we’d achieved a lot with [the 2009 hit] “Uprising” that we may do no mistaken. Clearly, we may.

You produced “Will of the People” your self after collaborating with the producer Shellback on “Simulation Theory” and with Mutt Lange on 2015’s “Drones.”
With individuals like that who’re so profitable, I believe typically we’ve gone within the studio and been somewhat bit like, “OK, we’ll do just whatever you say.” In hindsight, I want I’d been extra concerned and put extra of our stamp on it. So we’ve type of gone again to our secure house on this album. If we’re in full management, it is probably not probably the most cutting-edge or probably the most modern-sounding factor, nevertheless it’s the one approach to assure that we’re gonna adore it.

Did recording throughout COVID velocity up the method or sluggish it down?
It made us transfer faster. We’d completed our final tour on the finish of 2019, then I had a child [with wife Elle Evans] in June 2020. So the plan was to take all of 2020 off, take pleasure in our households, then come again collectively in 2021 for some festivals and use that to get again into form to make an album in 2022. However the pandemic — particularly for me and Dom, as a result of we have been right here in L.A. — it made us wish to simply get on and do one thing.

A man in a flowered shirt stands in front of musical instruments in a recording studio

“To me there’s a fighting spirit in [our] music, which is a form of optimism,” says Matt Bellamy. “It’s like the moment in ‘Rocky’ when Adrian tells Rocky to win.”

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

June 2020 was a heck of a time to deliver a child into the world.
I got here to America in 2010 as a single particular person trying to expertise L.A. for a bit — and, boy, have I had an expertise. Ended up with a Hollywood actress [Kate Hudson], had a child collectively and the entire cliché state of affairs of the ups and downs of superstar life. Then married a Texan [model Elle Evans] and had one other child. Been evacuated from my home throughout wildfires. Then the pandemic and the total January 6 Trump meltdown. It’s simply been an unbelievable interval to be right here.

“Will of the People” suggests it hasn’t left you terribly optimistic concerning the future.
It relies upon what your definition of optimism is. To me there’s a preventing spirit within the music, which is a type of optimism. It’s just like the second in “Rocky” when Adrian tells Rocky to win.

Do you assume it’s clear to listeners who you’re preventing? Within the new music “Compliance,” you’re singing sarcastically about individuals falling into line and doing as they’re informed. It might be interpreted as an anti-woke anthem.
I by no means thought of it that manner. I thought of it when it comes to the rising authoritarianism that we’re now seeing is an actual factor — Trump on this nation, but additionally Putin and the China scenario. These ideologies, I really feel like we type of examined the waters within the twentieth century and realized that fascism and communism are each simply absolute disasters and that we don’t must go close to that stuff ever once more. And but it’s rising.

What’s your response to that?
I’ve an anti-authoritarian nature. My dad and mom say that after I was a younger little one I used to be by no means excellent at being informed what to do. I don’t like the thought of huge centralized energy that’s very far-off from the place I reside. I come from Devon in England, which is a pair hundred miles from London. However after I went to see the place my spouse’s from in Paris, Texas, it’s like, Holy s—! It’s 1000’s of miles from the locations of energy in America. So the resistance to somebody deciding how I ought to reside who has no thought what my day-to-day life is — I can perceive it, though there’s a threat of it being hijacked by extra extremist factions which have gone down roads I don’t agree with.

Have you ever thought-about changing into a U.S. citizen?
I’ve. Total, I really assume the US’ construction is basically wonderful, with all of the other ways to make legal guidelines on the native stage. It looks like each month my spouse is voting on some type of proposition. I’m that going, Wow, England is so behind on that entrance. We don’t ever get to vote on coverage.

The oddest factor about that late-2020 interval the place issues in America and California appeared so chaotic and loopy was that I felt my connection deepening. There’s one thing happening right here that’s important to what’s taking place in your entire world. America has turn into a type of middle level for this concept that there’s an empire on the breaking point, and the way will we put it aside? Or how do we all know which components to avoid wasting and which components to let fall away?

For some individuals — Dom, to some extent — it made them wish to get out. However for me it had the alternative impact. It’s every little thing I’m fascinated with, and it’s massively creatively inspiring.

Has changing into rich formed your political beliefs?
I don’t assume so. I bear in mind all my emotions of what it was to be from a poor rural background with no alternatives and all of the disadvantages. And I nonetheless have some views that might be thought-about fairly socialist by some. Common well being care is an apparent one; I can’t even imagine there’s not common healthcare right here. I’ve additionally come to the view that perhaps land shouldn’t be privately owned.

Are you able to relate to music that’s unambiguously joyful? Coldplay, let’s say.
Completely. Chris [Martin] is a good friend of mine. I like what they do. I want I may write extra songs that enter the love sphere. However I believe it is perhaps towards the character of the sounds our band makes. When the three of us are jamming, it’s like Rage Towards the Machine riffs are popping out on a regular basis. I can’t think about listening to these riffs with Chris Martin singing about peace and love on high.

What’s the happiest Muse music?
“Starlight” is fairly optimistic. I believe “Verona” on the brand new album is fairly good — little little bit of “Romeo and Juliet” in there.

Do you assume rock music is in good palms with the technology behind yours?
My 11-year-old son likes Slipknot and Metallica. My stepson Ryder from a earlier scenario [with Hudson], he’s 18 and he’s actually into rock. He turned me on to Willow Smith.

Are you able to envision touring in your 60s and 70s like Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones?
Yeah, however Metallica is the one which’s actually made me assume we may do it. The Stones and McCartney, they’ve universally uplifting music. However Metallica — I’m unsure how previous they’re, however they’re up there — that’s actually heavy music they usually’re nonetheless on the market. The beauty of rock is that, though the style is basically irrelevant within the mainstream, you possibly can really develop previous with it. You may make an actual life profession.