Jump to content

Recommended Posts

From the Arizona Republic entertainment segment, 3/10/13.

 

Bellamy of Muse on '2nd Law,' Pink Floyd

 

By Ed Masley

Link to source

 

Matt Bellamy of Muse is what you'd call a thinking-person's rocker. He named "The 2nd Law", which hit the Billboard album charts at No. 2 in fall 2012, for the second law of thermodynamics. When the London 2010 Summer Olympics requested an official theme song, he gave them "Survival," citing similarities he sees between highly competitive sports and social Darwinism. He appears to read a lot.

 

And yet, he also fronts one of the most successful rock sensations of the century, hailed in Rolling Stone as the Pink Floyd of their generation. As the Muse tour makes its way to Phoenix, Bellamy checked in to talk about "The 2nd Law," "Survival,", the Olympics and where Muse may go from here.

 

 

Question: What appealed to you about naming the album for the second law of thermodynamics?

 

Answer: Since a young age, I've always been asking those questions of "What's it all about? Why are we here?" And in my younger years, I was looking for spiritual things, religious things and so on. But as I got older, I've kind of become more wowed, if you like, more interested in some of the truths that science is revealing to us about how the universe functions, how the planet came to be, how evolution was able to thrive on this planet and so on.

 

The laws of thermodynamics are basically about how energy functions and fluctuates throughout the universe. To try and understand that is to try and and understand what this all is. In the case of the second law, it's the idea that being an isolated solar system like we are, there's no new energy coming in and that energy is gradually declining. It seems like evolution and life itself is in some ways a battle against this sort of inevitable consequence of how energy functions. And I came to this idea that there's something intrinsic to life that is really contrary to the sometimes dark, cold truth of the laws of thermodynamics.

 

So I pitched it as an album title because I kind of like things which sort of encompass a little bit of what we're all battling in our life, the shortness of life and what we have to do in it. And I just sort of used it as a keystone, if you like, when I was looking for analogies or metaphors. I would pull from the second law. So you can hear it in a few songs.

 

 

Question: So you started with that concept and then wrote songs around it?

 

I've got my interests and my life experiences as I'm putting lyrics together. And if you start looking at patterns, you start thinking, "Well, what am I really singing about here?" A lot of it seems to be a battle for some freedom against oppressive forces. That seems to be a theme in a lot of the albums I've done. I think you kind of hear that battle musically as well as lyrically. I don't think they're separate entities. In the case of the last album, that expressed itself in things like the corrupt power of the government and corporations, the usual kind of stuff. But on this album, I've taken it to a slightly more philosophical area. And that is that the human experience itself is a battle against the oppressive force of nature.

 

 

Question: Do you try to make sure that there is a thematic thread to link it all together in the end when you're making an album?

 

Answer: I'm not making full-on concept albums. But I think it's good to have some self-awareness of what the themes in your own emotions may be. It's one body of work that you do over the course of, say, six months where you're sort of writing and rehearsing, going into the studio and recording. And I think it's good for there to be some element of meaning coming out of it other than just a complete disconnected set of songs. Having said that, some of these songs are very, very different. I don't think the theme is rigid.

 

 

Question: The song "Survival" was written before the Olympics asked you for a song. What made you feel like that would be the song to give them?

 

Answer: That song has some of the themes we've been talking about: the battle of life against nature, which plays out in the form of evolution, natural selection and so on. Obviously, highly competitive sport sort of taps into the purity of what that's about. The desire to fight and to win and survive is the key driving force of evolution. So to me, I saw a very nice correlation between what the Olympics were looking for and what I was already writing about on the album. It just made sense. And that sort of had these songs about the brutality of evolution and how you sometimes have to go down to that raw survival instinct, which really is the driving force in our genes that does keep us going for thousands of years.

 

 

Question: In referring to your live show, Rolling Stone said you'd become your generation's Pink Floyd. Do you see a connection?

 

Answer: (Laughs) As an act in general we're very, very different, I think. But some acts, they go out there with the ego of saying, this is about me, and I want the spotlight on me, whereas we went out there with the mentality of I don't want any spotlight on me. It's not about me. I want to make it about this, build some crazy structure and video screen and make loads of conceptual videos. I think that's where it has something in common with Pink Floyd. Our approach to live shows has led us to use very big productions.

 

 

Question: Do you think of the live show at all when you're making a record?

 

Answer: Yeah, yeah. The last two albums, I'd say half of the material was written with knowing how it was going to be performed live, with some of even the production ideas, the lighting, the video, all that stuff. The first three or four albums, we wrote not in that way at all. But definitely the last two.

 

 

Question: Well, you can afford a more extravagant production now than you could on the first couple albums.

Answer: (Laughs) Exactly. Having said that, you never know. If I'm looking to the future, I think we might go back to that kind of not thinking of the live show at all and writing more for the sake of the music, playing little theaters again.

 

:happy:

Edited by AguanteRiver
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to make it about this, build some crazy structure and video screen and make loads of conceptual videos.

 

The last two albums, I'd say half of the material was written with knowing how it was going to be performed live, with some of even the production ideas, the lighting, the video, all that stuff. The first three or four albums, we wrote not in that way at all. But definitely the last two.

 

I don't really like this at all, to be honest.

 

Having said that, you never know. If I'm looking to the future, I think we might go back to that kind of not thinking of the live show at all and writing more for the sake of the music, playing little theaters again.

 

Oh, yes please.

 

There is a reason why your early material resonates so much more with people. Despite appreciating the bombast people still want a human connection.

 

It's so easy to get lost in your own arse with the showmanship being the first thing on your mind, it seems.

 

 

Thanks for posting, OP.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, that last bit made my face turn into this :awesome:. They've been saying it a lot since Shepherd's Bush, so if they say it a few more times I might start believing it. Small gigs ftw!

 

But then what will they point the spotlights at? Morgan? Tom? :chuckle:

 

The bit about writing the songs while thinking of their live show explains so much about TR and T2L. Look at all those older songs that don't really work well live, but the fans love because they're so beautiful. Whereas T2L is an album of radio-friendly, or gig-friendly stuff that people can sing along to. Ma-ma-ma-ma-madness anyone?

 

You're welcome! I was so shocked to see the AZ Repugnant do an article about Muse that I had to copy it asap and share. :LOL:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Answer: (Laughs) Exactly. Having said that, you never know. If I'm looking to the future, I think we might go back to that kind of not thinking of the live show at all and writing more for the sake of the music, playing little theaters again.

 

if this happens I'm not going to be an atheist anymore

 

There is a reason why your early material resonates so much more with people. Despite appreciating the bombast people still want a human connection.

 

It's so easy to get lost in your own arse with the showmanship being the first thing on your mind, it seems.

 

I agree with you sfm.

 

I've been trying to put into words lately just why I feel so different about their earlier material, and I think that's the reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Question: Well, you can afford a more extravagant production now than you could on the first couple albums.

Answer: (Laughs) Exactly. Having said that, you never know. If I'm looking to the future, I think we might go back to that kind of not thinking of the live show at all and writing more for the sake of the music, playing little theaters again.

 

:happy:

 

:supersad: Oh, I hope so!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was the best explanation of how the 2nd law applies to the album. I like how it isn't just entertainment but a message. Absolutely love the philosophy.

 

The last gig I was at, it was the old singles that the audience sang to the most. Doesn't matter to me if the gigs go big or small. They always put on a fantastic performance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the deeper articles that Matt does.

 

Interesting how that when Matt says, we don't want it to be about us, so we make it about the show etc, that gets interpreted as him being up his own arse or whatever, when it's kind of the opposite.

 

Also interesting that he says "that the human experience itself is a battle against the oppressive force of nature". I would have reversed that and said that humans attempt to oppress nature, well at least we seem to think that the natural world is there for us, rather than that we are part of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...