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How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
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» Vertigo
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Plus d'infos sur l'album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

Voici une interview que Universal a fait parvenir à la presse dans le cadre de la promotion pour le nouvel album. Les membres de U2 reviennent sur l'enregistrement et commentent le disque.

 

merci U2Tour.de  pour le coup de main

 

About Vertigo. What is the mood of this track?

Bono:
Yes, these are nervous times, they really are, just turn on the news and you think wow, where's next? You know, my brother, my sister, my uncle, my aunt, they're just nervous times. We're right up there, capitalism and just toppling, and you don't want to write a rock and roll song for the end of the world.

Edge:
U2 are not really a rock and roll band, we've never really been a rock and roll band, but with Vertigo I was trying to come up with a sound and a guitar riff that was unashamedly rock and roll, full on, the best of that form which I love, like the Pistols or The Stones at their best punk, and the best of metal. I worked up some music, and for a while I had the working title of Full Metal Jacket, and I had some melody ideas on the music but nothing I was very happy with. I worked over the demo with some Larry drum loops, and that was really the bench mark for the tune for quite a while. We didn't really better it until the take that is on the album, and it was one of those moments where everyone arrived and came together at the same moment, and it was immediately clear to everyone in the room that we'd hit the best take on that song that we had ever done. Bono came up with some great new melody ideas and we were pretty much there.

Adam:
I think with Vertigo we really wanted to have something that was a very vital, "up rock and roll track. I think we'd been hearing that sort of energy coming from The Hives, The Strokes and The Vines, and that sound really connected with where we came from. I think Edge felt that he could produce and write a song or riff that was even better than some of those, so that was where that came from. Then it sat around for a while and it was worked up as a song called Native Son, but it was a bit third person in the delivery to have real impact and we had a re-write of it in January of this year and it turned into Vertigo, and it just was much more vibrant.

Bono:
The album ends in quite an ecstatic place, so we wanted to start off with a little bit of electric shock treatment, and it's a club and you're supposed to be having the time of your life but you want to kill yourself. It's a light little ditty.


About Vertigo. Where is Vertigo?

Bono:
It's a dizzy feeling, a sick feeling, when you get up to the top of something and there's only one way to go. That's not a dictionary definition, that's mine, and in my head I created a club called Vertigo, with all these people in it and the music is not the music you want to hear, and the people are not the people you want to be with, and then you see somebody and she's got a cross around her neck, and you focus on it, because you can't focus on anything else. You find a little tiny fragment of salvation there.


Is it important to have a hit single?

Adam:
Yes, because it tells people that you're back. I think it's harder and harder to get people's attention these days, there's a lot of competition out there and I think if you don't try and grab people's attention with a track that's indisputable, that fires people's imagination, then they're not that interested in what the rest of the record is about.

Bono:
Oh yes, I want to have hits, sure! The greatest rock and roll songs are pop songs. I love that interview with Kurt Cobain where he says I'm a pop star, this is a pop song. He was a great student of The Beatles and The Buzzcocks, and whether it's The Sex Pistols or The Clash or The Rolling Stones or The Kinks or The Who, they're great moments, those great 45s. Vertigo is definitely a 45. It's 3 minutes long. That should be the definition of a proper 45, I think it's our only one though. Oh, Desire was two and a half minutes.

Edge:
U2's never been a band that has relied on hit singles, in fact we were known in the 80s and 90s as the biggest cult band in the world, because we had this major success, sold lots of records, played in big venues, but never really had any history of hits and single sales. But it's always nice if you get one away into the consciousness, whether it's a hit or not in any official sense, just a song that connects on a more broad level than just to U2 fans, and we've had a few over the last few years, Beautiful Day I think definitely did that. But I think there's a few songs on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb which are potentially capable of connecting way up, way broader than just our fans.


About How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Was it a difficult album to make?

Bono:
No. I thought that it was quite easy because Edge kick-started the thing so I thought, wow, that's great, I don't have to kick him. So he was off and running, and I thought, wow, maybe I'll have to run very fast to keep up with him. And the ending was amazing, when Steve Lillywhite came in and did his usual, do your job, songs only four minutes long, what's the problem, the English common sense. That was a joyful noise we made unto the Lord, and it was the middle, I think, where things got a bit messy. We'd invested a lot of time and energy, and we weren't getting to magic. We were getting close to it, right up next to it, you could almost smell it, you could just about kiss it, but you couldn't get your lips to it. We had a fantastic producer, Chris Thomas, who was working with us: brilliant guy, worked with The Beatles, Roxy Music, Sex Pistols, and we were getting great guitar sounds, great things, but I think finally we must have driven him crazy. We wore ourselves out, if not him. We needed a new lease of life, so we brought in Steve Lillywhite, who we've made all our records with in some shape or form, most of them anyway, and it was like the second half of the cup final, we changed a few of the team. Got some fresh legs, out onto the pitch and off we went.

Edge:
At this point for us there's no such thing as an easy album, it's the kind of tension between our quite unrealistic expectations, and therefore our impatience with anything that doesn't sound like it's going to ultimately make it. So that means that we're quite hard on ideas and work, and songs that we're working on, and that can be quite difficult for people on the project because it would seem at times like we're getting nowhere, but the great moments on a record are where you see in action this idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and that occurs from time to time. That's when suddenly the idea you're working on, and the band as musicians and performers, suddenly it all comes together. You get a moment that defies the elements that make it up. That happens from time to time. On this record, towards the end, it happened quite a lot. So after doing a lot of work that might seem a waste of time to people outside of the process, in fact it's the beginning of the process that leads you to that period where it all starts to fit together. If you didn't have the early development phase, then it wouldn't fit together. Our song writing and production process is a very strange process. Somebody said it's a bit like the Zen artists who spend hours and hours mixing the paints, and then the actual work happens really quickly, so that's what took a long time on this project. It was not the recording of the final versions, but all the various different phases we went through with the songs to get them to the place where they were finished.


About How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. What's the album about?

Bono:
You don't hear people talking about atomic bombs very much these days, do you? It comes from my father's lexicon. His generation would call it the atomic bomb, we call it weapons of mass destruction, but although everyone in the world is trying to figure out how to put the toothpaste back in the tube, ie. once you have this knowledge available on the internet, are we ever going to be safe? Even though that is a thought that's hanging in the air, in my head How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is about my father, Bob, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bob. He died a couple of years ago, and his demise set me off on a journey, a rampage, a desperate hunt to find out who I was, and that resulted in a lot of these songs so, it's a lot more personal than a political record, I think.

Edge:
U2 as a band are not at this point into concept records, and we're not a band that's going to follow an idea down. Writing songs is a far more instinctive process for us, and certainly the intention was much more rock and roll feeling, and then in the end you have to step back, when it's all done, and ask yourself, well what album did we get? This is what we set out to do, what did we get? I think I'm happy that it captures that spirit, but it's got other stuff besides. I think it's better than it would have been if it was all straight ahead rock and roll.


About How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Is it a rock and roll album?

Adam:
I think it is a guitar record. I think Vertigo, Love And Peace Or Else, City Of Blinding Lights, All Because Of You, I think they're all rocky tunes. A lot of them are a kick back, if you like, to our very early days. It's as if with each year we've gathered a little bit more and that's what we are now in a way, what those songs are.

Bono:
No. When we first went into the studio it was mad it, was like the MC5, The Stooges, just rifferama, Edge with a stick of dynamite up his hole, just going off. He was pissed off with something, I don't know what it was probably me. It was really powerful rock and roll, and Edge is much more Zen, much more monkish, much more ethereal. So to see him with this amount of metal in his system was an amazing thing. But in the end we couldn't get it to the other place, whatever that is, that feeling that I want from a U2 album, and I think that other people want, that thing where you just lose yourself, so we've left a few of those songs behind from what you could call the rock and roll album, and it started to become more dimensional and more unique, and the songs started to transform more into our own image, whatever that is..


About How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. How does it compare to your other albums?

Bono:
On All That You Can't Leave Behind, I think we had the best collection of songs. I don't think that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts, in the way that The Joshua Tree had some songs that weren't quite as good, but the overall feeling of that album was that it takes you over, same on Achtung Baby. Don't think we quite got there on All That You Can't Leave Behind although I think there's better songs. I hope on this album we have both but only time will tell.


About How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Is this an album or a collection of songs?

Edge:
I'd like to think that this is a real classic U2 album and that there is this spine to it, and certainly as we were making it, we were very conscious of this moment in time and what was going down worldwide, the mood out there. Even if it's not necessarily overtly about what's happening now, I think in a major way there is an undercurrent that pervades the whole album. So I've a feeling that looking back on this album in a few years time it will have a very strong identity from beginning to end, and I think ultimately, that's what an album is about, something that's very clearly of its time and sums up a feeling of one sort or another.


About Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own. Is this about your father?


Bono:
I sang the song Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own at my father's funeral. He was a very tough old boot of a guy, Irish, Dub, north side Dubliner, very cynical about the world and the people in it, but very charming and funny with it. His whole thing was, don't dream. To dream is to be disappointed. That's really who I think my father was, and that was his advice to me he didn't speak it in those words but that's what he meant. And of course that's really a recipe for megalomania, isn't it? I was only ever interested in big ideas, and not actually so much dreaming, but putting dreams into action. Doing the things that you have in your head has become an important thing for me. Anyway, the song Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own is dedicated to him, it's a portrait of him, and it also explains that he was a great singer, a great tenor. A working class Dublin guy who listened to the opera and conducted the stereo with my mother's knitting needles - he just loved opera. We didn't talk very much, so in the song I say to him, can you hear me when I sing, and I hit one of those big tenor notes that he would have loved so much.


About Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.

Edge:
Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own is one of those songs that was very difficult to get right. It was so strong that we kept running into cliché as we put the arrangement together. It had this potential which we all understood, but we couldn't find the way to play it, so that it didn't sound like a lot of other classic songs. Eventually, with some help from our producers, and Danny Lanois who popped in for a couple of days to play with us, we unlocked the beginning of the song, and then once we got that, everything else we already had came together. But as a tune we always thought, if we got it right, it was going to be a big song, and now I think it could be a massive song, simply because it's a complete song. There's nothing but pure melody there, there's no fat, nothing you'd lose. It's just one of those great lyrics, those great ideas, that I think is going to connect with people. Everyone can relate to it. It's got a universal aspect that will connect.


About Original Of The Species

Bono:
Original Of The Species is a very special song for me, it's a beautiful, melodic journey. Most songs go A B A B C D. Pop songs and rock and roll songs are very simple structures, but that melody keeps changing, A B C D, A B C D, I think is the way it goes, and it's about seeing some people who are ashamed of their bodies, in particular teenagers with eating disorders, not feeling comfortable with themselves and their sexuality. I'm just saying to them, you are one of a kind, you are the first one of your kind, you're an original of the species..."You feel like no one before, you steal right under my door, I kneel cause I want you some more, I want the lot of what you've got, and I want nothing that you're not, everywhere you go you shout it, you don't have to be shy about it. So it's a "be who you are, and I can't wait to play it live. Edge plays some extraordinary piano which got the complexity to the verses, to balance that anthem.


About Love And Peace Or Else.

Adam:
Love And Peace Or Else had a lot of difficulty getting its own identity when we were doing All That You Can't Leave Behind. What we were really inspired by was Brian's distorted bass keyboard at the beginning. Then Larry had this very 70s glitter band drum beat and we just thought, this has got to go somewhere, we've got to do something with this. We tried to finish it up for All That You Can't Leave Behind, but it just never gelled, it never quite worked. Every time we listened to the out-takes it always stood out, so we came back to it on this record, and Edge came out with this killer guitar part and glued it together. Bono more or less had the melodies and the vocal mapped out, and I think the middle 8 was still mapped out, so it was really once Edge had put that guitar part down that the song was there.

Bono:
Love and Peace Or Else started off a few years ago, and we could never quite crack it, it was just like the spirit in the sky, 60s psychedelic riff. Brian Eno was in the room, with that low bass sound, and it sounded like the end of the world, this subterranean bass and glam-rock, day-glo, gospel melody, "Lay down, lay down your guns, all your daughters of Zion, all ye Abraham sons. A preacher-type character, cracked but making some sense. It's like the Fly went to the seminary to become a priest, and ended up in this song something like that. It's got a real T-Rex groove to it and a Gary Glitter thing in there with that boom boom boom boom and it's got this nice picture in it which is "when enter this life, I pray you depart with a wrinkled face and a brand new heart. This baby and this old person, an image which is nice. And then there's a lovers' row in the middle of it. So the middle of this stomping tune about where we are right now in the world, it does a Brian Wilson-like turn left, and you're on a phone call with "Hi darling and you're having a row with your girlfriend and you say, "Look, don't fight, we can figure this out, thing's are going to be ok, and in the background, as you're talking, there's a TV, and "the TV is turned on, but the sound is turned down, and the troops on the ground are about to dig in, and I'm wondering, where is the love, where is the love. So you have the personal and the political come together in one little one scene, very cinematic.

Edge:
It owes a lot to Brian Eno's incredible synthesiser sound which opens the song. Then Larry and Danny Lanois, Danny on shaker and Larry on drums, playing this incredible groove, and we held on to it since that first version, because we knew there was something great about it and we just needed a song to set it off. After various re-writes and different approaches, Love And Peace Or Else eventually came through as a song on this record. It's like something you've not heard before, and I always love on an album a thing that's just so original and different to everything else. It's one of my favourite things on this record for that reason.


About One Step Closer. Where did this song come from?

Edge:
One Step Closer started out as just a chord sequence that I had. When we're jamming, sometimes I'll throw in something that I've worked up, and see what happens to it. In this case, we were on one of our jam sessions and started playing the chords, and Bono came up with this amazing melody. Everyone jumped in and we had this great song, but it wasn't until we started deconstructing it with Jacknife Lee that it started to show what it really could be. He was great, he worked on it with us and mixed it, and the song is a lot more now than it was when we first played it. It was actually almost Velvet Underground, a sort of traditional song at first, but now it's got this far more complex feeling about it, and I think lyrically it's very personal to Bono. The idea for the song lyrically, the one step closer to knowing line, came out of a conversation he was having with Noel Gallagher about his father's illness, which at that point he'd found out was terminal. They were talking about how weird it was to know that your father's dying, and Bono was saying, I'm not sure he has a faith, whether he knows where he's going, and Noel says "Well, he's one step closer to knowing, isn't he! and Bono went "Yeah. It must have just registered, ok, that's a song, and two years later it came back when we were working on that tune and it came together really fast.


About Yahweh. Where did this song come from?

Edge:
It was one of those songs that had an emotional weight to it. Bono's first vocal to it was this incredible thing, and I think most of the melodies that ended up on the final version were written in a matter of minutes when he first heard the piece of music. Quite quickly after that, he came up with this idea of calling it Yahweh, which is the name for the most high, which Jewish people do not utter, it's written but not spoken. I don't know the exact translation, but it's a sacred name for God, and in this song it's a prayer. I can't really explain it beyond that, it's one of those songs that had to be written, and again we just got out of the way.


About the different producers on the record.

Adam:
There were a lot of contributors to the production. We had Steve, who I suppose did most of the second half of the record. We had Chris Thomas who did most of the first half of the record, and then in between we had Danny Lanois come in and do some work. We also used some tracks that Danny and Brian Eno had originally started on for the last record. We used Jacknife Lee, who was a real find on this record, he produced the Snow Patrol record and is an artist in his own right. Also, Flood came back in and did a bit of work with us, so yes, a big cross section of people.

Edge:
We had quite a few different producers working with us on this record, and to their credit it doesn't sound like we did. First we had Chris Thomas, then Steve Lillywhite coming in for the second half of the process, Garret Lee, Jacknife Lee as he's also known, and Flood, who we've worked with before, has done some great work on this record. Even Daniel Lanois came in for a week. Nellee Hooper also did some incredible mixes on a couple of the songs. But I think the songs had such a strength of identity that they took care of themselves, we didn't really have to worry too much about the identity of the record getting lost due to the influence of so many different producers. In fact I think we were very clear what it should sound like from early on, and everybody found a way to contribute and bring it into focus.


About U2. Is the band playing well?

Edge:
I think through the album sessions things developed and changed. At the very beginning we were playing well, but probably not as well as we have done, but then we hit this period at the end where everyone was playing so well. It was incredible, and it was unexpected because you get used to a certain thing. You're not necessarily complaining about it but you feel everyone's doing their best, and that's what we're working on here, then suddenly everyone starts playing out of their league, and we re-recorded a lot of these songs as a result. The difference is huge even though it's very subtle, and you couldn't necessarily explain why. When everyone's hitting it you can hear it. You can feel it. I'm sure it's to do with things like commitment to the song, confidence with what's going down that day. A band, when they're really hitting it and they're actually on top of their game, there's nothing like it, it's a completely different thing to a singer/songwriter or a guy playing with session musicians. The chemistry of a band is what it's all about for me.

Bono:
I don't remember the band being in such good form since perhaps The Joshua Tree. I remember when we finished The Joshua Tree, we thought it wasn't great but we knew it was special, we just weren't sure if it was great, but we were in this mood we're in now. People feel very good about it. If the record disappears down the toilet, never registers on the charts and people say U2 have had their time, they can fuck off now, we still know we've made a great record and we're feeling very good about each other, because we're rough on each other, we kick the shit out of each other, pushing each other to be great, because in the end you can't live like we live. We're living it large, we've got great places, houses, we don't have the worries a lot of people have. The one part of the deal we can't blow is being crap, and I think we've kept our end of the deal.

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