With the title of his eagerly-anticipated third album, The English Riviera, Metronomy frontman, songwriter, producer and general factotum Joseph Mount is coming home.

“Growing up [in Totnes, Devon] if your interests are music and things like that it’s difficult being somewhere so detached from the circuit,” he says from Paris where he is preparing for a weekend show in Nice.

“When I was younger it was a little better, bands would make it as far as Plymouth. Now if you have six or seven friends into music you have to make your own fun.

“There’s a bit of nostalgia but some of it is imagining what the music would sound like if there was a strong scene down there. I imagined a kind of laidback music, influenced by the proximity of the sea, by people with a bit of time on their hands.

“It’s funny because there is a music scene down there but it’s very out-of-sync with other places – there are a lot of singersongwriters, playing a type of music which isn’t that exciting, and then you also have bands like [1990s funk-rockers] Rootjoose and Reef [of Raise Your Hands fame].”

Despite his Devon roots, Metronomy’s story began here, when Joseph arrived to study at the University of Brighton. His 2006 debut album Pip Paine (Pay The £5,000 You Owe) was a largely instrumental work, composed, performed and produced by Joseph.

Touring the album, he joined forces with the so-called Food Groups, comprising his cousin Oscar Cash and close friend Gabriel Stebbings. They were both onboard as full-blown Metronomy members for the follow-up, the critical breakthrough Nights Out, which was named as one of the albums of 2008 by the NME.

This album saw him explore vocals more fully in a vague concept about “going out and having a c*** time”. “There was pressure on the third album, but it’s not really from anyone else but myself,” admits Joseph.

“The nice thing about Nights Out was that it didn’t set the charts on fire but it went down very well. You do feel like you don’t want to disappoint people. The only real pressure was to do something interesting and not go over the same ground.

“I imagined what a producer might say, and I thought it would probably be that I needed to strip back the songs, and to be confident with simple arrangements.

“I also wanted to be more confident with my singing and give it a bit more emotion. Those were my ground rules in a way.”

Despite the more minimal arrangements on songs like dark new single She Wants and the brilliant The Look (complete with animated seagulls in the new video), the band has expanded to its largest line-up yet following the 2009 departure of Gabriel to focus on his band Your Twenties.

Joining Joseph and Oscar are bassist Gbanga Adelekan, and for the first time a drummer, Anna Prior, formerly of Lightspeed Champion.

“We had been playing as a four-piece when we finished the Nights Out tour,” says Joseph. “The first two albums were very much computer-created, in terms of how the songs were written, with lots of programming and editing techniques.

“I thought it would be nice to do something that was a lot more musical and built from people playing instruments well, rather than just programming drums.”

Having moved to London following his first album, Joseph has started returning to Brighton, partly because it is still Oscar’s home town.

“I got to the point where I found it hard to go back because every street corner contained a memory of university,” he says. “Now I’m enjoying being back in Brighton, in a slightly sad way, because it doesn’t necessarily resemble the same town I went to uni in. There’s been so much development it feels new to me!”

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