BBC Home

Explore the BBC


19th April 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage

Contact Us


Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
features /  music feature
editor content by: editor
arctic monkeys session
arctic monkeys session
watch 
this session is now out of copyright
watch 
watch arctic monkeys on
listen 
real player to access audio and video on collective you need real player.
Northern uproar.

“This time last year, we were playing to next to nobody. I mean that quite literally - less than ten people.” Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys tick all the most-hyped boxes. After one limited 7”, they’re selling out venues up and down the country, with crowds singing the words to each and every (unreleased) track. Ebay tall tales – the barometer of zeitgeist cool – abound, with the band’s demo cds going for £200.

Chatty but knackered or diffident to the point of inaudibility, singer Alex Turner comments with typical understatement, “Yeah, we’ve had a good year,” his broken voice dropping an octave mid-sentence. All the band members are 19 or 20 years old.



Although Alex was initially reluctant to be the singer - “it seemed a bit soft” - the lyrics are acerbic and funny. Fake Tales of San Francisco has a pop at identikit pretenders (“You're not from New York City, you're from Rotherham”), but he’s quick to dispute regionalist clichés. “People say it’s a snapshot of Sheffield. Is it f**k - it’s an observation of people. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or if you’re in a band or not; there’s always knob-heads. There’s a certain element of sneering but it’s always laughing or celebrating it.”

“There used to be a line in Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts, ‘At least he ain’t got a Nova or a Burberry hat.’ When we were in year nine, there’d be lads that had left school and they’d pinch all the girls from our year. This was in 1999 when the Nova was the car of the moment. Before the term chav came out."

Later that evening his opening comment, “What’s Coventry got to show us, eh? Owt?” provokes crowd-surfing mayhem within seconds of the start of their first track – and forthcoming single - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor. Shoes are thrown onstage and helpfully thrown back so you can walk home. And when they come back one time too many, they are pitched up onto the lighting rig to raucous cheering.



Says bassist Andy Nicholson, “After you see it every night, you do get used to it, which is not to take away from it, cos it’s still f**king exciting. But it takes a lot to shock you. Some girl got on her boyfriend’s shoulders for Mardy Bum. I thought that was a very Robbie Williams moment. Thought we were going to play Angels or something.”

“There were times we couldn’t finish A Certain Romance for weeks cos everyone was on stage. We played in Nottingham, and our mate was crowdsurfing on people on stage. He just came flying over the monitor. ‘I broke me back yeah but it were right good!’”


James Cowdery 13 October 05
Arctic Monkeys – (I Bet That) You Look Good On The Dancefloor / Bigger Boys And Stolen Sweethearts, released 17 October 05 on Domino.
 comments
Read members' comments related to this music.
THE next BIG thing! post 94
comment by kingofthebees    Apr 24, 2006
Or that built up by some people on this thread. "Monkeys, I'd live and die for you, the purpose of the universe is as a receptacle for your music," etc etc....
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 93
comment by VinylAGoGo    Apr 24, 2006
i think they'll do a great job living up to their own standards, but i cant imagine how hard it is to live up to the ridiculously huge standards that NME has since built up.
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 92
comment by handsomeTurboMan    Apr 2, 2006
The arctic monkeys will always be big there music the best cool
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 91
comment by Boro_fan_in_AUS    Mar 21, 2006
Arctic Monkeys are brillient, hope they keep producing fab music for many many years to come. Can't wait until the come out to Australia some time in the near future, there are already becoming real big here. I'll be first to Buy tickets tho!

Up the Arctic Monkeys!....and the Boro!
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 90
comment by fatladywrestler    Mar 19, 2006
The fake tales of San Fransisco echos..................................
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 89
comment by handsomeTurboMan    Mar 19, 2006
stamp feet n shout come on u monkeys shake ur head to the beatsilly .
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 88
comment by fatladywrestler    Mar 19, 2006
I have been ranting on about Arctic Monkeys for ages, got some of there demo tracks, like you say, this is the way of music, it's the whole atmosphere, real die hard fans know this group inside out and appreciate their performance for what it is, energetic, heart felt, passionate and raw..Come on you Monkeys...flw xx
complain about this page
THE next BIG thing! post 87
comment by handsomeTurboMan    Mar 19, 2006
i thought it was very, cool, when i saw them arctic monkey's very fantastic band indeed.
complain about this page
Arctic Monkeys post 86
comment by David Thair    Mar 19, 2006
In defense of the Arctic fellows, since when did live rock bands worry about singing in key? It's all about volume and passion and things! Probably.
complain about this page
Arctic Monkeys post 85
comment by amir    Mar 18, 2006
"I have a degree in music from UCLA. "

Tell me you're on a piss-take.
complain about this page

related info
note: The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
see also
arctic monkeys
single review

more sessions

grizzly bear
session

get cape...
session

joan as...
session

love is all
session

tv on the radio
session

dubstep
video feature

jamie t
session

bat for lashes
session

the young knives
session

6 organs...
session

secret machines
session

liars
session

broken social...
session

green man 06
sessions

the rakes
session

truck festival 06
sessions

the kills
session

roots manuva
session

arctic monkeys
by spencer xray

arctic monkeys
by vincent roccoforte

arctic monkeys
by vincent roccoforte

on film network
on bbc.co.uk/berkshire
on bbc.co.uk/oxford
on bbc.co.uk/southyorkshire
on bbc.co.uk/radio1
music

music archive
Watch music sessions and interviews from 2002 to 2008.
books

books and comics archive
Author interviews and reviews from 2002 to 2008.
1xtra
1xtra


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy