Fresh from a European tour, Art Brut’s ever-enthused Eddie Argos takes time off from doing his washing to tell us about ex-girlfriends and learning to sing
Your album’s called It’s a Bit Complicated. Tell us about it simply
It’s about pop songs and ex-girlfriends.
Do you think that you’re one of those bands that people either love or hate?
It seems to be that way doesn’t it? I’d much rather just be liked! I read lots of bands going ‘we want to be either loved or hated!’ But I just want to be a pop band. I’d like it if everyone just liked us a little bit and we got played on the radio.
So were you heartbroken when Top of the Pops finished?
Yeah, devastated. I was away at the time, it was really bad. I didn’t even see the last one.
What are you going to aspire to now?
Bring back Top of the Pops. That’s my plan.
Has anyone ever suggested to you that talking isn’t singing?
[Laughs] I’m trying my best! Yes, lots of people say that to me. It’s funny, because sometimes I joke about it and say I can’t sing and people say ‘You can! You can!’ and I know they’re just being polite because I genuinely can’t. I’m doing my best, I’m trying. I think I sing a bit better on the second album. I’m gradually learning. By the third album, I’ll have a lovely voice.
People love you in America, do you love them back?
Yeah – my girlfriend’s American. She lives in Los Angeles, so maybe I will move there [laughs uproariously]. Yeah I like it! People in England can be quite cynical, when Emily Kane came out, they were like, ‘that’s a funny pastiche’ and in America when people heard it they said, ‘oh you must have really loved her.’ And I did, that’s the correct answer. I did love Emily Kane, it wasn’t a joke.
I heard that in Germany they had a lecture about your song lyrics.
Yeah it’s amazing isn’t it! It was called the Depressive Dandy apparently, so they think I’m an intellectual. I tell them that I’m not but they don’t believe me, They’re like ‘you’re so funny, saying you’re not an intellectual’ and I’m like ‘I’m not! I’m an idiot! I’m a drunk!’
Are you meant to pronounce the ‘t’?
Well you see it’s a French thing, Art Brut, but I didn’t know that when I named the band that so I’ve been mispronouncing it for years, as ‘Art Brute’.
So we’re allowed to pronounce it ‘Art Brute’?
Yeah. I’m sorry Jean Dubuffet [artist who coined the phrase], I’ve ruined it. It will always be mispronounced because of me.