Alex Turner on writing the new Arctic Monkeys album: ‘The guitar wasn’t getting me anywhere’

"I don’t remember having very many ideas before I sat down at the piano"

Alex Turner has discussed how he got very little inspiration from the guitar in writing the new Arctic Monkeys‘ album, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino‘.

While largely critically-acclaimed, the band’s sixth album has proven somewhat divisive among fans – with many lamenting Turner’s turn towards the piano in the composition of the record. However, Turner has stated that the guitar just wasn’t feeding his muse in the way that it used to.

“I love playing guitar, obviously,” Turner told Radio X. “I’ve played loads of it on this record, but as a writing tool, I’d reached a point where it wasn’t getting me anywhere.”

Describing how “the piano is one of the things that led to this record” and how it became “the centre of the universe, Turner continued: “I don’t remember having very many ideas before I sat down at the piano. It’s not something I’d ever written on in the past, apart from once or twice.”

This comes after Turner said that the guitar made him “suspicious” of where the record would go during the writing process.

Alex Turner songwriter

Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner

Speaking to NME about the band’s evolution, Turner said the life he’s led in the five years along with his work with Alexandra Savior and The Last Shadow Puppets made him uncomfortable with repeating himself – and compelled to try something new as the artist he is today.

“This is choppy waters in terms of pretentiousness, but I don’t know how much of a choice in that I had,” Turner told NME of the writing of their new album. “This seems like a declaration about retaining my integrity, which I don’t mean for it to be, but this was all I had. I don’t know what else I could have done, truly.”

He continued: “I don’t think I would finish the first draft of a song if I was trying to make the ‘AM’ record again. That, coupled with the fact that it’s five years ago and in-between it I did the record with Alexandra and the Puppets thing. When you bring that into it the shift between ‘AM’ and this doesn’t seems as great, suddenly.

“I think going through that I was even further away from the idea that we would be able to replicate it and do like a ‘Mark 2’ of ‘AM’. The chance to do that was long gone.”

Meanwhile, this week saw Arctic Monkeys announce details of a surprise London show at the Royal Albert Hall for charity.

The band will be playing on June 7 with all proceeds going to War Child.