Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders on Reading and Leeds: ‘Something big is happening’

Drummer speaks ahead of summer of huge live shows, including festival headline sets

Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders has said that the band are better live now than they were when they last headlined Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2009.

Organisers earlier this week (February 3) confirmed that the Sheffield band will headline the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds, their first time performing at the festival since they topped the bill five years ago. Appearing as an England and Wales festival exclusive, the band will appear at both sites at the August 22-24 festival.

Speaking to NME in this week’s magazine, which is available digitally or on newsstands now, Helders claims the band are a better live act than ever before.


“We’e got better, now we’re more ready to headline festivals,” Helders says. “Before, it was more because of demand. Still, we held off from a lot of things pretty well in terms of doing stuff like arena tours. We did the second-to-last slot [in 2006], then the headline; it felt like we built up to it. But as a band and as performers, if I dare say that, I feel we’ve got better at it. I won’t be anywhere near as nervous as I was. Excited, but not scared.”

Asked about the band’s summer of huge live shows, including numerous festival headline sets as well as big gigs in Dublin and London, Helders continues: “Everything changes, all of a sudden there’s loads more people there working for you. I like it, it gets exciting. It feels like something big’s happening.”

It was previously revealed that Blink-182 will headline Reading & Leeds 2014 with Disclosure, Metronomy and Jake Bugg also on the bill. Blink-182 will headline the Main Stage for the first time at the festival since they headlined in 2010.

Check out the best photographs from Reading and Leeds festival 2013

To check the availability of Reading tickets click here and for Leeds tickets click here now, or call 0844 858 6765

Subscribe to NME here, or get this week’s digital issue