Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner speaks out on politics in music, and their past tax avoidance controversy

"We were given some poor advice and I made a poor decision"

Alex Turner has spoken out about the role that politics plays in Arctic Monkeys‘ music, as well as addressing the band’s past controversy at having been involved is a tax avoidance scheme.

The band released their acclaimed sixth album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino‘ earlier this month, when it went straight in at No.1 and became the fastest-selling vinyl release in the UK of the last 25 years. While it’s sonically quite a departure, the lyrics also appear to be more ambitious and socially minded on the whole – turning towards the impact of class and technology in the modern age.

“[Previously] I’d never wanted anything political to get into the music and that was because I didn’t know how to do it,” Turner told The Sunday Times. “It’s not as though these are protest songs necessarily, but I’m more confident about putting myself across.”

Asked about other pop stars becoming more politically vocal, he continued: “Maybe they’re forced to be that way through the way it’s gone. I seem to remember feeling like I hadn’t given sufficient consideration to these issues to be able to discuss them, which I’m not sure is necessarily a bad attitude towards it. They often are complex.

“It can go too far the other way, where people feel forced to talk about it, but they haven’t given it too much thought. There is a pressure on you now to think about stuff, which is not unhealthy.”

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

Back in 2014, all four members of Arctic Monkeys were along with the likes of George Michael, Michael Caine, Katie Melua and Ant & Dec in having invested in a high-profile tax avoidance scheme.

As part of the Liberty tax strategy, Arctic Monkeys were reported to have each paid between £38,000 and £84,000 in fees to Liberty to protect £557,000 to £1.1m between 2005 and 2009. However, now Turner has said that they were not aware of their wrongdoing at the time and corrected it as soon as possible – declaring that the band didn’t pay any less tax than they would have done.

“We were given some poor advice and I made a poor decision,” said Turner. “But I always paid my taxes in full, on time,”

Asked why they were involved in the first place, Turner replied: “Because there was a potential that we would, that’s the important point.”

Meanwhile, last 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.