Neptune was one of my favorite albums of 2008. Did you enjoy the recording process in the California desert better than recording your previous albums? Why or why not? You had been out there before for Coachella, right? I love that area of the country.
Joshua Tree is a strange and wonderful place. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to record out there. The guys that live out there...Dave Catching, who owns the studio, Chris Goss, who produced the album, Hutch, the sound man who cooked for us, are all great people who we stay in touch with.
You had the songs for Neptune written before going to the Joshua Tree area, right? How do you guys approach the songwriting process? Is it a collaborative effort, or does each member do their own thing, and you end up working it out into a cohesive piece?
Luke [Ford, guitarist/vocalist] and I write most of the music independently, and then sit with Liela [Moss, vocalist/pianist] and come up with vocal melodies. She writes pretty much all of the lyrics.
What do you consider to be your primary musical influences? I have been a fan of modern British music since my teens in the mid-'80s and hear some similarities -- some The Jesus & Mary Chain, early shoegazey stuff -- and there's a lot of soul, as well. Do you think these influences play into your songs?
Tons and tons of influences. Luke grew up listening to JAMC, so he brings that aspect in. I grew up listening to The Clash and other punk bands, as well as lots of old blues stuff. We all love The Rolling Stones. Soul music is a big influence, in so much as the energy and lift of it. We wanna make dark sensual rock and roll that makes you wanna dance or fuck, basically.
You guys have played with some good bands while touring the US -- BRMC, for one -- and have played with others like British Sea Power and Kasabian in the past. What's been your favorite part of being on tour?