It’s been more than 10 years since the British indie rock band Arctic Monkeys formed. Since then, they have grown into musical sensations selling out arenas worldwide and garnering more than four million Facebook fans. But fame hasn’t gone to their heads; they are still a group of down-to-earth guys who like to hang out in bars, watch soccer and listen to music when they’re not performing for crowds of adoring fans.
The Miami Hurricane sat down with bassist Nick O’Malley to talk about fan girls, their experiences performing at the London Olympics and life on tour.
The Miami Hurricane: Do the Arctic Monkeys have any pre-performance rituals?
Nick O’Malley: No special ritual really, usually just have a little drink and listen to some music.
TMH: This band gets a lot of attention from female fans, with Tumblr pages dedicated to specific members. How do you guys feel about this? Are fan girls flattering or creepy?
NO: There’s that fine line between being a fan and wanting to wear one’s skin, so hopefully they won’t cross that line. But yeah, it’s definitely nice to be appreciated … The page shows you sh*t on there that does freak you out a little bit.
TMH: Do the Arctic Monkeys have any traditional stops on tour? (For example, going to Coney Island in the summer if you guys are playing a show in New York …)
NO: No … we try and do something different each time. We don’t get that many free days on tour, so usually going around to bars is as crazy as we get.
TMH: You joined the band for the second album, “Favourite Worse Nightmare.” How did you land the spot exactly?
NO: I’ve known everyone for quite some time, so it really wasn’t that weird to come in and start playing. It didn’t feel too overwhelming. As teenagers, we played songs together … It felt natural since we all knew each other pretty well already. It helped ease into the position. I had to build up to playing gigs in front of people because I had never really done that before.
TMH: I know that asking what’s your favorite song is like asking a parent who their favorite kid is, but there’s always one favorite kid. So what is your favorite song?
NO: I really like ‘Are You Mine?’ We get really good reactions from the crowd when we play that one. I just really like the vocals and drums. It’s my favorite at the moment.
TMH: All five albums the Arctic Monkeys released are different, especially the last one. Which one is your favorite?
NO: ‘AM’ (the most recent album) is my favorite, which I suppose is the way it should be.
TMH: Do you have a preference for playing small venues or big festivals?
NO: I really like the variety. It’s a good experience always playing in small venues, but you get tired of it after a while, and vice versa playing in festivals or arenas. We are kind of lucky in that respect that we get a variety.
TMH: You guys performed in the opening ceremony for the London Olympics. How was that?
NO: The most nerve-racking thing. Paul McCartney was there and we were playing The Beatles song, ‘Come Together.’ There’s millions of people watching all over the world, so I was thinking, ‘It’d be really bad if we f*ck this up.’ It was something really special and really glad we got the chance to do it.
TMH: On tour, you spend a lot of time with your band mates. What do you guys do to pass time?
NO: When we are not on the bus, we usually go out and get some drinks. We like to watch football [soccer].
TMH: Do you have a favorite football team?
NO: We all follow the same team, which is Sheffield Wednesday. I imagine not many people have heard of them; they don’t get much TV time. Our team plays in a lower league. In England, it’s expected that you watch it with the family, so we stick by them.
TMH: What do you see in the future for the Arctic Monkeys? Any ideas being thrown around for the next album, or is it too early?
NO: It’s kind of in the mix of this one, so we’ve got a lot to wait for another one. We are busy touring until next year, so we haven’t really had time to record.
The Arctic Monkeys will be in Miami on Thursday. They will perform at The Fillmore on Miami Beach. Tickets to the concert are sold out.