Bono told me this: “After we release our Danger Mouse album, our club album and our Spider-Man album, we’re going to move into a basement apartment in Brooklyn and start a chillwave band.” Bono told me this in a dream. He was very tall in this dream.
Okay, maybe that quote is entirely made up by me.
U2 have spent much of this year working on an album produced by Danger Mouse, the alias for American production ace Brian Burton (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz). Due early next year, it will be preceded by a single in December.
“We have about 12 songs with Danger Mouse,” Bono says. “It’s the album we’ll likely put out next because it’s just happening so easily.”
The singer adds that, in a stream of creativity, U2 are working on two other projects.
The first is a club-inspired album with Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am, French DJ superstar David Guetta and Lady Gaga collaborator RedOne. Also,
Bono and guitarist The Edge are attempting to sell their bandmates, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen jnr, the concept of a U2 album based on the 20 songs the two have written for a Spider-man musical that opens on Broadway next month.
“We’re experimenting to discover different sides to us,” Bono says. “And I think we’re at one of those moments. We’re fighting for relevance. Being successful is a lot easier than being relevant.
“We may be about to do our best-ever album or we may be about to be irrelevant.”
He pauses to consider that rather weighty statement.
“That’s how I woke up feeling this morning,” he says.
“What worries me about U2 now is that because the band are playing so well, we can make an average song sound great,” Bono says.
Which is part of the reason they have stepped away from their so-called “dysfunctional family” of producers: Brian Eno, Steve Lillywhite and Daniel Lanois.
“Each night on this tour, we’d fly out of a show and go straight into the studio,” Bono says of the Danger Mouse sessions. “Because you enter the studio with the roar of the crowd in your ears, you know what works. If you take musicians away from the stage too much, they become quite abstract in their heads. They start to use words like ‘interesting’. But people don’t want to see you do something interesting. They want something passionate or wild.
” ‘Interesting’ is the moment musicians scratch their chin. It ruins great and dramatic music. You listen to the Sex Pistols or Nirvana or the first MGMT album and you don’t scratch your chin. You say, ‘Wow, that’s extraordinary’.
“The biggest challenge now will be getting a song on the radio. That’s our drug of choice now. I don’t know if we will achieve it. It takes a radio programmer saying, ‘I want that feeling on my station’. And they may not. It will be very hard for U2 to dominate the radio now after No Line on the Horizon. But we’re going to try.”