Fixing the world with gruff Rhys This is a record of quite intimate songs with a huge orchestral backing: can you explain?
My last three records have been biographical about other people, whereas this album is about what’s going on in my daily life. I am a fan of orchestral pop records and it was an experiment for me – I’ve never used a full symphony orchestra before. There are records where I think it works well: Serge Gainsbourg records, Lee Hazlewood productions, even Curtis Mayfield records.
Babelsberg is bleak at times; do you despair of the modern world?
It’s not necessarily critical. It was recorded at a particularly worrying time for everyone, I think – a time of political uncertainty and paranoia. “Selfies In The Sunset” is that idea of taking photos of the apocalypse – they’d probably look quite beautiful with the orange skies – so I think there’s some space left for hope there. A good song to play just before the apocalypse? Maybe something pathetic like “The Final Countdown” by Europe – you could make a big deal of it with a countdown and some fireworks.
You have three wishes to fix the world: what do you do?
Number one, we should all wake up, fully. Number two, have a coffee, then number three, sort everything out.