James Ford says Arctic Monkeys’ ‘The Car’ was originally “going to be bigger and more outward-facing”

Producer and solo musician James Ford has revealed that the initial plans for Arctic Monkeys‘ ‘The Car’ would have seen the record be more “outward-facing”.

Speaking to NME for our Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! franchise, Ford shared that the album was supposed to be “bigger and more outward-facing,” but had its direction changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“The pandemic happened, and [Alex Turner] went into his own bubble, returning with these beautiful, intimate, sad songs. We recorded in this country house in Suffolk. With the backdrop of the pandemic, it was nice to be together in a group and have that boozy camaraderie.”


This was echoed by Turner, who told NME‘s Sophie Williams for The Big Read last year that they had originally planned “to write louder songs than we had for some time.” This quickly changed as the band discovered that they songs they had written were more than just heavy riffs: “I think what I found myself wanting to play when the band were around was actually very surprising to me,” Turner added.

“I think that’s the key difference maybe with [‘The Car’] and the last record… perhaps we didn’t quite have a grasp of the dynamics of the bigger, newer sounds we were exploring,” Turner said. “But playing together live again certainly helped us to get there, and we developed a better awareness of each other. You find yourself in a different place when you take the songs to a new setting beyond where they were recorded.”

Arctic Monkeys are currently touring the UK, during which they will perform in Norwich, play two shows in their Sheffield hometown, and eventually move through Swansea, Southampton and London. Find any remaining tickets here.

Arctic Monkeys’ June 2023 UK tour dates are:

7 – Carrow Road Stadium, Norwich
9 – Hillsborough Park, Sheffield
10 – Hillsborough Park, Sheffield
12 – Swansea.com Stadium, Swansea
14 – The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
16 – Emirates Stadium, London
17 – Emirates Stadium, London
20 – Marlay Park, Dublin
25 – Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

Arctic Monkeys will also headline Day 1 of Glastonbury on June 21, where they will perform at the Pyramid Stage at 10:15pm. All tickets to Glastonbury 2023 have been sold out. Check out the festival’s full performance schedule here.

Arctic Monkeys’ ‘The Car’ – which was crowned NME‘s Album of the Year 2022 – scored a five-star review, with Thomas Smith describing the record as “a summary of the band’s story so far: sharp songwriting, relentless innovation and unbreakable teamwork.”