Cage The Elephant just released their fourth studio album titled Tell Me I'm Pretty on December 18th. The album is the follow-up to 2013's Melophobia and was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and The Arcs. The band currently has one single out from the album called "Mess Around" and two tracks from the album were made available to download on iTunes before the release called "Trouble" and "Too Late To Say Goodbye." The album contains 10 tracks that are 38 minutes of amazing alternative sounds.
Matt and Matthan of Cage the Elephant recently stopped by iHeartRadio HQ in New York City to tell us all about Tell Me I'm Pretty, their single "Mess Around," and what it was like to work with Dan Auerbach in the studio while recording the album.
The guys tell us that they demo'd the songs for three weeks and then recorded the tracks for another three weeks during the creation of Tell Me I'm Pretty. And a lot of the songs on the album were debuted while the band was on tour.
Tell Me I'm Pretty was recorded at Auerbach's Easy Eye Studios in Nashville, where the guys live. "It was great. The studio was in Nashville. It felt more like a friend thing than it did the strict schedule of ... it didn't feel too official."
On what they are most excited about the release Tell Me I'm Pretty
"I get more pleasure out of other people's reactions than of my own, just because trying to be very transparent, you can get to a place where you're basically reliving all your demons every time you sing those songs. So, some of the songs can be difficult to sing. I'm just pleased with how everything went."
Learn more about Tell Me I'm Pretty in our exclusive interview with Cage The Elephant below!
On the meaning behind the album title Tell Me I'm Pretty:
"A dear friend of mine, his name's Tony Smith, had said the title to me. And it just really struck me because it can kind of be taken as a tongue and cheek kind of thing, but in kind of a swaggy way. But it can also be anyone who makes music or visual art, or arts of various kinds. There's always this huge need to be loved, so it's like 'please tell me I'm pretty.' It's nice that it's a phrase that has a surface, but it has kind of a dark undercurrent as well."
On what it was like working with producer Dan Auerbach on the album:
"It was terrific. He has an incredible grasp on atmosphere, and sounds, and textures. Also, just a very deep knowledge of music. So he would be listening to the most obscure things while we were in the studio with him, and turning us on to new stuff. And then not tell us what it was. We were trying to Shazaam and figure out what he was playing. It was a really great experience for sure. He's just no frills. Nick said this, and I really agree with him. Dan will sit there and listen to what's going on, and sort of close his eyes and bob his head, and he's sort of in the moment. And then he waits for the thing that throws him off, and as soon as something knocks him out of that moment, he's like, 'Change that. That's what you need to fix.' He's very much into the first response, so a lot of the songs that are on the record are one take, and scratch vocals even, which was really difficult for me because I was like, 'I think I can do better, guys.' He's great at keeping you from second-guessing yourself."
On the meaning behind their first single off the album "Mess Around":
"It's not about what you would think it's about. We'll put it that way. There are some clues in the lyrics. It was one of the last songs that we recorded, and it almost didn't make the record. Just seeing other people's responses to the song, it felt like a no-brainer to us [to make it the first single]."
On which song is their favorite on Tell Me I'm Pretty:
"Either 'Too Late to Say Goodbye' or 'How Are You True?' Those kids are going to have to learn that C-sharp, minor 7, flat 5 cord if you want to play that song. It has 13 cords in it. I was actually flying back to Nashville from New York, and there was this kid that was on the jet bridge, and he was kind of making a commotion. I just felt like I had some purpose to talk to this young man. Ended up that he sat beside me on the airplane, and he told me, some of his struggles and stuff, and really opened up to me. His name's True, and so I just wrote the song to see how he's doing. It's like a 'Missed Connection,' but in a song."
On what song is most personal to Matt on the album:
"'Cold, Cold, Cold' for me. That one hits really close to home. It's a song that's about that feeling of imminent doom that's always looming overhead. I used hospital characters like a doctor, and a nurse, and a counselor to tell a story that's about just feeling like you need to be checked into a hospital."
On a surprising fact that fans don't know about Tell Me I'm Pretty:
"I think something that fans might not know is that a lot of the songs are one take. Dan really makes a point to try to keep you from second guessing yourself, and so a lot of the songs are one take and scratch vocals." Also, as far as the creative process, when we were making the record, we really made it a point to create a lot of space in the tracks. You could hear a lot of space in the track. That was something that was very important to us, because we definitely feel like that's a little [of] a lost art."
Learn more about Cage The Elephant and their new album Tell Me I'm Pretty below:
Photos: Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio