Muse Initially Planned 'Simulation Theory' to Be an Acoustic Album


It's rare to find a great creative mind, who is also adept at long-term planning, especially where art is concerned. 

That's why band's need management. It's not just the logistical aspects of booking tours, recording sessions and interviews, it's the trifling of inspiration that sometimes makes it difficult to follow-through.

You never know where your ideas will take you, and they can be awfully hard to wrangle once they start pulling you a particular way. Muse's latest album, Simulation Theory, is a good example.

As bassist Chris Wolstenholme tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke, the band's plan for its follow-up to 2015's Drones changed vastly from what it first laid out. 

"I think initially we talked about the idea of doing a really stripped back, acoustic album," Wolstenholme explains. "We actually started with 'Something Human.' And then I don't really know what happened; we didn't carry on going down that road."

Wolstenholme explains that despite the cohesive '80s futurism aesthetic of the Simulation Theory, the music wasn't all conceived with such common threads in mind. 

The band wrote and arranged the album song-by-song and ducked into the studio in-between legs of the Drones World Tour to record it, one piece at a time. As such, Muse arrived fresh and ready to experiment at every session. It was in during those sessions, that the band members rediscovered their love of synthesizers, and Simulation Theory is lousy with the things. 

"That kind of made us start thinking about the '80s," Wolstenholme recalls, "... and I guess that kind of took us right back to childhood, really."

He points out that the band members' earliest exposure to music was in the '80s, when they were children and when pop music was just beginning to dig into synthesizerdom. So many of the touchstones from the decade are decked out in neon and hairspray, and that seemed like an interesting-enough vibe to pursue with the aesthetics of the album.

Music videos for Muse have been "a bit of an afterthought" in the past, Wolstenholme added. So the band relished the idea of creating an aesthetic that would carry through all the album's visuals and really set apart this era of the band.

"Whether it's a plot or such, I don't know," he added, regarding the thru-lines in the Simulation Theory music videos. "I'm sure if you looked deep enough into it, there probably is. I think the more important thing to us was to have references in videos to other videos so that they all kind of tie together."

Check out the full interview above!

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Click below for the official music video for "Pressure":

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