Earlier this year, the Arctic Monkeys released Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, a strange concept album set in a casino piano bar on the moon that was a serious left turn from the arena-rock of 2013’s AM. Fans curious about the recording process behind Tranquility are in luck: the band’s longtime film partner Ben Chappell (who has directed several of their videos) was at the French mansion where they crafted the songs, and today released a trippy short companion film to the album, Warp Speed Chic.
In a statement, Chappell explained that he joined the band in France just as the songs were coming together. “I was still only hearing bits and pieces of the tunes as they were being recorded,” he said. Then, almost a year later, he went to their show in July in Lyon, France, to the film the finished versions. ” I put the live songs next to my shots of them recording and found it to be quite nice,” he said. “With that as a starting point, I then used [producer] James Ford’s instrumental mixes of the album and I put an assortment of the images we created for this album overtop, giving a glimpse into the last year and the full progression of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.”
The film is full of intimate moments. We see a disheveled, goateed Alex Turner in the studio, drumming and singing the album highlight “The Ultracheese” before the camera cuts to him howling the finished ballad onstage. You can see grainy stage footage of him at the piano onstage singing “Star Treatment,” which immediately cuts to him at the microphone doing a vocal take; seeing him get in the zone for the spoken-word track is pretty fascinating.
After a long hiatus, the band has a lot going on. On November 30th, they’ll release the 7″ vinyl of the title track of their new album, alongside a new b-side, “Anyways.” But before that, they’ll play the Hollywood Bowl tonight and tomorrow night and several more dates until New Orleans’ Voodoo festival on October 28th.