Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch on Being 'Head Honcho Wallflower No. 1' and Their Upbeat New Album

Billboard spoke with Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch about the group's new direction on Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance.

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, which debuts at No. 28 on the Billboard 200, is Belle & Sebastian's danciest album yet. What inspired that?

This is probably the least conscious record the band has ever written. I think that was good, in a way, because we got in the room and everybody was bringing in songs and ideas. We just went at it without really thinking about it too much.

Album Review: Belle & Sebastian's 'Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance' Gets Sonically Adventurous

The songs are much more upbeat, but you're still considered the poster boys for sensitive indie rockers. Do you think that's fair?

Am I the last man standing? (Laughs.) I'm Head Honcho Wallflower No. 1. If you're going to make any sort of public statement, like release a record, then you have to be prepared for labels. I've got a good job, you know? When we came out of the gate, our band was that band, a safe haven for troubled teenagers. That's who I was writing for. I wanted to make it all right for some people. Even if the band has puffered up over the years, I'll still be a wallflower for you.

Do you plan on bringing any dance elements into your live show?

We've been making little films that we'll be projecting with the new songs when we play live, and pretty much all of them have a dance element. We've been working with dancers, choreographers. I really wanted to bring that into the live shows, and at some point we're going to actually build up to a full choreographed show. In the '80s, I used to go and watch a lot of dance, and it never occurred to me to join a contemporary dance group. I should have done that. I just don't know if I have the energy for it now.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of Billboard.

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