“We are firmly locked in the tower of song and working away on a bunch of new things,” said U2’s Edge, while working on a new song with bassist Adam Clayton. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of U2’s seventh album Achtung Baby, the band is already well into a follow-up to their 2017 release, Songs of Experience.
“I’m just having so much fun writing and not necessarily having to think about where it’s going to go,” said Edge in a recent interview. “It’s more about enjoying the experience of writing and having no expectations or limitations on the process.”
Still in the early stages of the process, the band has yet to land on a producer for the new album, but Edge added that he enjoyed working with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix on the UEFA Euro 2020 song “We Are the People.”
“I hope to work with him in the future,” Edge said. “But we haven’t made any firm decisions on what the next thing will be in terms of personnel.”
The band recently shared the song “Your Song Saved My Life,” off the soundtrack for the upcoming animated featured Sing 2, which also features singer Bono in a starring role as the voice of the rock star lion Clay Calloway.
“That’s not a thing that U2 normally does, but it’s in the of spirit of mixing it up, keeping people guessing, and trying different things,” said Edge of the animated film. “It felt like a worthy thing. And also, it’s a movie about great songs and we we felt very comfortable in the company that we were keeping there.”
Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno-produced Achtung Baby, recorded in 1990 at the famed Hansa Studios in Berlin, Edge hinted at a possible return of returning to the multimedia-immersive Zoo TV Tour that supported the album.
“I would love that and I couldn’t rule it out,” he said. “I think [Zoo TV] is such a current thought. Back then, we were we’re dealing with the overload and kind of the whiplash of 24/7 news cycles, which hadn’t been known before. It was the overload of cable TV and hundreds and hundreds of channels. And little did we know that that was just the beginning of this avalanche of channels to kind of draw your attention.”
Edge added that the production team from that tour is still working with the band, so it’s something they wouldn’t rule out for an upcoming tour. The band’s last tour was in 2019, commemorating the 30th anniversary of their fifth album The Joshua Tree. “I think Zoo TV could absolutely come back and be just as relevant,” added Edge, “but we haven’t actually got to the point of doing anything more than this kind of talk, but I wouldn’t rule it out again.”
Off tour for the past two years, and following the pandemic, Edge said that the band need some time off after being either in the studio or on the road for five consecutive years. “As much as momentum is your friend, there’s a moment where you stop getting fed by momentum and it starts to drain you,” said Edge. “That’s because you need those moments of inactivity just to listen to music. We’re all enjoying that right now.”
Photos by Anton Corbijn.