The Parklife interview: The Maccabees

 

Having scaled the album charts with last year’s album ‘Given To The Wild’ and toured globally (including their first headline tour of the USA), The Maccabees have returned to the studio for 2013.

With a steady growth from indie poppers to genuine arena contenders, anticipation’s high for the band’s next step, with rumours hinting at the first tracks from LP 4 gaining a release before the year is out.

Parklife caught up with Felix White for a chat about the post-tour lull, and what’s driving them as they head back into the studio.

How are things?

Fantastic! We’re in the studio every day really, working on the record. It’s all good man.

You’ve got a little gap in your touring haven’t you? Is studio time your main thing at the moment?

More than anything it’s sleeping and hanging out with friends, doing relatively mundane things for a while that seem like the most exciting thing in the world. But we’re alright, we don’t need too much normal life.

Your last stretch of touring was out in America a month or two back, your first headline tour out there. How was that?

America’s such a huge place and we should have gone out there before but we had a couple of deals that fell through at totally the wrong moment in the past so it hasn’t quite come together enough in America. It’s a sort of bipolar experience because you’ll go to New York and there’s thousands of people but then you go somewhere else and you’ll be playing small club shows. You have to localize the experience when you’re doing tours and I think that’s the stage we’ve got to as a band, where you could be playing any type of gig from a small club show to a big one. You just learn to enjoy playing and I think that’s the best lesson you can learn with music, really.

That’s the big difference between playing in the UK, where you can be at the same level venue for every date on the tour, and playing in the US where any date that isn’t on the east or west coast is going to be a fair bit smaller.

Exactly right. There aren’t many places we haven’t played anymore so playing those first Maccabees dates in those places, in a way it was really nice to do it with three albums. Being able to do it really properly. It’s your introduction to people from Texas, or wherever, and it’s an important moment of getting to know people and weigh each other up. It was nice to do it this way rather than ten years ago, going around England when we could hardly play.

How far into the studio period are you? Are you making decent headway in terms of the next album or is it still very early days?

We’re recording the first two songs for it at the end of the month and we’re making it ourselves, we’re going to have a go at doing that. There’s a lot of stuff near completion, so kind of worryingly it’s going quite well! Whereas in the past, we’ve been worrying about it and managed to pull it out of the bag, this time it feels really good so I’m just going to go with it.

You managed around the time of the last album that instead of writing it all together, you’d go away and write stuff separately and then share your progress with each other. Is that the way you’re doing things with this one or are you intending to develop your approach in a different direction?

I think that it’s a combination. We learned how to do that last time but it was almost a year away from going into the studio. We did a lot of that stuff while we were touring. Having played and been on tour for a year and a half or whatever, you get in your head that you want to be writing songs that work in those situations. You know, what three songs would be amazing to have. So it’s coming from a bit more of a direct perspective as a band than it did last time, I think. As a result, I think it’ll be a more direct record. I definitely think it’ll be more exciting.

From a production point of view, will you still be working with a producer in the studio?

No, we’ve learned how to do it ourselves. We took quite a lot of it back and re-recorded it ourselves, on the last record, a real crash course on making a record. It’s our fourth record and I think we’ve kind of grown up enough to police ourselves. Plus we have our own studio now and the logistics of painting a studio and getting all the gear has been quite an enjoyable thing. We can do it ourselves.

It must make a difference to the creation of a record, having your own space to write and record in.

Logistically, not having to move gear in and out… Here now is our home, really. You can come and go whenever you want. It’s very important.

Four albums in, is it still a challenge?

Oh, yeah. You never want to make the second album. Every time it’s different and you’re not sure whether you can do it, because you’ve never achieved anything like that before. I think we all feel a lot more confident than we did before, and able to achieve things. One of the really beautiful things about how it’s fortunately panned out for us is that the world has slowly opened up to us, gradually. It’s a really good feeling to earn that slowly and be in a position where I wouldn’t say we feel accomplished but we’ve got an understanding of self and how we do things and how to make the best of things and how we’re pushing things forward. So I think we’re more assured, yeah.

Musically, has there been anything that’s been keeping you excited recently?

We’ve bought a lot of new records this year. I’m quite into getting new music. I like the new Flaming Lips record a lot. It’s called The Terror. It’s dark, man. It’s really good. It’s kind of a disconcerting record. It really puts you on edge but it’s really great, really beautiful melodies. I like British Sea Power’s new album. I’m quite enjoying going down [Soho record store] Sister Rays and just buying records that have just come out on vinyl. That feels like more of an exciting thing at the moment than delving into back catalogues from the 70s or whatever.

In the next few weeks you’ll be heading back out on the road but for festival season rather than headline tour dates. How does it feel to be getting back out for big festivals?

Well it was supposed to be a year off but then we got ten or so festivals, so for a year off we’re going to be quite busy! But it feels great – Latitude’s going to be great, Isle of Wight’s going to be great, Parklife’s obviously going to be amazing. It’s going to be good to get out of the house. Plus we’ll be playing a couple of new songs as well, so these will be good places to play them first.

I’ve got mates who have been to Parklife before and have said they’re really glad we’re on the bill, so it should be a good time. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it!

The Maccabees play Parklife’s Main Stage, in association with i, on Saturday, before a headline set from Plan B

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior Asset Manager

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Junior As...

SEN Tutor- Speech and Language Specialist part time

£80 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Recruitment Consultant - Life Sciences

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone