Interview: The Maccabees

Indie rock icons The Maccabees took the scene by storm with their forth album Marks To Prove It, IMPACT spoke to them on their return to Nottingham

First of all, congratulations on the number one album, must be nice to get a bit of recognition?

Yeah definitely, something to tell the kids about.

Also, it’s been quite a while since the release of Into the Wild, so it must be quite nerve wracking releasing an album after a long wait?

Especially if you’re in the studio as long as we were you lose any sense of what’s good or bad anymore.

Was it difficult to follow up to an album at such a high standard as Into The Wild?

Only in the sense that we didn’t want to repeat ourselves and we didn’t want to put out anything that we thought wasn’t a step on. So trying to think of what we’d regard as an improvement rather than a repeat took a while.

Is that what inspired the step towards home? As the albums recorded in elephant and castle.

We knew we’d be producing it ourselves and Hugo (White) was particularly keen to make it a record that we played as a band. We applied that approach to the whole album, that through limiting your options you gave yourself a better go at things. So limiting the artwork and everything to the locality of Elephant and Castle would actually be a bonus rather than a hindrance and through making the record as close to the music that’s played in that room, rather than putting loads of layers on everything was going to be a bonus.

You touched slightly there on the creative process, what goes into the making of a Maccabees album?

Me or Felix (White) will bring in a skeleton of a song and then it has to jump through hoops for months and if it survives that….


I was going to be ruder than that! If it survives that dressing down then it’s good enough for us.

More specifically onto that theme what went into creating ‘Feel to Follow’?

I had the basic chord structure and then we wanted it to feel grand so the outro has that weird city of gold sound. We made sure not to lose Sam’s (Doyle) ghost notes on the snare and have the choruses feel that they push out of the verses.

It’s been 8 years since your first album now, is there any of your song’s that you still can’t wait to play on stage?

It’s more about how the feeling in the room is. We can predict how we’ll play them but we can’t predict what it feels like in the room and how someone’s going to react to that. I like the unknown element of that.

Have you got any stories about the reactions you got when you were starting out and supporting other bands?

Last Christmas we did a tour supporting Kasabian and a guy just did that (raises his middle finger in the air) as we walked on stage and kept it there for 20 minutes and I remember for the first song thinking that’s out of order but by the end I was almost impressed.

“Hugo was particularly keen to make it a record that we played as a band”

What are the main acts that have influenced your sound when you started as a band?

Originally the Clash was a big part of it; in the gang mentality that we approach it as a unit. We like bands like Interpol and the National were it was still a one for all. I remember listening to an XTC version of ‘Statue of Liberty’ and we were so impressed at how fast they played it because we’ve always felt that sometimes we cover up our shortcomings with speed and volume.

Any special memories of Nottingham?

We used to play in the thin room, down the road…

Rescue Rooms?

Yeah, I remember that being one of the hottest gigs we’ve done. We always get looked after here.

Any city you look particularly forward to playing?

Well London is our home. We’re playing Brixton on this tour and I can walk there from where I grew up. When I’m playing there I’ll suddenly remember I’m looking at the spot where I stood when I saw the Vines or the seat where I saw Jurassic 5 or were I tried to crowd surf to Franz Ferdinand, It’s a weird feeling.

Orlando was speaking to Jack Smiddy

Image: Shayne Richards via Flickr

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.
One Comment
  • Maddy
    29 November 2015 at 02:03
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    This was a great interview! The only critique I have is that their third album was called “Given to the Wild” and not “Into the Wild”.

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