Interview: The Maccabees

The Maccabees have outlived most of their flash in the pan contemporaries. Two albums into their career, they’ve achieved great acclaim and a strong following. Now the band find themselves proudly headlining this year’s Shockwaves NME Awards Tour. Just before they played their Nottingham date, ANDREW TRENDELL spoke to guitarist Felix White to discuss famous friends, the future and The Feelies.

Interview: Felix from The Maccabees

Your second album ‘Wall of Arms’ has been out for a while now and has been quite well received. How have you found people’s reception of the band and the album since its release?

I think that generally people see it as an improvement on the first one, which of course is what we wanted. I think it’s just a sign of us getting better and becoming more of a three-dimensional group. We’re getting there and a lot of people saw that.

There’s a clear and unmistakable progression in between the albums. How would you describe the band’s evolution?

The songs on the second record were written with much more purpose for being recorded. There’s a lot more space on the record and there was much more of a concept to it. The first record was much like it was for most bands – you just bash it out to play live in a club or wherever and hope for the best. One of the things that we tried to do on the second record was to try to make music that’s exciting and beautiful without having to jump up and down and beg for attention by being fast then slow or quiet then loud or whatever. We wanted to music to just stand up for what it is.

Have you made much progress in writing your next record?

We’re putting it together at the moment but it’s going to be slightly different because everyone is getting a bit better at using their computers to put bits of music together. The last song on the second record, ‘Bag Of Bones’, me and Hugh just did that on his computer then eventually put a song over the top of it. We felt much more positive about that way of doing it because rather than arguing about it we were just picking the parts of the song that we liked and adding our own. We’re going to spend a bit more time on our own and then get together a bit later. I know that it will be yet another evolution and it will be better. If it isn’t better then we won’t release it.

What’s influencing you at the moment?

I really like the latest British Sea Power record ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ I’ve only just started to get into that, it’s just a beautiful record. I’ve really started to get into Godspeed You Black Emperor.

You’re a fan of ‘Lift Your Skinny Fists’?

Yes, that’s the one I’ve got. It’s just such a beautiful record, I love it. Also, I went into a record shop in Brighton and I bought a record by The Feelies just because I liked the cover and it turns out they’re amazing!

On all of the albums you’ve just mentioned you can hear quite a lot of space and atmosphere. Do you think that will creep into the Maccabees more so than before?

I think so. I can’t speak for the others, but that’s what I’d love to do at the moment. A bit like ‘Bag Of Bones’ from the last record. I think there will be elements of that on the next album. We’ve got loads of other ideas as well.

I understand you used to be in a band with Jack Penate? Did you both always think that you were going to ‘make it’ in a Hollywood kinda way?

Yes, as embarrassing as it sounds, I think we did. We both always had to have that confidence, not arrogance, but the belief in our heads that ‘this is going to happen,’ in order not to be too timid about it, especially when you’re young. Luckily for us it happened. We’re very lucky people.

Interview by Andrew Trendell

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