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The Maccabees

The Maccabees The Maccabees chat about their festival performances and their second album, Toothpaste Kisses.

It’s been a few months since the album came out; how was the summer following its release and what's the response to it been like?


Yeah, it’s been really good actually. Just lots of festivals, lots of travelling, going to Europe, and going to see loads of bands that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see, and yeah, it’s been great. The reception for it’s been really really good, people have said really nice things about it, and the main point of…all we really wanted from this album was the opportunity to make a second one, and that’s happened, so it’s done its job for us.

The crowd went wild for your set at Leeds and Reading this year. Was the Carling Weekend one of the highlights?


Yeah it was a really good weekend, there was some complications and things ... Reading was a little bit more complicated than Leeds, but...

What happened?

There was kind of absentees, and stuff, late arrivals and things like that. Yeah, it was fine. Leeds was brilliant, really had a good weekend.

You also played the 'Rock up and Play' at Reading too, did you? What's the story behind that?

Yeah – I think we just got asked to do it, and so we did it – which was stupid, because we had to do like a question and answer session as well, where we sat on kind of Boyzone chairs, and had cordless mics and stuff, and it was rubbish, it was probably the most embarrassing moment of our professional life.

And how did the [Steve] Lamacq thing come about, because he came out of retirement to announce you at your Reading gig, didn’t he? That must have been pretty special?


He’s always been a big supporter of ours, and any involvement that he wants with the band, then we’re more than willing to give it to him. I think it’s his birthday on Saturday, so…I don’t know why particularly I know that, it’s almost a little bit sad, innit! But no, hopefully we’ll see him on Saturday, and wish him a happy birthday.

Talking more about the album: you said that you just wanted the chance to write a second one. Did you feel that you were just sitting on the first album for a long time, because it took ages to come out, didn’t it?

Yeah, I mean, as far as it being a piece of work, we’re proud of it, and proud that we’ve released an album, you know. But I’m kind of ... we’ve been playing those songs for too long, and now we need to play and write new songs, and show improvement.

From where you are today, now, how do you see the first album? Are you tired of it?

I don’t listen to it anymore. I’m proud of it. But I don’t choose to listen to it.

So, what’s the future of this album, because the problem was you've already released so many tracks that were on there; where can you go with this album before you start moving on to the next one?

Erm – sod it off, that’s it. Sod it off, it will do what it does! And this is our final tour with it, so we’ll play the songs on this tour, and then we’ll go away, and hopefully have something written by the end of the year, record it in January, and then start touring again with lots of new songs, and play what we feel is the strongest songs from this album coming in.

Have you started writing any songs for the second album yet?

Yeah, we've done some writing, we’ve done some demo-ing and stuff, it’s going all right, you know. We haven’t had much of a chance to sit down and go through it…

It seems like as a band, you haven’t had that massive crossover, big crossover hits say, but you’ve still got a really big live following, and quite a large following in general, so does that not matter to you as a band, that you haven’t kind of had that one key hit yet, really?

Well as far as we’re concerned, our job is to write music, and go and play it to people, and you know, we’ve done our job, we’ve done that, and beyond that, it’s upto people to choose what music goes on Radio 1, and those kind of things. And, like I said, we wanted to make a second album. And that’s happened, so kind of irrelevant everything. And of course, it would have been nice to have had a song that appealed to more people, but it didn’t happen – and that’s fine, it really doesn’t matter to us.

In terms of the live set, are you thinking of sticking any new ones in there?

I think there’ll be 3 tonight that are new, that people won’t have heard before…

Do you reckon they’ll fit with the rest of your set list?


No, people will be probably really bored by then, and not really care, but that’s fine, that’s what we expect.

Are these noticeably different, these tunes? Have you really grown up, and changed as a band?

Well I don’t think changed to be honest. I just think that hopefully our musicianship and our understanding of what we’re supposed to be – you know, each of our roles in the band, and yeah – I hope it just sounds better. And I think the live situation is always a hard place to debut songs for people, cos you’re kind of wanting to have a…you know, it’s nice to feel like you recognise things. But, also I think it’s important that people who’ve bothered to have seen us before get something that ..and feel that they were there, and they heard that for the first time there, and it was… And they’ve gone down well so far, and I think people have enjoyed it.

And as people have heard songs you've played already, they should be pretty receptive to new material, right?

Exactly. But if they’re not, that’s fine, you know. Not going to bully them into listening…if they don’t want to listen to it…

So, in terms of the next few months, it’s finish this tour, write new music and then record in January? Nothing beyond that? It’s just all about the second album now?

Yep. All about the second album. I think we’re going to Amsterdam to do one gig, and then I think that’s it.

Have you been thinking about producers, or anything about the second record like that?

We’re massive fans of Richard Hawley and he’s said that he wants to hear some of our demos, with a view to maybe producing some of our new songs, which would be an absolute dream come true for us, so hopefully we’ll get to go up to Sheffield, and do some recording at his studio, and if that happens, it’ll be proper. Yeah, it’ll be great. And beyond that, not really, just get them written, and see (a) who wants to do it, and (b) what we think would be appropriate.

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Published: 20/01/2008 at 04:26
Author: Amanda Briggs
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