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Maximo Park - Guys Who Play Guitars

Author: 3D
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Paul Smith is the man with the guitar and the voice – although he freely admits those skills are nothing to write home about. The band he fronts, Maxïmo Park, have come of age and in 2008 are on the rampage to conquer and surpass their already considerable achievements. 3D’s Rezo talks shop with smith before their third trip to Australia.

“The sun has just come out in Newcastle! I’ve almost been blown away by it, but it seems to have broken out,” he beams. 2007 was a massive year for the Tynesiders.

“It ended with a bang – we played to 10,000 people in our home town at The Arena,” he says. “It was amazing to see that much support for our band – it was simply amazing. Being on an independent label too [Warp], it’s hard to believe the way people have reacted to it. Right now were starting to look at writing the songs for the next record. We’re actually looking for a place to get started from, kind of a nine to five studio where we’ll actually work as opposed to being lazy!”

Indeed, their travels in recent times have taken them as far and wide as Austria, Germany, Switzerland and of course Australia.

“It’s nice to see that progress; we’re going to all these interesting places and playing to bigger and bigger crowds,” Smith says. “It’s not just the smoky pub venue anymore. People responded really well in the UK to the single Our Velocity. In Europe it was another song, so it’s great to see different songs having different impacts in different places. That shows that we’re reaching people in all kinds of alternative ways.”

The last record, Our Earthly Pleasures was something the boys wanted done and dusted. It was their second effort and was a case of unfinished business. The boys have never wanted to be a group that just played live; they wanted to leave something behind, a bit of a legacy as it were. And with the next album, Smith feels they’ll have the time to get it right.

“We’ve worked with producers on the last two in a way we think has been successful,” he says. “With the third, we want it to be a bit looser and raw in the recording of the demos. We want to get that bit of the craft right before getting into the studio. We came up with some ideas and now we want to record it as quickly as possible. We want to be tight on the songs and to become almost sick of them – that will mean we’re there!”

No less, the album is expected to be somewhat more spontaneous than previously.

“We’ve always been scared of jamming, it actually scares me too,” Smith admits. “I don’t want to go through seven-minute songs that repeat over and over. All of our songs so far have come out of individual work. The real test comes when we play it together. We all have totally different ideas and backgrounds and musical interests. It is all part of the reason we’re so keen to get back to Australia. We all decided we wanted to go back to places where we thought we hadn’t reached enough people yet! We’d never played a festival there before and all these people turn up to those and expect you to be terrible. We try to make our songs universally pop so they appeal broadly. Our music – we think – possesses this visceral quality and we continue to emphasise those things. Ultimately, people will see a band that’s very comfortable with what they do on stage; but don’t worry, we’re always going to remain on that edge!”

WHO: Maxïmo Park
WHAT: Play Playground Weekender, Del Rio Resort
WHEN: Friday 7 – Sunday 9 March
MORE: playgroundweekender.com.au



TWO MUSIC SCENES EXPLODED IN BRITAIN IN 2004: THE POST PUNK REVIVAL – WHERE YOU’LL FIND MAXÏMO PARK – INSPIRED BY ACTS SUCH AS JOY DIVISION, THE CHAMELEONS AND GANG OF FOUR, AND THE WHITECHAPEL PUNK SCENE, INSPIRED BY THE LIKES OF THE CLASH AND THE ’70S/’80S SKA SCENE.

POST PUNK REVIVAL
The first major release that could be considered a post punk revival record was The Futurehead’s self-titled debut in 2004. Containing strong, catchy singles such as A To B, Decent Days and Nights and their Kate Bush cover, Hounds of Love, this record received rave reviews by critics. The post punk revival was then cemented with the release of Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm, a defining record of the decade. Featuring razorsharp riffs, pulsating drum patterns and an overlying melancholic, anxiety and panic, this London four-piece signalled the shape of things to come (to coin a phrase used by the highly-revered punk act Refused). Following this, Maxïmo Park released Apply Some Pressure, The Rakes dropped their debut Capture/Release and The Editors released The Back Room. Suddenly England – and eventually the world – would fall under the spell of manic guitars and anxious rhythms.

ORIGIN: Post punk was born in the suburbs of Manchester, and the post punk revival has largely been a northern thing, aside from London’s Bloc Party.
STARS: Paul Epworth, Paul Smith, Kele Osereke.
ANTHEM: Helicopter by Bloc Party.

WHITECHAPEL SCENE
The Whitechapel punk scene has its roots heavily planted in the 2 Tone (second wave) ska scene that erupted in England in the late ’70s, a scene that included bands such as The Specials, Madness and Bad Manners, as well as taking heavy influence from The Clash and even British folk acts such as Chas & Dave. The Libertines are synonymous with this scene, and are definitely the most famous and influential group to have spawned from it, with their debut Up The Bracket dropping way back in 2002. Other acts of note include The Paddingtons, The Others and Razorlight, before they went pop.

Without the Whitechapel scene, there would probably have been no Arctic Monkeys, The View, The Enemy and a lot of other bands who’ve sprung up in the wake of this legendary scene.

ORIGIN: The Whitechapel area of London and, to a lesser extent, Dalston. Quite a large scene has since appeared north – as far as Scotland.
STARS: Carl Barât, Pete Doherty, Johnny Borrell, Mick Jones.
ANTHEM: Time For Heroes by The Libertines.

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