With news of their upcoming album Too Much Information being released on 3rd February 2014 the world has been awash with maximum Maximo Park presence.
January gave us the single Leave This Island and the ears of music lovers everywhere a brand new slice sonic synergy and aural awesome to add to their playlist in preparation of the full albums release.
With an accompanying full UK tour looking to keep the band busy for the next few months Live And Die In Music hailed a cab, hit the gas, and paid a few speeding fines before screeching to a tire melting halt outside the band’s bolt-hole to talk music, musings, marketability and more…
LADIM; Hi there; thanks for finding time in your schedule to sit down and chat with us, we appreciate how busy you are with the upcoming release of your new album Too Much Information…
MP: No worries. Yeah, the fuse has been lit on the new record. We’ve just finished rehearsing and are about to start touring the bejesus out of it. You can find out where we’re going on our website and get up to date announcements on our twitter page.
LADIM: The single release – the sublime track Leave This Island – seems to be be a musicians track; as in, composed with the energy and enthusiasm of a group of people fully geared towards creating the song they want to hear..?
MP: We only ever (try to) make music that we want to hear. Punch me if we start doing otherwise. Leave This Island is one of (our keyboardist) Lukas’ special chord sequences that forced us to work in a different way: mainly using synths and a kind of studio-manufactured drum part – live drumming samples rearranged digitally by David (Brewis, of Field Music and School of Language fame, who engineered half the record). It was all about controlling the drama in the music to support Paul’s relatively mellow vocal. The lyrics are inspired by a story in Alan Warner’s book These Demented Lands. The Leave This Island ep (featuring an exclusive original song; a Mogwai remix and a Dave Okumu mix of Brain Cells) will be released on 12” and is available digitally here.
LADIM: Being so steadfast in your beliefs and creating music without the pressure of compromise for chart success or marketability is seeming more like a distant dream with the current over-commercialisation of music; how have Maximo Park managed to hold onto this envious position of apparently total creative freedom?
MP: You mean “Being steadfast…or marketability” AND still make a living. It’s easy enough if that’s not an issue. Basically, we’re lucky. We released our first album before the bottom fell out of the recording industry and (also by playing about 500 shows in 2 years, I might add) bagged ourselves a large and loyal audience just before it became nigh-on impossible for an indie band to get signed, let alone have any mainstream pop pretensions. Because we were afforded total artistic freedom from the outset, we’ve never had to radically change our principles since. As I say, we were lucky, but the songs don’t write themselves: we’ve managed to keep the dream alive, too, I guess mainly through fierce selfcriticism and exhaustive music consumption.
LADIM: From what we hear it seems the band may well have their eyes set on the bright lights of TinstleTown, a recent engagement with video artist Matt Stokes featuring the group in all their splendour..?
MP: You must be jesting! Matt, like us, is based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and, also like us, started out there studying at uni and, finding it a more than adequate place for an artist to live and work, ended up staying. One aspect of his work is to archive video footage, photos, flyers etc. from the underground dance scene in the UK (especially Newcastle and the North), which we thought tied in nicely with the feel and lyrics on the new album. Also, we were tired of having a different person responsible for each different visual aspect to what we do. So, we asked Matt to take care of the thing as a whole, be an artistic director. Starting with the title and the nightlife theme, he trawled his archives and found an image on a flyer for a night called “Shave Yer Tongue”, which he adapted into our album sleeve. The same process will also make our single covers. So far, the two videos feature intimate portraits of individuals in their home, lost in their past, reminiscing and escaping, through music. It couldn’t be less Hollywood if it tried and, of course, we’re nowhere to be seen. You can watch them on Vimeo or Youtube.
LADIM: Your upcoming tour will see the band bestride the many stages of venues far and wide in support of the albums release…
MP: Yes! Playing live is, for me at least, by far the most enjoyable and important part of what we do. Our sound is very much built for performance – the very first song we recorded was called Enjoy the Show. The new songs have been great fun to rehearse so we can’t wait to take them out on the road. Above all, I would recommend coming to one of our club shows but, as always, we will be playing a lot of the summer festivals, which can be equally good, if a little more open to folly and foible.
LADIM: As masters of the melody and holders of the rhythm reigns are there any insights or experiences that Maximo Park attribute to having elevated the band above any comparison to contemporaries..?
MP: Now you’re really jesting. Erm, I suppose one of the things that sets us apart is being from Newcastle; it’s a totally unique place, culturally, without any real musical stereotypes (like there are in London, Liverpool or Manchester). Historically, the region’s more successful artists aren’t easy to pigeon-hole: Neil Tennant; Paddy McAloon; Bryan Ferry. Likewise, the bands from the area are less inclined to follow trends. So we developed our sound very freely (and slowly, at first) and, critically, Paul has always had an absolutely singular approach to his writing and singing.
LADIM: As we bring the interview to a close there’s always something the interviewee wishes the interviewer had asked, so we’d like you’d to take this moment to partake of a little self-indulgence and tell us; what does Maximo Park want the world to know?
MP: Our new album is called TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Take care x.