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Image for The Maccabees: "We haven't been avoiding Australia!"

The Maccabees: "We haven'tbeen avoiding Australia!"

The Maccabees are visiting Australian shores for the first time this year with appearances scheduled for Groovin’ The Moo* and a handful of their own headline dates too. While it seems to have taken them some time to finally make it here, throughout our lengthy chat frontman Orlando Weeks assures me that the band has had their sites set on their Down Under fans for some time.

While The Maccabees had two very solid releases in 2007 with Colour It In and 2009’s Wall of Arms, they’re one of the (many) British bands that seemed to suffer from being hyped to death by their country’s red-cordial guzzling press. This initial buzz focused squarely on the bands catchy and easily consumable tunes, featuring choppy guitar work and poppy hooks. So it came as a bit of a surprise when the band returned with their third studio album Given to the Wild, a collection of softer, more cinematic builders that sounds vaguely like The Maccabees, but so much more mature.

Fast-forward to 2012 and the album is already one of the toasts of the year. By all regards, it seems to be their greatest critical success to date, despite the songs not being as instantly accessible as the band’s earlier work. “From my point of view I feel we’ve always been pretty upfront about saying we’re learning as we go along” Weeks divulges in his meek British accent. “We’ve got to a point where we know a little bit more about what we’re doing in terms of production and song writing. We feel with this record we stepped our game up, became more in control, taking more time, and being pernickety with every little aspect.”

“We feel with this record that we stepped our game up”

The band were incognito while making Given to the Wild, but they weren’t too stressed about falling into the abyss, although Weeks admits that the record should have been out sooner than it was: “We thought we were going to have it ready sooner, but we just weren’t happy with what we had after a year and a half, so we just needed that extra six months to get it right. Just taking bits and pieces apart and putting them back together, you know?”

Meeks explains the title Given to the Wild is about “giving in to certain things, and accepting things going on around you.” It’s also a tempting metaphor for the writing style the band adopted during the recording process: “We felt it would be a good idea to let everyone go and get some stuff written rather than immediately go into a room and feel claustrophobic, or the pressure you get from sitting in a room and not getting anywhere. It’s a lot more of a pain than if you’re at home and you spend a few hours working, and if it’s not really happening then you can go for a walk or whatever, it just made more sense this way. Everyone had this sort of basic recording set up, so people would be like ‘Hey, I got something, I think we should work on it’. So like if I had had something, I’d take it over to Sam [Doyle]’s house and we’d work on it because I couldn’t figure out to make drums and he could, or he’d say he had this string part and he’d get me to put lyrics over them. It just felt nice, it was my favourite time in the process because it was so liberating, and everyone was producing all this cool stuff. You’d get an email with this loop from Hugo [White] and you’d say ‘Yep, that’s amazing’ and you’d spend your night working on it and send it back to them. By the time we came around maybe three/four months in, you know if something wasn’t working we could go ‘Oh hang we’ve got that other thing, we can work on that.’ It just meant that everyone had these slightly more considered ideas’

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shazie

shazie said on the 1st May, 2012

Great interview Gregg, he sounds like a nice guy.

Looking forward to the Sydney show + T in the Park with a big crowd!

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 1st May, 2012

he was very nice, his phone cut out during the interview and he wouldn't stop apologizing. just one of those musicians you talk to that didn't come across as someone in a pretty big band, just this really shy, modest guy who was genuinely thankful for any sort of success.

Scooter mcgavin

Scooter mcgavin said on the 1st May, 2012

I also highly enjoyed the interview, very keen for them at GTM Maitland, maybe Bendigo & temptingly the Hi-Fi

davidswan

davidswan said on the 1st May, 2012

very solid interview, nicely done

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 1st May, 2012

I might check these guys out at GTM. What's a good album to listen to?

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 1st May, 2012

i think the first album is my favourite, but given to the wild is great. not sure if it's your cup of tea though. youtube some of the singles off GTTW and if you don't like them, you won't like the album.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 1st May, 2012

Thanks man. I enjoyed the interview too, mate.

shazie

shazie said on the 1st May, 2012

I reckon Given to the Wild is their best release, mainly because the songs have a darker/grander tone to them and remind me a bit of Foals. As for singles, I think that Pelican isn't a good reflection of the whole album, as its tone is quite different to the rest. Feel to Follow is the better single to gauge what the tone of the album is like.


The standout tracks for me on the album were Child & Forever I've known, have a check on them BC.


http://soundcloud.com/nisho-rahman/the-maccabees-child

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08YDtr8BEpQ

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 1st May, 2012

i just like the naivety in the lyrics of the first record. so juvenile, but they're honest.

Scooter mcgavin

Scooter mcgavin said on the 1st May, 2012

I explained to my girlfriend the foals fan that they are foals like, glad it wasn't just me making shit up shaz

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 1st May, 2012

mrs gregg hates foals, and I hate her for it. we have actual fights over them.

Stefan Beck

Stefan Beck said on the 1st May, 2012

Send her my way.

No idea why everyone faps so much over Foals.

shazie

shazie said on the 1st May, 2012

Great melodies, the two guitars create some great harmonies, energetic live shows, etc.

Scooter mcgavin

Scooter mcgavin said on the 1st May, 2012

I must admit I took time getting into them, but now I would consider myself a fan

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 1st May, 2012



yep, all this. particularly the live shows bit. two of the best gigs I've ever been to. one of my favourite bands.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 1st May, 2012

I honestly don't get why everyone raves about their live shows.

I really love both of their records but I saw them live twice and both times they were good, but certainly not the masturbatory quality everyone seems to make them out to be.

Plus the singer seems like such a massive twat.

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 2nd May, 2012

i wasn't into them greatly until i saw them live the first time. maybe melbourne got better shows. particularly the palace, when the played hummer randomly. blsydney.

shazie

shazie said on the 2nd May, 2012

Seen them 4 times and the Sydney Manning Bar show was definitely the best.

eadmelbourne for getting hummer though.