bleistiftrocker.de asked Maximo Park some questions via e-mail. These are the original answers from Tom English, Duncan Lloyd and Paul Smith in English.
bleistiftrocker.de: Tom, on your new album, you are more political than ever. Why?
Tom English: It’s certainly risen to the surface this time. As people, we’re feeling more and more alienated by our right wing administration and frustrated by the widespread inequality in our country and elsewhere in the world. As the demo versions for this record started to emerge in 2015, Paul found that these feelings were working their way into the lyrics. At a certain point, it became the central theme and, after a brief period of reticence, we made a group decision to follow it through because, as a band, free to express ourselves as passionately as we like, why shouldn’t we?
How do you think Brexit will affect you as a band?
Only in a very minor way, hopefully. It will probably make touring a bit more expensive. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a major concern for us otherwise!
The fans can buy your album in many ways, there’s even a cassette version of it. How do you prefer to listen to music?
At home, on my turntable or, out and about, on my iPod with good headphones.
Why did you decide to record the new album live?
We took our time writing and demoing the songs to the point where we knew they wouldn’t change that much in the studio, so we could really just focus on capturing the right performance. All the years of touring have given us a lot of confidence as musicians and we wanted this album to benefit from the energy we have as a live group.
How do you make a setlist, esp. with a brandnew album?
We play as much of our latest album as we think we can get away with – they’re the ones that make it the most exciting for us. But, of course, we still like to bash out a few of the old ones. 2:1 is a good ratio but, if we go on forever, that’s gonna make for quite a long evening.
You are on top of british music for more than ten years now. How can you keep up the quality?
Haha! We don’t think we’ve ever been on top. Perhaps that’s why we keep coming back for more. In the band, we have multiple songwriters and really divergent tastes and influences, so we’ve always found it easy to come up with something new. We work quite democratically so, for us all to be happy, the material has to be pretty good.
Duncan, how come you release a solo album so close to the new Maximo Park album?
Duncan Lloyd: I had originally planned to release it at the very start of 2017 but we had the Maximo Park album ready and thought it was best to get that out first as we were working with a new record label. With the summer festival season and the end of the year looking busy, spring was my only window to release and now is the time for it to come out, so there you have it.
What is your album like?
The songs come from my own personal perspective, mainly written late at night whilst travelling and I’d say there is a lot of longing and reflection in them. Musically „I O U O M E” is more laid back for sure, indie rock in a more American / U.K. crossover sense, melodically it’s been compared to “Kings Of Convenience“ and „Neutral Milk Hotel“ but you can make your own mind up. Tom English (Maximo Park) plays drums, and there are additional vocals from Eternal Summers’ Nicole Yun.
Paul, what about your solowork, will there be something new soon as well?
Paul Smith: Maybe next year. I’m very focused on the new Maximo Park record at the moment but I always have different ideas floating around my head. It would be nice to continue my work with The Intimations and also to do something completely different. I’ve recently been hosting the Penguin Podcast where I interview writers about their new book which has been something new for me.