By Kieran Webber
Following the release of their latest album ‘Risk To Exist’, Maximo Park are set to head on a tour across the country, a tour that sees the alternative-pop band playing Princess Pavillions, Falmouth.
We caught up with drummer Tom English to talk about why more big bands don’t visit Cornwall, their latest release and life in a touring band.
CLUNK: Thank you for Taking the time to answer our questions, you may be the biggest band we have spoken to which is very exciting! How have things been and what have you all been up to?
Tom: No probs! We’re in a sort of limbo after finishing the writing and recording process, waiting for the album to be fed into the various cogs of the strange machine that is the music business.
CLUNK: You are heading on your first tour since 2014 this May, how does that feel and how do you build up to heading back out on the road?
Tom: Well, that’s not strictly true. We did a 10th anniversary tour in 2015 and one or two festivals last year so we don’t feel too rusty but, nonetheless, this will be our first chance to play lots of new material in the set and that feels very exciting. The build up generally involves rehearsing as little as possible and a lot of talking in silly voices (usually Macca impersonations).
CLUNK: What are your five essential items that you take with you whilst on tour?
Tom: Books, iPod, sunglasses, earplugs and slippers.
CLUNK: The tour takes you to Falmouth, Cornwall which we are so grateful for you taking your time to come this far down. But why do you come down here when a lot of bands avoid it?
Tom: I doubt any bands actively avoid Falmouth, it’s just that it’s so much easier to reach and draw a crowd in Bristol, Exeter or even Plymouth. We wanted to come down because, as a band, we’ve never been and luckily, some of the bigger city shows on the run have made it affordable.
“It’s so much easier to reach and draw a crowd in Bristol, Exeter or even Plymouth”
CLUNK: What is normally the first thought in your head as you head on to stage?
Tom: I try not to think about anything, to be honest. Usually I’m a little nervous and just try to keep my mind clear for the music and the audience to take over the situation.
CLUNK: What is it about playing live that as a band you find so attractive?
Tom: It’s what our music is for, fundamentally. The added energy of a crowd physically and emotionally responding to what we’re doing gives the whole thing more meaning and power.
“It’s more explicitly political and, in places, quite a lot funkier than anything we’ve done before”
CLUNK: What can fans expect from the bands latest release ‘Risk To Exist’?
Tom: I think it’s the biggest forward stride we’ve ever made, creatively. The music and lyrics have both gone in very new and different directions. It’s more explicitly political and, in places, quite a lot funkier than anything we’ve done before.
CLUNK: Was anything different done during the recording process?
Tom: Yes. We recorded it mostly live, in order to capture more energy in the performances, which forced us to learn and refine the songs a lot more thoroughly than usual and, in turn, will hopefully make them great live tracks too.
CLUNK: The lead single ‘Risk To Exist’ carries a pretty strong political message, will the album as a whole carry a similar message?
Tom: All the songs deal with different and sometimes multiple issues and feelings. At times, they are protests, derived from anger about the widespread inequality in this country and elsewhere, at others, there are moments of solidarity and compassion. The overall message is one of empathy.
“The message is more honest than earnest; it comes from the basic artistic desire to express ourselves, and hopefully people will respond to that”
CLUNK: How do you keep the album fun and positive whilst spreading an important message?
Tom: The message is more honest than earnest; it comes from the basic artistic desire to express ourselves, and hopefully people will respond to that. It’s still very playful, exciting and quite musically diverse, as well.
CLUNK: Lastly, after the tour what can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?
Lookout for announcements about summer festivals and further touring but, as I’m sure you’ll be all too aware, the likelihood of us us coming back to Falmouth within the same calendar year is, sadly, pretty slim. Let’s make the most of it in May!
We want to extend a massive thank you to Tom for taking the time to answer our questions it was a true pleasure! Make sure you get down to Falmouth to watch them tear it a new one, they surely will.
Listen to new single ‘Get High (No I Don’t)’ here: