The Maccabees are busy. They have just released a new single, “Toothpaste Kisses” - accompanied by a hit YouTube video introducing the world to extreme snogging (look it up), plus they’ve just re-released their debut album and they are hard at work on their second album.
We had a chat with The Maccabees at a Cafe in Brighton.
Fred: What’s next for The Maccabees? What are you up to?
Hugo: We’re writing our second album at the moment.
Felix: We’ve been together for two years, this will be our second record so we’re taking a minute to put it all together hopefully in time for Summer. We want to do the festivals again so…yeah we’re just concentrating on getting it done.
Rupert: I enjoyed playing at the festivals last year, we did about thirty including one on an island just off Norway…
Hugo: Yeah, that was mad! It’s like all made out of concrete, the whole thing, which was pretty intense because it was so hot, but it was good to do…
Rupert: Although everyone thought we were The View! They were supposed to be headlining but pulled out at the last minute so we agreed to do it…
Fred: Did anyone know who you were?
Rupert: I’m not sure. I signed an autograph to a girl who thought I was from The View so I guess not.
Fred: Can you describe Toothpaste Kisses in a six worded sentence?
Felix: Oh jesus christ. Six words!?
Hugo: I can do it in five.
Felix: Ru, got any ideas?
Rupert: Nah man I’m stumped.
Felix: Ok: “really, really, really, really, really…quiet”.
Fred: What is extreme snogging?
Felix: I don’t really know where the idea came from. We got a bit bored of making twee home DIY videos that involved stop-frame animation. We’re really proud of them but we wanted to do something different, and the song (Toothpaste Kisses) was a lot different to anything we ever put out before, so the video was an interesting thing to do… It’s a bit like Marmite, people either love it or they don’t, but it does the job. Both Hugo’s aunt and mine are choreographers so they lent a hand in the production of it.
Hugo: We’re not starting a craze.
Fred: It’s not going to be like happy slapping?
Felix: No no, I hope not. I don’t recommend anyone to go out and extreme snog someone. It’s an idea that the band formed…
Rupert: Then PR got hold of it…
Hugo: Yeah man, PR, don’t blame us!
Rupert: It’s strictly done by professionals.
Fred: You all originate from London but it could be said that you made it in Brighton . What’s the difference between Brighton and London for a band?
Hugo: We started out in London just going around playing our music, but when we moved to Brighton we hoped to take off you know. It got a bit more serious and it became more comfortable…
Felix: Brighton exists as its own localised area, its own entity you know. It’s a creative place where things seem to happen. There’s a lot of interest for a band to come down and see what they can do in Brighton because people accept it, they’re willing to find something for themselves. I think it’s something that the rest of the country hasn’t caught on to yet.
Fred: What’s you favorite thing about Brighton?
Rupert: It’s not far from London. You can always get the train home.
Felix: The fact that you can ring up anyone and you’ll know that they wont be doing anything. Guaranteed they’ll just be sitting on their arse, which is good when you want to got for a pint. No one does anything!
Hugo: Hassle free.
Rupert: I swear no-one has a job down here…
Fred: No one?
Rupert: No-one has a proper job.
Felix: My mate just got a job as a postman.
Fred: What new music are you excited about?
Hugo: Derek Meins, get on to that.
Felix: Yeah yeah he’s sick, he comperes for our shows and his music’s crazy.
Fred: What are your musical influences?
Felix: Interpol, Elvis Costello…Orlando listens to far out weird music like Devendra Barnheart. But the great thing about music is that if you’re passionate enough you can always dig stuff up from 30, 40, 50 years ago and be moved by it. We want to achieve what a few bands had done in the past; to create something from 5 instruments and nothing being more important than the other. Something that works as an ensemble, as an aesthetic that is both aggressive and beautiful.
Hugo: We all listen to different kinds of music, but I guess you’d have to say that we were trying to create something with no ego, a different kind of music. The new album is different, hopefully it will all tie up at the end.
Felix: It’s hard work trying to be spontaneous. Being creative is difficult I’m not going to lie, we all get really stressed with one another, but that’s the way we work. That’s how you get a good end-product.
Fred: Hippies for the 60s, Disco for the 70s, stupid hair and shell suits for the 80s - How do you think we’ll remember the noughties?
Rupert: Hopefully not as the noughties, I fucking hate it when it’s labeled that way.
Felix: Yeah, hopefully not by kids wearing stupid green trousers. That would be disappointing.
Fred: So what do you make of nu rave?
Felix: It’s fine but come on those kids will look back in five years and say “shit I really got swept along by that”.
Fred: Right. We’re going to play a game. I give you a word and you need to make up a definition for it.
First word - Cassingle.
Rupert: They’re bringing back the cassette as singles.
Hugo: I like that.
Fred: Second word - Anti transubstantiationalist
Felix: It’s going to be referred to as the new rave movement in ten years time.
Fred: Last one - Erinaceous
Hugo: The name of the second Maccabees album.
Fred: If you weren’t doing music, what job would you be doing?
Hugo: Fuck knows. The idea was always to be in a successful band and for it to work, you don’t really want to think of an alternative when you’re trying to make it.
Felix: Hang on, Rupert, do you want to say anything?
Rupert: No…well I did want to be a formula one racing driver when I was younger, but that was just a dream.
Felix: Yeah we’d all be Formula one racing drivers.
Fred: What’s the future of the modern London art school scene?
Rupert: Adele’s doing really well.
Felix: The thing is that they’re all completely different, you know Jack’s music is nothing like Jamie T’s music which is nothing like Adele’s music. I think it’s hard to pin down because there’s no genre. It will be quickly isolated, we think Jamie T’s the best thing to come out of any of that, we love his records.
Fred: Any nicknames we should know about?
Felix: None. Next!
Fred: What question have you always wanted to be asked in interviews?
Felix: Can you describe Toothpaste Kisses in a six word sentence.
Fred: Right that’s it apart from the self portrait.
Felix: Self portrait?!
Rupert: Joke! Shit I can’t draw, we usually leave Orlando to do that.
Felix: Don’t worry about it mate…(he dons a smokey voice)… what is art?
Fred: Favorite Disney Film?
Rupert: The Jungle Book! No doubt.
Fred is a promising young actor and a regular contributor.
Questions by Roy Marmelstein