As Brighton Indie kids The Maccabees prepare to play Lusty Glaze Beach in Newquay on September 8 and Exeter Phoenix on September 9, we caught up with guitarist and vocalist Felix White, who outright refused to embark upon our battle of the beaches!
The band seems to be enjoying a lot of time on the coast this summer, with gigs in Newquay, Exeter and on the Isle of Wight, so what’s the best thing about the British coast?
I spent an evening before one of the gigs on the last tour listening to the second half of ‘Low’ by David Bowie whilst walking around the beach in Portsmouth. It was raining and grey and it was the most accidentally fitting scene to music I’ve ever had with my iPod on.
We reckon the South West’s beaches are much nicer than Brighton beach, less pebbly, what do you prefer and why?
Each to their own. I like Brighton beach but it’s not worth fighting about.
One of your music videos (Can I Give It) featured the annual cheese rolling event up in Gloucestershire, tell us about that and how it came about…and do you think you’ll ever be able to top that one?
We felt like we wanted to document something to make use of a music video in a more interesting way. It came about during a conversation when a friend mentioned it was happening in a couple of weeks. We found James Caddick who did a great job in capturing it. Sadly we were on tour and couldn’t make it ourselves.
How did the band choose the name ‘The Maccabees’ & what other names were potentially suggested? Any funny names/stories?
A friend picked it out of the bible. We’re not religious.
You headlined the NME Awards Tour last year, how important do you think awards and the accompanying tours are today?
I don’t think we’re best placed to say. When we were young though we went to a few of the NME awards gigs, turning up on the day and touting tickets. It felt like the only opportunity to see four bands worth seeing at the same time. Obviously that doesn’t go for all the tours but when I was sixteenish I had some memorable nights there. If people the same age still are now then it is relevant and important.
Where do you guys stand on the whole illegal downloading debate? Are you happy for people to be getting your music for free or would you like to have more control over this?
Obviously, as for a lot of bands at a similar stage to us, Myspace etc was pretty influential in making it easy for people to hear our music. The internet has also helped make peoples tastes a lot more eclectic and music being available in this way is in part quite empowering for groups. However, I would always buy a record that I love or by a band that I support. I think it’s only right that people do. We don’t want a situation to keep developing where only the most middle ground artists who appeal to people who buy a few records a year from supermarkets are self-sufficient.
How is the writing process for the next album coming along and what can we expect from the third record?
The album is being mixed at the moment. It’s a noticeable step on from the last record, we feel they are our best set of songs – we’ve begun playing six or seven of them in the live show.
What’s been the highlight of your year so far?
A couple of months ago I bumped into a girl I haven’t seen for ten years. At school I ruined her GCSE art exam by running past her table and sending the glass of water on her table all over her beautiful watercolour. I’ve been meaning to apologise ever since. I’m glad that our chance meeting at HMV let me clear my conscience. Sorry Lucia.