Risky Business: Maximo Park make their return

The state of British politics, Warp Records parties and the Chicago Cubs’ World Series win are all on the agenda as Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith discusses the band’s new album, Risk To Exist.

Hot Press catches up with Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith on the band’s tourbus, which is on its way to Bristol for the latest date on the tour supporting their new album, Risk To Exist. Having left the Travelodge behind (“In true Alan Partridge style!” he quips), and momentarily parked the pressing issue of where he’s going to watch that night’s crunch relegation six-pointer between Sunderland and his beloved Middlesborough, Smith ponders where his group sit in the current UK rock landscape.

“A lot of the stuff I listen to isn’t really rock, I suppose,” says the affable, chatty singer. “We did a gig in Rough Trade East in London yesterday and I brought some Flying Saucer Attack reissues, an ambient techno record by Gap, and an album by The Feelies, a jingly-jangly US group from the ’80s. One of the reasons why rock bands are less visible these days is because mainstream radio is playing quite different stuff. There’s only a couple of bands they’ll play – otherwise it’s pop and R&B.

“A lot of it’s pretty good, but on the other hand, a lot of it is pretty bland. When we first started out, there were a lot of bands being played on the radio and it was a good time to be in a group. But there were also a lot of bad bands around. That’s the way the industry works; if you can print up enough copies of something that sounds like something else, there’s a good chance you’ll make some money. There is that side to it. So I don’t mourn the dearth of guitar bands out there at the moment, but I also think mainstream radio should probably be a bit more diverse.”

Although these days releasing on Cooking Vinyl, Maximo Park are by our calcuations the only guitar band ever to feature on legendary techno label Warp, who put out their first three albums. Did Paul and the boys ever run into Aphex Twin or Boards Of Canada at the Christmas bash?

“We did go to a party on a boat on the Thames,” reflects Paul. “I think I’d had too much to drink. There’s a photo of me in front of Squarepusher and he doesn’t look very happy. I’d like to apologise to him for photo-bombing him! (laughs)”.

Like many albums emerging at the moment, Risk To Exist reflects on the tumultuous state of the current international political landscape. From Maximo Park’s perspective, post-Brexit and with Labour facing into a serious election loss this summer, is it a disheartening time to be on the left in Britain?

“It is a bit,” admits Paul. “But the only way to get through that is to accept the situation and try to improve it. There’s a lot of talk on the record about empathy and solidarity; on one of the songs it says, ‘Above all, I hope I’ve been of use’. If as individuals we can say that we tried to be part of a community – and it doesn’t mean in a lovey-dovey hippy way – we’ve done something positive.

“It’s funny, the right always put their differences to one side and the left continue to bicker over small points. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re people of principle, but it doesn’t really help when you’re trying to oppose a huge force. The record does deal with the way mainstream debate has turned towards a right wing mode of thinking.”

Risk To Exist was actually recorded in Chicago and, ironically, one of the local musicians who contributed, Max Hastings, shares his name with a noted Daily Mail columnist.

“I’m hoping he wasn’t a journalist in disguise now!” laughs Paul. “He was actually the guy who activates the scoreboard at the Chicago Cubs games. While we were over there, the Cubs were about to win the World Series for the first time in 100 years. We weren’t sure if Max was going to make the session, because he might have had to activate the scoreboard! The playoffs kept going and got to game 6, then game 7. It was a pretty weird time to be over there. We were going to Max, ‘Can you get us tickets?’ He’s like, ‘No – any other time but not now. History’s in the making here!’”

Risk To Exist is out now on Cooking Vinyl.

 

Related Articles

LISTEN: Maximo Park cover Leonard Cohen

Just a week after treating us to new tune ‘Brain Cells’, Maximo Park unveil the version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ that will be on the bonus covers CD accompanying their new album, Too Much Information.

Read More

Free download from Maximo Park

Maximo Park announce new album and give away a free track

Read More

Maximo Park man on stalking Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

Stuart Clark chats to Maximo Park in the latest issue of Hot Press...

Read More

The National Health

New wave familiarity fails to breed contempt

Read More

Maximo Park in the Hot Press Signing Tent 09

Paul Smith and his merry band signed for their many fans that came ot see them in the Hot Press Signing Tent

Read More

Maximo Park confirm the Hot Press Signing Tent

The chaps will be with us at 4.15 pm on Saturday.

Read More

Maximo Park talk about their new album

And, no, it's not called Rollerdisco Of Dreams!

Read More

Maxïmo Park plan Dublin gig

Maxïmo Park play Dublin this spring ahead of their new album release.

Read More

Lovebox stage times revealed

With the clock ticking down to this Saturday's Lovebox gig at Marlay Park, the organisers have announced the stage times in full.

Read More

Maximo Park for Lovebox at Marlay

The line-up for Lovebox has been revealed with Maximo Park, N*E*R*D, and Paolo Nutini all on the bill.

Read More

Max and the city

Everyone knows Maxïmo Park’s Paul Smith is a fan of woolly hats and long, complicated novels. But did you realise Limerick is one of his favourite cities? Or that, as a teenager, he used to copy out all of Morrissey’s lyrics?

Read More

Maximo Park at Budrising Summer, Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin

From the moment they hit the stage, Maximo Park looked the part, their innate confidence magnified in the small space. Their chief selling-point is frontman Paul Smith and you can immediately see why - he is genuinely eccentric performer.

Read More

Pleasures and wayward distractions

Brit-rock heroes Maximo Park are back with a new album – and without the novelty hair-cuts. Here they talk about death metal, hip-hop and missing notebooks.

Read More

Our Earthly Pleasures

It’s too early to write Maxïmo Park off, or to turf them into the ever-growing pile of indie also-rans. But they’ll need to pull out all the stops to recover their poise after this worrying misstep.

Read More

Maximo Park embark on Irish tour

Fresh from playing a string of sold out shows on the NME Awards Tour, Maximo Park have just announced a number of Irish dates.

Read More

Maximo Park live at Dolan's, Limerick

Maxïmo Park could have easily disappeared into the slew of angular, affected guitar bands that emerged in the UK last year, but two factors helped them stay on the muso radar. One was them being the first non-electronica signing to the unspeakably hip Warp label. The second was their enigmatic frontman Paul Smith with his candid/overwrought lyrics – whichever side of the fence you sit on – and labour intensive stage workout.

Read More

A walk in the park

Why Maxïmo Park matter more than any other post-Britpop outfit.

Read More

Maximo Park for Heineken Green Room Session

Along with their two Dublin Ambassador shows with Arctic Monkeys, Mystery Jets and We Are Scientists, Maxïmo Park are Limerick-bound for a Heineken Green Room Session.

Read More

My 2005: Paul Smith, Maximo Park

The highlights of Paul Smith's year.

Read More

NME tour: Dublin and Belfast dates confirmed

As exclusively revealed by hotpress.com at the start of this month, the NME tour will be coming to Ireland and we've got the dates for you right here.

Read More

Apply Some Pressure

It’s been quite a year for Maxïmo Park, one that’s seen them emerge as a band with real longevity as opposed to mere scenesters. They’ve done it through a succession of thrilling singles of which ‘Apply Some Pressure’ was the first and, now through the magic of the re-issue, is probably the last for the moment. With new material already starting to appear over the horizon it’s a case of job done and see you next year.

Read More

Maximo Overdrive

Paul Smith of Geordie punk-pop sensations Maxïmo Park talks to Phil Udell about breaking out of stylistic straight-jackets, the band's affinity with fellow northerners The Futureheads, and why Jose Mourinho's managerial philiosophy is equally as applicable to music as it is to football.

Read More

A Certain Trigger

Track after track comes out of the speakers, nipping at your ankles like some overexcited dog that you can’t shake off no matter how hard you try. The production from Bloc Party/Futureheads man Paul Epworth is sparkling and the songs wed pop and punk in perfect manner, all delivered in the deliciously broad Newcastle tones of singer Paul Smith. It reaches a crescendo with the glorious ‘Going Missing’, at which point it seems that Maximo Park can do no wrong. Unfortunately, from then in they start to struggle a tad.

Read More

Apply Some Pressure

'Apply Some Pressure' is an absolutely fantastic record, bursting with the kind of wide eyed energy that has made all this sort of stuff so exciting.

Read More
 

Advertise With Us


For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below

Advertise

Find us elsewhere