2014 has been a pretty huge year for Maybeshewill. With announcements galore for the first half of the year that had fans salivating, August saw the release of Fair Youth – the highly acclaimed fourth album from the Leicestershire quintet. A beautiful piece of work, their fourth full length record is one critics and fans alike have given much praise.
In support of the new record, the tail end of the year has seen them jet-setting around the globe, taking part in one of their most ambitious tours to date with shows in Russia, China, Australia and all across Europe. The summer months also saw them partake in a host of festival dates around the UK and beyond, including Pukkelpop and 2000 Trees. The band also had a memorable showing at this years ArcTanGent – the sister festival of 2000 Trees, now in its second year. It really did feel special being in the crowd that night, and Maybeshewill smashed it.
Now back on home soil, this week sees Maybeshewill undertake the UK leg of the Fair Youth Tour. Kicking things off in Manchester at the Deaf Institute this Thursday, the tour culminates just before Christmas with a homecoming show at Leicester’s Ukrainian Club. For the full list of dates and to buy tickets, head here!
Ahead of their upcoming tour, guitarist John Helps answered a round of questions for Birthday Cake For Breakfast.
(*Note* Due to scheduling, there was a delay in receiving the interview responses, though it hasn’t had too much impact)
BCFB: ‘Fair Youth’ is the name of your latest record; what can you tell us about it?
John: “Well, it’s our fourth full length. For us, it’s an obvious progression and I guess maturing from the last one – I Was Here for a Moment, Then I Was Gone. Our sound is increasingly about textures and sonics and melody, than the guitar noise of the earlier stuff perhaps was. There are certain themes that run through the record – we’d been on tour consistently for three years prior to starting work on Fair Youth and a lot of the ideas were begun while on the road, so ideas of motion, travel and of the dreamlike states you find yourself in when you go beyond regular tiredness.”
Can you tell us a bit about the production process?
“We recorded the album with Jamie (our bassist) again, as we did with I Was Here For A Moment, keeping all the production and recording ‘in-house’ so to speak. People would bring relatively fully formed ideas to the table and then we’d take them apart, put them back together and develop them into (sometimes) entirely different beasts. There are a lot more ‘real’ instruments on this record – strings, brass, a hundred year old piano – but also more synths layered in with it. It’s a pretty densely layered record!”
How do you feel it compares to your previous releases?
“It’s a progression for us in every sense of the word. More ambitious, more confident. It’s the only album we can imagine us making at this point in our lives. It’s a perfect reflection of where we are as people and as a band.”
The ‘Fair Youth’ Tour has seen you gallivanting around the globe – how have these shows been?
“It continues to be an incredible adventure. We started in The Ukraine pretty much at the height of tensions with Russia before carrying on across Russia, China, Hong Kong (as the protests started there) in to Australia and back around most of continental Europe. We’re just about to start the UK tour which has been a very long time coming!”
Where were your favourite places to visit, and your favourite to play?
“I personally love Budapest and Prague as cities – Prague was one of our favourite shows on the EU tour. Berlin is great. Russia and Ukraine are totally batshit crazy for shows and just in general. China has the best food, Australia – Melbourne in particular – was awesome… We feel incredibly privileged to be able to go to all of these places and have an audience that is interested in and enthusiastic about what we do. It’s a crazy brilliant thing.”
Coming up to a decade as a band, did you ever imagine you’d be embarking on a tour like this when you were starting out?
“Fuck, no. One of the things about the band is that we never really had any aspirations or expectations about what we’d achieve. We didn’t think we’d ever get to really tour or do anything beyond putting out bedroom demos really. It took a long time between those and becoming a band and then over the course of those ten years we’ve thought it was all over on numerous occasions. Every last little bit of progress has been a very pleasant surprise and we never expected any of it. We’ve never been a band that really chased labels or managers or agents – the right people have always come to us, and it constantly feels like a very happy accident.”
How has the reception been at shows outside of the UK?
“Really good. The UK is just kind of catching up with the rest of the world in terms of enthusiasm for what we do – but that’s nice to see. Japan was the first place we found success and then Russia and China overtook as our biggest ‘markets’ for want of a better word. We can go *almost* anywhere and play to at least *someone* which is kind of astonishing for a band as niche as we are.”
You’re next off around Europe – where are you excited to get to?
“Sorry, I took so long answering this interview that that has already happened. It’s hard to single out places but right now, I’m buzzed for the UK shows. We hadn’t done a headline tour for a very, very long time before these dates, although we’d been out with Trail of Dead and Dillinger Escape Plan on huge long tours in the interim – so it’s been most interesting to see if things have progressed for us in that time. In most cases it has, which is very rewarding.”
With all this good stuff happening for the band, how are things in the Maybeshewill camp?
“Perhaps as good as they’ve ever been? We’re as close as 6 guys can be (I’m including our engineer Pete in this as he’s with us almost the entire time) without actually engaging in a romantic relationship. We all know how not to push each others buttons by now, so touring is relatively easy especially given the schedules involved and we’re all really enthusiastic for the remainder of the Fair Youth album cycle. Yeah, it’s all good.”