Interview: The Maccabees - ‘This is what we’ve been aiming for’

HOT ON the heels of their critically-acclaimed third album Given To The Wild, Maccabees guitarist Hugo White talks to reporter Andrew Trendell about going their own way in a class of their own.

“YOU can’t really try to be relevant, otherwise you’re just not,” muses Hugo White considering the secret to The Maccabees survival.

The band rose to fame back when guitar music was huge. Since then a lot of their contemporaries have completely fallen by the wayside

“We’re lucky that a lot of the bands that were starting out or doing their first records at the same time as us shot up to be these huge bands, and people got bored of that quite quickly,” says Hugo.

“I’m happy that we’ve been able to make our own path without being shoved down people’s throats - we’ve managed to keep people interested.”

And it’s that quiet determination and spirit of independence that finds the Maccabees where they are today.

“Guitar music doesn’t get played much on the radio any more, but we’re in a pretty good place,” Hugo admits.

“It does feel like there are people behind this record. I think if we were trying to get signed today with this as our first record then we’d be doing alright.”

He continues: “Given To The Wild is definitely the best record we’ve ever made and it’s perfect because we learned in the eye of the public.”

“When we wrote out first album we didn’t know anything. But this album is just us actually achieving what we’ve always been aiming for.”

So was it a difficult record to pull off?

“We’re all writing all the time but we’re not the kind of band that sit around with acoustic guitars and sing at each other,” he laughs.

“The way we work is quite introspective where we hide away on our computers and write our own thing and don’t share it until we know it’s good enough.”

So where would does this take their sound as an evolution from previous album Wall of Arms?

Hugo answers: “It’s a very different record to that. It’s more patient, it’s got a bit more class to it, and there are lot more different styles and techniques on there.”

“This album definitely holds its own mood better than anything we’ve ever done before. The aim was to write a record that existed in its own space and sound.”

So now that The Maccabees have found their feet and their own voice, it seems the only way is up.

“Being able to play to people is an achievement in itself,” smiles Hugo.

He adds: “We’ve done a lot of the things we’ve always wanted to and the next step is just to play festivals in the dark late in the bill.”

“Things can only get better.”

- The Maccabees play Rock City, Nottingham on Thursday 8th March.

Given To The Wild is out now