After their sound-check at Ebullition in Bulle I had a nice chat with the five lads of Maybeshewill: James Collins-drums, Matthew Daly-keyboards, John Helps-guitar, Robin Southby-guitar and Jamie Ward-bass. We sat on the couches of the cozy backstage of the venue where they offered me a beer and then we started talking, here’s what they told me about. You can check out the review of their amazing gig here. Cheers to the lads for being so friendly and for hanging around also after the concert! And of course thanks to the Ebullition team for allowing this 🙂
The Liberation: It’s really cool to be here with you! I saw you last year at Live At Leeds and I absolutely loved your performance and I was really looking forward to see you in Switzerland as headliners so I’m glad to be here! My first question is how’s your tour been so far since you’ve toured quite a lot?
- Maybeshewill: Yeah very good! (they laugh)
- Robin: Good! We’ve been going for quite a lot of time. We started at the end of September. We did a tour of Russia, China and Australia and then we had a few weeks off after that and then we’ve been out into mainland Europe since and we’ve done a bunch of countries. We’re a little bit tired but we’ve had a few days off recently, yesterday (10 November 2014) and the day before so we had a bit of a chance to sit back. But yeah all the shows have been great there was a good reception, we’re having a good time.
The Liberation: Great! Most of your songs have no lyrics, they’re just instrumental do you think this makes your music more universal?
- Robin: Yeah definitely!
- Matthew: Internationally, there is no language barrier. Perhaps easier for people to latch on to, you know communicating in a different way.
The Liberation: In which way is your last album Fair Youth different than the others?
- Jamie: It’s quite away from the first record but slight about from our third record (I Was Here For A Moment Then I Was Gone). It’s more of a texture affair whereas before it’s a lot of heavy guitars. We’re trying to create the same epic fail without using only the guitars but also other instruments and it’s more kind of hazy dreamy esthetic.
- Robin: Yeah, just like he said. Exercising and write for more instruments. Sounds we hadn’t used before we recorded lots instruments that we hadn’t used in the past, strings, like piano, of course synthesizers. So we were just trying to expand the sonic pallet and challenge ourselves a little bit in terms of the writing. Because in the past we would rely a lot in the guitars like Jamie said. We wanted to try something different from that and go in a slightly different direction but there are still links to the previous material.
The Liberation: And how has it been received so far by the audience?
- Robin: When we first started the tour it hadn’t really been out very long and I think many people didn’t have the chance to sort of listen to our last CD. But as the weeks have gone on we noticed that people would know the songs better. And I think live we’re playing lots of the new ones better than when we started because we hadn’t really played them that much either. We’re getting better as a band I think that’s working, the performance is stronger so people get on to it more easily, we’re getting better as the tour is going on.
The Liberation: Do you feel you’ve explored many new sounds with your new album?
- Matthew: I’d say the majority of the instruments were done for real, which hasn’t always been the case with the previous release I guess. I think there was a bit of real brass on the third one but not as much as the new one, we did euphony, trumpets and trombones. Friends of ours came and played real strings again. We recorded a real piano which I don’t think we’ve ever done before. A real effort to do the arrangements and do it for real instead of just relying on programming us like we’ve done before, there’s still lots of synthesizer sound in it, but I think it was nice to put together a chain broke history.
- Robin: Most importantly lot of the songs were written specifically for Jamie rather than for a band. In the past it would have been like write the track for the band and then we’d comment it and add instruments. Whereas this time we already had the instruments in mind specifically and then we sort of worked the bands parts around it. We had a different approach to writing than in the past.
The Liberation: Interesting! How does your production process work? I read you’re self-produced, does this render it easier or harder to work on your albums?
- Robin: Jamie produced the last two records and then John and I mastered the first two ones between us. The way we kind of write is that we download the songs first which are mainly in the computer, there are many instruments like sort of program versions of the real things then we take those ideas and work on them as a band. And when it comes to recording, well you could explain that. (indicates Jamie)
- Jamie: The last record contained lots of instruments it was pretty intense work, maybe if we had had someone else I would have kept my science a bit at the house … It was good but these persons we were working with were friends, we couldn’t afford to hire players. There was another challenge with that, some of the persons were really good they would always do their best to have a long time to prepare. They’re not used to turn up and score it perfectly so there’s a certain bit of a little wall that you can chew and sort everything afterwards… and I maybe lost my head in there at one point cuz it’s so much work. Eventually I just kept pushing and the sound kind of eventually found its way. It’s not always as easy can be colliding. I didn’t even record my base bass until really close to the end as I was busy recording everyone else’s parts.
- Robin: That’s why a self-produced process takes a lot of time, you take it over yourself, you have to manage yourself in a certain way it’s a lot of stuff to process and organize, like logistics of getting people to certain places at certain times. Basically it was stressful but the fact that we have control on what we do means that at the end of the day it comes out sounding pretty much as we wanted it to sound. This is like the most important benefit of doing it yourself you get the complete artistic control on it.
The Liberation: So would you consider yourselves as an independent band?
- Jamie: Yeah, we have a few people who work with us. But it’s not like if someone pulls us that way for a minute. No one outside of the band is really going to give us that much of a kick in the ass. If we wouldn’t’ pressure ourselves this would fall apart very quickly. But over the years we’ve had people we trusted and who wanted to be involved. It’s definitely independent. We’re signed to a label now and it’s good to have like a support structure but it’s not like we have a big management team. We’re just on our own.
The Liberation: What would you say to people who are reticent about post-rock music? So people who are not really into music without lyrics. What would you tell them?
- Maybeshewill: (they all laugh) If they don’t like it they don’t like it.
- Robin: We’re not trying to push our music on anyone. This is what we do, we’ve done this for a few years and we found out that there are no niche in terms of sound and stuff. We have a crowd for it we get to go to other countries and play for people and it’s amazing but we don’t have this kind of illusion you know that post-rock music is gonna be this massive thing.
- Matthew: If some people don’t get it it’s probably not for them.
- Robin: Not everybody is gonna find something they like in it but it’s not the end of the world there’s plenty of other music out there.
- Matthew: It is quite nice when after a show someone says that he came with a friend on a win. That they’ve never seen an instrumental band before and that they enjoy it. They don’t necessarily know why they enjoyed it.
- Jamie: It probably seems weird to see an instrumental band live, kind of intense.
- John: It’s a challenge to see a band outside your sphere of reference. It’s nice that if you never saw or been aware of an instrumental band you give it a try, but not everybody’s gonna like it.
- Matthew: Some people just don’t get it.
- John: We’ve met so many people who volunteered to be our vocalists, it’s phenomenal.
- Matthew: Who ask us “Are you thinking about putting vocals in your songs?” “Wait! We never cared!”. “Wait is nobody singing?” We’re openminded. (they all laugh)
- Robin: We are just happy to come and play like abroad to people who are into it. It’s a great feeling.
The Liberation: That’s good! And if I’m not mistaken this is your first tour as headliners in Switzerland.
- Jamie: No. We played here in 2012, we did a show in Lucerne and a show Aarau.
- John: This is the first time in Bulle.
The Liberation: So how does it feel to be back in Switzerland?
- Jamie: Very nice. There are very high standard venues in Switzerland everywhere we played had a really good sound system. A lot of care put into the shows and this makes your day very nice, “Oh people are nice this is great!” and you don’t feel as if you’re on someone’s foot. Yes, it’s always nice.
- Robin: And also the country, the landscape is really drawing in, it’s really beautiful. It makes your day more pleasant to have nice surrounding, nice people and nice facilities around you this makes everything nice.
The Liberation: What inspires you in writing your music?
- Robin: There are a lot of things which inspire us. With this last record a lot of it was influenced by the amount of time we spent touring with the previous album. We were on the road for the last two or three years we spent a lot of time in bands, playing and just travelling around the world. A lot of that was kind of instrumental in like the sound of the new record, like Jamie said, it was a lot of dreamy hazy vibe which came from the fact that you have really weird hours when you’re on tour so a lot of time you just sleep during the day and you wake up in a new country and you’re like “Where are we?”. That’s what influenced the music a lot, some of the sounds try to reflect that state of mind. And yeah I guess that bands that we see on tour, a lot of our friends’ bands we’ve played with always influence what we do. It’s a whole like heap of things which come together to make the sound of the record.
The Liberation: What are your plans once the tour will be over?
- John: Do a bit more touring. (we all laugh) We have two weeks off after the run run. We have a few UK shows until Christmas. I think we’ll probably take a couple of months off and then start another tour, which isn’t confirmed yet. And then that’s more or less the end of our prospective at the moment can’t really say past that, it’s a long way.
- Robin: It goes into next year so we’ll be touring until 2015.
- John: The tour for the last album lasted three years, I don’t know how long we’ll keep going on.
The Liberation: So you’re not working on new material yet.
- Robin: We’ve just put the new one out so we’re still kind of writing the back of that one, trying to make the most of that release.
- Jamie: We’ll see what we feel like doing. There’s still a long time to go and it’s difficult to picture the end at the moment. So we maybe finish in the best that we’re in.
The Liberation: Good luck with that and thanks a lot!
- Maybeshewill: Thank you!
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