Experimental Music Love

April 1, 2009

The Maybes?

Filed under: Features,Interviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 11:45 pm


The Maybes? are having soup, Louise Against the Elements are soundchecking on stage, and I’m fiddling with a notebook and pen, knowing my cheap dictaphone couldn’t pick up anything against the carefree racket in the background of King Tut’s tiny set-up . This is how the live music scene should be – communal, chaotic and with more energy and positivity than in an entire series of Lazytown. This seems to be the exception though in a polished, professional world dominated by profits, sales and image. And it’s something The Maybes have a lot to say about.

“We actually had to pay to get up here,” says Timo, lead guitarist with the band. “It cost us our own money.”

“We’re not like fucking White Lies,” adds vocalist Nick. “I’m sure they’re really good, and they’re nice guys. But nobody pays for us. We’re here because we believe what we’re doing is right.”

And it doesn’t take a 30 minute conversation with them, or even to see the awesome spectacle that is one of their live shows to acknowledge that. Just listen to Trick of the Light or Boys on their excellent debut album, Promise, and a near tangible passion takes hold of those precious three minutes.

Three minutes will also make it fully clear where these boys are from. Nick’s scouse tones resonate like a younger, less psychotic Lee Mavers, and The Maybes? are worthy additions to the Liverpool legends of The Coral, The La’s, Echo and the Bunnymen and the group that overshadows them all – BB Mak. Sorry, that should be The Beatles. When asked if there’s any other exciting talent coming out the city, and it’s a disappointment when the response is a blank stare and much ‘erring’.

“It’s just the established bands who are doing anything interesting,” says Timo, “but they’re just playing the big expensive venues. I really can’t think of anyone I’d pay money to see play.”

Not even being Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2008 seemed to have an affect on the grassroots music scene in the city.

“It really only benefited those at the top, like Paul McCartney,” says Timo. “But for the likes of us, nothing changed. We were still playing the same venues and doing the same promotions, and all on our own.

“They should have done a lot more with the opportunity, but there was no real difference in the end. And yet they can give £2 million to Ringo Starr.”

To Nick though, the bigger problem is bands not coming out the practice room.

“There’s few who actually get out and do anything. That’s the problem. It’s not a question of lack of motivation, there’s just this barrier between what you can do and what you can’t.

“You’ve got to put yourself in a position of taking your voice to the public and selling yourself in an arena where you’re naked and stripped of that safety net. It’s only then you’ll know what a song sounds like. You just need to have that power to communicate. And then you can do anything.”

It’s a power The Maybes? think they have in abundance.

“We played in Birmingham the other day and there were just seven people there,” says Timo. “You might think that’s demoralising, but it’s not though, cos you think those seven people are going home and tell their friends about us, cos we’ve just blown their heads off.”

He’s probably very right too. The Maybes are special on record, but live things make more sense than having chips AND cheese. There’s no gimmicks, there’s no maracas, and there’s no nonsense. This is not the sort of band who would ever care to compromise.

“There’s always bands who package and just try sell it on,” says Nick. “I don’t want to be force-fed this over and over again. I want to see the fuckers live on stage, and coming up to me outside the venue and talks to me and asks for a light and wants to know what I think.”

The Maybes? may well be ending the night offering you a cigarette, but to them, few of their peers have that same connection with their fans.

“It was when it became about image and appearance,” says Timo. “Now, if you can look good with a guitar, you can be in a band.”

“It’s like that Kings of Leon gig we were at,” says Nick. “People weren’t going because they liked Kings of Leon, they were just jumping on the bandwagon. They’d just heard Sex on Fire but they couldn’t name two other songs.”

They may not have the sex appeal of Caleb and co., playing in tracksuits and polo shirts, but they at least know their fans (even if there’s just seven) are there for them. And they’re their to listen to band who know they have something to say.

“It’s like what me mum used to say when we were young – everyone has the right to be heard.”

And you should have the right and the privilege to hear The Maybes?


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