“I just want to make music for the rest of my life”: Maximo Park’s Paul Smith


Having toured Guildhall-sized venues, it must be weird to be back at small venues. What do you think of being back at Joiners?

It seems to be a training ground for new artists, a lot of people have played here in their early days and people like me who are playing quiet shows and releasing their first stuff tend to come through here – so here we are!

So, first impressions of your new album are that logistically it must be quite hard to play live, it’s very multi faceted?

Well I’m glad you say that, rather than saying it’s one dimensional! I knew that I’d need a band and thankfully Andy, who co-produced the record, plays drums so I knew he’d come along. The core of it is me and him. On the album I got David Brewis from Field Music to play the bass so I knew I’d need a bassist. A friend of a friend, Claire, from the band Beards, got recommended, so she came in. Finally a friend of mine, Rachel, who plays guitar with me in another band called Me and The Twins came in. So, they do the stuff I can’t do!

How does playing guitar limit your scissor-kicking ability?

It limits it. It nullifies it completely! Which is good, in a way, because it means there’s no real comparison – it takes it to a completely different sphere. I get very excitable on stage so the temptation would be to ‘give it some’ – because that’s what I know. I didn’t really wanna do that this time. This was something completely different that will hopefully set me down a slightly different path. It’ll be interesting to see what people make of it.

Do you think you’re doing this tour more ‘for yourself’, and not necessarily for the masses?

Yeah. It’s a weird thing being a songwriter, or being in a band, because you wanna be sort of ‘normal’ but at the same time you want the music to be extraordinary – to be as good as David Bowie or something! That’s the thing, you want to be creative; I know this album is a bit leftfield. The music I like isn’t necessarily what Maxïmo Park fans like. I’m just trying to do something that I can be proud of; I just want to make music for the rest of my life.

This album was in development for four or more years, did the recent plethora of indie front-man solo albums make you think that this was right time for its release?

No! It made me think I shouldn’t release it! I didn’t want it to be compared to anybody else. I’ve done what came naturally to me and it was the natural time to release it. The songs had built up to the point where I was touring with Maxïmo Park and I knew I had all these songs. I’d have my ipod on shuffle and my own solo songs would come on, I’d think ‘yeah! These are good! I really need to release this now!’

Does it feel a bit bizarre releasing this sporadically recorded four year project as a completed work?

A little bit, yeah. When I was compiling it all together, I was definitely thinking ‘is this all gonna fit together?’ But again, it just felt right at the end. There were a few moments when I thought ‘that doesn’t fit!’ ‘Strange Friction’ has loads of mistakes on it but I didn’t want to go back to it. It captured a time of my life. It felt right at the time so I won’t change it!


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