A Few Kind Words With Orlando Weeks

Posted on May 7, 2010

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Orlando Weeks looks tired. The lead singer of the Maccabess collapses down on the sofa in the bar of the O2 academy with a huge sigh. The band are in the middle of headlining the NME Awards, supported by The Drums, The Big Pink and Bombay Bicycle Club. Rebecca Johnson chats to the frontman about life on the road and the band’s new material.

OB: What are you going to do after the tour ends?

Orlando Weeks: I phoned a friend of mine … thought I was going to stay with him in New York but I realized that it requires quite a lot of money just to get there, which I don’t have so I have to think of something else to do. But in a broader scheme of things I’m going to try and write. Try and make a record so…

OB: Is this for the third album?

OW: Yeah

OB: After making a brilliant second album that didn’t disappoint your fans you have a lot to live up to.

OW: I think we’ve all got the same mentality that if it’s not better than we’ve already done then there’s no point in anybody hearing it otherwise, what would be the point of it?

OB: A lot of people I know really love that cover you did of the Black Eyed Peas, Boom Boom Pow for Radio 1. Did you choose that song or did they ask you to do it?

OW: No we chose that song because we were going to do a cover that was so different that it kind of excuses itself? It’s a ridiculous song; I like how unashamedly pop it is. It’s like ‘listen to this’. It’s just repetition but it kinda works.

OB: Where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics, do you read a lot on tour?

OW: I’m pretty sporadic, sometimes I can read huge chunks. But this tour… I’ve been trying to read The Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It’s only a 150 pages and I still haven’t managed it cos I go and I read then I’m like I’ll go back two pages, get myself back into it, read four pages, so I’m constantly doing that. I think I’m going to sack off reading this tour because I’m not managing it… But yeah with anything like that if something sticks in your head and it sticks then it’s probably worth remembering, if it doesn’t then its probably not.

OB: What are you listening to at the moment?

OW: I just got the new Yeasayer record and I think it’s ridiculously good.

OB: You did your warm up show at the Regal didn’t you? How did that go? What do you think of Oxford?

OW: I thought it was kinda cool, it was unfortunate that the promoter, who’s usually a dream thought the gig was on a different day, so he wasn’t there… which was kinda weird, so we didn’t have anything to eat or anything. But the Chinese over the road was alright and my friend works in a pub down the way called the Magdalene so that was nice.

OB: What are your plans for the summer? Any festivals?

OW: I think we’re maybe doing a few little festivals in Europe but no big ones. We had a good run last summer. We need to concentrate on writing.

OB: You did Glastonbury last year didn’t you?

OW: Yeah Glastonbury, I think we did like 18 festivals last summer.

OB: Lots of hard work?

OW- Not hard work just constant. I find it really hard to get anything done and that makes me feel frustrated…it doesn’t float my boat that much … its important that you get to go and play to new people but sometimes it just feels like you’re in a forest and no one cares and you can’t even tell anyone because they speak a different language to you and then you feel bad that you should be able to say more than ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’ to them in their language. But that was only the case in one; I am singling out a particular brutal festival.

OB: What festival was that?

OW: I can’t remember what it’s called but it was literally in the middle of the forest and everyone there was drunk, German and kind of just angry, very angry. Woodland men and women drinking out of the skulls of sheep. Weird, so weird.

OB: Your cheese-rolling video, Can you give it? is up for an NME award. Where did you get the idea for that?

OW: Well we were gonna go to it but then we realized we were going to be on tour in Ireland so we figured we’d try and kill two birds with one stone and send a documentary team down and document it and it worked out better than we hoped.

OB: Did you intend for you guys to join in and be running down the hill?

OW: No, no, the whole of that single was based on British traditions, we had William Morris wallpaper as the cover for the single and we had a bizarre tradition for the video that has been carried on for centuries, something to alert people to.

A big thank you to Orlando and the Maccabees for this feature, the band are playing Liverpool Sound City, Lovebox Festival and Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK this summer; you can find more information about the band at

www.themaccabees.co.uk or www.myspace.com/themaccabees

Rebecca Johnson


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