Festival-free summer leaves time for Maxïmo Park’s Paul Smith time to get intimate

Paul Smith in typical high-energy mode with Maximo Park. His shows with The Intimations will be more sedate.
Paul Smith in typical high-energy mode with Maximo Park. His shows with The Intimations will be more sedate.

For much of the last 10 years, North East band Maxïmo Park have spent their summers wowing festivals with their high-octane indie-rock.

But this year the five members of the band who formed in Newcastle in 2003 are holidaying like everyday folk.

Paul Smith in reflective mood.

Paul Smith in reflective mood.

It’s all the fault of Record Store Day (RSD), the annual event credited with sparking a huge revival in good, old-fashioned vinyl.

When the major record companies realised there was money to be made in the format which refused to die, the number of releases rocketed – from 10 for 2008’s RSD to 592 this year.

That’s had a knock-on effect for the rest of the industry, as livewire frontman Paul Smith explains.

“In an ideal world my record would have come out in the spring and we would have been touring it,” he said.

It’s great to have that relationship with one band – to have it with two is very special.

Paul Smith, Maxïmo Park

“But Record Store Day meant we couldn’t get the vinyl printed before August, so we had to change our plans.

“It’s a side-effect of there being such a demand for pressing records when there aren’t many places left to do it.

“I suppose it’s worked out quite nicely. Maxïmo Park could take some time off, we were able to prepare the ground for the 10th anniversary shows, and I ended up spending more time on the artwork for my album.”

The album he refers to is Contradictions, which he’s made with his side project The Intimations.

Joining Smith (guitar and vocals) are Andrew Hodson from electronic duo Warm Digits on drums, and Claire Adams on bass.

They have worked on the record on and off for four years, after getting together to help tour his 2010 solo debut Margins.

“We formed a bond which is unique to that group, but very similar to Maximo Park in that I find I’m very comfortable working with these people.

“It’s great to have that relationship with one band – to have it with two is very special.”

The album is released on Billingham Records on August 21, and is backed by a tour including a date at The Cluny in Newcastle on Friday, September 4.

“We’re doing eight dates in nine days. You couldn’t do that with Maxïmo Park, as the stages are bigger and the shows take so much energy.

“Playing guitar and singing also means I won’t be moving around as much – I just hope my vocal chords are up to it!”

A festival-free summer has also given Smith time to plan the shows for the 10th anniversary of Maxïmo Park’s debut album, A Certain Trigger.

It has sold more than 250,000 copies, and he can’t wait to celebrate it with the band’s loyal legion of fans – especially as the hometown show is a first-ever appearance at Newcastle City Hall on Thursday, November 19, which has already sold out.

“Playing at City Hall is a dream come true for us. I’ve seen so many gigs there over the years. Bryan Ferry was the most recent one, and I was sat there thinking ‘we’re going to play here’.

“I watched a Bob Dylan documentary where he talked about playing at the City Hall, and now we are going to play there at last.

“It’s the first time we’ve played an all-seated venue, and our music makes people want to dance, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

“There’s been an evolution from album to album with Maximo Park, but we’re still proud of the songs from A Certain Trigger and still feel connected to them.”

Songs like Graffiti, Going Missing, Apply Some Pressure and The Coast Is Always Changing remain among the most popular of their live set.

They’ll be playing A Certain Trigger in its entirety, plus some singles and rarities, but while the shows mark a milestone for the band, it’s by no means the end of their story.