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Maximo Park's Duncan Lloyd on Beer, Staying Relevant, and Meeting the Rolling Stones

by Photo of Emily Maas

Check out some of Lloyd’s insights, both inside and outside of Maximo Park.

Maximo Park's Duncan Lloyd on Beer, Staying Relevant, and Meeting the Rolling Stones

 

Maximo Park, a British rock band hailing from Newcastle began forming way back in 2000. However, they weren't put on the map until the release of their 2004 debut album, A Certain Trigger. Four albums, and a severely developed and different sound later, Too Much Information was released in January of 2014. 

After time, in Maximo Park's case a decade, one can fear a band loses their authenticity, or simply loses their touch, but Maximo Park has always stayed true to themselves and what they want to do. 

According to guitarist Duncan Lloyd, "The music we make hasn't been aimed at hitting fashion trends fortunately," he says. "We have always concentrated on connecting with people on a musical or emotional level. Exploring new ways of writing and experimenting with sound is what we are into. It makes more sense to us to evolve this way rather than trying to be something we're not."

And evolve they have. They started out on the verge of edgy punk rock and have since moved into a more graceful and mature sound. The band is also drawing much more recognition lately, playing a lot more festivals, as well as a string of shows with the Pixies and The Libertines next month. 

When asked who would be the ultimate band to play alongside in the future, Lloyd recalled already having that ultimate encounter.

"A few years back we supported The Police and The Rolling Stones," he says. "That was an amazing experience. Having Mick Jagger watch us from the side of the stage and meeting them after, alongside lighting Keith Richards' ciggie was pretty far out!" 

However, Lloyd did exclaim that supporting Fleetwood Mac or Kate Bush in the future, "would be rather awesome!"

Though they've played with some of the most iconic bands, well, ever, they still are influenced by newer acts that come along. Their requirements are that the acts must be "lyrically and musically interesting" such as Courtney Barnett. According to Lloyd the band also appreciates "artists who have stuck to their guns and done their own thing," citing PJ Harvey and Bill Callahan as inspirations in that category.

Maximo Park doesn't just appreciate interesting lyricism, they utilize their own via lead singer Paul Smith, who does most of the lyrical writing. Too Much Information has an abundance of literary references and thoughtful and poetic lines throughout. Pitchfork specifically refers to this as "contemplative writing," comparing the lyrics on Too Much Information to Morrissey's lyrical flow and casual wordiness. We asked Lloyd to explain where all of this inspiration comes from inside the band. 

"For this album [Too Much Information] there was inspiration from the South American writer Robert Bolaño, and the Scottish writer Alan Warner," Lloyd says. "He [Paul] also wrote the lyrics to "Her Name Was Audre" after seeing a film about the African American poet Audre Lourde. The songs generally have a personal twist or a lyric that opens it up for the listener to connect with. When we write, we mix up the process. For example, Paul sent me the lyrics for the Bolaño-inspired, "I Recognise The Light" and I created an arrangement and melody track that felt right for the words. With "Her Name Was Audre," I sent him an instinctive punk tune that then triggered the lyrical idea."

If you watched the above video, you're also probably wondering about that strange album art. The art, of a man shaving his tongue was created by North-East-based artist Matt Bates. Lloyd explained the bizarre but appealing choice to us. 

"We wanted a D.I.Y. feel crossed with a strong image for the cover," he says. "We felt that the image worked best with the title Too Much Information. It's pretty striking, but not too slick - a bit like us."

Along with this strain of originality, and as if they weren't cool enough already, the band also created Maximo No.5, an amber ale that was sold during their spring tour.

"We teamed up with a local Newcastle brewery called Mordue to mark our fifth album, hence Maximo No.5 with 5% alcohol." He says. "Yep, we thought about it! Funnily enough, we all appreciate good ales and it wasn't hard to agree, especially after ten taster glasses. We love a lot of the microbreweries in the U.S., particularly the amber ales, so there's a nod to you guys in there."

Maximo Park will be hitting up some summer festivals, as well as taking their first trek out to Korea this year. If you're still undecided about seeing them, check out this review from Ross Bernhardt when he caught the band at Boston Calling as they played their first US festival gig a couple of weeks ago. 

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