Photo by Kenny McCracken
Sometimes, you’ll know a British band by how they make something poetic out of their experience of living in the UK. It could be Blur’s Britain, or Pete Doherty’s Albion, but you’ll usually notice that their songs find some way to romanticize what is essentially a small, rainy country where summer lasts ten days. The Maccabees aren’t really like that. Their name is a reference to some guys in the Bible, but they didn’t know that when they decided on it, and it’s a bit of a red herring anyway. What this band are more about is getting stuck right in to everyday life: in the same way that Good Shoes have their songs about buses, The Maccabees get involved with the minutiae of what it’s like being a young Londoner. The latest of their songs to do this is called “Latchmere”, and it’s about going swimming at the Latchmere leisure centre in Battersea. They’re a good band, who were nearly all still at school when they started. The oldest is 22, and the fact they’re all about to drop out of college is definitely going to make things easier for them. We tried to have this chat earlier in the week, but got told we couldn’t do it “because the singer’s got to go to lectures”. Vice: Your songs sound very local. Is that what you’re after? Orlando: “It’s best to write about where you’re coming from. I know about family and I know about where I grew up and that’s what I feel I can write about. The whole band’s like that: I know Rob from football on the common, and Felix went to school with my brother. We started trying to find anyone who could play anything in our area. You don’t seem at all afraid of performing. Rob: The whole scene in London two or three years ago was the Libertines and the Pete Doherty shows. He was such a great performer, it really got me back into music.
Orlando: We’d go out every weekend and try to tout tickets for Libertines gigs. What we want to do is to make people feel part of what we’re doing, like we did about that—feeling incredibly wrapped up and involved in something.
Why’s your single about swimming?
Orlando: We all learned to swim at Latchmere. At most swimming pools you’ve got lanes that you go back and forth in, and it’s the most demoralising thing in the world, because you never get anywhere. It’s like Russia or something, it’s depressing. But at Latchmere, they’ve got a wave machine and an elephant slide. There’s no rules, it’s free, man.
The Maccabees’ “Latchmere” _single is out now on Fierce Panda. Guess what? They’re on MySpace: [myspace.com/themaccabees ](http://www.myspace.com/themaccabees)_