Mazes (Interview)

Manchester’s Mazes released their wonderful debut album A Thousand Heys last month and just last week they played the King’s Cross Scala with The Wave Pictures.
We caught up with frontman Jack Cooper for a quick chat.

How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
I’d do everything I possibly could to squirm out of doing that.
My perception of it is skewed. My friend said a ‘punk Big Star‘ and I’d be happy to go with that.
Our collective taste is hugely diverse… I think it all seeps through eventually.

Your (excellent) album, A Thousand Heys, came out in April. What has the reaction to that record been like?
Good on the whole, I think… Well amazing.
We had a couple of reviews that seemed cynical. Nowadays certain people expect new albums to be breaking new ground, which is great but it’s not a legal requirement.
The guy who reviewed us in NME gave the new Times New Viking record four out of ten, so his opinion became irrelevant pretty quickly.

And in June you’ll be putting out ‘Summer Hits’ as a single. Tell us a little about that song.
I suppose it’s lyrically nostalgic… Pining for a simpler time, when I had less worries than I do today.
Usually I’m fairly carefree but at this point in time, it resonates with me. The lyrics are really literal. I think when I wrote it, I was listening to those Nodzzz demos and Jonathan Richman a lot… Modern Lovers and the I, Jonathan LP.
I suppose he’s the biggest influence on that song.
I’m not sure whether the vim with which we play it live translated to the record… But yeah, I like it still.

Is there any band or artist in particular that made you want to make music of your own?
When I was a kid, I didn’t really listen to modern music. I listened to my Mum’s records which were exclusively sixties and early seventies.
I started playing guitar when a friend showed me ‘Come As You Are’ by Nirvana, so probably that.

You have recently played the Scala with The Wave Pictures. How was the show?
Yeah, fine.
It’s nice to play big stages. If I’m completely honest, I hadn’t heard The Wave Pictures before and they’re not really my bag.
We played good though. It seems like we’re hitting a bit of a stride now.

Did you win their fans over?
Who knows?
I suppose that’s why our label, etc. wanted us to play. I’m not personally interested in winning anyone over.
That sounds arrogant but it’s really not, ‘winning someone over’ I dunno…

Tell us about the most memorable gig you’ve played.
We played Fader Fort at SXSW this year. Tinie Tempah was on before us and I managed to offend him within a minute of him coming offstage by being a wise-ass. That was weird because it got broadcast on the internet so my Mum was watching in Blackpool.
Totally bizarre surroundings as well. Like Spring Break at Daytona Beach.
A couple of our friends had to scale a fence to get in and one of them bailed and landed on his back…he’s OK.

You’re playing a few festivals in the summer, right? Which one are you most excited about?
We play Midi Festival on the French Riviera which obviouslly goes straight to the top of the list. I love France and the French and the town looks completely beautiful. We’re not really big festival goers, camping seems pointless to me and I think I despair of society too much already to be around people on legal highs.

Which pop star would you most like to make a song with?
Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles… I’d love Mazes to make a record with her. I fell in love for the first time watching the ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ video – she’s cool.

What is your favourite album of all time?
Mine is Wolfking Of LA by John Phillips.
The post-death revelations about John’s incestuous relationship with his daughter puts a slight dampener on it but y’know… If you only listened to the music of people who hadn’t done something fucked up, then you’d be listening to nothing.

What do you have lined up for the next few months?
We’re heading off to America in 3 weeks for a tour with White Denim that we’re psyched about.
I’m gonna spend some time in New York and DC after that and make up some new songs.
We already have 9 for the next LP and then we have festivals and some pretty intense touring in the autumn.

Finally then, this is the part where you get to say whatever you like to our readers – go for it!
Our drummer Neil is single!



-David Tinkler

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