Maxïmo Park in Abu Dhabi

Ahead of their Abu Dhabi Wakestock Maxïmo Park talk about the fountain of inspiration that is… Lady Gaga?

Interview, Music feature

Maxïmo Park are one of those bands that achieve a lot in their home country – platinum-selling albums, a Mercury Music Prize nomination, a devoted fanbase – but, perhaps unfairly, have never really had a chance in the UAE. That could all change this weekend when they arrive to play their hook-filled rock at the Wakestock festival in Abu Dhabi. Suitably excited, we gave keyboardist Lukas Wooler a call.

Do you have any surprises for us at Wakestock?
Erm… we’ll all be naked? Not really. But we’re hoping to premiere a new song. We haven’t rehearsed it yet this year so it still may not happen, but the plan is to play the new song for the first time.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I think musical inspiration can come from anywhere. We played a cover of ‘Just Dance’ by Lady Gaga on [BBC] Radio 1 and when you actually analyse the track, you see that it’s simple but very effective.
We then took that back to our own songs and tried to see how far we could simplify them. It’s something we’ll be trying to do more of in any future material.

You’ve been referred to as ‘post-punk’ and ‘alternative rock’, but how would you describe your music?
It’s pop, isn’t it? Romantic, usually upbeat, heartfelt, unpredictable… There are references to lots of things in the music, but it is its own thing. We’re too interested in a variety of music to stay in one place.

Do you risk losing your audience if you change things too much?
Any artist worth their salt takes risks. In some ways I don’t think we’ve been particularly risky, but we’ve always pushed ourselves. Sometimes you do something different and feel a bit vulnerable, but looking back we can maybe say that we could have gone further. But that’s how you learn where your breaking points might be.

Where will you be in 10 years?
We’ll still be making music together in some shape or form. Whether we think it’s any good and will be releasing it is another matter.

Maxïmo Park play Wakestock on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche on March 5. Wakestock runs on March 4-6, free. See for info.

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