Interview: Maybeshewill’s John Helps Talks New Album, ‘Fair Youth’

Leicester-based instrumental rock band Maybeshewill is preparing to release their fourth studio album “Fair Youth” on August 25th. We caught up with guitarist John Helps to get the lowdown on the record, the inspiration, the upcoming shows and more.

Your new album ‘Fair Youth’ comes up in late August. This must be an exciting time for you.

Yeah, it’s a really exciting time – more so than at any point in the bands history. Although we’ve finished writing and recording the record we now get to figure out how to translate all of that over in to something which works for a live performance. We’re stepping things up and trying to make the tour that accompanies this record really special. A lot of why we exist as a band is to travel and play to as many people as possible and being on the cusp of doing that always comes with a lot of anticipation and excitement.

So where does the name ‘Fair Youth’ come from? Is there a specific concept or influence behind the album?

Kind of by accident all of the previous records have summed up where we are as a band at that particular time, whether we realised it or not. That meant there was a fair bit of pressure to give the record a title which continued that trend whilst addressing some important things within the subject matter of the record and that were weighing heavily on our minds at the time we came to finish it. ‘Fair Youth’ does all of that for us.

What was the writing and recording process like? Did it differ from your previous releases?

We recorded it in the same places as I Was Here For A Moment.., and with Jamie at the helm again, so I suppose that was a very similar experience. It’s the first record that Matt has worked on from the writing stage, so there were some new experiences figuring out how five people could all have input in to the record – there are some very strong personalities in the band and we can come at things from very different stand points at times, but I think that has been to the records benefit more than anything else.

There were no spoken samples on ‘I Was Here for a Moment, Then I Was Gone,’ which came as a surprise to some of your listeners. Was there a particular reason why you moved away from using vocal samples? And what about ‘Fair Youth’? You announced earlier that you were recording some choir parts for the new record, right?

It wasn’t necessarily a conscious thing, but I think it would have become a gimmick if we’d carried on doing it all the time. We didn’t feel there was really a need for samples on the last record, so we didn’t force them in. There is a choir part on the new record, as there was on the last one actually. They’re always really fun to record.

You have a busy summer ahead performing at festivals in England, Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. And you’ll be playing in Asia and Australia later in the year. What can we expect to see at these shows? Any hints of what is on the setlist?

Some new stuff, some old stuff. It’s a weird transitionary period over the festivals because people still haven’t heard the new record but we don’t want to just play the same old songs all the time. We’re keeping it fresh but not abandoning the last seven years! Slowly we’ll introduce more new stuff I suppose.

View all the tour dates & buy tickets here

Do you have a favorite Maybeshewill song you like over the rest?

Not especially – it’s nice to play new stuff, but it’s also nice to play some of the older songs and watch everyone go nuts. Every show is different, so it varies I suppose!

I’ve always found your album artworks pretty interesting. How do you decide on the cover?

We’ve worked with various different people – It’s been different for each one. The new record sleeve and ALL of the visual material for the album has been put together by our friend Fraser West at We The Conspirators – collaborating with him is a very rewarding experience because he knows us and how we work so well.

What was your firstalbum/CD/cassette purchase?

Oh god… My first CD was Music for the Jilted Generation by The Prodigy, but I was PROPER young then. One of the nice things about being in Maybeshewill is how different everyone’s music tastes have become, but when any one of us answers music related questions it can become contentious!

If you could reunite any band, who would you choose John?

I have mixed feelings about reunited bands. I love Refused but I wouldn’t have gone to see them when they reformed. Same with At The Drive In. If I could reunite those two bands but without any passage of time between then and now, that is what I would do. Again, every band member would have a different answer to this.

All right, last question, of course on the World Cup. Are you guys following the games? Who are you supporting?

I’m not, but Jamie and Matt are. I was going to pick Ukraine and follow them, but apparently they aren’t in the world cup either. I don’t know ANYTHING about football.

Thanks for your time John and good luck with the album.

Thank you.

Follow Maybeshewill on: Facebook / Twitter / Youtube


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