The former Maccabees frontman talks to NME about his second solo album, the joys of fatherhood, his busy schedule and thoughts on ‘landfill indie’
Former Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks has shared the first taster of new material from his upcoming second solo album. Check out ‘Big Skies, Silly Faces’ below and our video interview with Weeks above.
Having only released his solo debut ‘A Quickening‘ last June, Weeks felt inspired during his downtime from not touring due to the pandemic while also wanting to show the happier side of fatherhood that he didn’t fully explore on his last album.
“The record is my attempt to fill in some of the blanks left by ‘A Quickening’, and to that end I wanted everything to feel like it had more of a spring in its step – a little more joyful and satisfying,” Weeks told NME. “I think that’s what it is; a more hopeful record and a hopeful song.
“It’s a song about recognising how I’m very capable of being my own worst enemy. Sometimes just noticing that and calling it by what it is can be half the battle.
“I like [‘A Quickening’], but it focuses a lot on the anticipation and this long, intense build-up [to fatherhood]. It doesn’t come close to explaining how much joy I felt about waiting for my son to be born and his arrival afterwards. That was the start of this record, thinking that ‘The Quickening’ was just half of the scrapbook. I hope that if you listen to the record then you’ll feel lighter afterwards.”
He continued: “My writing over the last 10 or 15 years has been trying to take something confusing, difficult or sad, and try and turn it into something positive. With this record and this song, I was just trying to make something positive without needing to explore difficult things. It’s just to savour and cultivate joyful things. It shouldn’t be such a surprise, but it’s a very nice way of working. You stay higher and lighter.”
Does Weeks miss being a tortured artist at all?
“I can still turn that on, I reckon! If you do it for long enough, it becomes second nature. It’s embarrassing that it’s a surprise that if you spend enough time thinking of uplifting and pleasant things then it will seep into your writing, your day to day, your relationships, everything.”
The result is his upcoming second solo album, produced by Deek Recordings founder and ‘Blue Pedro’ viral sensation Bullion and set to be announced in the coming months.
“He has a very assured musical taste and aesthetic in his own work and he makes very uplifting pop music,” said Weeks of Bullion. “I wanted to have some of that in this record and was so pleased that he was available and loved my demos.”
We also asked Weeks for his thoughts on last year’s debate around the term ‘landfill indie‘ after The Maccabees were included in a list by Vice of other popular guitar bands from the ’00s. While remembering the era fondly, the former frontman also said he had little time for looking back.
“I don’t give it a second thought, to be honest,” he replied. “Some of that music meant a lot to a lot of people and I suppose someone was very pleased with themselves when they came up with that clever and witty title.
“It was a wonderful time to be in a band. Starting out in pubs and clubs in London and feeling like there was a different back room every third street for you to get a gig the next weekend – it was great.
“I’m not very interested in looking backwards. I sort of love and hate everything that we did and I’ve done in equal measure – I’m proud of it, but I can’t really listen to it.”
Weeks has also crafted the score for a new theatrical adaptation of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 1998 film After Life, which is running at London’s National Theatre until August 7. Having also written and illustrated the children’s book The Gritterman, does he have any other extra-curricular areas of culture he’s looking to explore?
“I’ve never made music for a film, so I’d still like to have a go at that,” Weeks replied. “I’m potentially doing something with the Hepworth Museum around the big Barbara Hepworth retrospective, which will be a short animation film – but again, it’s a little bit up in the air!”
Watch our full video interview with Weeks at the top of the page, where he also tells us about his plans for touring, whether or not he still feels like a reluctant frontman and much more.
Check out Weeks’ upcoming UK tour dates below, with tickets available here.
10 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
11 – The Mash House, Edinburgh
12 – Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
15 – The 02 Institute 2, Birmingham
16 – Cambridge Junction, Cambridge
17 – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
19 – Concorde 2, Brighton
20 – The Barbican Centre, London