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Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith looks forward to festival gig on his doorstep

Maximo Park will be one of the headliners for this year's ramped up Split Festival in Sunderland

Mark Radford Maximo Park performing live
Maximo Park performing live

Paul Smith is packing in between phone interviews.

We were talking a few weeks back ahead of Maximo Park’s trip to Spain and Germany for a trio of festival performances.

“We’ve just got back from America too, and Japan before that,” he says. “It’s been a good year so far,” he says, “but there’s been lots of pack and unpacking.”

Luckily for Billingham-born Paul him and the rest of the Newcastle-bred band, one of their big festival dates of the summer - pf which there are many - will require them to have nothing more than a Metro fare in their back-pack.

Maximo Park are one of the Split Festival headliners and Paul says they are looking forward to being part of the event’s second coming.

“I’m looking forward to Maximo Park, playing in a park. That always sounds funny to me,” he laughs.

Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith
Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith

“The guys who organise have worked really hard,” he says of the organisers, who include Barry Hyde and Ross Millard of The Futureheads.

“They really wanted to make it something that is accessible to everyone in Sunderland and the rest of the North East too. It’s only 25 minutes on the Metro from Newcastle and there’s a diverse range of people on the bill, so it should have a wide appeal too.

“It’s the beauty of any good festival to have that kind of diverse line up. Hopefully people who see Dizzee Rascal (who is headlining the day before) might look at Maximo Park the next day and like what they hear - and vice versa.”

So who will Paul be looking forward to hearing?

“I really want to see School of Language,” he says, referring to Field Music brother David Brewis’ recent solo project.

“I was sad to miss the album launch, and he’s pretty much assembled a North East supergroup, so I think that will be special.

“Gruff Rhys is another I want to see. I remember watching Super Furry Animals at Middlesbrough Town Hall when I was a student, so it will be interesting seeing him after all these years.”

‘All these years’ is a term Paul is getting used to saying, not just about other bands.

Maximo Park’s recent album, Too Much Information was their fifth studio album since they formed in 2000, and it went down a treat.

“We didn’t necessarily expect to get another top 10 record,” says Paul. “It’s testament to the fact people have stuck with us over the course of 10 years. It seems as though we have a career. As well as making records, people buy them too.

“Music, especially in this country, is so fashion led. It’s always looking for the next big thing,” he continues.

“When that’s happening to you, it’s great, but you’ve always got one eye on the future, thinking whether or not people will still like us, and will go with us when we go to new places.”


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