Maybeshewill interview with John Helps – August 2014

@AnybodyBC @PlanetMosh interview with @Mybshwll . @superball_music

Definitely one of the most recognizable instrumental acts in the UK, Maybeshewill manage to blend music styles that invoke a great variety of feeling through them. This month is special for the guys, with their new album “Fair Youth” due for release.  Guitarist John Helps took time out to speak to Planetmosh to tell us more about it.


Maybeshewill - Fair Youth
Maybeshewill – Fair Youth

So, why the name “Fair Youth” for the album?
We’d managed to, almost by accident, give all our albums to date titles which came to have particular relevance to us for that particular time in our lives, so there was a bit of pressure on to achieve the same with this one. Fair Youth means a lot of things to us, and although it’s taken from a specific thing for a specific reason, it’s come to symbolise the place we find ourselves at now.  Being in a band forces you to remain stuck in this weird place between youth and adulthood. We’re all getting older – some of us have been in this band for nearly a third of our lives, and that passing of youth is something that’s at the forefront of our minds. That said, we’ve already had people suggest wildly different ideas for it, so people should take from that what they like.

Who is the girl on the album cover?
The artwork was put together by our good friend Fraser West who has worked on almost all of our videos and a bunch of other visual material for us over the years – including all the visual material for this album. He knows the band totally inside out, and it was so easy to put together something for the album with him. The girl appears again in some of the teaser videos we put together for the artwork, but it’s a visual metaphor, so you’ll need to figure out who she is for yourself.

How do you pick themes for your music? What exactly inspired you to write this record?
Each of us may have entirely different ideas about what each song symbolises and represents, or the thoughts and ideas that are behind it. Eventually we have to come up with a title that satisfies as many peoples visions for what they’re about as possible, but then that is left open to interpretation by the listener as well – which is kind of the beauty of writing instrumental music. A lot of the titles relate to the feeling of travelling, of the kind of dreamlike states you enter when you’ve been awake for a really long time, of preserving moments in time and of absence – but all in very positive ways.

Every band has their own ways to create. What does your creation process look like?
Usually one of the band will bring a relatively fully formed idea to the rest of us – on this record it’s been Robin and Jamie for the most part – but then the tracks will be taken apart and put back together and poured over in minute detail throughout the whole song writing process right up to the recording stage. Nothing in Maybeshewill happens by accident – we’re not the kind of band who goes and jams stuff out – everything is very considered.

Do you have your favourite track of the album?
It’s changed so much during the whole making of the record. Tracks that I used to think were favourites were overtaken by ones i thought were less remarkable early on. I’m really looking forward to playing Sanctuary live, and I really love the title track.

How did the collaboration with Superball Music come about?
They actually turned down the last record before we released it with Function records, which is kind of funny now. Function were really great for us and we came so far with their love and support, as did they, so when Superball came back to us last year and said how much they regretted not taking the album on it was a big decision to then choose to leave Function and go with them, but I’m feeling super positive about it and excited to see what the next few months brings. They’ve released so many great records and worked with bands who we really respect – and they’re getting a good understanding of how we work as a band – so it seems a good fit for us.

I’ve read that the live shows, for you, is one of the most important things. What’s the most memorable show you’ve had?
Yeah, absolutely – I definitely feel that I’m in the band to go and play shows as well as make records. Both sides of the coin are as important. We have so many memorable shows that it’s really hard to pick. I think the first time we sold out a show in London at The Barfly was pretty crazy – there were people everywhere, the first time we played in Moscow was a really surreal experience, and when we played 2000 Trees festival last year and people just kept cheering from when one song finished until the next one started. It was amazing.

What countries do you dream to play in?
We’ve played in so many countries I never dreamt we’d go to already! I’d love to play shows on every continent – that would be quite an achievement – although Antarctica would be inconvenient and under attended probably. I’d love to tour North America – I think that’s the kind of 60’s/70’s touring romantic dream for a rock band, isn’t it?

You are an instrumental band, which could be described in so many words, how would you describe yourselves in three words?
Tired but excited.

I know that many bands just right after the new album release already have some new ideas for another set. What about you?
Yep – we’ll be playing new songs and old ones though. It’s nice to be able to pick what we think are the best ones from across 4 albums!

What are your other future plans?
To keep touring for a while and see what happens after that!

Thank you for your answers!


Maybeshewill is:
James Collins – drums
Matthew Daly – keyboards
John Helps – guitar
Robin Southby – guitar
Jamie Ward – bass


About Jurga Kalinauskaite

Photographer, journalist, curious wanderer.