With all the talk of the NME tour focussing on that band of Sheffield youngsters, headliners Maximo Park have managed to carry on with their business quietly and happily. Room Thirteen caught up with drummer Tom English who filled us in on what this tour is like for the band and for the exciting times that lie ahead.

R13: A new year and another multi-band tour, are you still enjoying these type of shows?
TE: Yeah, this is bigger than ever and it's our chance to make more of a mark than the other ones. It's not a tour we had planned a long time ago, it came up by surprise and we were really flattered to be offered it and relished the idea. Now we know we are playing to a lot of people who hadn't seen us before and after we finish this tour we are going to be away for a while, recording the next album. So it'll hopefully cement us more in people's minds.
R13: What with the Rock N Roll Riot Tour in October and your own tour in December, it seems surprising your back out on the road so quick.
TE: We do feel as though we had a lot of time off over Christmas and New Year so that's a whole month off and personally, I was raring to go.

R13: Is there a major change in the dynamics of this tour given that you are now the headliners?
TE: The Rock N Roll Riot Tour was an NME thing but it was pretty much a Kaiser Chiefs tour, it was at the height of their journey, the album was out for a while and they were the big band in Britain. Funnily enough on this tour, the Arctic Monkeys are the big band at the moment. We've managed to get on these tours a lot but still remain...not obscure but we sneak under the radar a bit and I'm glad about that. We managed to get on without being in peoples faces too much and we avoid the danger of too much hype. People can demand too much from you if you are always up there and even though we are headliners on this tour, we feel like the oldest band and it's up to us to show a bit of class. It's also the case of we were playing a shorter set and we had less expectations on us then, so perhaps we came across well on the Riot Tour.
R13: Certainly in the last night in Glasgow, yourselves and The Cribs seemed a lot fresher than The Kaiser Chiefs, who appeared a bit jaded.
TE: They had such a busy year, as did we of course, but they were continuously in the spotlight and I think they would admit the level of expectations and what people were saying of their record was above and beyond than what they would have said, so maybe they had less freedom and more pressure to perform. We were able, and remain able, to grab this opportunity and make the most of these tours.

R13: You have already said that you are glad to be taking things slower than some bands but are you still taken aback by the speed of which your fan base has grown and the larger venues you play?
TE: The live scene has really kicked of in the last two or three years and it's happened to a lot of bands. Many acts were nowhere at the start of last year and have come up so fast and become really big British bands. It's perhaps more surprising for us as we never gave it the big push or the marketing role. It took a while for the press to take notice and I don't blame them because there is so much going on. People probably think "oh no, not another band, not another one needing attention." We are glad of what happened last year and this is such an opportunity.

R13: You are signed to Warp Records and this may have raised a few eyebrows, how has it been for you guys?
TE: It's a brilliant record label, it's a pleasure to work with. They've helped us so much and we cant ask for more really. They are as ambitious as we are and they seem excited to be working with a band like us, different from what they have been doing. We're excited to be working with a label that is almost like a byword for quality. The majority of people who like us probably don't even realise we are signed to Warp until they get bored enough to read the record sleeve but it's only in the industry that it seems an issue for people. There are probably a few hardcore Warp heads out there who aren't too happy but we can assure them we are in it for the right reasons and to be relevant and artistically viable.
R13: Would there be any Warp act you would like to remix one of your tracks?
TE: We're not mad into the idea of remixing but our next single does feature our first remix and one is a very unconventional remix by a guy called Christian Vogel, he isn't on Warp, and I don't know whether anyone would want to. I would love to hear what maybe 2 Lone Swordsmen or Autechre would come up with but they do what they do and we do what we do and it would only work on certain tracks. Possibly 'I Want You To Stay' from the last album could suit a remix but the Christian remix doesn't sound like electronica, it sounds a lot more like Krautrock.

R13: So you have already said your plans are to record the next album very soon, how is that shaping up?
TE: Quite well, we have just made a demo of some new songs at the soundcheck today and we've got a lot of material already. Once we are free to focus on the new stuff and not have to think about the old songs we should have the songs ready in May and we should be able to go and record it then. Hopefully put it out in the Autumn and I'm really excited by it, we have a lot of new material to work on and we are a lot more efficient in what we are doing after all our experiences, so it should be good. Being creative was an everyday thing for us before we started touring so we may be a bit rusty but it all comes back.

R13: On previous tours you have featured new material, such as 'A19'. This is one of the tracks out on the 'Going Missing' record that's being imported into the country at the moment. What's the thinking behind this album?
TE: Well, it was only in Germany and it's ending up over here on import. Some people are thinking it's a proper release but its not. The German market wanted something, as they didn't get all the single formats or versions that were for sale in Britain. I spoke to the record distributor in Germany and we had just released 'Apply Some Pressure' and he said there were only thirty copies going to the stores! So, that's why we released it we are doing well in Germany. We have played three tours but the crowd never knew a lot of the songs so we figured they deserved it and that's why that came out. If people never managed to get the singles then there it is, all on one disc in a handy package.

R13: On stage the band are quite animated, who do you think would win in a dance-off between Paul (Smith, singer) and Lukas (Wooler, keyboards)?
TE: They both are full of energy and I think the two of them would just keep going and going, probably until beyond the sun coming up. Maybe best to call it a draw.

R13: Any last messages for your fans?
TE: Yeah, we aren't going anywhere, we are just heading off to record the new album and it'll be an improvement. We don't want to stay the same or repeat ourselves, so if the song isn't better than what we have done before, then it won't be on the album. We hope the first single will come out earlier than we release the album so there will hopefully be something to chew on in the summer. But that's not definite yet, it's all up in the air. We'll be out playing live as soon as we can.
R13: Any festival plans?
TE: It depends on how the album is going, so we can't say for sure, but if that's going well, I'm sure we could be around. T in the Park is likely, which we are very excited about as it's one of the best festivals, we had such a good time playing there.

R13: That should be good, best of luck with the tour and the album recording.
TE: Thank you, cheers.

With the tour still going on for the majority of February, there are still many gigs to get through before Maximo Park can concentrate on their new album but the live show is better than ever and the band seem keen to win over even more fans before they work on new material.