MAYCOMB‘s debut album “I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things” is out now and streaming in full below. Wolverhampton based pop rockers have released it via I Am Mighty Records and were so kind to sit down with us and answer a few questions. We discussed the album, their local scene, plans for 2013 and much more. Check it out:
Hey! Welcome guys. Please shoot us an introduction about what MAYCOMB is [smiles].
Hi! This is Simon, I sing and play bass in the band. MAYCOMB is a West Midlands based four piece, playing what we like to think of as ‘pop-punk for grown ups’! We’ve been a band in some form or another for around 6 years now, and in that time we’ve put out two EPs, and have recently released our debut album, I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things.
Cool. Tell us about your first exposure to punk rock.
I think it was probably buying a slightly suspect looking copy of an OFFSPRING cassette from a market in Nottingham! We all grew up listening to bands like MILLENCOLIN, BAD RELIGION, and ALKALINE TRIO – we’re into a lot of different stuff as well, but that’s the kind of music we share an interest in, and it’s what brought us together in the first place.
And what drove you to give pop-punk a try?
I think that was a natural progression; once you latch onto one or two of those initial bands, it serves as a gateway to the less mainstream stuff, and you can really figure out what it is that you’re into. Personally, I was drawn to the more melodic side of pop-punk, and I’m a big fan of the kind of vocal harmonies that are a staple of the genre. With regard to MAYCOMB, we never set out with the intention of writing a particular style of music; we just tend to try out ideas and see what sticks.
Have you ever been into heavy music? Some side-projects maybe? [smiles]
I’m not really into the heavier side of things – like I said, I’m a sucker for a good melody, and that’s not always so prominent with heavier music. Personally, if I was going to work on anything outside the band, I’d probably go in the opposite direction and try something softer and more stripped down; we’ve started writing some ideas acoustically, and it’s been interesting to see how that can instantly change the feel and direction of a song.
Having said that, I know the other guys are more into some heavier stuff, so you never know! We opened our Halloween set this year with a bit of a METALLICA medley, and it was fun to do something outside of our comfort zone.
Ok. So tell us more about “I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things” and your cooperation with I Am Mighty Records.
With this album, we set out with the intention of writing the best collection of songs we could possibly write at that point in time, and I think we achieved that goal. It’s been an incredibly drawn out and exhausting experience; from start to finish, the whole process has taken close to three years, so we’re all very relieved and excited to finally have it out there for people to hear! We also put a lot of time and effort into making sure the physical copies are something special, and I think that has really paid off. Thematically, the album deals with the idea of perseverance, and carrying on in the face of adversity, which is quite fitting considering the many set backs we faced with the recording process! Either way, it’s resulted in an album that we’re all really proud of. We’re trying to branch out from the more generic pop-punk side of things, and I think that’s something that we’ll take further with whatever we do next.
We’ve known the guys from I Am Mighty for a number of years, and they’ve always been really enthusiastic about our band, so we knew they’d put the work in and help us as much as they can. With this being our first full-length release, our biggest concern is getting our name out there, so that’s the main thing we’re hoping to gain from working together.
What physical formats have you decided to use? What’s special about the way you put it out?
As soon as we saw how the artwork was shaping up, we knew that it had to be made into a digipak to really do it justice, so that’s something we fought really hard to make happen. The finished product looks fantastic, so we’re glad we held our ground on that one. It’s got this really nice rustic, tactile style to it, and it just works really well as a package. We definitely want to release a vinyl version in the future, so hopefully that will happen if there’s enough demand for it. We’re currently working on putting together a small run of cassettes, and they’re coming together really nicely as well!
Aren’t you a fan of vinyl?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s always nice to see the artwork on a larger scale, and with a bit of thought, you can do some really interesting things with the medium.
I think with digital releases being on the rise, and the fact that you can pretty much guarantee an album will leak the second it’s released, you really need to give people a reason to pick up a physical copy. Vinyl and digipak editions can be a nice way of doing that.
Are you satisfied with the way the record turned out? What’s the general response been like to this release?
We’re all really proud of the album – it was a long time coming for a number of reasons, but it feels amazing to finally get it out there for people to hear. The response has been overwhelmingly positive so far, much better than we were anticipating! We really concentrated on making an album that we were happy with, and while that’s definitely the most important thing to us, it’s still incredible to hear that other people are into it. We really didn’t know how well it was going to be received, and tried not to worry about it too much, but the response so far has been fantastic.
Is Wolverhampton a pop-punk friendly city? [smiles] How’s the local scene out there?
We’ve played some really good shows in Wolverhampton, and it’s always nice to play in our hometown in front of our friends. Birmingham is pretty close by though, so that’s where a lot of the bigger bands tend to play. There’s a decent scene there, and it’s definitely been improving over the past year or two. Some really cool smaller venues have opened up there, whereas Wolves seems to be going in the opposite direction, and a lot of the venues we played our first shows at are shutting down. It’s sad to see, and it definitely makes things harder for smaller bands, but there are still some decent venues here for touring bands.
In light of the crisis, have you noticed any changes in number of shows, people attending, etc.?
We’ve had a bit of a quiet year anyway as we were concentrating on the album for the most part, but I’d say the shows we have played have actually had better turn outs than previous years! That’s probably down to the bands we were playing with, and hopefully the fact that we’re getting our name out there a bit more. I’d definitely say the most noticeable impact has been on the decreasing number of venues, rather than the amount of people at shows.
Is there a local CBGB or Chain reaction left somewhere? [smiles]
We didn’t have either of those to begin with, so I guess we don’t know what we’re missing!
You guys have toured very extensively over the last few years. How many shows have you played so far? Have you had to make major adjustments to life at home in order to continue touring?
I think when you’re in a touring band, it’s always at the back of your mind that you might need to drop everything if the right offer comes along, so it’s definitely something we think about a lot. Fortunately, it hasn’t caused too many problems so far; we’re really hoping to tour a lot more now the album is out though, so we’ll have to see where the New Year takes us!
Okay, so what is next for the band in the coming months? What’s your plan for 2013?
We basically want to tour as much as we possibly can, and hopefully play a lot of places we’ve never been to before. Aside from that, we’ll be working on new material for our next release. We’ve already made a start on some new songs; we tend to make quite slow progress when it comes to writing, so it’s good for us to get started on it early!
When will we be able to listen to some of the new tracks?
Probably not for a while I’m afraid! They’re mostly just ideas at this point, and we’ll be looking to push IOMHTCT for a good year or so. We don’t have any concrete plans for what we’ll do next, but hopefully there won’t be such a long wait between releases this time round!
Alright, guys. What else should we know about MAYCOMB? [smiles]
We’re basically just four friends, making the music we want to make, and having a good time doing it! People seem to genuinely like what we’re doing at the minute, and that’s a very humbling feeling, and it makes us even more determined to push ourselves with whatever we do next. We’re really looking forward to seeing where 2013 takes us, and it definitely feels like the start of a new chapter now that the album is finally out. It’s a very exciting time for our little band!
Great! Before we finish off, tell us about your best of 2012. List some of your favourite albums and shows of the last year for us.
Seeing BRAND NEW was a definite highlight for me – I hadn’t seen them live since they released their first album, and the progression from that point was absolutely astounding. MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK supported by NOW, NOW was another favourite, and Slam Dunk festival is always great too. My favourite album of the year would have to be THE MENZINGERS, ‘On the Impossible Past’, which I’ve listened to more than anything else over the last 12 months. I’ve also really enjoyed new music from THE SHINS, FUTURES, BON IVER, HOT WATER MUSIC, and THE EARLY NOVEMBER.
Nice. What other festivals would you recommend to our readers?
The UK actually does pretty well for festivals these days – obviously there are the massive events like Reading, Leeds, and Download, but there are quite a few smaller festivals which get some really good bands playing too: Slam Dunk, Hit the Deck, and the UK Warped Tour are all worth a look.
So what are you looking forward to this year?
It’d be an absolute dream for us to play any of those festivals – I’d say Slam Dunk definitely has the strongest line up so far. Other than that, touring IOMHTCT as much as is humanly possible, and writing album number 2 are the things I’m looking forward to most in 2013.
Great! Thanks so much for your time, guys! Take care and let’s keep in touch! Cheers!
Rock Sound magazine MAYCOMB album review: