Interview: Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith – ‘You can’t get away from the sound of your own voice'

Interview: Paul Smith

Paul Smith, middle left, with Maximo Park band mates

With a number of tours, albums and bands on the go, Paul Smith has a lot going on. He talks to Sam Bradley about his upcoming schedule.

Paul Smith likes to keep himself busy. On stage he often looks as if he’s trying to be everywhere at once – all arms and legs and awkward spontaneous dancing – and off stage, it seems as if he’s trying to keep as many fingers in as many artistic pies as possible. I called him up at home for a chat about his latest solo record, and his first performing under the guise of Paul Smith & The Intimations, which comes out just as Maximo Park propel themselves around the UK on a sold-out tour to commemorate their seminal debut, A Certain Trigger, released a decade ago.

‘Initially,’ he says, ‘I thought it would be nice to do something in a pub in Newcastle for our friends and just rattle through the first album but we felt like that was a bit too greedy of us, and then it sort of expanded.’

The tour was intended as a ‘pat on the back’ for themselves and their audience for getting this far, and Smith looks back on the release of A Certain Trigger with fondness. ‘I remember playing those songs and working as hard as possible just to spread the word about our music, but that’s been and gone. I was working in a call centre in the day time and I wanted to make as many types of music as I could. That would still be my kind of thing now; I’d still be working in a job that I wasn’t particularly keen on and just wanting to be creative.’

That said, Smith says he feels the need to keep moving. Before the Maximo Park shows in November, he toured Contradictions across the country and is heading to Europe. ‘I’m excited – when you’ve got a new record, then you want to go and perform it. Contradictions has got lots of jingly jangly guitars and dreamy pop on it and hopefully it will make sense in a live environment.’ Despite being a solo record, Smith wanted to reflect the input of other collaborators – hence the ‘Intimations.’ He explained further, telling me that, ‘Andy and Claire, who toured my last album [Margins, released in 2010] with me, helped me write Contradictions on the tour bus and they’re very much part of the sound of it. I wanted to give them credit where it’s due.’

Smith says that the new album features his songwriting undiluted by the compromises involved with writing in a band, but confesses that the result may not be vastly different. ‘You can’t get away from the sound of your own voice,’ he says. ‘But you can adapt it or push it into places you didn’t think it was possible to go.’

Contradictions is out now on Billingham.

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Paul Smith & The Intimations

Solo project from the Maxïmo Park frontman.

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