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MayBeSheWill Interview

On October 31st 2010, the day of Halloween, in the Kiev club XLIB, dark forces who usually show their greatest activity on this day, were forced to retreat under the onslaught of music – the kind of art that makes people become closer to God.

Like an avalanche from the mountains music fell on everyone and covered them with its powerful sound, allowing no chance for the dark forces to get closer. Music catharsis – that’s what happened this evening to all who came. The reason for this was the concert of post-rock, experimental, instrumental, math-rock group from the British city of Leicester with a charming name – “MayBeSheWill”.

This concert took place as part of the tour in support of their third studio album, “Sing the Word Hope in Four-Part Harmony”. The concert started with the music of Kiev post-metal band Alinda and post-rock band AL.ko_kc from Ivano-Frankivsk. After the concert, all participants of MayBeSheWill kindly agreed to be interviewed.

Robin Southby (Guitar)
John Helps (Guitar)
James Collins (Drums)
Jamie Ward (Bass)

Hi! How are you? It’s your first time here in Kiev – did you like the city and the audience here?

Robin Southby: Yes, the show was amazing, but we’ve spent here only three hours, so we will do it tomorrow and think of it.
John Helps: Everything was great. We haven’t seen Kiev but we enjoyed it.
Jamie Ward: It was one of the best shows.

If you compare your music with a fruit, what would that be?

John Helps: Pomegranate

Which Ukrainian musicians do you know?

Jamie Ward: I know “Perkalaba”.

It seems strange that you know this type of a band, because you play different styles of music.

Jamie Ward: Yeah, it was on the UK TV.

What was the last track on your mp3 that you listened to?

Robin Southby: For me it was Four Tett “Love cry”.
John Helps: David Hasselhoff.
James Collins: “Mr Blueskies” by an electric violin orchestra.
Jamie Ward: I could try to be cool and think of some bands, but really I listened to some remixes.

Do you have any musical education or did you learn how to play by yourselves?

John Helps: We all used to play by ourselves. Half of us did a slight musical course in the university. It drag us together, but in a way that had nothing to do with the band. Jamie went to the same course, but we didn’t know him then. We met Jim playing on his own band they were amazing! So we have stolen him.
James Collins: It was a good decision.

How long have you been playing together?

James Collins: In this line about a year.

How long have you existed as a band?

Robin Southby: Technically, about five years, but it was just me and John working together in a bedroom. We went as a band for about four years before Jim joined us.

What kind of music or which bands made you play musical instruments?

James Collins: I’m going to be uncool and say that The Beatles was that band for me. And it was my dad who taught me to play guitar. He played guitar but I taught myself to play drums.

Why did you choose “Maybeshewill” as the name for your band?

John Helps: It sounds nice, so we liked the idea of the phrase. If it means something to you – then it’s great!

Who did you dream to be in your childhood?

Robin Southby: I wanted to be a cartoonist. But I don’t paint anymore.
James Collins: I wanted to be a train driver.
Jamie Ward: I wanted to play golf for England.
John Helps: Probably I wanted to be an astronaut.

Who you were in your past lives?

Robin Southby: Probably some random guy.
James Collins: Train driver.
John Helps: An astronaut.
Jamie Ward: I was a type of whiskey.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Robin Southby: It’s not necessary a normal place where you get inspiration from. Not necessary music. Because usually you are expected to be influenced by music. It can be something random.
James Collins: Also our friends or people that would come to meet us, like today. Some other bands, they don’t really have to sound as MayBeSheWill. It’s just nice knowing that someone is doing something similar to you.
John Helps: For me inspiration is in trying to do better every time. Trying to improve of what you’ve done the last time. It is just a challenge.

Do you create any music while you are on tour?

Robin Southby: We actually try to, but it’s been quite hard, because it’s difficult to find time to stay alone and concentrate on things.
John Helps: So it’s not a very inspiring place.

What is a synonym of music for you?
It’s very abstract to answer.

The first concert is like the first time sex. Tell us about your first concert experience.

James Collins: My first concert was in my high school? It was in a dinner hall before lunch time. We played Song 2 by Blur. People applauded us and continued their dinner.
It was amazing, not like the first time sex.

Tell us a funny story about your concert life.

James Collins: We played a concert in Innsbruck, Austria. There was an old Austrian man in his seventies, he got on the stage with us, took the microphone and shouted something out loud, but we have no idea what he said.

In one of the interviews Jonsi Birginson – frontman of Sigur Ros said that he is one of your fans? Do you have contact with him?

All: It’s just one of the rumors. But we’ve heard it before. We would love it to be true.

Do you earn enough money making music or you need to have some extra jobs?

Robin Southby: I used to work in a library, but I quit as we went on tour.
John Helps: I work for Venue.
James Collins: I was a train driver, but driving trains and touring at one time doesn’t work out. It would be really amazing if we could go on tour on train, but unfortunately there are not many train stations around where we travel.
Jamie Ward: I work in a recording studio, recording bands.

Do you plan more concerts with other bands?

Robin Southby: We like a lot of bands in U.K. that are at the same level with MayBeSheWill. And sometimes before the tour we would think which of the bands we like to take on tour and someone would appear in our minds. It’s usually the band that we liked before the tour.
John Helps: They don’t necessary have to be alike to MayBeSheWill, I mean not necessary playing post rock. We like taking bands that are different, because when you come to the show you get two different experiences.

Today is Halloween. How do you usually celebrate it when you are not on tour, do you celebrate it together or not?

John Helps: Jamie is great about Halloween costumes. He dresses up very strangely.
James Collins: well, sometimes we do celebrate it together, but usually they work and I get drunk. We live quite far from each other.

Where is your studio for making “do it yourself” recordings?

John Helps: It had various locations in Leicester but now it’s in Jamie’s bedroom.

Why did you choose “do it yourself” recording on your own label Robot Needs Home Records?

John Helps: Yeah, it’s a sort of idea. It’s basically because we didn’t have any money. We borrowed equipment from people and we tried to make it sound good. It’s not as good as we thought at that time, but we’re still proud of it.

You have put your music on the Internet for free downloading. Why did you choose that form of promoting your music?

Robin Southby: We didn’t, somebody else did. Some tracks were valuable for free, but people just wanted to get hold of the album without paying money. So we uploaded it on torrents and they just circulate from that. And it’s not bad, because if there were not torrents people, Ukraine would have never heard of us. So we owe a lot of our success abroad to people who uploaded our music on Internet, but we still would like people to buy our records when they come out.

You use different samples in your music. How do you choose which one you need? Do you have some special preferences?

John Helps: It’s seems like samples find their own place in the songs. Sometimes we feel that some tracks really need them. We usually take samples from the films we like or respect, mostly those are the messages that we want to bring to people, what we personally want to say with the song.

Do you often go to the concerts of other bands?

James Collins: Yes, we do. Mostly we go to those that John invites us, those that are at the place where he works. The club is situated between two big cities.

Concert photo gallery

Sergey Onischenko, Julie Kupina

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