Alter The Press!


Interview: Max Raptor

Over the past two years Derbyshire's Max Raptor have found themselves supporting band such as Billy Talent, The Zutons and The Stranglers. In addition the band appeared at this year's Download Festival and have just completed a headline UK tour.

Alter The Press! spoke to the band about their origins, playing with Billy Talent, the Midlands music scene and more.

Alter The Press: How did Max Raptor come together?
Max Raptor: We were drawn together at School with JB our guitarist coming in later when we started jamming out. We all live pretty close to each other, and knew each other from our local pubs and friends etc.

ATP: You have opened for Billy Talent and The Stranglers. What were those tours like? How was it opening for such notable bands?
MR: Billy Talent are the band I have always wanted to play with and The Hammersmith Apollo is one of the dream venues I have always wanted to perform at, somehow, in the space of a year we have done both. Billy Talent were incredible, nothing better than playing with one of your heavy influences and they were great guys too, For me (Wil) Newcastle o2 Academy with Billy Talent is up there in my top 5 Raptor times. Then came the news of The Stranglers tour, which came up in February as a complete surprise. Like the Billy Talent dates we were the only support and played 16 dates all over the UK, the venues were sell outs, The Stranglers were incredible, banter was up there, crew were some of the best people we’ve met as a band and The Stranglers’ fans were incredible.

ATP: Did you find it difficult to play for their crowds every night?
MR: Billy Talent crowd in London was cool, at The Camden Underworld, if a London show goes well then it’s all cool. Stranglers tour wise, our baptism of fire came with our opening show at Glasgow o2 Academy to a 4,000 strong crowd, it went really really well. It usually takes two or three dates to get into the swing of things, start getting to know crew and the band. The crowds in Glasgow were wicked, they always are, they know their music up there and we received zero bottles of piss, so we are happy.

ATP: So you're touring the UK at the moment. How is that going?
MR: We've just finished actually, massive come down. Ended it with a great sell out show in Norwich at The Marquee, crowd were nuts. Newcastle, massive highlight too. We didn’t burn out, kept ourselves going on energy drink and living in and out of hotels and our van, which did break down, a first for her, she’s been damned good up until that moment. Then confronted by the arsiest breakdown man you could possibly imagine. This is what he said, baring in mind this pretty much his job “I don’t get paid to come out to fix fucked transits at 4 in the morning!” So that was weird but we kept ourselves entertained watching Garth Merengui’s Darkplace and Nathan Barley, pretty much 4/5am finish every day so we are shadows of our former selves

ATP: Was it what you expected it would be or has there been some surprises?
MR: Breakdown man as above, and just the increasing number of people beginning to recognise our tunes and lyrics and singing along. Raptor fans are the best fans, probably the biggest surprise was the bearded woman of Guildford, fully grown white beard on a 70 year old woman. It was really impressive as Matt our drummer can’t even grow body hair.

ATP: Your debut single, 'The Great and The Good', is a very powerful anthem of sorts. What inspired that track?
MR: he class system, dictators and conscience, it’s nothing too heavy in terms of it’s direction but Max Raptor tracks are about the Great times and the Shit times. So there are times you are hearing something that is perhaps energetic and mental but is written with pretty sinister lyrics and dark commentaries, bit like Monkey Dust on BBC3.

ATP: Speaking of the new single, will you guys be making a video for it?
MR: Yes, but there will be a wait, album will be recorded first along with B-sides for singles. We have huge ideas for videos. We need a small boy for one of them, so if anyone can lend us a small boy, couple of days in the week

ATP: What are some bands that have influenced you and your sound?
MR: Billy Talent, Refused, Alexisonfire, Alice in Chains, The Bronx, and The Ghost Of A Thousand are some of influences.

ATP: How is the general music scene in the Midlands? Is it advantage of having a good amount of venues to play?
MR: Venues open and close and it begins to get annoying, we’re going to be putting on a few of our own shows. Birmingham is pretty good, The Flapper is a cool little venue and we spent a couple of years playing the UK circuit in small venues getting our name out there and we always come back and play small local shows, as they are the best way to let off steam. Crowds go nuts, you see a lot of familiar faces and then massive house parties afterwards.

ATP: You've been releasing acoustic videos on your site. So far there's two videos, what can fans expect from future videos?
MR: Ha, yeah, we will record another load of acoustic videos now we’re back. Quite like the idea of hearing a fast paced pelters of songs that could literally kneecap you, changed in to a jazzy numbers in a weird locations in Britain. Watch this space...

ATP: What are some future goals or plans for Max Raptor?
MR: Stateside gigging next year, album, singles, videos, change vehicle breakdown provider and get as many people behind us, pick up new fans and get this album out everywhere, it’s gonna be worth the wait. We promise.

Max Raptor's Official Website and on MySpace

Janay Kinney

Alter The Press!