Interview: Mazes

MP3:Mazes – Vampire Jive (live)

Many apologies for my absence from Donewaiting in the past few months. Now that I’m comfortably settling into English life in this massive city, the time has arrived to continue contributing my two cents…

London-based Mazes have been generating quite a buzz. Between being signed to Fat Cat Records in November (making them label mates with recent Fat Cat addition Psychedelic Horseshit of Columbus), getting some badass BBC Radio 1 airplay and prepping for their new record (releasing on April 11th), they’re well on their way to having a busy and exciting year.

Coming from a tight-knit network of musicians and ambitious youngsters, they are just the kind of band a city like Columbus can really get behind. (And much to our glee they cite Guided by Voices as a major influence; just listen to the song in the video.) I recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Jack Cooper who told me a little more about the band and their role in the London DIY scene.

DW: So Mazes has been going for a couple of years. How has it evolved since the beginning?

Cooper: In the beginning it was just Jarin and I. I suppose the Adam and Eve of Mazes. The analogy stops there but we did give birth to a lot of good stuff and some bad stuff as well. We found Conan and Neil along the way and so much the better. It’s better having four of us, but y’know, more stuff can go wrong now.

DW: You come from a strong DIY scene. How has it nurtured bands like yours?

Cooper: The people, labels and bands that we’ve been involved with from the start are incredibly supportive and helpful. If we have some sort of problem, someone else has always been there to offer advice. It’s nice and comforting having friends with similar hopes and goals maybe…but saying that, people are usually friends with dudes who have similar interests.

DW: As the band has moved its base from Manchester to London, how have things changed for you?

Cooper: As a band we’ve always kinda been based in London although I lived in Manchester. We always rehearsed here, and to be honest, and without dissing the north, we’ve always wanted to play down here more. We’ve always been received better. But yeah, we ALL live in London now so we’ve actually been rehearsing. Before I lived in London, we rehearsed 7 times in total. We’re actually getting good now.

DW: Congrats on signing with Fat Cat back in November. Has it changed the dynamic of the band much?

Cooper: I think we’re all taking it a little bit more seriously, mainly out of respect for all the people who are working on our record.

DW: What other projects are you all involved in?

Cooper: At the moment both Conan and I have record labels. Conan has Italian Beach Babes, who’ve released Hounds Of Hate, Dirty Beaches, Pens. And then I have Suffering Jukebox which is Brown Brogues, Colleen Green, Milk Maid, Bat Caves. We’re both gearing up to actually releasing LPs, which is pretty intimidating to be honest. Conan’s also in Graffiti Island, Neil’s in a band called Hyacinth Girl and I’m starting another band with my friend Amelia…maybe. Jarin has just had a baby, so that’s his main project obviously!

DW: What are you listening to right now?

Cooper: I’m listening to a lot of Grateful Dead, Daniel Higgs, Arthur Russell, Flipper.

DW: What is something you want people to know about Mazes?

Cooper: Neil’s single… form an orderly queue.

DW: What’s in store for Mazes in 2011?

Cooper: Love’s in store.

Mazes will play the support slot for with Dum Dum Girls in the UK in March/April, plus a gig with Columbus’ Times New Viking on April 27. Dates below:

09 March 2011
Bull & Gate
with Flats

31 March 2011
The Deaf Institute
with Dum Dum Girls

01 April 2011
with Dum Dum Girls

02 April 2011
The Black Box
with Dum Dum Girls

03 April 2011
with Dum Dum Girls

04 April 2011
Brudenell Social Club
with Dum Dum Girls

05 April 2011
with Dum Dum Girls

06 April 2011
The Komedia
with Dum Dum Girls

27 April 2011
The Deaf Institute
with Times New Viking

28 April 2011
Queens Social
with Best Coast

29 April 2011

30 April 2011
Brudenell Social Club

01 May 2011
Camden Crawl @ KOKO

14 May 2011
The Great Escape
The Green Door, Brighton
with The Twilight Sad

  • Was really pleased to see Mazes get announced for the Camden Crawl along with British Sea Power, Simian Mobile Disco etc. – just the sort of act a festival like the Crawl needs to keep it fresh. Like the whole line-up, actually – eclectic and properly alternative – but Maps will be on my ‘must see’ list…

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