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The Maccabees' Ultimate Playlist


The Maccabees have firmly established themselves as one of the UK's best bands, culminating in the release of their fourth album, Marks To Prove It, which came out to a rapturous reception this week - read the story of how it was made here.

They also did us the honour of appearing at a recent ShortList Sessions, performing to an adoring crowd at Elephant & Castle's Corsica Studios - their smallest gig in years.

We decided it was time to speak to the boys to discover their Ultimate Playlist and the stories behind the choices. Read on to discover Orlando, Felix and Hugo's love of the Fab Four, snooker and the King of Pop...

Listen to the playlist on Spotify here

Favourite Sad Song

ORLANDO: There’s one by Randy Newman called Marie which is kind of a tragic love song - kind of [about] failings and that kind of thing - that’s very beautiful.

FELIX: There’s this song by Vic Chestnut... he had a song called Florida but it’s like the saddest thing you’ll ever hear, because it’s basically about him committing suicide in Florida trying to take his life... it’s like an account of that - and he did commit suicide after that years later... it’s like the darkest song... but it’s amazing... the lyrics in it are ridiculous.

Favourite Movie Soundtrack

HUGO: Toy Story.

ORLANDO: Yeah I was gonna say that... staying with the Randy Newman theme... this is going to come across quite Randy Newman heavy!

FELIX: Anyone our age, and I suppose younger, will feel very sentimental about the soundtrack of Toy Story.

ORLANDO: Did I cry during the furnace scene [in Toy Story 3]? Um...um... no. I did (laughs) I’m a pushover so I don’t really stand for anything!

FELIX: I only cry at films when they are on aeroplanes. That makes me cry at everything.

Favourite Song From Your Childhood

ORLANDO: The Beatles Help! was always played in the car.

HUGO: I’d say Van Morrison Bright Side of the Road... again it’s like a car thing. The Van Morrison cassette was used in the car a lot, you know it just stayed in there, in the glove compartment.

ORLANDO: We had The Beatles At The BBC so there was like lots of kind of little interview snippets.

HUGO: We used to spend a long time when you (Orlando) had a car early on and you and [the stereo] was only mono, Orlando had a The Beatles tape and you could only hear Ringo and then George’s guitar alongside it. And it was still good even if it was missing half of it!

Favourite Song That No One Else Knows

HUGO: We toured with Spiritualized about a year ago and they have this song called Perfect Miracle that they still haven’t recorded, but it is beautiful - it's like the best song ever - and it’s weird 'cos there are still a few videos of it online but I don’t know if they are recording it.

FELIX: We were going for ages, what is that song?

HUGO: We were listening through all the records from the back catalogue trying to find it!

FELIX: I was speaking to the band and they were like "yeah he just wrote it a week before he toured".

Favourite Club Anthem

FELIX: Well we don’t really go like clubbing anymore. Sam might end up in clubs, but if you end up in clubs it's normally because the night has gone a little bit off piste!

HUGO: You never set out to go clubbing...

ORLANDO: I like the theme tune to Big Break. (Starts singing, "It's only a game so...")

FELIX: Club Anthem?

HUGO: The Snooker Club.

FELIX: Ah! We'll go with that. You don't want to come to one of our DJ sets if you want a good night out.

Favourite Wedding Song

FELIX: Some good friends of mine got married about six months ago and Mark did the playlist, and it was loosely based on the songs we used to listen to at University and he got the timing wrong and Jess [the bride] ended up walking down the aisle to an album track off Antics by Interpol. I don't think it was how she planned it.

ORLANDO: Michael Jackson.

FELIX: Ah Man In the Mirror - for any cheesy occasion, that can never fail man. You can literally turn a room of 20 people who don’t know each other making small talk into a full-on tops-off party by the end of Man In the Mirror, by that key change.

HUGO: Actually, the guy that co-wrote Man In The Mirror [Glen Ballard] co-wrote Alanis Morissette's first record.

Favourite One Hit Wonder

ORLANDO: I just saw the YouTube trail last night for finding out more about the band who did the Peep Show soundtrack (sings: "Paranoia paranoia everybody's coming to get me...") was that a one hit wonder or am I doing them a huge disservice?

HUGO: That might be a disservice.

FELIX: They were called Harvey Danger.

ORLANDO: It’s a fucking good song that.

FELIX: Are we Peep Show fans? You know when you end up watching something out of habit...

HUGO: Yeah it’s one of those ones you go to when there is nothing else to watch.

FELIX: Yeah, yeah, it’s pretty genius Peep Show. Last night I watched the one when she [Sophie] has a baby and he's trying desperately to get out of that and he ends up in KFC and then playing the arcade machine and he just can't... It's funny, as it goes on and on Mark becomes more and more unlikeable, his priorities become so warped. Sophie's having a baby and he can't stop panicking about the freezer leaking.

Favourite Lyric From A Song

ORLANDO: In that Marie song [Randy Newman] there is a great line that goes “I’m drunk right now baby, but I’ve got to be, or I couldn't tell you, what you mean to me.” I think that that is like... that is beautiful. That's a magic lyric. Is it similar to Pet Shop Boys' You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk? I read it as he’s too shy - he wants to say something nice - rather than a drunken "I love you" but maybe I’ve always misread that.

FELIX: Well that goes to show you how different Randy Newman and Neil Tennant will read a situation (laughs).

FELIX: Well Orlando writes the lyrics but Hugo and me have an amazing capacity for retaining lyrics.

HUGO: Yeah and I can barely remember mine.

FELIX: I can still remember every word to a song I heard when I was eight. Eternal - Power of a Woman, for example.

ORLANDO: It really spoke to you.

FELIX: Yeah it did yeah.

FELIX: Something off I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen. “I asked Hank Williams how lonely does it get, Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet, But I hear him moaning all night long, four floors above me in the tower of song". That’s a fucking verse isn’t it?

Favourite Current Song

FELIX: I like Everything Everything song - Distant Past. I thought was a really fun bit of music. We played a few shows with them a long time ago. They toured with us before they put a record out.

Favourite Song From Your Own Music

HUGO: We did a version on the second record of No Kind Words but Roots Manuva did a vocal with it - it's called Empty Vessels. I think that is an easier one to choose because it’s separate - that's easy to listen to I feel like I can play that with people around, without feeling like I'm playing us.

ORLANDO: That’s weird... that's the only one without me singing...

FELIX: I was listening to a lot of his catalogue while we were making that album and it had that feel and the textures of something off Awfully Deep or whatever, so I just thought he'd be into it. So me and Hugo mocked up a mashup of one of his vocals and sent it off to the label and they said 'oh it's out of time, it doesn't work'... we just thought we'd write that off. And then just out of the blue a month later he just phoned me up and said 'let's make it happen'. So that's how that worked.



The Maccabees tore the roof off Corsica Studios for the second Shortli


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