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The Maccabees : Biography

(From the band's official website)

Orlando Weeks (vocals), Hugo White (guitars), Felix White (guitar), Rupert Jarvis (bass) and Robert Dylan Thomas all grew up in South London, near Clapham Common. The are is better known for drumbass and dubstep than guitar music. It was inevitable that their paths would cross.

While still at school, Orlando and Robert used to watch TV and write songs in Orlandos bedroom. By the summer of 2003, Rupert and Hugo had joined them. Felix was playing with a band called Jacks Basement, name after their front man Jack Pe. When Jack broke up the band to concentrate on a solo carreer, Felix joined The Maccabees, and the line-up was complete.

They chose the name by flicking through books. The biggest in the house was The Bible. They came across the story of The Maccabees, Jewish rebels who fought against Greek rule and established Jewish independence in the second century BC. Despite the religious connotation, the band asserts they are not a religious band.

They were ambitious from the start. Shortly after Felix joined, they entered a Battle of the Bands competition. They lost to a girl group called Red, who played covers, had massive afros and wore miniskirts. The Maccabees had already planned how to spend the money when they won new amps and a demo. When they didn`t, they were so devastated they didn`t even collect their second prize tickets to a beer festival.

Their first single did a lot better. X-Ray was released on South London label Promise Records. It received airplay on XFM and earned them support slots with Arctic Monkeys, Max Park and The Subways. Respected indie label Fierce Panda were impressed and offered to release the follow-up Latchmere, a song about the leisure centre where the boys learned to swim when they were growing up.

Despite living in Brighton, The Maccabees are just as much a London band. They`re quick to point out that they`ve spent 18 years in the latter and only two in the former. As such, they count Londoners such as Good Shoes and Jamie T as their peers. It's not just a location thing. Like the aforementioned, The Maccabees creativity extends beyond music. They just don't write songs; they oversee the whole package artwork, videos, the album tracklisting, everything. I think that's why people like us, says Orlando. Because theres a lot of passion and we genuinely care about what we do. Orlando went to art school and helps design their record covers, while friends he met at college directed their early videos - see the brilliant stop frame animation short accompanying Latchmere and the finger puppets in the bands video for About Your Dress. They're much happier with people they know rather than hired help that they don't.

What The Maccabees want most of all is to make people feel special. We get kids at the front of our gigs and they look at us the way I used to look at bands, says Felix. You can just see it in their eyes. It means something to them. And that means something to us.


2008 - Robert Dylan Thomas left the band in in order to enter rehab, replaced by Sam Doyle for 2009's album tour for Wall of Arms. It is uncertain whether Robert will rejoin the band in the future or not.

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