What began as guitarists John Helps and Robin Southby writing songs together in a bedroom evolved into an instrumental band with a rotating cast of bassists and drummers, but it never really felt permanent, until now.
“The biggest thing these days is that we really feel like a unit,” Helps said of the current five-member lineup, with also includes drummer James Collins, bassist Jamie Ward and new keyboardist Matthew Daly. “We feel like sort of a family.”
The group, which comes from Leicester in the United Kingdom, released its third full-length, “I Was Here From A Moment, Then I Was Gone,” on Function Records earlier this year. Now, Maybeshewill is on a European tour.
The tour, which stopped last night at Lovelite in Berlin, also features the Japanese instrumental band Lite. The two bands have been co-headliners on this leg, with the headliner being determined by the promotors in each city.
As for the album and the response to it, Helps said taking a different direction this time around has paid off.
“We’d hoped that people would like it, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming positive things people have had to say about it,” he said.
This surprise at the reaction is because Maybeshewill wrote with a unique mindset. Whereas Helps said many fans expect either an album that sounds just like the ones which came before, or an album that is a complete departure from a previously-established sound, he said the band focused on finding a balance between those things.
“It’s hard to please everyone. But I think we’ve kept the best bits of what we were doing and changed some of the stuff that perhaps wasn’t working,” he said. “We kind of tried to think of it as if…we were writing our first album again and sort of trying to ignore what anyone has written about us or said about us or even what we thought of the previous records. Just starting from scratch and trying to write…as if we’d started six months ago.”
However, the approach the band took is something Helps said was only partially conscious. He elaborated, saying that it, in part, came about naturally as a result of the diversity of music the members listen to.
“I think one of the things that’s sort of special about Maybeshewill is all five of us listen to really different things,” he explained. “And we have had similar taste in music in the past, but as the band’s gone on and we’re working on the various records…our tastes sort of diverged and we all listen different bands and different artists now.”
But in addition to the ability to draw from so many genres and influences while writing, Maybeshewill also finds its inspiration in being on the road.
“Being on tour for, like, massive lengths of time has had huge effects on the way we write songs,” Helps said. “Just traveling from place to place, seeing a bit of each city, never really seeing enough of a place to get to know it but being of sort of transient, coming through…that’s been a big influence on the way we put together records.”
Of course, Helps acknowledged the downside to being in a band can sometimes be the exhausting grunt work aspects, like driving. But even that, he said, is outweighed by all the positive things.
“What you get out of doing that is sort of believably good,” Helps said. “When you’re in a band, you can’t really complain about anything, I think.”
And when fans come to the shows, enjoy the music, and afterward tell the members how much they appreciated it, Helps said it’s especially satisfying.
“You can’t really beat that,” he shared, speaking of the rewarding feeling that comes alongside playing music to people. “You don’t get that in any other sort of job or career.”