It is a chilly evening as I wait backstage for Maxïmo Park to arrive for our interview just before they are scheduled to perform on as part of the free concert series during Wakestock Abu Dhabi, held earlier this month.
They arrive later than expected and the band rush off to set up everything, leaving their lead singer, Paul Smith, to spill the beans about discovering Abu Dhabi, the band's albums and other interesting tidbits to tabloid!
"This is the first time we visit the Middle East," Smith says. "I came one day before the rest of the band and had a lot of fun walking around and exploring the venue... I even did a drawing of the sea.
"I also tried to walk around a little bit, but I think I took a wrong turn because the next thing I know, I was in a construction zone and all these cars started honking at me to get out of the way," he adds, laughing.
Smith admits that whenever he was in a new city, he likes to explore it by walking around and seeing where his feet take him, which is more interesting instead of going to the usual tourist areas. "I like to observe everything around me and write it in my diary."
His infamous red diary he even takes onstage, as it contains not only diary entries but also the lyrics to all their songs.
"This may sound cliché, but I try to find inspiration from everything around me... Who knows, maybe I'll include something about here [Abu Dhabi] that inspired me in our next song. But one thing's for sure, I would definitely love to come back with the band and do another concert."
While the five-member English indie rock band have yet to reach the level of fame that makes them a household name, they seem to be well on their way. Their debut album, A Certain Trigger, and its follow-up, Our Earthly Pleasures, have both gone double platinum and A Certain Trigger was even nominated for the Mercury Prize. They released their latest album, Quicken The Heart, last year.
"There's a reason why our albums come in two-year cycles. We want to give our fans our best songs with each album, so it takes us some time before we are satisfied with everything. Also, touring takes up a large part of our lives. In the future, maybe we'll tour less and make more studio albums," Smith says.
One thing is certain, though, and that is the band has come a long way from the time when a friend generously funded 300 copies of a 7-inch red vinyl single with two of their songs, Graffiti and Gone Missing, that was recorded at their house.
"This is the best part of our lives. Just a few years ago we all had day jobs and would just come together and jam in the garage. But now we get to make music all the time and even get paid to fly somewhere and perform, which is crazy."
Did you know?
Maxïmo Park was formed in 2003 and is currently signed to Warp Records. Initially, the band was made up of only four members and didn't have a lead singer, but one day, drummer Tom English's girlfriend heard Paul Smith singing along to Stevie Wonder's Superstition and the rest, as they say, is history.
The band's name comes from Máximo Gómez Park, a Havana meeting place for Cuban revolutionaries.
Maxïmo Park is made up of five members: Paul Smith (vocals), Duncan Lloyd (guitar), Archis Tiku (bass guitar), Lukas Wooller (keyboards) and Tom English (drums).
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is among the books that Smith has recently completed. He is currently reading Don Quixote on the advice of the group's runner at Wakestock Abu Dhabi.