MAY68: ‘Relentlessly tight rhythms, infectious melodies and a shit load of cowbells…’

MAY68 are from Manchester. They are on this year’s ‘ones to watch’ lists. They’re finishing up a UK tour and have just bagged air time on Nick Grimshaw’s Radio 1 show. Their ideal festival slot would be sunset on the Park stage at Glastonbury and when they aren’t gigging, remixing or DJing themselves you can find them partying at at Manchester nights Now Wave, Contort Yourself and Sex with Robots.

So, if all this sounds like your cup of tea, read on as Jonny from the band has spoken to us about their amazing UK tour dates including the opening FAC251, Manchester’s latest attack on the UK music scene and what’s in store for MAY68…

In the immortal words of Cilla Black, who are you and where do you come from?
We are… Camille  (Drums / Vox)  from  Paris, Jude (Vocals) from Sheffield, Owen (Bass) from Runcorn, Matt (Keys / Percussion) from Frodsham and Jonny (Guitar / Keys) from Bradford.

Just scrolling through your website gives you a feel of the excitement and hype surrounding the band. Recently, there have been gigs with The Whip, Delphic, We Have Band, The Sunshine Underground, and at one of our favourite nights in London – Kill Em All, as well as Manchester’s famous In the City Music Conference. Have you got any highlights from that impressive list of shows?
It’s been a fast paced few months, we’ve had a great year playing live all over the UK with loads of great bands, the ones that stick out in our minds have got to be our gigs with The Juan Maclean at The Deaf Institute, The Drums at Night and Day for this year’s In The City, and playing at King Tut’s in Glasgow on the recent tour. In all our (small) touring experience no one’s been quite as welcoming and fun as the Glaswegians, we were first on but they still tore the place apart. That’s definitely been the pinnacle of the year.

Amongst those gigs was one of the opening gigs for Number One Charles Street, now known as Fac251, which was famed for being the home and head quarters of the Manchester’s iconic Factory Records. Can you tell us how you think Fac251 holds up as a live music venue? And a bit about what must have been quite a special date in your calendar?
Fac251 seems to have torn everyone into two camps. There’s people who are still mad for it and people who seem to really detest its very existence. We found our experience at Factory to be a good one. We we’re treated very, very well, other promoters could learn a thing or two from them (VIP treatment all night…)! We played in between Lonelady and The Whip both of which were fantastic, there was a real buzz in the crowd, the line up was perfect for an opening party and got everyone in the mood. The venue itself is great for live bands, it had a lot of money spent on it but they seem to have put it into the right things, it looks great and the sound is amazing. They’ve not sterilised the soul out of it which could have easily been done.

It was a special date for us and we were honoured to be asked to play at the opening weekend, but in terms of talking about Factory’s legacy and its supposed return, it’s not and never will be the Hacienda. The city is far more cosmopolitan now, it’s been diluted, where once there was only the Hacienda to experience new music there are now hundreds of venues and thus a whole lot of crap doing the rounds. It’s going to take something more than a new club opening to put Manchester back on the musical map. (Luckily there’s a shed load of great bands around to do that!)


On a theme here, there’s bound to be intrigue surrounding what is being hailed as the next Manchester music boom, and MAY68 are likely to be caught up in the speculation. Do you think this boom exists or is it just a coincidence?
There’s definitely a boom now but its more a case of people waking up and taking notice of what’s going on in Manchester. Its kind of like Manchester has been harbouring these bands for the last year and now its setting them loose on the rest of the world and it’s only now with a few big breakthrough acts such as Delphic and Hurts that people are looking to see what’s going on. There are some great bands around at the moment and we are definitely caught up in the speculation of the next Manchester explosion, I reckon people are starting to get quite excited about how the bands develop and breakthrough in the public eye. There’s a lot of potential but people need to give it a chance.

How’s everyone feeling about getting on to so many ‘ones to watch’ lists?
We’re enjoying the attention! It’s all based on work we’ve been doing last year which is great because we think that personally we’ve developed a lot as a band the new material should continue to make some waves. I guess the pressure is hoping that people feel that the hype is justified…

If you could give everyone one track to listen to now which sums up what MAY68 are all about – which one would it be?
It would have to be our debut single My Ways out on Hit Club and Silver Music Machine (shameless plug) but we chose that to be our debut for that very reason. It sums up completely what we’re about at the moment. If you want a listen you can stream it at our Soundcloud or Myspace. If you like what you hear and fancy a copy it’s out on the 15th of March and is available at Puregroove / iTunes / Beatport.

Finally, can you sum up what 2010 holds for the band?

Well we’ve recorded singles 2 & 3 already. We keep demoing new tracks for the album and lending our hand to remixing tracks by our friends. We’ve got a whole lot of musical output up our sleeves that we’re itching to put out for everyone, then we’ll be carrying on with our live adventure across the UK and hopefully further afield before the years out! Keep watching we’ve got a lot more in waiting!

You can still catch MAY68 in both Manchester and London - we have it on good authority from the band that “you can expect relentlessly tight rhythms, infectious melodies and a shit load of cowbells, all the makings of an explosive party!” So go and check them out:

27th Feb @ Proud Gallery, Camden with French Horn Rebellion
10th March @ Deaf Institute, Manchester with Errors
13th March @ 93 Feet East, Shoreditch, with Ezra Bang & Larry Tee
27th March @ Retro Bar Manchester SINGLE LAUNCH PARTY!

My Ways is available to buy from 15th March on Hit Club (limited 7” pre-order here) and Silver Music Machine (digital – itunes link here)

Grab your download of The Duke is Dead (Demo) here and the MAY68 February mixtape here.