Sonisphere 2014 Preview: Interview with Max Raptor

Max Raptor Live at Y NotMax Raptor  have been making ripples across the English rock scene for the past few years. Having supported the likes of Billy Talent, Blood Red Shoes and The Strangers to name but three, this Midlands based four-piece have proved time and time again why they are worthy of the big festival slots they seem to be frequently acquiring. caught up with vocalist Will for a chat on the lead up to their 2014 summer appearance at Sonisphere. first came across you guys when we were intrigued by your name and came to see you perform on the Giant Squid Stage at Ynot Festival last summer. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure as yet though, how would you guys describe your musical style?

Our style is; get on stage, get sweaty and play to hundreds of people who want to go a bit crazy for an hour….it’s punk, it’s fast and you can throw yourselves about….we like to think there are some messages in the madness too..

Ynot is a festival which has quite a range of musical genres on offer. Last year you were definitely one of the most metal acts to appear there (proved by a kid leaving your set with blood pouring from his face!). Were you surprised to be asked back to play this year as one of the Thursday opening acts?

More surprised that Goldie Lookin Chain are on after us! Bizarre! But yeah, YNOT is an awesome festival…definitely one of our favourites…it was our first proper festival back in the day so it’s become a bit of a summer home for us…Our festival holiday home. Last year was crazy. Blood, sweat and beers! It was such a great crowd and we’re hoping for more this year. Last year after we played there was a huge lightning storm during The Horrors set and the site was evacuated. Biblical…we were inside a metal container…pretty stupid decision…can’t wait to get back, it’s our local..

You’ve been lucky enough to play some huge festivals over the years such as Download Festival and this year you have been announced to play Sonisphere. What does it mean to you to be asked to play such a huge festival…Is it still exciting / nerve-wracking, or is it just something you kind of take in your stride now?

We’ve had a bit of a touring break since January so it’s just going to be good to get back on stage. We start with Camden Rocks on 31st May, Sonisphere, YNOT and some other shows but the only real reason we’re in a band is to play our songs out live…it’s the best feeling and we’ll be sticking some brand new ones in there too. 

Playing to these huge crowds must be a great feeling, but how do you find your local music scene in the Midlands just now?

Burton on Trent is our local town and has always had bands coming and going. There have never been any touring venues which has made it a lot harder.  There’s a venue that has come up over the last few years called The Tower Brewery….great venue with big fermentation tanks in front of the stage. We’re sort of hoping it will become a bit of a player on the National live circuit as it’s definitely good enough…and the beer is awesome too! When we first started we used to play a venue called The Star and Garter….mental place! It used to open and close down every other week, the floor would sag and we’d have triple the capacity of the venue crammed into this room upstairs. The only way to the stage was to crowd surf you way there! I think we owe a lot of the way we write down to those early shows…that was proper grass roots stuff, anything goes sort of gigs….a lot of fun and there was a municipal metal bin outside with fire in so it was never a dull night!

Are there any bands from back home who you think people should be checking out?

There are a few bands from Burton on Trent and surrounds…Follow You Home, 5 Days of November, Eva Plays Dead, Get Cubs…all hard working bands. 

You are currently in the studio working on the new album. How’s the recording going so far and what can we expect from album number two?

Not going to give too much away but it’s taking shape….some fast punk tunes and some more laid back strike action shantys. It’s hard to describe what we’re writing but it shouldn’t be too long before you get a listen…

Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and would you say these influences are evident in your new work?

I think my biggest influences play out strongly in our tracks…whether they’re musical or literary, political, whatever…everything I hear, see, do etc influences my lyrics and views…musically though Smashing Pumpkins, The Bronx, Basement, Million Dead, The Streets, The Stranglers etc etc have all played their part….but it’s the United kingdom that has the most influence over our songs…when you listen you’ll understand. 

With some strong tours and big festivals in the bag, what’s next for Max Raptor? 

Just want to get locked down in a studio for the foreseeable future and bang out this 2nd album…nothing better than turning your scratchy demos into properly releasable material…then get on the road for a year…head into foreign territory too and see how Europe and The States react…that’s something we’re all looking forward to.


Max Raptor play Sonisphere Festival in July and Y-Not Festival in August.