It's fair to say that the last 12 months haven't been too shabby for The Maccabees.
Their critically-acclaimed third album Given to the Wild transformed the boys into full-grown indie icons, as they reached the albums chart top five, performed their biggest shows to date the world over and even picked up a Mercury nod.
Digital Spy caught up with guitarist Felix White to reflect on the band's year, pester for some new album scoop and ask if they regret once singing about leisure centres...
Looking back over the past year, can you believe the reaction Given to the Wild has received?
"Nothing's really changed that much for us! I have slightly more people coming up to me and saying that they love The Maccabees than I did before, so it's not like I can't believe the world is changing right in front of me. But it's good; it's a very good feeling to know you've made something that you're proud of and people care about."
Given to the Wild sounds more ambitious than the first two albums; was the recording process different?
"The first two records we made, we'd written these songs and recorded them properly with a producer in a posh-ish studio for a month or so. This one was much more fragmented; we thought we knew how to make it but didn't quite have the confidence in [doing so], so a lot of it was done in bedrooms. We were trying to make something that sounded bigger and broader, but the process was broken up more; we didn't have people [in the studio] making us BLTs!"
There's a gradual warmth to The Maccabees' progress, in that you played Alexandra Palace in June three albums in to your career. How intentional has the band's evolution been?
"It's difficult to say, because we never had this plan 12 years ago to slowly grow. When we go on tour, we've always made sure we're not overshooting the gigs we play. When we first started playing gigs, we'd play to 200 people even though 400 wanted to go, just to make it work and feel real. We wanted to feel comfortable in the position we were in. But it's not us being humble or anything; we've just got better at playing live, whereas other bands are better earlier [in their careers] than we were!"
You're supporting The Black Keys at The O2 arena next month; can you see yourselves headlining such a venue in the future?
"I can see it in the sense that when I was 15, I thought, 'That would be f**king cool'. But nowadays I suppose it is a slightly more realistic proposition [laughs]. We did Alexandra Palace, which is bigger than anyone ever thought we would play."
But would you be up for a headline arena tour?
"Mate, I would be f**king massively into it. I know they're not always the best gigs, but even just to experience it, f**king definitely."
After the success you've achieved with Given to the Wild, do you now feel a pressure making the next album?
"Yeah, there is a little bit, to be honest. I think we're in a nice position where people won't be exactly sure what it's gonna sound like. We've already written a lot of music, so it doesn't feel like, 'Ahhh, what are we gonna do?' I feel much more productive than I've ever done; I think everybody else does, too. It's weird that a lot of people run out of ideas when they're 20. Because we couldn't play for s**t when we started, the more open the world seems to us now. And there's no better way of being inspired to make music than touring around the world for a year."
What does the fourth album sound like at the moment?
"It sounds really good, man. We've only just started learning to play some of the bits. It sounds... actually, I don't want to start saying what it sounds like. It's gonna have quite a lot of space in it. With the records we're listening to at the moment, there's so much faith in the songs that they're allowed to really breathe and exist on their grooves. That's what we're doing right now."
Are you working with any of the producers you've teamed up with before?
"I think we're gonna do it ourselves. The way we made the last record, learning to do it ourselves, no-one knows better how to make our own record than we do. We're old enough now to do it ourselves."
Finally, do you ever look back on 'Latchmere', one of your first singles, and think, 'Why did we write a song about a leisure center?!'
"Because I didn't write the lyrics for that one personally, I don't. But I think Orlando (singer) does have the odd moment of, 'Err, I wrote a verse where the only words were 'swimming'!' Looking back on it, it was quite a sweet thing; it was done with total honesty and innocence."
And it is a great song...
"It is a great song. It still works as a song... I don't think he'll be doing many more about leisure centres, though..."
We caught up with The Maccabees at the Little Noise Sessions in support of Mencap. Given to the Wild is out now.
Watch the video for The Maccabees' 'Ayla', taken from Given to the Wild, below: