86TVs, the new band of The Maccabees’ Felix and Hugo White, have spoken to NME at Reading Festival 2023 about the “perfect heartbreak” of their old band never headlining the festivals.

The group – comprising the White brothers and their third brother Will (the latter formerly of mid-noughties indie band Talk Taxis and his solo project BLANc) and The Noisettes’ drummer Jamie Morrison – recently released their debut single ‘Worn Out Buildings’.

Speaking to NME at this weekend’s Reading Festival, where they played a secret set on the BBC Introducing stage, they discussed their hopes for the band, their history with the festivals, and how they believed The Maccabees could have one day headlined.


Asked whether they ever believed they would top the bill at the dual festivals, Felix said: “That is so heartbreaking to hear you say that, because I definitely had that [thought]. I used to keep all those yellow [line-up] posters, and the first one The Maccabees did, we were the first on the new bands tent. I would have been 19, 20. 2007 maybe.

“We had this relationship with Reading & Leeds. It was like a montage that was too perfect – every two years we’d see ourselves go further up the bill until we were near the top of the main stage.”

Felix added: “From my personal perspective, I was thinking R.E.M., Arcade Fire, all those groups. We were going to be that band. But that’s part of the perfect heartbreak of the end of The Maccabees is that we didn’t quite get there.”

“We were so close to it, man,” Hugo added. “We headlined Latitude and that was our first step into that thing. Reading was always on the list.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Felix discussed the band’s hopes for 86TVs, and how their drummer transformed the idea of what the band could be.


“Having Jamie Morrison come in, who wasn’t one of our siblings, and was so committed to it, with no financial incentive, no pension, no reason to be involved. He was playing for the Stereophonics at that time.

“He just thought there was a magic in it, so all of his spare moments were coming back into the band. We realised that as the three brothers, if we sing together, it has a magic to it.”

He added: “That developed its own instrument and superpower, and once we got that together, it felt like this is a real entity, and up there with the music we made in the past. We felt confident that we can walk onto stages with the three of us up front, lining the front [in an] attack formation, and be a really outreaching, positive guitar band”.

In another recent NME interview, Felix discussed how Johnny Marr helped steer the direction of new music with his comeback band, and recalled once chasing Noel Gallagher out of HMV.

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