Not a stranger to the crowds in the UK, Arizona based rock band The Maine are back in the UK once again, opening up shows for Deaf Havana, playing a few headlining shows on their days off as well as performing at this year’s Hit The Deck Festival. Lead singer John O’Callaghan V and guitarist Jared Monaco told us a little more about their tour and The Maine’s latest ventures.
How has tour with Deaf Havana been so far?
Jared: I think it has been very beneficial.
John: I was gonna say vitreous, is that the word?
Jared: I think it is but that’s a good one.
John: We are very excited to be a part of this, we had met them (Deaf Havana) a couple of years ago and we got along very well. The getting to know each other stage was just non-existent so, we’ve just been really trying to take advantage of their crowd because they’ve been playing to a ton of people. So for us, we keep coming over here trying to build our own thing and without it, it is really tough.
Jared: They (Deaf Havana) have seen some success.
John: Yeah, so for us we’re just trying to feed off that and really just play to the best of our abilities as we can, even for people who may not know us at all. But it has been a lot of fun.
You’ve recently released your latest EP Imaginary numbers – The Maine’s first acoustic EP. Can you tell us more about the writing process and how you feel this EP has done?
John: Uhm, the writing process, a couple of the songs were just ideas that I already had. One was one that we had from a couple of years ago.
Jared: Yeah, one of them was done when we were doing Pioneer, I think. Our fans had been asking for some sort of acoustic product for a while. So we had the time to do it and to put it together. We had these five songs to record; we had just put a studio together back home, so that was the first thing that we did in there. Trying to get used having our own little space to record.
John: Really at the end of the day it’s like, for us a way of getting better at the equipment that we had purchased and continued to purchase. You know, write more songs, which, is always an important thing for us- that is the number one thing. Hopefully, it opened more doors for us as a band and in the future as well, in not being connected to one specific sound. It is important that we remain versatile. Keep the doors unlocked for whatever may come in the future.
Jared: We didn’t want to re-do songs that we already had recorded. We wanted to have a new set of material that we could take on tour and we ended up doing an acoustic tour. So we really wanted it to be kind of its own entity.
As you mentioned, you did an US acoustic tour to support that EP, how did that differ and do you plan to bring that tour abroad like you’ve done with the 8123 tour?
Jared: It was awesome.
John: It was great.
Jared: It was fun, so different for us. Some of the rooms we played in were auditoriums so it was seated, so for us that was…
John: …A great change of pace.
Jared: It was really cool because we were you know, so used to this rock show atmosphere that we have been part of for the last 7 years or so. You know a lot attention to detail and the musicianship. In our live set for a rock show we tend to have a lot of energy so the mistakes kind of get swept under the rug. But in a show like that, you really want to be sonically pleasing so we spend a lot of time working out the songs and stuff.
John: Yeah, just pushing ourselves to be better at what we’re doing. It was such a process that we kind of endured for ourselves as opposed to you know anybody coming out to the shows. Fortunately for us, the shows did really well. Most of them sold out, so seeing our success on that tour, that’s what wouldn’t rule out us bringing it not necessarily in the near future but at some point bringing it back over here and the rest of the world. Just because of how successful it was for us for the 2 ½ weeks- 3 weeks we had.
Jared: Yeah, definitely we’d love to do it again.
You guys are part of what seems to be such a tight knit family through your management 8123. What is that like, how do you feel that differs from other families or management?
John: Well I think first and foremost we’ve been this close-knit group for more than the bands length.
Jared: It’s been more than a decade, it spans further than the inception.
John: It’s more than just music it’s friendship, it’s comradely, it’s fraternity. So for the longest time it’s been there. It’s only now that we’ve been putting a label on it and putting a name to it- something to associate with. And for us, it’s really imperative that we make it feel that it is a non-exclusive group. For people coming to shows and people listening to our tunes, people that we can’t go physically visit; we want to feel just as a part of as we are. Because you know…
Jared:… because it’s all we have, we’re not on a record label, we’ve done that whole thing. Now it’s all DIY, we do it all ourselves.
John: There are so many factors as to why we continue to stress the fact that we’re friends. I think a huge part of it is that we’ve done a lot of growing up in the past 7/8 years of being a band. We know more than anybody how it feels to be lost and confused, stranded and that you feel like you’re alone. For us it was really important that we could find something, that we could identify with and it had been there all the while, we just hadn’t really put a name to it. We’re just trying to make something feel relatable and make people feel that they can associate with something.
Jared: We’re trying to bring like-minded bands into it. We’ve got Nick Santino, Lydia, This Century. I think everyone that is a part of it is a part of it because there is something that they can bring into the mix.
The Maine used to be on a major label and before that another record label, would you guys ever rule out being on another label in the future or are you quite happy with where you are now?
Jared: We’ve actually been talking about that quite a lot lately. It would have to be on our terms.
John: It can’t be a utilitarian kind of situation. Meaning they can’t be using us to get instant gratification. We’re not in a position where we’re going to sacrifice any sort of creative integrity for personal gain, whether it be monetary or popularity wise. We’ve run through those kinds of hoops before.
Jared: It’s only been recently were we’ve had complete control, so that’s a new thing for us.
John: So like Jared said, it’ll have to be on our terms, we’d have to make the music that we wanted to make.
Jared: Once that project is done, if somebody liked it and wanted to put it out…
John: …We’d definitely be willing to entertain the idea of it.
Jared: We’re not going to collaborate with a controlling record label.
John: Yeah, because we’re fortunate to be able to afford to make music on our own. We wanna make what we wanna make, and that is what we’re gonna do.
Yeah, I feel like that is the problem with the record industry nowadays, you hear a lot about bands sacrificing what they believe in.
John: Absolutely, and it’s really hard not to when you are in a position like that because you’re being promised so many things. A lot of the bands are younger and we were younger and it’s just that you get stars in your eyes because it is easy to.
Jared: People tell you too and you just don’t listen to them. For us it wasn’t that overbearing but it was something in which we had to make compromises. We remember what that was like and we don’t want to go back to that.
The Maine is on the warped tour this year for the first time in several years, how do you feel about that? Are you guys excited for that?
John: Very excited, we know how much of an opportunity it really is for bands. We know how grueling it is but that’s sort of dwarfed by the idea of the upside. You know, it’s just like this tour. If you’re not doing a headlining tour, the point of tour is to play in front of completely unique and foreign people. So, we have the opportunity to play to plenty of people who have never heard of our band before which is imperative at this point. We plan on going in, working really hard and selling a bunch of CDs. It’ll be a really good summer, a really fun summer. We have a lot of friends on the tour as well that we are looking forward to seeing. It’s a great opportunity, it’s all about music and that’s what we’re all about.
Final question, what is your favorite song to play live and why?
John: I don’t know.
Jared: It kind of varies from tour to tour. We’ve just started playing a new song off our new record called ‘Sad songs’. That’s fun, just because it is new, it’s refreshing to play.
John: I suppose for me it’s the second half of the set, in this environment. You know we try to kind of make the set feel like it moves in such a way that the beginning is all about the musicianship and people understanding the songs and trying to really kind of showcase who we are as a band. Then we slowly transition into the kind of energetic, moving around atmosphere.
Jared: You can feel it too. I feel that every show over here, you’re like waiting and waiting and you get to half way through the set…
John: …then you have a really good indication of how the show went by the fifth song or so.
Jared: Totally, right about when we have two or three songs left, that’s when we can really gauge how the crowd has received us every night. I don’t know why but I feel like this is the first set in which it is so obvious whether or not it is going well.
John: To be honest, we didn’t even formulate the set that way, it just ended up that way. So I think for another support tour we’ll definitely be more conscientious how we’re setting it up.
Jared: Yeah ending on a more energetic note because, we’re only realizing and it has taken us 7 years to realize that it has been really cool to end the set on a really high note.
The Maine’s latest releases Imaginary Numbers and Forever Halloween are available on their online merch store or on iTunes, so check them out; you surely will not be disappointed.