With each album release, The Maine manage to surprise with the progression of their sound, with no one really being able to anticipate their next step. In anticipation of the release of their sixth album Lovely Little Lonely, the band kicked off their world tour starting with a brief stop in the UK at the capital. Before they hit the stage at a sold out Electric Ballroom, we sat down for a chat with John O’Callaghan (vocals), Garrett Nickelsen (bass) and Kennedy Brock (guitar) to discuss all things Lovely, Little, Lonely.
MOSH: So it’s been ten years as The Maine now – looking back how does it feel?
JO’C: I’d say surreal is probably the best adjective, just because we’re not out of it yet. This isn’t the end. I think it’s hard in context to really grasp it because we’re so excited about the future and hopeful about what’s to come. We had a festival in Arizona called 8123 Fest and it kind of encapsulated the past ten years. It had all of our old friends, our family members…
GN: All the people working for us…
KB: Our most die hard fans were there.
J’OC: It was a blessing of a weekend. I think it was just the tip of the cap to the ten years, and tonight’s the start of the Lovely, Little, Lonely tour so we’re just carrying on.
MOSH: Would you say that was one of the most rewarding moments, 8123 Fest?
(In unison): Totally.
MOSH: Was it a one-off or are you guys planning on making it an annual thing?
KB: We would like to do it. It’s definitely something we have thought would be cool to do again on some other facet.
J’OC: I want to do it annually, but I don’t necessarily think we can logistically make that work, but we’ll see.
GN: Yeah, there is a lot that goes into it that would be pretty hard to pull off every time.
MOSH: I think from the outside, you don’t always realise what goes into it.
J’OC: Absolutely. But you know, that said, the more that we do it, the more that we learn. If we do it again hopefully we can make it more of a routine thing.
MOSH: You released ‘Bad Behaviour’ quite close to the ten year anniversary. How did you decide that this was the song you wanted to mark such a special occasion?
KB: It’s always so hard, and when we look back we’re always like “Should we have picked that song? Should we have done this?”
GN: I think it definitely shows what the whole record is about.
J’OC: Also, we didn’t want to scare anybody off. I think we took a turn with American Candy and we didn’t want to surprise anyone too much with any of the material. Not that it’s drastically different, the majority of the pop sensibility is there. We felt that that was the easiest to transition from American Candy to what’s to come.
GN: That just means when we do the next record we’ll scare everyone.
MOSH: That leads to my next question, what can we expect from Lovely, Little Lonely?
GN: It definitely feels like the most cohesive record. It all has a certain feeling to it, from start to finish. I think we’ve never really been able to do that before. The whole record kind of transitions into each other, which we’ve always wanted to do but for some reason it’s just a hard thing to figure out. Beforehand, it was something we talked about the whole time and we were just trying to make that work.
J’OC: It aimed for like a seamless trip, and I think we achieved it alright. That’s the exciting thing, waiting to hear what people have to say.
MOSH: Are you guys going to be debuting any new tracks on tour or is it the two you’ve released so far?
GN: Tonight we’ll play something no one has heard. We were going to do another one, but we thought that would be too much.
MOSH: Which track is that then?
J’OC: There’s a tune called ‘Do you Remember’ that we’re going to be playing. Well, not tonight but we will be on this run. What we’re playing tonight is called ‘Lost In Nostalgia’.
MOSH: Do you have a routine when it comes to writing/ recording? Did you follow a similar process for this album?
KB: It tends to be a little different each time. Not the overall process, but it definitely was more laying down structures of things as opposed to us more aimlessly looking for something in the room while jamming.
GN: We did it on computer this time, even the demos, which we’ve never done. It was really foreign. Normally, we’d get in the room and just played along to whatever demo John had written before and it’s usually just an acoustic and only has certain parts to it. So we usually just sit around and play that thing for two hours and your ears are bleeding and you’re like “Wait, we haven’t done anything yet!” This time, we didn’t do that we did a lot of stuff on the computer and it let everyone focus on everyone’s parts. Like, Pat would play what he would naturally do and everyone’s giving input on what would be better. It took the ego out of your own part, which was really cool.
J’OC: I think it helped with eliminating things which we weren’t all collectively enthusiastic about. We didn’t want to waste time if not everybody was on board so we didn’t go down that path. It was more so “Let’s just focus and put all the intensive effort and care into what we actually enjoy and not chase these other things around.”
KB: Usually we were imagining what the end thing is whereas this time we were going there with the songs even before getting into the actual studio.
MOSH: What would you say you would like fans to take away from the record?
J’OC: Hopefully it’s an experience from start to finish, not just one single or two songs that they’re heard on Spotify or whatever. We listen to records in their entirety, and we feel there’s still a magic about making records and listening to records, and digesting music the way that hopefully the creator intended from start to finish. But if one song is all somebody listens to, that’s fine too, we just want people’s ears.
KB: We just hope they do take something away from it.
MOSH: You do like to throw in old songs into your set, but oftentimes they’re almost like renditions. How important is it for you to mix things up to match with where you are as a band?
GN: It definitely helps. Sometimes, I guess we’ve gone too far on some stuff.[laughs]
KB: It definitely helps our sanity.
GN: There are certain songs that we don’t really touch either.
J’OC: We’re playing a song from our first EP tonight ‘The Way We Talk’ and we didn’t really change it much. I think it was more so because we didn’t really remember it.
KB: “Everybody just play whatever you remember!”
GN: There’s so much to remember when we’re also playing all these new songs.
MOSH: If it helps, I think everyone will just be really excited to hear it, regardless if you mess it up or not.
J’OC: I hope so! I remember all the lyrics, which is crazy. I say this now, but that might not be the case when I walk on stage tonight.
GN: I don’t know why we do that (renditions), I think it’s just so we don’t go crazy. I’m sure it pisses some people off.
JO’C: I think at least we acknowledge the idea that that is where we came from. We have a respect for those songs.
KB: But there’s something to be said about we’re years on from that and we want to try something else.
GN: We got the idea listening to Ryan Adams. If you listen to his sets over the years, he’ll play things completely different. Usually, it’s really awesome and so like our goal is to do the same.
J’OC: Our goal is to be awesome!
GN: We did a reggae version of ‘Everything I Ask For’ once, so we haven’t nailed it every time.
MOSH: Lovely, Little, Lonely will be released while you’re on tour, and I think you’ll be playing San Francisco on that day. Have you got anything special planned?
KB: Playing a show.
GN: There’s a really good bami place down the road from where we’re playing, so I’m treating myself to a bami.
J’OC: Our hands are kind of tied because of being on the road and being at the venue, but I’m sure we’ll do something.
KB: If nothing else, it’s going to be a very fun, special show.
J’OC: Maybe shake up a bottle of champagne on stage, I don’t know.
MOSH: You’re also taking this record out to Singapore, Hong Kong and Brazil. Are there any places you haven’t played you would like to play?
J’OC: We would love to go to New Zealand and Japan.
MOSH: Have you not been to Japan? That’s actually really surprising, rock bands seem to do really well in Japan.
J’OC: [laughs] tell them that!
GN: Or maybe that’s saying we’re not a rock band…
KB: We’re not rock band enough.
J’OC: There’s plenty of places that we haven’t played that we would love to. But you get into like, how are you going to pay for it? How are you going to get there? Who’s going to show up, if anybody? I think there’s a lot of factors that people just don’t understand. It’s like you were saying, what goes into the planning of a tour is more than just “Hey we want to go!” There needs to be a promoter and he/she needs to say “Okay, you have five people here that like you.”
KB: Obviously when we get that message like “Hey, come here to Japan.” I’m just like “Absolutely! Can’t wait! Let’s do it!”
J’OC: Really, we’re just feeling it out and trying to take this album to places that we know for certain that we can make work and trying to figure out the rest along the way. I know we’ll be coming back, not only for Slam Dunk but after for a proper headliner. We just wanted to make it known that people over here are still a part of it and even though this isn’t necessarily Europe, we wanted people in the whole territory to feel a part of it. It was a lot of travel for an hour and a half on stage.
GN: We’re having a good time being here. This is probably the most fun we’ve had here, because we got to just hang out. We never were really able to do that.