INTERVIEW: THE MAINE
Photo by Dirk Mai
Interview with Kennedy Brock
The Maine is a rock band from Tempe, Arizona that was created by bassist Garrett Nickelsen and drummer Pat Kirch in November 2006.
With no prior vocal experience, singer John O'Callaghan joined the band soon after auditions, along with musicians Ryan Osterman and Alex Ross.
After the collective released of their EP “Stay Up, Get Down” Ryan and Alex departed the band for unknown reasons; they were replaced with Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco. The Maine was then signed to Fearless Records and on December 11, 2007 they released their EP “The Way We Talk” (produced by Matt Grabe).
The Maine's first full-length album “Can't Stop, Won't Stop” (produced by Matt Squire) was released in the summer of 2008, just before the band went on tour with Good Charlotte and Boys Like Girls.
In the summer of 2008, The Maine and We the Kings supported The Academy Is... on its tour in the U.K. In December they released a holiday EP “...And a Happy New Year” (produced by Matt Grabe) it included three original tracks and a cover of the Wham! song "Last Christmas".
Following the bands signing to Warner Bros. Records in 2009, they toured with We the Kings, The Cab, VersaEmerge and There For Tomorrow; they also performed on the Vans Warped Tour that summer.
On July 13, 2010, they released their second full-length album “Black & White” (produced by Howard Benson).
In November of 2010, while on tour with Never Shout Never, both bands had fans gather canned foods to help those in need. As a 'thank you' gift, both acts released a split EP “Split – EP”. In December The Maine released the LP "In Darkness and in Light Box Set" via iTunes.
In February 2011, The Maine embarked on an international tour that began in the Philippines. From there the members traveled to Australia and performed at Soundwave. They re-joined Never Shout Never for a European tour culminating in the U.K.. In April 2011, the band co-headlined a U.S. tour with Augustana. The band began touring with Taking Back Sunday and Bad Rabbits in October 2011.
Their third studio album, Pioneer was released on December 6, 2011 independently through Action Theory Records. They will be re-releasing Pioneer on September 11 in the UK and Europe that will contain 6 brand new tracks and will be titled 'Pioneer and The Good Love'.
The band is currently working on a new live DVD that was filmed on July 28 in São Paulo, Brazil.
Besides working on music, the band has released two books; This Is Real Life (composed of photos taken by the band's friend Dirk Mai as well as journal entries written by band members during the 2009 Vans Warped Tour) and the Black & White Keepsake Book (consists of photos and journals from band members). In 2010, John also collaborated with Dirk Mai in the creation of Exaltation, a book containing 15 poems written by O'Callaghan complemented by nine photographs by Mai.
First off, what got you into music and how did you know you wanted to be a musician?
When I was young, my older brother would always make me mix tapes to jam on. It wasn't really a goal of mine to become a musician until he opened the doors. Since then I really wanted to make music of my own, and to study it.
WHY do you play music?
I'm drawn to it. It's always in my head and to play it is the most satisfying thing I can think of.
You all just got back from your South American tour, how was that?
It was beyond words, we have some of the hardest working fans in the world! I love South America, and was amazed by the amount that we were shown.
While you were down in San Paulo, Brazil, on July 28th, you filmed your first ever live DVD. How did that go? Any word on release date?
I was very anxious to start filming, maybe a little nervous, but I couldn't of had a better time! We had a few technical difficulties, but that is expected. Overall I had one of the best shows of my life! No release date yet, still working it out.
You will be re-releasing Pioneer on September 11 in the UK and Europe. This album entitled 'Pioneer and The Good Love' will contain 6 brand new tracks. How would you describe these new tracks? How do they differ from the original “Pioneer”?
These new songs were written and recorded at the same time as the rest of pioneer. I feel like the mindset at that time was to expand our style, and these songs definitely did that. We chose these songs because they go hand in hand with Pioneer, and felt they were needed to complete that period of time for our band.
Photo by Dirk Mai
You just announced that you will be heading out on your final US tour of 2012, with Mayday Parade and The Postelles, in October before you go away to create your fourth studio album. What has been the best memory, so far, from all this “Pioneer” touring?
Pioneer has been a really rewarding experience. We took a chance on this record and strayed from our previous attempts. We really found ourselves and became assertive. My favorite part has been seeing how many people believe in us, and watching our fans discover that they can grow and accomplish their goals, just as we have.
You all have worked with your friend, and very talented photographer, Dirk Mae for a number of years, it now seems he’s a part of the family. How did this magnificent collaboration come up?
Dirk is such an awesome guy, and fit in with our group from the beginning. We really admired his work and found it really easy to work with him. He is always a pleasure to be around and takes such incredible photos, so obviously he has to be around at all times!
You released a new music video for "Like We Did (Windows Down)" where you all dressed up as old people and did a dance off. Who came up with the concept for the video? Were you tempted to go out in public and pull off pranks when you still had the ‘old people’ makeup on?
We had a bit of fun with the masks before we filmed the video, but nothing jackass worthy. John initially had the idea, hoping to have real old people dancing together. When that didn't pan out we then decided to make ourselves old. It was so fun making the video, but they are seriously hot and sweaty!
I have to say, I was completely blown away by “Pioneer.” The intense rock n roll sound felt completely real and genuine and the lyrics were utterly heartfelt, it almost sounds like this album was something of fate and something truly meant to be. Most of your songs have a lot feeling and emotion in them; do you ever feel completely drained mentally after writing/ performing some of these songs?
I can not answer that fully, John writes the lyrics and therefore may be emotionally tied to them stronger than myself or the others. It is always relieving for me, when a song is written. It's unsettling until then.
What song(s) would you say represent your band the most?
That's hard to say, every song says something new about us.
Your Pioneer North American tour, with Lydia and Arkells, was the longest tour you have ever done. How do you think that shaped you as a band?
We get along very well, there was never a dull moment, but also never a bad one. I love being on the road with these guys and could be on the road with them forever!
For a present for the fans, you all record a Live EP of that tour, and offered it up for a free download, with a special cover of ‘With A little Help From My friends,’ also with Lydia and Arkells. Was there a special meaning about choosing that specific song or was it just for fun?
I think it was a little of both. We had a lot of fun playing this song every night, as well as watching Arkells and Lydia perform. The lyrical content of the song just worked out well, because of the great friends we made.
Photo by Dirk Mai
What inspires and motivates you to still pursue a career in music?
This is an incredible "job" to have! It doesn't feel like one. I love every moment of it. I am inspired daily by our dedicated fans, who have made it possible for us to play in so many wonderful countries! My band mates and crew make it so much fun to be out on the road, and inspire me to better myself.
2011 was incredible year of touring for you guys, you went to Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America. If you could go anywhere in the world, where's one place you would like to either play a show at again, or play it for the first time?
I can't get enough of the whole world. Though, I am currently very anxious to visit some new countries in Europe!
You guys have been through a lot since starting out as a band. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the music industry?
Trust in yourself.
Has there been a specific night a show really sticks out in your memory?
Right now, I just can't get over our South American shows.
What would your dream tour lineup be?
The Rolling stones would definitely be on that list, there are too many to name.
Lastly, if the world were to really end in December, what would you be most proud of as a band?
I am just proud to be a part of such an honest, hardworking group. I'm proud of it all, every mistake and accomplishment!
Thank you for the interview Kennedy!