Interview: The Maine
October 16, 2014
Fresh off their last tour run, we caught up with The Maine at the first of their final four shows of 2014. Kicking off in Pomona, CA, we talked to vocalist, John O’Callaghan, and guitarist, Jared Monaco, to talk about the past few months, look towards their future, and to say “Farewell, Forever Halloween.”
Question: So you guys just got back from your UK tour, how are British fans/shows different from American fans/shows?
John O’Callaghan: British fans are different; they sound funny to us.
Jared Monaco: They sound like they’re from London.
JO: *Laughs* I don’t really think there is much of a difference between them. I just think that music is universal. People like music all over the world, they just might express it a little bit differently.
JM: I mean, we have fans here that travel to different shows, like multiple shows. Over there, because everything is kinda closer together, there’s a group of familiar faces that tend to go to almost every show on the tour. But other than that, the shows feel the same. Everything is pretty similar.
Q: Have you already recorded new songs for the new album?
JO: We’ve started a demo of new songs. We’ve been so crazy busy the last year and a half, really. To find time for the five of us is really hard right now, but in between these last four shows, we’re gonna be starting to really kick it into gear. We need to assess what we’ve already written together and continue to hash it all out.
JM: We’ve already written a pretty good amount – over 20 songs.
JO: The record’s definitely not completely written, but we’ve made some progress thus far.
Q: And where did you write those demos?
JO: We solidified the demos up north at [Jared’s] folks’ cabin. That’s where a lot of them were, at least, birthed in their initial stage.
Q: How are you approaching this album differently from the other albums you’ve recorded?
JO: I’d like to think with a light heart. “Whimsical” is such a funny word. There was an art dealer, and I use that term very loosely, kind of a con-man, that suckered my mom into buying paintings without my father home. This was years ago, when I was still in school, and I always remember him repeatedly using the word “whimsical.” And using the word now seems a little bit silly to me.
JM: But he sold some stuff.
JO: But he sold my mom on it.
JM: *Laughs* Now we’re trying to sell a record.
JO: Really, we’re taking just a, not a less serious approach, because I don’t want that to come off like we’re not taking this album seriously. I think it’s just, I’m in a more happy place mentally, and I’d like to translate that through the songs.
JM: Yeah, I think from what I’ve heard so far, as far as the demos go, it doesn’t really have that somber side to it that Forever Halloween did. I think it’ll be different.
JO: It will be different.
Q: Do you have a rough idea on when the album will be released?
JO: We’re shooting for the album to be done before 2015, but I doubt that will really be set in stone.
JM: We wanna get it out next year.
JO: We feel like it’s good to set some sort of constraint on the time period. I mean, if we give ourselves an unlimited amount of time then we’ll just record 50,000 songs, and it’ll never wrap itself up. So we definitely have a finite set of dates that we’re going to be in Joshua Tree, CA, but to say that the album will be done in that time frame might be a little over-zealous.
JM: We thought we were done with Pioneer and we ended up going back and doing like, seventeen more songs.
JO: We’re definitely going in with a more focused mentality.
Q: Why did you pick these four cities for “Farewell, Forever Halloween”?
JO: Well, we knew we didn’t want to do a full run, you know, a full tour. We wanted to try to come up with a unique take on kind of putting this album behind us and moving forward. The cities in particular, we know we wanted to do a west coast show in California. We haven’t played Pomona, or at least The Glass House, in five years. LA is pretty standard, we didn’t want to do that – we’re not huge fans.
JM: We still wanted to get to the bigger markets that we can reach. We wanna have as many people as we can at the shows.
JO: And we knew a lot of people from Arizona that didn’t want to be in Arizona right now… So they could travel to California. The Chicago, Boston, New York thing, that’s just the major cities kind of thing. But everything on the east coast is very kind of together, over on the west, we’re all sprawled out and comfortable. So the rhyme or reason, I don’t know if there was either.
JM: We just picked big cities.
JO: But we love California.
Q: What are your Halloween plans for this year?
JO: We’re actually going to be in Chicago for Halloween.
Q: Are you going to dress up?
JM: Yeah, I don’t know what we’re doing yet. We were going to go with a theme or like, everyone do something stupid like we always do.
JO: I think something stupid is always better.
JM: I think so too.
JO: And if it’s a theme, it’ll be something silly. So yeah, we’re doing something.
Q: What’s your favorite tour that you’ve done so far?
JM: There’s a few that stick out. I had a lot of fun on the Taking Back Sunday tour that we got to do. I really liked being out with Augustana. And the Good Charlotte tour was really great also. All for kind of different reasons.
JO: The 8123 Tour was cool too. Some of those that he had mentioned are some of the nostalgic ones as far as being on the road with some of the bands you listen to. The 8123 Tour was just fun.
Q: What was your favorite moment of Warped Tour 2014?
JO: I think everyday that we played we brought someone on stage to sing a part in a song called “Girls Do What They Want” and that for me was a blast because…
JM: You never know what you’re going to get.
JO: You never know what you’re going to get, and to allow somebody to put themselves in our position for a second, and experience what it’s like…
JM: It’s like handing over the steering wheel of a plane over to some guy that you’ve never met. Some days it was awesome…
JO: Every day was awesome even if it was terrible.
JM: Yeah even if it wasn’t great, it was still fantastic.
Q: And what was it like going to the first annual Alternative Press Music Awards?
JM: It was a magical evening.
JM: Our manager ordered us some suits and we just kinda gave him generic sizes. We showed up the day of the show, and they fit kind of weird.
JO: We didn’t know what to expect going into it, and they did a really great job. They pulled it off fabulously. It was a lot of fun.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in Southern California?
JO: I mean, I love the beach.
JM: Yeah I’m on the same page with that. I love being in the water – just something about it. I think everyone likes the beach. I at least hope so.
JO: There’s probably a lot of people that don’t like the beach. We don’t hang out with them.
JM: We don’t care about those people.
Q: What’s the first album or cassette you ever purchased?
JM: I was in like 4th grade I think, I was really young, and our neighbors were having a garage sale. There was a Nirvana single cassette tape; it had “Teen Spirit” on one side and I forget what was on the B-side. But I didn’t know who they were. I mean I was in 4th grade, and this was an angsty, grunge-rock band. I didn’t even know. You know, I couldn’t process what I was listening to. And years later, I became an actual fan of the band. It’s just weird that they had it there and I just bought it for like 25 cents.
JO: I always get that whole time frame confused. I want to have something cool to say like Nirvana.
JM: My actual first requested album was Stunt by Barenaked Ladies. I like, begged my mom.
JO: I remember my mom bought me a Ben Folds Five record.
Q: Think of an iPhone emoji that best describes your life right now?
JO: I feel like the turd emoji.
JM: The turd plus the airplane right now.
Q: Last question, what does 8123 mean to you?
JO: I guess the cheesy thing would be: everything.
JM: I was waiting for that.
JO: *Laughs* I can’t even do it…I can’t EVEN.
JM: It really is all encompassing now. It’s our label, it’s our friends’ bands, it’s our touring support system now, it’s our recording.
JO: It means nothing. I have a tattoo of it on my body.
JM: We have a studio because of it. Yeah, it’s a very well-oiled machine.
JO: Well…well-oiled? It’s an oil-machine.
JM: Well it’s running!
JO: It’s a machine…
Q: It’s a machine that brings your fans out to you.
JO: There you go!
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