Monday 24 September 2012

The Maine // Interview & Live Review

The Maine are currently on their biggest tour to date; The Pioneer World Tour. The mammoth run is soon coming to an end but shows no signs of slowing down.

 Est.1987 headed down to Manchester Academy 2 to check out the show. We also caught up with the band beforehand to chat making the new record, taking risks and dirty laundry!

The Maine on stage in Manchester

Heya guys, so how is it being back in the UK? Last night in Birmingham was the first show- how was it?
GARRETT [Nickelsen, bass]- It was awesome!
PATRICK [Kirch, drums]- I think it was one of my favorite shows ever .
G- Yeah, it was pretty incredible. It was really sweaty, but it was awesome.  

What do you like most about the UK?
P- Wagamama’s and Nandos! [laughing] And the shows too; lots of energy.

This is the final leg of the Pioneer World Tour; does it feel like the final sprint now for you guys?
P- Yeah, sort of. We only have two weeks off and then we start another run in the States. But I think this time frame for our band does kind of feel like the end of a long run. 

"Pioneer" the latest record
Are you sick of doing laundry yet? Or did you have huge suitcases?
G- Neither [laughing]…
P- Just lots of dirty clothes!

Just turning things inside out?
G- Or don’t! Just keep rocking it. [laughing]
P- If you wear a jacket then it kind of hides the sweat
G- But then if you wear the jacket on stage too…
P- Then you’re just f****d. That’s my life!

You self-released your latest album “Pioneer” and it was kind of a make or break career changing moment for you guys and it paid off. Did you feel under pressure at the time? Or because you had full control did it make the process easier?
P- Yeah I mean it kind of happened by accident; we just went and started writing and the album just came so there wasn’t any pressure. The pressure came more when it was done, just figuring out exactly what to do with it.

You’ve just released a special version of the album “Pioneer And The Good Love”. You took a risk with Pioneer and it worked out, so is it quite nice being able to sit back and release the album with more songs on it?
G- Yeah. I mean we recorded like thirty songs when we actually went into the studio so we had all these extra songs. The extra stuff was songs that we all liked but we couldn’t find a spot for on the record. We knew at some point we were going to release it.
P- I think the whole decision to go back and re-release it here was just we wanted people to hear the extra songs.

The Maine's John O'Callaghan in Manchester
You’re releasing a DVD “Anthem For A Dying Breed” in October which documents the making of “Pioneer”. I guess it was a long process to get the album that we can listen to today. Why was it important for you to tell that story?
G- It was a huge thing for our band. Out of the last six years it was the biggest step we had to take. I happened to catch a lot of it on film and it just worked out that way.
P- It’s something cool for us to have and look back on what exactly happened in ten or fifteen years.
G- Once stuff started going bad we were kind of like “let’s make sure we continue to get all this on video” [laughing]. I felt like we were definitely doing something that we hadn’t done before and I just wanted to capture it, so it worked out well.  

Bassist Garrett Nickelsen
Do you approach any of your earlier songs differently now after making “Pioneer”?
P- Absolutely! A lot of them!
G- We’re always changing things up and doing different versions of songs.
P- I think a big thing is for the people in the audience, but also for us as a band to keep it fresh and in return we’ll give a better performance if we’re actually happy with what we’re doing…
G- As opposed to “this is the 600th time of playing this song the same”.

As well as documentaries you’ve also released books; is it nice to expand creativity beyond the music and put all your memories together and share with fans?
G- Definitely. I mean it’s always something cool to look back on. We did a book in 2009 Warped Tour and it’s not like I look at it all the time, but once in a while I’ll go back and see something and be like “woah, holy s**t man that was so long ago and so crazy”.
P- I think it’s just another extension of the music, another way to put things out.

In terms of what’s next for you guys musically; where will you take the next record? Have you thought about that yet?
G- Right now, we’re definitely starting to think about it.We're going to start the new record once we finish over here and our tour in the states. We haven’t all sat in a room and played together yet, but there are demos floating around  and we’re starting to get a little bit of a feel for something, but nothing too crazy yet.
P- We won’t start working on the vision for the record until we are off the road and in one solid space; it’s hard to write on tour sometimes.

So it’s your 5 year anniversary this year; do you have a chance to look back and appreciate what you’ve done and are you thinking about the next 5 years for The Maine or just take it one step at a time?
G- It kind of comes in random moments; there will be one moment where you just realise how long we’ve been doing this.
P- Or when we come back to a venue and we remember being here a couple of years ago but in the other little room in the basement, and then it all comes into perspective. We’re starting to look toward the future as opposed to always looking back on all the random things that we’ve done.

And here's what happened when The Maine took to the stage... 

Lead singer John O'Callaghan
The Maine take to the stage at Manchester Academy to be greeted by a sea of fervent fans. “Identify” and “My Heroine” kick off the evening; taken from the newest record, they show off the band’s newer sounds. Rockier hooks combined with layered melodies are proof that they are just as popular as earlier hits, with the entire sea singing along. Classic rock and roll riffs are at the heart of the band’s sound, catchy and intricate throughout they mix old sonds “This Is The End” with the new. “While Listening to Rock & Roll”, (taken from Pioneer, the latest album) sees front-man John O’Callaghan take to the acoustic guitar. With the audience joining in the slower, harmonious opening it sets a more laid back vibe which slowly builds in heavier drumming and twanging guitars. The perfectly crafted rock song  is catchy and captivating.

The Maine in stage in Manchester
 Taking things back a little into their past catalogue of hits “Don’t Stop Now” is more upbeat, whilst support act “This Century’s” lead singer Joel Kanitz’s appearance on “Into Your Arms” sends the crown into a frenzy. The Maine are mesmerising from start to finish, whether it’s John’s playful nature with the crowd or bassist Garrett Nickelsen’s relentless energy seeing him bound up and down the stage yet still able to deliver on every note. Bringing things back up to date “Misery” combines anthemic sounds with a heavy breakdown culminating in a cacophony of sounds, with Garrett swinging his bass above his head.  Tonight The Maine shine. After self-releasing out “Pioneer” it would seem the band are tighter and stronger than ever; reinvigorated by the freedom that the record brought. “Take Me Dancing” sees all but John leave the stage. “No I will not take my f*****g shirt off” laughs John in response to chants from the excited crowd. “‘Cos I like this shirt and it’s staying on. That’s me putting my foot down” he retorts as he acoustically begins the song. Even in such a large, packed venue this creates an intimate feel, a nice interlude mid-set. The rest of band re-join half way through and the energetic show kicks back in.

“This is a song about feeling old” announces John before breaking into “Like We Did (Windows Down)” before trying to part the crowds. “We need to make a gap in the crowd, [laughs John], I’m coming down. I only do this ‘cos I feel like Moses from the Bible” he adds as he enters the crowd for the entirety of “Right Girl”. The anthemic “Don’t Give Up On “Us”” closes the hour and a half set this evening. Spontaneous, vigorous and songs that make you want to move; The Maine are better than ever. Five years of The Maine? and here’s to the next five. 

The Maine have two more UK shows remaining -
25th Sept- Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
26th Sept- London, Electric Ballroom

For more images from the Manchester show click below...