The Maine Interview at The Rave - 10/21/13
Interview with The Maine
The Maine Candy Corn Interview IKTRS
INTERVIEW: THE MAINE
Photo by Taylor Hanson
By Shandana Mufti
A couple of weeks ago, we had the chance to send over some questions for The Maine. Vocalist John O’Callaghan answered our questions about touring, recording Forever Halloween, and the band’s Halloween plans.
The Maine is O’Callaghan, drummer Pat Kirch, bassist Garrett Nickelsen, and guitarists Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock.
ABScream Media: How has the tour with Anberlin been going so far? Are their fans receptive to your music?
John O’Callaghan: It has really been great thus far. Co-headlining bills such as these are always a bit intimidating prior to going out, but we could not be more pleased with how the shows are taking form. All the persons a part of the bill are wonderful to be around and the opportunity to play in front of new people is something we’re trying to take full advantage of.
ABS: Is it a big shift to go from headlining (8123) to co-headlining, or not really that noticeable?
JOC: The mindset doesn’t change much other than being cognizant of the fact that there are people in the room who will be unfamiliar with our tunes. In any scenario we try to put on the best show we can.
ABS: In an interview earlier this year with Alter the Press, you mention the band’s “changes in mental headspace over the last six or seven years,” and “the daily kind of camouflage that we all wear in scenarios we put ourselves in and how easy it is to forget who we really are.” Is Forever Halloween the product of a band wearing no “camouflage,” or is that something you’re still working toward?
JOC: FH is the result of not over-thinking the creative process. We are still working towards becoming who we want to be, not sure we’ll ever get there in our minds, but we believe we must push ourselves and remain unsatisfied with what we’ve done until we no longer have the opportunity to pursue our passions. Only when this is all over will we revel in what we’ve had the privilege of doing.
ABS: Did you have a clear vision of what you wanted Forever Halloween to be, or did it come about organically?
JOC: Other than the title and artwork, FH came about sonically by means of tunnel vision. My only sight of the end was knowing that we had one month to spend with Brendan Benson in Nashville and within that timeframe we had to produce a record. Learning from the process I plan on taking a different approach with whatever will come of the follow up to FH.
ABS: Does writing and recording without a label looking over your shoulder make the process easier or harder? In what ways? Did it take time to get used to that freedom?
JOC: Recording without a label is great because the only other opinion besides ours that meant anything was Brendan’s. Being such fans of what he does made it easy to actually care about his input, as opposed to listening to some dude that has never written a song in his life tell us to write a “smash” or a “single”. Creativity is crippled when the creator is constrained by an agenda. A little alliteration for the literary language lover.
ABS: In an Alter the Press Track by Track video for “Birthday in Los Angeles,” you mention how Brendan Benson helped steer the name of the song away from “Fuck You Los Angeles.” Are there any other similar examples of maybe needing somebody to step in and talk you out of something?
JOC: Brendan’s biggest contribution to the arrangement of the songs was his ability to get to the point. He helped trim unnecessary seconds out of songs that to us made sense to us but he was the unbiased ear that could sympathize with the listener. As far as the lyrics were concerned, save for a few parts, Birthday was one of the only songs where he felt strongly enough to put his foot down. I really appreciated the fact that he allowed me to really speak my mind on this record.
ABS: One of the notable things about Forever Halloween is that you recorded it live. Did that help give a coherent sound to the final product? How was getting used to the process of recording live? Did you have to do a lot of takes? How did you choose the right one?
JOC: In my opinion, the said approach was definitely what brings the cohesion to the album. We weren’t really allotted much time to worry about how we were going to pull off the live recording. We spent about an hour and a half doing “pre-production” on a tune called “Happy” the first night in Nashville and that set the stage for the record. Most of the time we were unaware that we were recording and I believe that Brendan’s ability to make us feel comfortable truly helped shape the sound of the album.
ABS: How do you think the record would have sounded if it weren’t recorded live? Did recording live change your approach to your own music, or to how recording could – or even should – be?
JOC: The sound would have been relatively similar just because of who produced it. The gear would have sounded the same through the same board, but the analog process provided a warmth that can only be imitated digitally. I suppose we never really thought recording live was an option, but I believe this has been an extremely important step in the evolution of our band. Hard to say if we will always record live but now that we are aware that it is a possibility we feel as though we have new keys that will unlock new doors.
ABS: Is it easier to go from the studio to the stage as a result of recording live? Are you more in tune with each other’s playing?
JOC: Absolutely. We still have a long ways to go, but we feel as though we’re in a good place as far as the set is concerned. In the past, there’d be songs on previous records that we’d completely forget how to play and sometimes not even bother playing them live until we felt as though people wanted to hear them, but thanks to the live recording we are familiar with all the material on FH. There is much to learn about each other as individual musicians, but that’s the beauty of being on the road and having the opportunity to play every night together!
ABS: Novelty seems to be something integral to the identity of The Maine, be it reworked versions of already-released songs like “Growing Up” or a different set list each night. Where does the inspiration and/or drive to change a pre-existing form come from?JOC: The inspiration derives from the tunes we listen to and the artists we look up to. Listening to Neil Young, Wilco, etc. in the live setting is always a treat for us because those artists offer something new with each and every performance. Knowing how psyched we get about the live nuances performed by the artists we love we could only hope to make someone feel the same way about the new approaches we take with some of our tunes.
ABS: The evolution of your music from 2007 to today is very noticeable. Would the band that released Can’t Stop Won’t Stop recognize The Maine today? What would 2007 The Maine think of 2013 The Maine? Does 2013 The Maine have any advice for your younger selves?
JOC: Today, we look back and laugh when we see what we used to wear and some of the tunes we were putting out, but there is something rather innocent about our younger selves. We were confused, but who isn’t? At the end of the day our early material allowed us to travel the world and to continue being a band seven years later, and to me that’s pretty radical. 2013 us would think the 2007 version of us were pretty “cool” guys.
ABS: From the early days of MySpace to Twitter and YouTube Q&As, you guys seem to put in a lot of time interacting with fans and building up a relationship with your fan base. Is that part of what’s helped you maintain a steady – and growing – fan base even in the face of dramatic progression in the music you release?
JOC: We are trying to grow a culture around not only our band but also our management company in all that we do. Our message is simple, we are no different than you, we feel the ups and downs of life’s current just like everyone else. I’d like to believe that this “you are not alone” approach has been what has attracted people over the past 7 years and will hopefully continue to do so for years to come.
ABS: Given the month and your album’s name, I have to ask: what are your Halloween costume plans for this year? (Or if you want to keep that under wraps (unintentional mummy joke, oops), of all the costumes you’ve ever worn, which one is your favorite?)
JOC: Unfortunately we don’t have a show on Halloween night. We hope to do something fun though, kinda remains to be seen at this point but we have some ideas floating about. As for costumes, they hinge on what we will be doing that fateful night. Possibly 5 Guy Fieri’s?
The Maine Interview | Breaking Bad | Forever Halloween | Fans
Interview: The Maine - 7/5/13 - Asbury Park, NJ. - The 8123 Tour
The Maine- Interview With Lifeminute.tv
A few days ago The Maine did an interview with Lifeminute.tv where they discussed the recording process of FH and the meaning behind These Four Words.
Watch the interview here:
I just love youu soo much John :3
'Seventeen magazine interview with john o' callaghan.'
Interview: Tim Kirch [English below]
Ces dernières années, de plus en plus de groupe proposent à leurs fans des “V.I.P Packages” à des prix excessifs. De notre coté, nous pensons que cela parait injuste envers les fans, car nous n’en avons pas pour notre argent lorsque l’on regarde son contenu. Cela donne l’impression que les groupes se font de l’argent sur le dos des fans, car il y en aura toujours qui paieront le prix fort pour voir leur groupe favoris. Ou plutot le chanteur. Et pouvoir lui parler, prendre une photo avec, et recevoir un t-shirt ou un poster ainsi qu’un autographe. Certes, cela a toujours existé, mais faut-il vraiment payé autant pour quelque chose, qui à la base, devrait etre gratuit? Nous avons donc voulu en savoir un peu plus, et de ce fait, nous avons posé la question à un professionnel: Tim Kirch, de 8123 Management, qui a bien voulu répondre à nos questions.
Que pensez-vous des groupes qui mettent en vente des “VIP Package” à un prix excessif afin d’accéder à des avantages comme une rencontre avec le groupe?
Tim Kirch: A 8123, nous essayons d’ignorer ce que les autres groupes font avec leurs places VIP. Nous sommes conscients que plusieurs groupes mettent, en effet, en vente des places VIP chères qui incluent des avantages qui, en fait, ne coûtent rien tels que les “meet & greet”, les “soundcheck parties” etc. C’est un très bon moyen de faire du profit et cela semble fonctionner pour d’autres groupes. Cependant, nous avons un regard assez différent sur le problème. Oui, nous pourrions faire plus d’argent en faisant des packages similaires mais ce n’est pas notre but. Les fans paient les places à un prix déjà assez élevé, ils paient les frais de la salle et du parking, et ils ont tendance à acheter du merchandising aux concerts. A la fin de la journée, les fans dépensent une bonne somme d’argent pour nos groupes et on est reconnaissants!
Avec ça en tête, nous pensons que ce serait injuste de proposer quelque chose d’autre même s’ils voulaient payer pour. C’est aussi simple, c’est aussi cher d’être un fan que d’être un groupe. Notre but est d’apporter une expérience aux fans sans leur demander de payer une fortune. Les groupes avec lesquels nous travaillons sont heureux de dire “bonjour” et de prendre des photos avec leurs fans donc il n’y a pas besoin de les faire payer pour dire “bonjour” - nous sommes même honorés de les accueillir à la salle! Je pense qu’il faut comprendre qu’on peut soit faire payer pour cette expérience, soit donner cette même expérience gratuitement, et nous choisissons ce dernier..
Et si vous deviez payer une somme importante pour rencontrer un groupe que vous aimez vraiment, le feriez-vous?
Tim Kirch: Non.
Puisque vous vous occupez de groupes qui ne sont pas signés, comment réussissent-ils à sortir eux-même leurs albums et à jouer dans le monde entier sans demander aux fans de payer plus?
Tim Kirch: Nous avons beaucoup de chance d’avoir des fans aussi incroyables et ils sont la raison pour laquelle nous faisons ce que nous faisons sans participé à des flux de revenus supplémentaires. Nous sortons énormément de produits uniques et parfois nous nous mettons dans des situations pour lesquelles nous ne gagnons pas d’argent sur ce que nous mettons en vente ou perdons même de l’argent. Nous sommes okay avec ça car il s’agit de livrer un produit auquel un fan peut tenir pour les années à venir.
Par exemple, The Maine a sorti un livre, Roads. Quand nous avons reçu la première impression du livre, nous n’étions pas heureux de sa qualité. Cette version était la moins chère, la plus rentable, et ce fut aussi la plus mauvaise qualité à laquelle nous pouvions arriver! Si nous avions sorti cette version, nous nous serions fait beaucoup d’argent mais ce n’est pas de cela qu’il s’agit. Le livre regroupe 5 années de merveilleux souvenirs pour le groupe et les fans. Nous n’avions pas le droit de le sortir avant qu’il ne soit parfait.
Nous avions un ENORME problème, nous avions déjà mis le livre en pré-commande au prix de $29.99 (22€). Les fans avaient déjà payé et nous leur avions donné notre parole. Une fois que les livres sont arrivés, nous avons fait une vidéo montrant leur qualité et notre mécontentement. Nous sommes retournés auprès de plus de 15 imprimeurs aux USA pour trouver une autre solution. Rien ne correspondait au prix initial, nous ne pouvions pas demander plus d’argent au fans, et nous devions le sortir en temps et heure. Donc, nous avons décidé de payer plus par copie et de garder le même prix. Le livre aurait du couter $60.00 (44€) mais nous l’avons gardé à $29.99 car ça aurait été injuste. Parfois ce n’est pas une question d’argent, c’est juste partager nos souvenirs avec les personnes qui nous ont aidées à les créer.
Comment réussit 8123 Management à avoir des prix raisonnables comparé à la moyenne?
Tim Kirch: Nous faisons beaucoup de choses nous même. Plutôt que d’engager d’autres personnes, le groupe et moi-même le feront. The Maine ont filmé leur propre documentaire, je m’occupe du design du merchandising, Dirk Mai (photographe) a lui-même créé “Roads” , etc. Parfois il faut travailler un peu plus dur, un peu plus longtemps, et se confronter à plus de problèmes, mais à la fin de la journée, il s’agit de livrer un produit à un prix juste et il faut faire toutes ces choses pour que ça arrive
Pensez-vous qu’aujourd’hui l’industrie de la musique est devenue une question de popularité, que les groupes connus ont tendance à prendre leurs fans pour acquis?
Tim Kirch: Je ne peux pas parler à leur place.
Mes groupes sont les mecs les plus authentiques que je connaisse. Ce sont mes meilleurs amis et je les connais depuis longtemps. Je n’ai jamais entendu ne serait-ce qu’une fois un membre d’un des groupes avec lesquels je travaille se qualifier de “connus” ou de prendre un fan pour acquis. Nous sommes tous très reconnaissants de mener les carrières que nous avons et nous le leur devons. C’est pour cela que nous ne leur demandons jamais de payer trop ou ne les placons dans une position dans laquelle ils penseraient qu’on profite d’eux. Il faut un groupe et des fans qui s’apprécient pour que la musique marche, sinon, vous n’avez rien.
These past few years, more and more bands charge their fans for “V.I.P Packages” at a high price. To us, this method seems to be unfair and disgusting for the fans. We have the impression that bands are making money on fans’ back because they know that no matter how high the price is, there are always some fans who will pay an excessive amount of money just to see/meet/take a picture with their favorite band, or should we say the singer? And receive a tee, a poster or a signature. We know that this method is not something new, but is there really a need to pay for something that should be free? As we wanted to know more about this trend, we asked some questions to someone professional: Tim Kirch, from 8123 Management, who was willing to answer our questions.What’s your opinion on bands charging fans a “VIP Package” at high prices to get perks (e.g. meet & greet)?Tim Kirch: At 8123, we try and ignore what other bands are doing with their V.I.P ticketing. We are aware that several bands do charge high V.I.P ticketing prices that include items that do not actually have a cost such as meet and greets, soundcheck parties, etc. This is a very profitable way to make money and it seems to be working for other bands. However, we look at the situation a bit differently. Yes, we could make more money by doing similar packages but this is not our goal. Fans currently pay a pretty steep ticket price, they are charged venue and parking fees, and tend to purchase merchandise at the shows. At the end of a night, fans spend a good amount of money on our bands and we appreciate that!With that in mind, we feel like it would be unfair to offer anything else even if they were willing to pay for it. It is just simple, it is expensive to be a fan as well as a band. Our goal is to give an experience to fans without charging them a fortune. The bands we work with are excited to say hello and take photos with their fans so there is no need to charge fans to say hello - we are honored to even have them in the venue! I think it comes down to understanding that you can charge for these experiences or you can give fans the same experience for free, and we choose the ladder.And if you had to pay an important amount of money to meet a band you really like, would you do it?Tim Kirch: No.As you manage unsigned bands, how do they manage to self-release albums and tour around the world without asking for fans charges?Tim Kirch: We are very fortunate enough to have some amazing fans and they are the reason why we can do what we do without participating in additional revenue streams. We release a ton of unique items and sometimes we run into situations where we break even on releases or even lose money. We are okay with this because it is about delivering a product that a fan can hold onto for years to come.For example, The Maine released a book called Roads. When we received the first proof of the book, we were not happy with the quality of the printing. That version of the book was the cheapest, the most profitable, and it happened to be the worst quality that we could come up with! If we would have released that book, we would have made some good money but that is not what it is about. The book consisted of 5 years of amazing memories for the band and our fans. We would not allow for it to come out until it was right.We had a HUGE problem on our hands, we already put the book up for pre-order at a price point of $29.99. Fans already gave us our money and we gave them our word. Once the books came in, we released a video showing the quality of the book and how we were unhappy with it. We went back to over 15 different printers in the U.S.A to come up with a new solution. Nothing would match the previous price point, we could not ask our fans for more money, and we had to get it out in time. So, we made the decision to pay more per book and keep the price the same. The book should have cost $60.00 but we kept it at $29.99 because that is what we felt was fair. Sometimes it is not about making money, it is simply about sharing our memories with the people who helped create them.How does 8123 always manage to have reasonable prices compared to the average?Tim Kirch: We do a lot of the work ourselves. Rather than hiring out to other people, the band and myself will do it. The Maine shot their own documentary, I help design the merchandise, Dirk Mai (photographer) laid “Roads” out by himself, etc. Sometimes you have to work a little harder, a little longer, and run into more issues but at the end of the day it is about delivering a product at a fair price and you have to do above things to make it happen!Do you think nowadays that the music industry has become a matter of fame, that famous bands tend to take their fans for granted?Tim Kirch: I can’t speak on their behalf.My bands, they are the most genuine guys I know. They are my best friends that I have known for years. I have never once heard a member of any of the bands I work with refer to themselves as “famous” nor have I ever seen them take a fan for granted. We are all very grateful to have the careers we have and we owe it to them. That is why we never try to ask for too much or put our fans in a spot where they feel like they are being taken advantage of. It takes a band and a fan appreciating one another to make music work, otherwise, you have nothing.
PUPSCLUSIVE: HIGH SCHOOL WITH THE MAINE: PART 3/4
We recently sat down with Kennedy, Pat, and Jared of The Maine to talk about their transformation throughout the years as if each album was a year of high school. Check out part three, junior year, below.
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U&U Interview : The Maine
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