We sat down with The Maine before their show at the Fonda last Wednesday to talk musical inspirations, their new EP and their opinions of Los Angeles.
EarPeace: Do you guys feel like your “new sound” or the evolution of your music is a result of your own tastes naturally changing or did you sit down and talk about how you needed to change your sound
Jared: We definitely didn’t sit..It wasn’t calculated. We listen to a lot of different things -and we have listened to a lot of different things over the years…
Kennedy: Yeah, I think it’s just expanding musical tastes.
John: Yeah, it’s never a cognizant decision to be like, “Hey you guys let’s be different, and have a team meeting about how we’re going to sound different on the next album.” In my opinion, you can’t force stuff like that because then it’s just contrived…
Jared: And we never changed our writing style, too. John is normally kind of the brain of the operation and we kind of stem off of that with our ideas. That part has never really changed it’s kind of always been like that. So, just the end product, the way that we manipulate it in the studios changed a lot- the last record we did it all live. That kind of really has a pretty big impact on how it ends up sounding, and the way people perceive it too. It’s not a conscious decision to change, we’re just trying new things.
John: Yeah, I think we want to keep things fresh but it’s not in an effort to be different.
EarPeace: Who are your artistic inspirations? Who do you listen to and really enjoy?
Kennedy: A wide variety of things.
Jared: A bunch of stuff…
Kennedy: Lately I think we’ve been stuck in little bit more things that are coming out of the 70s…
Jared: I listened to a lot of Bowie before we did the most recent album. Garrett actually gave me a bunch of Bowie stuff and I kind of dove in…
Kennedy: We were listening to a band called Pavement when we were doing that as well..
Jared: Kind of 90s…
John: It always varies
Jared: Yeah it’s all over the map….Like for when we did Pioneer we listened to a lot of Wilco
Kennedy: Things like the Rolling Stones we listen to a lot, I think that’s a mutual one.
John: I think it’s more of like we can really appreciate the stuff that feels earnest, feels sincere, the stuff you can believe. Not the stuff that feels calculated and just made for a certain purpose.
EarPeace: John, what is Birthday in LA about? Do you not enjoy performing LA?
John: No…I mean the lyrics in my opinion, are some of the most straightforward lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s literally about a birthday party in Los Angeles that I had. To me, LA represents a lot more than just a city. I think it represents for me a lot of unkept promises…and a lot of fucking…just heaps of b.s.
We had a rough go of it when we were on our second album, we signed to a major label and it’s so easy to get caught up – especially when we were 20 years old, 19 years old -it’s easy to get caught up in this idea that this new album is going to ‘take you to where you want to go man, you’re going to be famous and you’re going to be whatever’… and it’s like…upon further review, all that we were actually hearing was that the person that had signed us to the label was going to get a new pool put in his backyard if the record did well and we weren’t going to get shit.
For me this song means… I guess the girl I was talking with at the time, that I was attempting to pursue- ended up encompassing and personifying what I think Los Angeles -not as a whole and I’m not going to generalize by saying all of people in Los Angeles are terrible because that’s not the case- but I’ve had the experience and it’s been slanted my way that I feel like everyone’s in it for the wrong reasons…
I mean I like Los Angeles, we’ve had tons of fun and we’re going to have a lot of fucking fun tonight. And we have a lot of friends here and it’s a great time all the time. But the song was just about a bad time.
Jared: Because who wants to hear about a good time. Doesn’t make for a great song.
EarPeace: What do you miss most when you’re out of the country?
Jared: It depends on where we’re at.
Kennedy: Sometimes when you’re out of the country you miss being able to speak in a language that you understand.
Jared: And we feel really stupid-sometimes we feel really dumb, because a lot of places we’ve been to– we didn’t know this before we left –but so many people can speak english to the point where you can really understand what they’re trying to convey. It’s really frustrating when you realize that you grew up and A). you didn’t pay that much attention in school especially for your 2nd language whatever that was and B). you feel so guilty because they can communicate to you but if you wanted to speak to them in their native language, for us we just don’t know. Getting used to that, for me it’s tough, it’s embarrassing. We try..but it’s just tough. We’ve been traveling in a lot of different places…to know them all is asking a lot. But I think… you always miss you bed when you’re on tour no matter where you’re at. Eventually.
Kennedy: Bed, certain familiar things… some food places. I personally don’t find myself missing too much..
Jared: We have fun. We try to have fun no matter what situation we’re in … we all like each other so…
Kennedy: Not dwelling on anything that I miss.. it’s more of just exciting. I miss a lot more of the road then I miss of home.
EarPeace: What do you guys see in your futures? Have you thought about what you guys want to do post-the Maine?
John: No, fuck no…
Kennedy: We’re hoping this goes on for quite a long time
John: The uncertainty of everything is kind of what drives us to continue to do what we feel like is our best …to put us in a position to keep doing it. We have stuff already scheduled next year and that’s promising enough…
Jared: You know, we don’t know where we going to be a year from now.. I mean we have an idea of what we want to be doing a year from now…But..
John: Fortunately our obligations personally at home are not too extensive… some guys have girlfriends but nobody has a child, at least, I don’t think.
Jared: We have dog kids
John: Other than that… We’re still invigorated by the idea of being able to play music. And I think we’re still at an age where it’s still plausible…it’s still realistic.. and we can continue to make the sacrifices that we do and not have to put anybody in jeopardy. At least sacrifice too much at home… So, I think we’re very fortunate.
EarPeace: Have you guys seen any big changes in your fan base over the years since you’ve been performing for a while… like the people who come out to your shows?
Kennedy: I think the average age has gotten older
Jared: I mean they’re just getting older
John: I think the biggest change is that we’re growing with these people… I think that’s really what’s happening.
Jared: I think that’s what’s given us such a secure fan base
John: You feel like it’s older because you’re 25 now. But when we were 17/18 years old the age might have been 14 that was coming to the show. At this point, if we looked at it like that we’d all feel really old. Yeah I mean for us, we got to grow up with all these people which is really really cool, something that I don’t think a whole lot of bands get to experience. I think that’s something that we definitely don’t take for granted.
EarPeace: Being able to pursue your dreams at such a young age must have been incredible, but do you feel like you missed out on anything because you spent your late teens/early twenties in The Maine?
John: I got the experience that I needed
Jared: I got enough of a glimpse of the real world…pretty much all that I needed
John: I didn’t get the real world but I got the college experience because I went for a year…and I definitely made it worth it for the year that I went. I feel like the other 2 guys, Pat and Garrett, they graduated early from high school- and I think it’s all relative, however you want to perceive it. Somebody like Justin Bieber who’s been performing since I don’t know… 13, he hasn’t had an adolescence. he hasn’t had that period. And we’ve never been surrounded by people that just say yes to everything we want to do or everything we’re doing, so we still have people who keep us grounded and levelheaded. I think that we’ve been able to keep an even keel on everything and keep a good head on our shoulders.
If anything I feel like people that we’ve grown up with haven’t gotten to experience what we have… And I feel like that they are… not at a disadvantage but we’ve been to places that I don’t think anybody that we know will ever go to in their lifetime which I think is something very special. So for maybe the grades that we didn’t get in college, I think that we’ve achieved whatever that satisfaction of getting an A is on your paper…
Jared : We felt like we were going against the grain for the first couple of years… but I think it’s been worth it…tenfold.
EarPeace: Well is there anything else you guys want to talk about? Anything that people don’t ask you that you want to say?
Jared: We just put out an EP, Imaginary Numbers. And it’s the first time we’ve done anything like that. It’s different because it was produced completely independently.
EarPeace: Do you think you’ll continue to do things independently?
John: It’s hard to say… I mean… I think we enjoy doing certain things that way. All evidence in the whole business that is music… all evidence is pointing towards the idea that that’s going to be the reality of music in general. I think everyone’s going to be doing it independently. I think for us to be experiencing that this early… We’re having a lot of fun because we get to do what we want… Not making rap records.
Jared: It’s very liberating. We did the whole label thing for a few years and having that departure and doing it yourself…that’s the most rewarding part…is complete involvement.
John: I think ideally in our utopian world, we would just create a place where we could enjoy the same liberties that we felt and continue to make the music we want… and build what we perceive as our own record label in the future.
Jared: We’re getting there
John: Yeah it takes time
Kennedy: Filling in the pieces
EarPeace: I think it’s so great that you have such a loyal fan base that you can do something like this.
John: Yeah we’re very fortunate
Jared: We think it’s great too!
For more info on The Maine check out their website.
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