While in Orlando as part of their American Candy Tour, A Music Blog, Yea? caught up with John O’Callaghan and Garrett Nickelsen of Arizona fivesome The Maine. Read our exclusive interview below as we discuss music videos, a love of vinyl, acoustic performances, and captivating photography.
AMBY: How was your performance at Park Ave CDs today?
John: It was fun! It was a lot of people. It was a great record store!
AMBY: Yea, it’s my favorite.
John: It was really, really great.
Garrett: I found a record today that I was looking for, for years.
AMBY: That’s fantastic.
John: It’s dangerous!
Garrett: I’m totally OK with it.
John: Yea it… when you’re looking for something…
Garrett: Yea, I was like for years… looking for it.
John: … and you find it… that’s a really gratifying feeling.
Garrett: It’s great. I’m so happy.
AMBY: You also did an in-store performance on Record Store Day. How did that go?
John: It went well.
Garrett: Yea, it was cool.
AMBY: What do you like most about in-store performances?
John: I mean when they’re in cool record stores… I’m not too keen on playing our songs in the acoustic fashion just because they weren’t intended to be like that. It’s less painstaking as this album because we knew that we wanted to do more stuff like that. You know, all the people have been really nice and people have been showing up and supporting, you know, the record. I think that’s the coolest part is that all the indie stores that we’ve been working with, they usually do like a buy a CD and you can come hang. Which is really nice and it’s really nice that people care enough to hang out with us.
AMBY: So congratulations on American Candy!
John: Thank you!
AMBY: You have a few albums and EPs that share their names with songs that are on them. So how do you typically choose the name of an album?
John: I had this one kind of on the back of my brain for a long time.
Garrett: The song’s been around for a while. Like since… almost Pioneer, I think. I heard the first time…. The first demo…
John: But it didn’t… It had different lyrics, didn’t it?
Garrett: No, the one that’s been around for a long time was just… I mean it might have had different lyrics.
John: Oh yea! No, you’re right.
Garrett: I just remember hearing American Candy like years and years ago.
John: I suppose whatever strikes the most inspiration is what I stick with.
AMBY: What about album artwork?
John: That varies. This one I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted. Actually, it ended up –
Garrett: It ended up being different.
John: Being something different than what I wanted. That’s the great part about collaborating with people. Dirk [Mai] has taken…. the last three?
John: About four?
John: Didn’t he shoot Black & White?
Garrett: Yea, he did!
John: So he’s shot the past four covers. We love Dirk Mai! He’s honestly like a… he’s an extension of our creative mind, I feel.
Garrett: He’s the eyes to the music, I guess.
John: There’s something really captivating about photography, obviously. We just captured, I guess, the moment that we enjoyed the most.
AMBY: As far as your albums go, do you have a favorite one that you’ve made together? Do you have one that you like more to perform or one that you like more overall?
John: I mean the energy from… collectively known stuff is always contagious.
Garrett: It’s always fun! Even though if it’s not your favorite song. If the crowd’s –
John: Still feeling it…
Garrett: If they’re reacting in a great way, that brings the life to the song.
John: We always like playing new stuff. Cause it’s the most fresh. And fortunately on this tour people have been reacting really well to the new stuff and been really supportive, singing along.
AMBY: That’s great!
John: It’s kind of the best of both worlds at this point. We’re playing half the record.
AMBY: You released a limited edition vinyl with Hot Topic and you’re also going to be releasing another one through 8123. What makes them different from each other? I know that they look different, but how was the selection process different between which one would look which way?
Garrett: I think it was just for if someone wanted something different.
John: We’re fans of vinyl.
Garrett: We like vinyl. We love vinyl.
John: We like when it’s funky.
Garrett: When they look cool and like, look rad, it’s like a cool piece.
John: It’s fun to goof with the color schemes, too, because pulling it out and putting it on the player and watching it spin is something special.
AMBY: You’ve been back here, to Orlando, about seven times in the last couple of years. Do you have anything that makes you want to keep coming back here?
Garrett: The shows are always awesome here. I don’t think we’ve ever really had a bad show here. It’s just they’ve always been really… kids are really excited all the time and I remember last time we played this venue was the craziest of the tour.
John: Remember we did that double thing here? At the small, little guy, right here.
Garrett: That was maybe the only show that’s ever been weird. Cause we played at fucking 2 o’clock [laughs]. We did two shows in a day… at The Social?
AMBY: The Social. It’s right next door. That’s a great venue.
John: But that one was weird!
Garrett: We did two shows in the same day. We’d never done that before.
AMBY: That’s interesting.
Garrett: It just… It was just funky!
Garrett: Well, because we woke up early. We don’t wake up early, ever
AMBY and The Maine: [laughs]
John: Ever. Ever!
Garrett: And it was like, OK! Get to the venue at like 9 o’clock and then we played at 2 and then it was like a 2 hour break… and then we do it again.
AMBY: So this is one of the last stops on the American Candy Tour and then in July you guys are heading off on the Brazilian Candy Tour. That’s really exciting! What’s the most interesting place that you’ve toured internationally?
Garrett: That one just sticks out for me. I never thought I would go there and I totally thought it was something different than what it was. Then we pull up and everyone knows English and it’s the cleanest place I’ve ever been and it was so rad. We went to all these crazy markets and had crazy food.
John: We’re going back, too. So, that’ll be cool.
Garrett: We’re excited to go back. That one just stuck out because I didn’t really know anything about it.
AMBY: Is there anywhere that you really wanna go next or that you’re planning on going next?
Garrett: Would love to go to Japan! It’s been on our list for a long time now. Hopefully we can go soon. That’s up to the people in Japan [laughs].
John: That’s our number one, I think.
AMBY: You recently did a show with Yahoo! Live. How did that go and had you ever done anything like it before?
John: We had done like a streaming thing in the past. I remember doing a Myspace thing.
Garrett: It was kind of weird because it was the second show on the tour, so we were still working out the kinks to the set. I honestly didn’t even remember that when it was happening, I didn’t think about it. It was just funny to like go back and hear and you’re like “God dammit. I wish this would have been like a weekend, or something.” It was rad! That they wanted us to do it.
AMBY: So your album American Candy it has a different sound than some of your other albums. Was it hard to integrate your older songs into the set, or is the set mostly songs from American Candy? You said you’re playing half the album, right?
John: We’re playing five, yea. Five off the new oneI really don’t feel like it’s hard because it’s all still us. I think it’s easier live. If you were to play, like a compilation of a couple songs from each album, I feel like there might be a drastic difference, tonally, or whatever. But, live, you can just crank it loud.
Garrett: We usually make it pretty noisy. We like grungy rock. Everything kind of gets a kick in the ass and it becomes a little bit more loud and rockin’ than maybe the record.
Garrett: Faster. Definitely faster.
John: So I think that kind of mends them all together.
AMBY: Do you guys have any plans for any music videos from the album?
John: Yea, we just wrapped one up, actually. For a song called English Girls. I don’t even know when it’s gonna come out.
Garrett: [laughs] I don’t know either.
John: I’m not sure.
Garrett: I haven’t heard anything about it. It’s gonna be on the backburner for a little bit. But we plan on releasing it, I just don’t know when [laughs].
AMBY: I’ll take that! One fan wanted me to ask, if you were working on or planning on releasing anything like Exaltation again.
John: I’m always writing. I mean, I will be releasing something but I don’t’ know when.
AMBY: So my last question is, what’s the best part of being in The Maine?
John: I mean, to create and play music for a living is pretty special. That’s it for me.
Garrett: Hanging out with John.
AMBY: Thanks for sitting down with me today!
John: Of course! Thank you!
Thank you The Maine, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Emily Chavarie | @emily_chavarie