How far can you spread the word through the internet?
The Maine, an independent alternative rock band from the warm Arizona came to Europe for the second time in less than two years.
On June 2013 they’ve released the fourth album ‘Forever Halloween’ recorded in a very uncommon way for these days (find how inside the interview). They reached almost 1 million fans around the world and we had the pleasure to meet them at their show in Milan last week. Here a fun and very interesting Q&A with Garrett and Jared, respectively bass and guitar player of the band.
Hello guys and nice to meet you! It’s a pleasure for us to have this little chat with you. We have been following you for a while: we know you come from Arizona, you have formed in 2007 and you have released four albums. How would you like to introduce The Maine to a new listener? What’s the first thing that comes to mind to define who you are?
JARED: That’s a good question. Garrett, do you like rock’n’roll?
GARRETT: Oh I love rock’n’roll.
JARED: Oh then you might like my band, we’re called The Maine. That’s what I would probably say. An example of a conversation I feel like.
GARRETT: Great job! You have one new listener from me.
JARED: See? One new listener. Well, it’s always so hard to explain your band to someone. I think that you have to come to a show and see what the experience is all about. I think, you know, we are trying to do something different, we are not trying to be like a cocky cutter rock’n’roll band, we have a good relationship with our fans too, so I think that definitely adds to the experience, I think people feel part of it right after watching a show. Hopefully that sells a little bit?!
GARRETT: You sold me, babe.
You have been discovered through the web. Is that right?
GARRETT: I guess so. When we first started we did the all social network a thing we kinda used a lot, and we still do it today, quite a good amount. We weren’t on tour when we first started cause our drummer Path and I were still in high school so we were young and, you know, we were not really allowed to go around and tour yet. So we kind used the internet as a tool to spread the word.
JARED: It worked very well. I think that we wouldn’t not be able to come over here to play shows if it wasn’t for the internet. It’s really easy to spread the word about your band and over the years we’ve started working with Rude Records who’s been really crucial in growing our band especially in Europe and especially Italy. But I think that if it wasn’t for the internet we would never got into any of those points so and it is even the best way to connect with our fans.
Your last album “Forever Halloween” was recorded live through analog tape without the use of computer editing techniques. You will also publish your first acoustic EP in December and you’ve planned an acoustic tour at the beginning of 2014. How come this decision in a moment like this where electronic music became so popular?
JARED: Man, yes electronic music is definitely a very big thing these days.
GARRETT: I don’t know, you know, the reason why we did the acoustic EP was ‘cause a lot of our fans kind of always asked us to, it was something that people kind of awaited from us to do something like that. We talked about this for years and then we finally had some time after our last tour in the Summer, we recorded it ourselves, our manager was back of his office and we through together so quick and it was really fun, was very cool.
JARED: Yeah, we’ve put together a studio. I think doing ‘Forever Halloween’ to tape and live in the way that we did made us more confident to try to record something on our own. So that’s what ‘Imaginary Number’ is, the acoustic EP. There will be 5 new songs that nobody heard before, they could have made for ‘Forever Halloween’ album but we’ve just never worked them out to be songs for the record so they are totally new ideas and yeah I think it’s something fresh. It’s exciting to be able to go on tour in January and play those songs for our fans.
“Forever Halloween” got a more sentimental and soft sound than the past albums, but still rock. Do you feel this evolution?
GARRETT: I think John definitely let himself out more on this one. You listen to the songs and he’s telling you a story of something that actually happened, he‘s getting really in depth with things. We have a song called “Birthday in Los Angeles” and I was there for his birthday in LA so there are things in the song that I remember and that actually happening. It was cool even for me, here I am totally not hide behind anything and just kind let himself says what he wanted to instead of holding back a little bit.
JARED: I feel like it compliments the record too you know, the way we recorded it, everything was so rough and so like real and so I feel like for him to go over those songs and sing about girls, love… you know the generic things that you are used to hearing bands sing about would make sense. There are more personal experiences, he’s more exposed on this record.
Brendan Benson produced your last album. How was working with him? How did he influence you?
JARED: Oh men, he was awesome.
GARRETT: He is a wizard. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t recorded the album in the way that we did, we would too done it live. We’ve always talked about that, trying to do it but we didn’t have the confidence to. That’s the only way he records so we kind went in there not knowing, he was like ‘this is how we’re doing it’.
JARED: He made us feeling like we were recording in the 70s and that was very cool. The whole vibe in the studio was awesome. We are huge fans of the The Raconteurs and we know how he records music, we know how he sounds like and so I just feel like he was going into the project, we were excited because we just thought it’d complement our sound and I think he really added a lot to the record. I think he made it easier to feel comfortable for us to go in and record live for the first time for us. That’s like taking the first step as a band, it’s really like becoming a rock’n’roll band feeling to be able to record live. It was nice to have someone that have done it pretty much all his life, he made it easier for us.
This is your second consecutive independent release after your departure from Warner Bros Records. This was a brave decision but today we can confirm that’s been extremely right for you to do so, don’t we?
GARRETT: We are pumped, it‘s working out.
JARED: Well I remember when we were on major label and basically we were been told everything like “You can’t go here”, “It doesn’t make sense for you to tour here or there wherever it was, like South America or some places in Europe”. So now that we are independent it’s kind of awesome. You know, if there’s somewhere where we wanna go and it’s even remotely possible to go we are gonna do that. It’s nice have that freedom.
If you could decide to play a show in any place of the world, where could it be? Why?
GARRETT: I would play a show on the Moon.
JARED: The Moon would be cool, but I think Rome would be awesome too. Also we still want to go to Japan to do a show. But I think the moon probably wins, or Mars.
[But I said “of the world”!]
JARED: Iceland would be amazing!
GARRETT: Let’s go there.
JARED: Do we have fans there? I don’t know. There’s got to be at least one?
How is the local music scene in Arizona?
JARED: Is a country it’s gone through an identity crisis over the past decades. There are so many great bands coming out Phoenix to, like Jimmy Eat World, Gin Blossoms, The Format. It’s kind like all the band want to be hardcore or heavy rock I think.
For us playing a hometown show is not significantly better, it is easier to play home but it’s never like “Oh my God hometown show, it’s gonna be so crazy”.
GARRETT: There used to be a big scene. There’s something going on, but it is not like nothing crazy. You know, we have these friends “This Century” and they do really great stuff but they still figuring themselves out.
JARED: Yeh something needs still to happen and hopefully we can to be part of that, I don’t know.
What was the most interesting event you’ve found in your career until now?
JARED: I think anytime we go to new places that are kind of foreign for us, like especially coming here for the first time last year just reminded us how far bands be able to reach from Arizona and I don‘t think we‘ve ever thought that could happen.
GARRETT: Yeah I mean, I was walking in a street today and I forgot I was in Italy. It’s crazy, it’s like you get so used to traveling all the time and you forget that you are on the other side of the world playing a show, it’s fucking awesome. It’s like an everyday thing, you wake up and you kind forget where you are and then you realize it.
JARED: There are definitely moments like milestones. We did a DVD in South America that was really really fun to film, one of our biggest headline show we’ve ever done. I think there’s certain moments like that to stick out, get to experience something new, people are showing up and coming to our shows, I think it’s a bonus, I think it’s awesome.
What has it been the weirdest Halloween costume you’ve ever dressed up?
GARRETT: I was a transformer one time, like the movie ’Transformer’ but it was a little kid’s one, so there was a belly shirt and it didn’t fit… The pants were really short, that was for a ten years old kid but I wore it two years ago, that was kind of weird. I could probably get arrested (laugh).
JARED: Uhm my weirdest, I was Robin Hood the other year and people couldn’t tell if I was Robin Hood or Peter Pan (laugh).
GARRETT: Last year we were on tour with a band called Mayday Parade and during all tour we were dressed up as wizards, so all the bands were wizards, everyone on stage that nights were wizards.
JARED: Very hard to play the guitar when you’re wearing a cloak and you got long hair and a big bear. I was eating this fake bear the whole night, but it was fun!
GARRETT: John was Harry Potter (laugh), Harry Potter was really good.
Is it true that once John was dress up for Halloween as a street?
GARRETT: Yeah when he was really young his mum dressed him like a piece of street. He was all black with white stripes painted on.
JARED: That was a very cheap costume. She probably thought at the last second “Oh you need a costume” and she painted on him a street.
The place where you were born, the place where you live, the best places you’ve visited thanks to your work: can you find a significative word to describe each one of them?
GARRETT: I was born in Florida and I would say: humid. I live in Phoenix so I call that: home. And then the coolest place I’ve visited was Singapore: clean.
JARED: I would have the same answers except that I was born in Phoenix so: hot and it‘s home still. I think I really like Singapore but most South America and I would say: caipirinha. That’s the drink they gave me down there, it was delicious.
You’ve just headed to Milan after a UK tour with We Are The Ocean, how has been playing with the band that supported last Muse tour?
JARED: It was awesome playing with them, as people they really reminded me a lot of our band.
GARRETT: They are great, it were very easy to get along with them. Really fun guys. I am very excited to go back to UK and hang out with them.
JARED: Yeh we’ve become friends with those guys, it has been really fun.
What’s your dream band to play with?
GARRETT: Neil Young!
JARED: The Rolling Stones, but I don’t think there’s much time left. I really like The Killers, that would be very fun to go tour with them. I don’t know, there are so many great bands.
GARRETT: Also Foo Fighters but we already kind of played a show with them once. That was cool. I mean we played on the same stage, I don’t know if that counts. Mmm I count that.
If you wouldn’t have been musicians, What would you have been now? Is there anything else that you find interesting at the same level as music?
JARED: I would be screwed, homeless, pissed, very upset. A very mean person. I was working in an entertainment store before the band started so I’d probably be still there and I’d probably wouldn’t have gone to school, probably I would have failed out. Well, this is depressing, this is not a good answer (laugh)!
GARRETT: I’ve worked at a coffee shop for three days, then I quit.
JARED: That has been Garrett only real job, three days like in Starbucks or wherever it was (laugh).
GARRETT: No it was just some shit place, shitty coffee place.
JARED: Me and Garrett would both be baristas at the coffee shop.
GARRETT: No, I quit that. Never did that, never had the career.
JARED: Well, we’d work at a guitar center, in the electronic section. Some keyboard, dubstep machines. Yeah, that’d be cool.
One question that nobody asked you but that you would like to answer?
JARED: Ehm, Are you ok?
GARRETT: No (laugh). No, I’m doing okay, I’m doing alright. How much hair is too much hair?
JARED: Oh man, that’s tough, I don’t know, I have no answer for that. I can’t answer that question!
GARRETT: I’d say this much. Ok no, I will figure out a better one. Are they playing Incubus right now? (laugh)
JARED: Ahaha yes, the answer is yes. They are playing ‘Wish you where here‘.
GARRETT: Cool, I’ve always wanted to be asked that question ahaha.
Text by Elena Indiano