After twelve years and seven studio albums, Arizona’s THE MAINE continue to push onwards and upwards as their new album You Are Okay hits the coveted number one spot on the Billboard Independent Album Charts; and now the band are taking the show on the road proudly announcing they’ll be joining their Australian fans this September for their biggest headlining shows yet. Garrett Nickelsen from the band speaks to Hi Fi Way about the tour and their new album You Are Okay.
Great news that The Maine will be back here in Australia for another tour. It must feel like a home away from home for the band?
Yeah, I guess we’ve been there quite a bit recently, but yeah, I mean it’s great. We love coming down there all the time. They’re always really great shows. It must be in the weather or something. People are just happier there.
Is this tour mostly focused on You Are OK?
We’ll definitely play a decent amount of new stuff, but we never like to, unless it’s like a tour that we announce that we’re going to do this specific thing. We always like to throw in stuff that people are going to want to hear and like to hear. So yeah, it’ll be a mixture of stuff but since it might be the only time that we’re going down there on this record we’ll definitely play a lot of newer stuff just so people can hear more of what we’re doing right now.
Have you been happy with how the album has been received by fans and everyone else?
Yeah, the only thing that really matters for us is the fans. They seem to be really enjoying it right now. We haven’t played a full headliner on this record yet. Usually we’ll go out and do a big US run and then do some international shows. So this maybe the only time we headline down in Australia playing this stuff. So far it’s been amazing. And as for like critics and stuff, we don’t really pay attention to that, but things I’ve read are nice, but like I said, I couldn’t care less.
Did the band have a vision in mind of how you wanted the album to sound and the messages that you wanted to send out through the songs?
Definitely, we went with a different producer than we’ve done previously. The past few we worked with Colby Wedgeworth and we got to a spot where we’re like, okay, we feel comfortable but we really need to find some new tricks and try some new things so we have something new and fresh but with that we knew producers we’ve worked with before, sometimes it can get a little weird and they can kind of be pushy on certain things.
We were like, okay, we need to make sure that we know exactly what we’re going to do and have a good vision so that when we actually bring the songs, we feel the most comfortable and then whatever they add is just a plus. If we go in with just the demos and we’re feeling one hundred percent with them, whatever they add is just extra awesomeness or whatever. I think as we’ve made more albums, we have been better prepared so we do feel better about it.
Does it get harder making a new album and finding something new to say or are there still plenty of burning ideas in the back of the collective minds within the band?
I’m sure there’ll be a time when it’s going to be more difficult. When things in our lives become not only in the band such as when we start having families and things like I’m sure that will be a different thing, not just completely focusing on making music, As of right now we’re only focused on searching for new things that we have never listened to, new experiences and all these things leads in to what we are doing right now. Right now it’s not like it’s an easy thing, but I think the amount of time we’re putting in learning about our craft is really helping more than anything.
Where does the inspiration come from?
It’s definitely music that we’re inspired by is probably the biggest thing. I don’t write the lyrics and John’s always reading and doing all sorts of things like that. I’m sure that’s influencing his words. Basically it’s like we’re always finding tons of new stuff and on the last couple of records it was all like a lot of 90s stuff and bands such as Wilco and Radiohead and anthemic rock. That’s stuff we’ve listened to for awhile, but, it seeps it’s way in like everything does. Everyone shows everyone what their vibe is at the time and all that seeps through. There’s this band called Jonathan Fire*Eater from New York in the late 90s and that crept in. If you’re learning you can take things and make your own version of all these things that you’re listening to.
Have ideas been thrown around for album number eight or or is it just way to early to even sort of contemplate that?
Since it’s our seventh I think the thing we have realised is that there’s no right time to start something. If there is a feeling that’s happening maybe, but we don’t play new stuff before the album’s out, or at least you’ve heard the song. We don’t really get to road test them and there has been times where we thought if we changed it the song might have been even more powerful.
What is next for The Maine apart from lots of touring?
We now have our own studio in Phoenix, so whenever we’re off we’re starting to pick at things to see if there’s anything that we can do between albums that would be interesting but not like a full on record idea. I’m sure there’s something that’s going to pop up in some sort of musical form that we haven’t done yet, but I’m sure it will happen. We’re so busy touring until the end of November. The guys are just super excited to be finally playing our own headlining shows with this album and give it its heartbeat.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch The Maines on the following dates, tickets through Destroy All Lines…