The Maine talks American Candy, their multiple records and Joshua Tree!

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You've been doing the American Candy tour for a while with you not much more to go. How do you think it's been going over so far considering the album came out right at the beginning of it?

It’s been great. I don’t know what it is but the energy and the crowds seem to be crazier than it ever has been. We’re having a good time and it seems like people know the new songs a lot faster than they ever have in the past which is nice.

Are you playing a good amount of the songs?

Yeah we’re playing half the record which generally we only play a couple songs off the record. This time it just felt kind of right and we just felt like we want to play them so we’re gonna. If people don’t want to come, then they don’t have to.

They don't have to come! Then like I said last we spoke to the band, it was during the "Farewell Forever Hallloween" shows . You guys were about to go into the studio. I know you had kind of been doing some demo's but that was really it.

Yeah that was like the beginning.

You weren't really even realty sure what it was going to be. It was very new but how long did that process take, like to make American Candy?

It was really like a solid month of us just in a room hashing out ideas. Kind of generally how it works is John will send us a file with a hundred ideas on it. We’ll just kind of all go through it and put it in iTunes. Make a playlist of like ones we have to work on. Ones we should work on and ones we’ll get to if we have time. So we kind of all do that and then we compare which ones like everybody loves and generally, there is a nice batch that we all like completely agree on. So we work on those ones first. We kind of hash it out as a band and then we go through all of them and kind of see what happens. Then, we went to Joshua Tree and we recorded for about a month as well so it was about two months.

Then I know you did something pretty unique. You did a black out. You didn’t release a lot of information about what you guys were doing until after it was done. Maybe why Joshua Tree? I don’t think you’ve recorded there before so maybe was that something you always wanted to do?

I kind of wish it was more of like a romantic idea like that. To be honest, I had been purchasing all of this recording equipment like over the years. Once we did Forever Halloween, I kind of fell in love with the idea of recording stuff. So I bought a bunch of gear and then the band got some stuff, all the other guys got stuff. So we had enough that we knew we could record a record just with our equipment. It was something really exciting for us because we can take as much time as we wanted. We could do whatever we wanted so we figured why not just rent out a house and bring in all the gear. So that way we could have something cool as opposed to just like a traditional recording studio that is kind of bland at this point for us. It kind of feels like almost like you’re working in an office or something. So we wanted to find a house and then the producer that we were recording with was going to be living in California. He had just had a baby so we had kind of thought it would be nice if he could go home on the weekends. So Joshua Tree was like an hour and a half from LA and then not too far from Phoenix. So that way, to get the gear out there would be easier. Then it’s secluded and it’s Joshua Tree. It just kind of like made sense you know. Like the first house we found was the one that we ended up getting. When I saw it, it was just like kind of like a dream. It’s this giant dome and there’s an indoor pool.

It’s insane, yeah!
Three hot tubs and a sauna. You know, just craziness. It was really cool.

It looked awesome from what I’ve seen. Like the way you had it all set up.
Yeah it was really cool and it felt like for the first time we could do whatever we wanted as opposed to feeling like oh I don’t want to touch somebody else’s gear. Even though I know what it all does and how to use it and I own a lot of it but it’s just not mine. So I don’t want to like touch it and this time it was like well we can just get our hands dirty and do whatever we want. I think that felt really nice.

And then I know that the writing process has become more collective for you as a band. Maybe how did it go for this record, American Candy. Do you think it still differs or do you think you’ve kind of got into a steady routine?

As far as how we’re working as a band? It’s kind of how it’s always been. Like John records a crappy demo of an idea. Just him like playing guitar or piano and singing in his room. Then we get into a room and we play it. We figure out how to play it, which parts work and we kind of get the drums kind of figured out. We’ll figure out the structure then we keep a lot open ended as far as the guitar stuff. Jared and John kind of just do that stuff on the spot like as we have to record it. Black and White was the only one that was like a little different because we were co-writing with other people and stuff because that’s what the record label thought was the best thing for us to do. Besides that though, that’s just been our process. It’s just kind of what works for us.

Perfect and then each album is very different from each other. I know it’s something you try to do. I know Forever Halloween was maybe a little darker then people kind of expected from you guys but this album is very upbeat. Very poppy. Maybe did you have kind of a game plan before you started recording this record? Like you wanted it to be that way?

Yeah, I think no matter what you do, I think every record is a reaction to what you had done before. The perception of that stuff and that’s probably something not a lot of people like to admit but of course that’s going to play an influence on it. I think John felt misunderstood a little bit on Forever Halloween and felt that people thought it was darker than we thought it really was. I guess a lot of the stuff that we listen to that we don’t consider dark, maybe that people are listening to our music probably think of it as dark. For us, it was just we’re making a record and people kind of perceived it this way. So I think the reaction to it was to do the opposite of it. He had kind of talked to us early on and said that he wanted to make something that was real fun and upbeat. Something that had kind of a dance to it. Something that you don’t have to think too much about but than at the same time, there’s like depth as you kind of listen to it more and more.

Yeah definitely! Well I like that you guys are obviously always changing. When I say to people I still interview you guys, they just know Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. I’m always like that is so long ago. If you go listen to them now, you will not think it’s the same band.
That’s like a weird thing to do because like to us at least, I feel like how could you do it any other way. Like you change so much from seventeen to twenty five. I would hope your music is a little bit better or not even better, just different. Then there’s bands that just make the same record over and over and that just seems so dishonest. Because you’re clearly trying to just capture what you were doing then opposed to what feels good now.

There are bands that do that.

So to me, it’s just the only way to do it. You just keep on making music as you grow.

Exactly, and then for you maybe on this record, what was something really new you guys tried with this record? Like maybe something left field for you guys?

I mean there was a lot of focus on the rhythms of things. Like the drums and the bass really having like a bounce to it. Or something kind of like fun you could like groove to. That’s something that we haven’t really ever put too much like thought into before. So I would say that was like the biggest thing. I feel like this record is like us kind of putting everything we’ve learned through out all the records into one. Kind of like knowing a lot more but then also like being okay with getting outside input from a producer again. Which is like something we kind of had not wanted for a long time and I feel like we finally feel we’re at a point where we know as much as we know. Now to continue to learn, we need to talk with other people and learn. So I think we were just very open but then at the same time, we know where we like draw the line. It has to be what we want. It’s kind of like the perfect balance I guess between both of our attitudes. Our attitudes on Can’t Stop and Black and White were like, we don’t know anything. Let’s just go with whatever these other people think. Than the last two were like fuck you. We’re going to do whatever we want. Than this one’s like the balance of that I think.

Because wasn’t it a situation, correct me if I’m wrong, when Pioneer came out they (Warner) didn’t like it?

So basically, after Black and White was released, we were so fed up with being on a major label even though we had only been on there for like six months. We were just so over it. They had just had such a heavy hand in the making of that record. So we recorded Pioneer without them being aware. We just paid for it out of our own pocket and recorded it in secret. Then we handed it to them one day. We just asked for a meeting and put it on our A&R guy’s desk. They didn’t want to release it so they didn’t release it. So we like fought for a year to try and get it released. Finally, they let us put it out but on our own.

You had to pay for it.

Oh yeah like everything. Than they finally after that record had been out for a little bit, we got out of the contract completely. We had just been sick of being told what’s good and what’s not. Our thought process is like just because you work at a record label doesn’t mean that you know any better than we do. We’re the ones hanging out with our fans every single day. We’re the ones that have to go up there and perform these songs every night. If we don’t like it, then why do it?

You won’t be happy. Then like you said, you’ve been on this tour for a while. I know you’re doing the Buzz like on VH1 at the crack of dawn tomorrow. You’re playing English Girls so obviously that’s big for you. Still so very early in this album cycle. Plenty of time to go but what are the plans for the duration of this year? I know there’s been talk of international touring the rest of the year.

That’s the summer is doing that. Then we’re kicking around ideas. We’re going to be on the road as much as possible. Trying to perform the record for people and I think there’s a lot of songs on the record that we haven’t got to play yet so we’re going to make sure we tour long enough to go everywhere a couple times. I don’t know what it’s going to be but we’re going to record more. I don’t think we’re going to make a new record any time soon but who knows? I mean an EP. We’re probably going to go home from this and end up recording some stuff I’m sure. I have no clue if we will actually do it or what’s going to happen but I don’t see us not releasing more new music. We don’t have any set plans. Pretty much all we know right now is that we just want to be on the road a lot because the record just came out. We’re super excited to be playing the songs so as long as we can do that and people want to hear them, we’re going to keep doing that.

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