The Maine

There are bands that I interview once and they dissappear into the abyss. A band that I have on the other hand always made the effort to cover are Arizona darlings The Maine! Over the years, we've interviewed the members solo and in pairs but for our newest interview, we did a full group interview with the exception of drummer Pat. If you look back on the website you'll find in depth sit downs with lead vocalist John to great chats with everyone at least twice.
This time around, we as we always do don't step around topics lightly in our interviews. The guys let me into where they are at in their new album process as well as the thought process behind the "Farewell Forever Halloween" shows. The guys have their last show on the run in Chicago on Halloween itself and then will be hibernating into recording their fifth full length as a band. Read on for our exclusive and catch the guys back on the road at some point in 2015!

We've done this before. We've been interviewing you guys-
John: You haven't had that though.
Yeah, I'm high tech now!
Garrett: iPad?
Garrett: Wooo, Surface!
It's super good for this kind of stuff compared to the little recorder.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Garrett: I miss that thing.

It is a good thing, I still carry it around but we have been interviewing you guys for a while. Pretty much ever since I've been doing this myself and you guys have been doing this as a band. I think we started right after your first album so to get right to it, this is the end of your fall run, the "Farewell Forever Halloween" shows. You only have four shows this fall in the US. You've done one. Maybe how did Pomona go and how did this idea come about to do these shows?
John: First show was awesome!
Kennedy: It was great.
Jared: I guess at the end of the year we had some time before we'd go into the studio and kind of wanted to close out the record. That's kind of where the farewell concept came from. It's not like we're never going to play these songs again. It's kind of symbolizing ending one kind of chapter for our band and yeah, the LA show was awesome. We had just gotten back from the UK so we were all pretty antsy to play a show stateside.
John: Yeah it was great!
Jared: It was awesome! Very fun. It's nice to be able to play a couple songs that we've never played live before off the album so it's nice to put some new material on the setlist. Hopefully people are enjoying it.
Garrett: Get to have cool friends play the show. It will be different in each of these nights of the shows. It was really awesome. We had John Nolan hanging out. Yeah it was great. I really enjoyed it.
John: I think the idea really stems from when we go on tour, especially a tour that we can headline, we never want to bring the same experience twice. So each time, even if the concept is modest, considering room sizes or what have you, we like to shake it up. There have been plenty of people that have seen us more than once. This was kind of just our fall headlining tour.
Jared: In a new form.
John: Yeah! We got to do what we wanted in the places that we wanted.
Garrett: And bring the people we want.

And was there a reason behind picking certain people for each city? I mean I know you have William tonight. It's not like he's from Boston.
Garrett: I think it was just convenience.
Kennedy: I think we didn't think we would get everyone.
Garrett: I think we did different people because we couldn't bring some one out for the four shows. Especially how far it is. So I think that kind of happened. We were like who lives in these areas that may want to play.
John: Nick Santino's doing the show in New York and not Boston.
Jared: No, you're doing Chicago right?(Nick was in the room)
John: Yeah Chicago and he's from Boston. William is from Chicago.
Garrett: We didn't do Nick in Boston because we always play with Nick in Boston. It's getting a little stale.
John: Can't play here no more (laughs)!

Then was there a particular reason behind choosing these four cities? I know you guys play Boston all the time. Maybe even two to three times a year sometimes.
John: I feel like on the West Coast, we didn't want to do an LA show but we wanted to do a show.
Kennedy: Convenience somewhat.
John: It was something where we chose cities where it wouldn't be so much of a burden for people to travel to. Plus it was in California and that's nice so we figured that that was a good spot. We actually were fortunate enough to do an Arizona show the day prior to Pomona because we played a festival called the Summer Ends that ended up getting rained out and the tickets were really expensive. So we put on a show for a couple bucks and we're fortunate to have been able to be given the opportunity to play that. Then the east coast stuff, New York, Boston is the same kind of concept. Everything's so crammed over here as far as cities are concerned. So we felt like these were appropriate meeting hubs I guess. Hopefully that's convenient but everybody that kind of follows our band and knows what we do knows that we're going to be on tour next year as well so if they didn't get a chance to get a ticket or you know if travel was too much, too costly, we'll be out next year and hopefully to their specific city.

Then you may not have talked as much in public about this but I know with the tour title and doing this new material, are songs put together, are a couple songs already finished?
Jared: We're going into kind of a weird place right now because before we went to the UK, we whipped up a huge batch of demo's. Like upwards of twenty or more. It's a little stressful right now.
John: I'm in the panic mode because every time you go in to record or write an album, you want it to be as great as possible. As creatively possible. So this one is like we've had some time to sit with the demo's and now we're on these shows. I can't write this week because I got everybody around.
Garrett: It's a calculated panic. It's a panic we know is here.
John: It will be positive.
Jared: I think everybody has this sort of feeling of like "fuck". We're going to start recording. It's like where's the time? So there's this little bit of like freaking and we have to learn a bunch of these new songs.
John: But to be honest, there are a handful of like in my head no brainers. Like ones that I really want people to hear and I really want to focus all of our energy. We have enough to make a record right now but I don't believe that the writing is finished and I don't believe that the songs that we have are where they need to be. That can induce some sort of stress but I think that like they said, it's positive stress.
Jared: To be more specific, he just kind of put the scratch vocal ideas on a lot of the demos.
John: And some scratch meaning my voice was scratchy because I've been sick since we've been home.
Jared: That's not helping either. Everyone is sick. It's collective. The thing is is that we're at a point now that I can tell which ones are the no brainers more so then I could before.
Kennedy: Yeah it's always a process. It comes in like layers. Like what feels comfortable.
Jared: It's honestly just a big mess right now. He's not a hundred percent (John). Everyone's kind of feeling a big scattered we've been traveling alot.
John: It will be a record.
Garrett: We don't sound nervous, do we?
No, not at all. You guys totally have it together.
Garrett: No, it's going to be fucking kick ass.

Then I was going to ask but, at least in my eyes, you guys are still kind of in the beginning stages of getting new material together but it's not concrete yet.
John: Yeah, absolutely right.
Then you do kind of steadily change over these albums. It hasn't stayed the same. Do you think that there is going to be even more of a variation from what you guys are already doing?
John: I know there's going to be a change.
Jared: A different vibe on it.
John: Yeah but I don't think that it's going to be as apparent or as abrupt as some of the others have.
Jared: It's not going to be like a disco record.
Garrett: But it could be!
Kennedy: See, now it could be! It's probably going to be a disco record.
Garrett: So we're certain it's a disco record? Cool.
John: I feel like there will be a very clear feeling of continuity. A very kind of apparent vibe. It will be clear what we're trying to extract from people and from ourselves. I think that that will be presented in a way that I don't think any of our other albums have. I think what's really great about this one is that because of these shows, we're kind of announcing that these are the final four shows. We are making it aware that we're going into the studio and I don't think we've had that luxury of really doing that. It's always just been kind of a mystery. That's what makes me excited for these. Really trying to make people feel like they are part of the whole thing from day one. As soon as we start to form things and make it concrete, I think that that's when we'll start to reveal a bit more. I think we're going to obviously be very vocal about where we're recording, who we're recording with. Kind of once we move in, we'll bring people up to speed in how it's all coming along.

Then It's a little silly but I tweet about looking for fan questions and actually a band that I interview a lot as well, Saves The Day who I know were just on Warped Tour with you all summer. Rodrigo wrote right away "Are you chilling? Are you ripping?"
Garrett: Oh my god, we're both!
Kennedy: Both always!
John: Always and forever both!
It was great because he responded in like a second!
Garrett: Rodrigo is a really great friend.
John: Max chilling, max ripping! Daily.
Jared: Chills for reals. Vibes dude holy shit.
John: Nature is the law.
Jared: Those dudes are awesome. We're good friends with those dudes!
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Eagles In Drag

I've covered The Maine for years interviewing the guys through a three album cycle and they have their four last shows of the year coming up in these few weeks but something a little different popped up earlier this year. Two of the guys, John O'Callaghan and Jared Monaco joined forces with past touring mates in Eric Halvorsen (ex-Rocket To The Moon), Ryan Gose (This Century, Stop Dead) and Trey Nickelsen. That project is called Eagles In Drag. Their debut EP came out in March and for now, we're unsure if we can expect more from the band music wise, show wise but we knew that we wanted to talk to the band.

We caught some time with John to talk about how the band formed, the writing process. Even how they went about this project considering everyone's past musical history. Read on for the interview!

Eagles in Drag debuted today. How did the idea come about to do the project?
The idea was born from my yearning to take a jaunt out of my comfort zone as far as songwriting is concerned. I really wanted to approach writing a song with a completely new set of eyes and utterly unaffected by a preconceived notion of how things must sound.

You commented on how The Maine is your baby and this band is like a girl you took out on a few dates. Will the band play shows now that this EP is out? Just stick to recording?

At this point in time it seems as though recording will be the extent of what we'll do with this project. I (with The Maine) have quite the schedule coming up with a UK tour, South America, then all summer on the Warped Tour so playing shows with other guys who tour as well seems a bit difficult to manage right now. Who knows though, possibly in the future when everyone isn't busy we can play a few shows.

For this band, you have members coming from past successful touring acts like your own history. How did that affect the songwriting process?
The fact that we all respected one another as musicians I think really shaped the collective effort that was the songwriting process. We all fed off of each other's energy and kept an open mind and just wanted to have a lot of fun experimenting in musical worlds we were unfamiliar with.

How did you go about the recording for this album? In one set few days? Sparingly through out a few months?
I had a handful of ideas prior to meeting with the other guys to write so that we weren't flying blind. We ended up writing the five songs in about a two weeks and recorded them in about four days. We then sat on the recordings for about a year until there weren't really any conflicting projects happening with our respective groups.

Can fans expect more in the next few months from Eagles In Drag?
Fans can only expect what has been released and the idea that this is completely a side project. I suppose it will completely depend on the response we get from people who hear the EP if we play shows, make more tunes, etc. I'm really just happy I got to spread my wings a bit and work with some really great cats in a creative atmosphere!
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Stop Dead

Speaking of side projects, Ryan Gose as well as being a member of This Century has had a side project that has released three EP's under the name Stop Dead. His most recent, Dirt & Dust, came out in March and we were able to grab a few minutes with him to talk about this project. Hopefully we get to see this act on tour soon but for now, just be sure to take a listen to his music online!

You balance this project with the steadily touring This Century. How does that actually help you as a musician?
I try to stay immersed in music as much as possible. It's what I do, it's what I enjoy! For me, I have a great time with This Century and then there's another side of me that enjoys stepping away from the drum kit to sing and play the guitar.

You dropped your third EP last week, "Dirt & Dust". Why did you choose that as the album title?
Dirt & Dust is also the title of one of the songs on the EP. I originally had a different name for it but while playing around with ideas for the album art I stumbled on a childhood photo of me in cowboy attire. It just seemed fitting!

Do you see Stop Dead possibly touring in the future?
I would like to. I'm currently on the road with This Century but once home I plan to jump right into rehearsals with Stop Dead. I think it will be interesting to play from a different part of the stage.

What was the first CD/cassette you bought as a kid? The first concert you went to? Do you think those experiences influence you today?
My first cassette ever was Green Day's Dookie. I listened to it constantly! My first concert was Billy Ray Cyrus so I didn't get much influence from that...but he did leave me with an achy breaky heart. That's a terrible joke...Future concerts and albums influenced me greatly!

What's coming up within the next few months for the band?
I plan to play some shows in Arizona and keep writing and recording. So new music will be on the way and hopefully the project will cross state lines soon enough! The current EP Dirt & Dust is out now and I recommend y'all check it out!
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