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Interview: The Maine

Written by Erin Mathis



The Maine first gained national attention five years ago with their hit song “Into Your Arms”. Since then, the pop rock band has been consistently making music, and has now just put out their fifth studio album, “American Candy”. We caught up with the band’s founders: bassist Garrett Nickelsen, and best-friend/bandmate drummer Patrick Kirch, to talk about the new album, their opinions of the “man bun”, and how they’ve managed to keep a five-member band together and going strong for all these years.

So I wanted to start with the new album. It’s your fifth album, and this might be the first time in my life, that after listening to a new album, have put every single song on my iPod. You guys are kind of known for making massive amounts of content. For Pioneer you had a B-side, for Forever Halloween, you had a Deluxe edition. But this album is just ten songs. I feel like you really went for quality over quantity, can you talk about that?

Pat Kirch: That is exactly why we did it. We do always put a lot of music out. But we just wanted to make something short and sweet, and something that as soon as your done listening to, you wanna listen again.

I heard you guys rented out a house for 30 days in Joshua Tree to record the album. How important was it to have that mental space, just away from all distractions, to really pour yourselves into the music making?


PK: Very important. I think that’s when we do our best, is when we get away from everything else.

Garrett Nickelsen: Now we’ve recorded records in a lot of places. We’ve recorded in LA, Texas, Nashville, but yeah, we just found that it works best for us to just get away from everything.

So let’s talk about the songs themselves off the album. There’s been a lot of attention on mens hair lately. A lot of guys are growing their hair long again. There are a lot of man buns happening. What are your opinions of the man bun?

PK: I’m okay with it. But I don’t think it’s something that I could actually do.

GN: Guys are hunky sometimes. There’re hot dudes, and then there’re dudes that aren’t. What I’m not into, is the little top bun samurai thing.

Cause the song, “My Hair” is all about growing your hair long. What do you want listeners to take away from it?

GN: I think it’s more of a ‘fuck you’ song than it is actually about the hair. I think it started because John [O’Callaghan] grew his hair out.

PK: And he got a lot of shit for it.

GN: But it’s more of a I’m going to do what I want song.

Also, the song “American Candy”. It’s kind of all about chasing temporary pleasures. And I’ve noticed that a lot of your songs mention cigarettes, or whiskey. Are those things part of your lifestyle, or are they just kind of easy things to put into a song?

PK: Eh, kind of a little bit of both.

GN: I mean, we definitely like whiskey, besides Pat. And John doesn’t smoke cigarettes, I think that was more of him in high school. Except “English Girls” is actually a song written about an experience in the UK, so he might have actually been smoking a cigarette then.


Why doesn’t Pat like whiskey?

PK: Ah, I just can’t, I can’t do it, I don’t know.

GN: He don’t like the burn.

You guys just did a live performance on Big Morning Buzz Live. What was it like to perform for live television?

PK: Uhm, Garret was in one place the entire time. Which never happens. He had to control himself. And everything about it was different and uncomfortable. It was live. Truly live. I didn’t even realize how live it was. We were watching it as we were performing. So I was like: “Oh, shit!” If we mess up, we mess up live.

GN: And it went by so fast. I felt like we played for like twenty seconds. And it was like wow, all this, waking up early, and the stress of it, and then it’s just over.

So I see that you’ve been making some super adorable lyric videos. What made you guys want to do lyric videos as opposed to music videos? And are there music videos in the works for this album?

GN: Yeah, we have a video for “English Girls” that we’re just getting done with. That’ll be out soon.

PK: And the lyric videos, people just seemed to like lyrics videos. And this is the first time we just kind of sat down and planned out funny things to do. And it was a way of showing fans how we felt about the album, they’re just a bunch of fun songs.

You guys started way back in the day, in 2007. And you’ve gone through five albums now. Yet you’re all still here, still making awesome music. For other bands that want to know, what’s your secret? What’s they key to keeping a band together for this long?

PK: We don’t have one. It’s just what we do. I feel like some people get stuck, and start to hate making music, but somehow we’ve grown to like it more and more. This is the coolest thing you could ever do. Like this is what we’ve wanted our whole lives, and now it’s happening, and I wanna keep doing it for fifty years. So we just keep on making music and keep playing shows.

GN: And we haven’t slowed down. We might go away, from people, but we’re always going.

PK: I think when people take time off or break up, it’s just like, if you don’t really want to be doing this, don’t do it. But as long as we’re having fun, we’re going to keep making music.

The Maine’s ‘American Candy’ is now available on iTunes.




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