Before the end of The Maine’s Pioneer World Tour, we had the chance to sit down with John and Garrett. The two opened up about their feelings with Warner Bros. records, how they’ve grown up, and their plans to release a new DVD that they filmed overseas. Check out the in-depth interview below as well as some live photos.
Special thanks to Cara Friedman for conducting this interview and snapping some photos!
What was everyone’s first thought when you guys decided to make Pioneer off the label?
We were pretty excited, we were working for about six months and we thought that the end point would be that we had to put it out on Warner Brothers but they weren’t too excited about it. We were excited about it though so we just released it.
Are there any major artists that influenced the sound of the music of this record?
Subconsciously, with any art form, you are obviously going to be influenced by everything. But I don’t think consciously we were trying to imitate or make it sound like anything else. We definitely have influences but it wasn’t a conscious decision to make something that has already been done.
Do you guys think you might ever move on from the label now that you can see that you can do this on your own?
It’s really out of our control at this point. We’d like to not be there, but we can’t make that final decision. They know how we feel and we will try to get it worked out in the next couple of months but it’s way beyond our control at this point.
Your new sound has attracted new fans, which is great, but do you ever worry about loosing touch with your older, more loyal fans of four or five years?
At the end of the day it is either that you like it or you don’t. It’s not about who is more loyal or dedicated of a fan. Someone who just listened to us yesterday can be as enthusiastic as someone who has been for five years. It is not a competition, it has never been that way. I think that’s what’s really frustrating about it for some is that they make it into a competition and they feel like they have to win, but there is no winner. If you are really pulling for a band you want them to reach as many people as they can. People get caught up in being in a different level of a fan.
You have been touring non-stop and after this tour you’re heading out of the country. What’s the hardest part of this non-stop touring?
Trying to stay healthy. I’m sick right now and that always happens the last week of tour. Getting sleep is very difficult. All the elements of staying healthy work against you, lack of showers, lack of sleep, no healthy food, disgusting bathrooms, it’s pretty hard. But there are so many positives that outweigh all the negatives. It’s hard but we have learned ways to make it better.
Rumors are that you are going to the Brazil to film a DVD. What is this DVD going to consist of?
We are still trying to figure out what it is going to be. It’s definitely going to have a live performance. We are going to try to encapsulate what it took to make Pioneer, we have a lot of footage and will try to incorporate that so it’s not just a live concert and have the story the record.
The Pioneer World Tour is coming to a end in the U.S. What’s the best memory you have from this tour?
Best show, I don’t know. Bamboozle was pretty crazy. We go to play Bamboozle this year and we played with The Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World, it was pretty awesome. It’s hard to pick one. The overall thing is we got to tour with great bands and we became good friends with them. We have been on tours where we were the odd ball out or haven’t met the greatest people but that hasn’t been the case on this tour.
A lot of people categorize bands and artists into a certain music scene, how do you feel about your band being put into one and the reputations these scenes get in general?
It’s kind of hard because we want to be a dub step band and it’s really hard to be taken seriously. That was a goal five years ago, you know that one day we would be considered dub step. We think we’re dub step right now, aren’t we? Are we not? I think categorizing things is kind of silly. We understand but we’re not attempting to break from our previous sound on purpose just to distance ourselves from the other bands we were grouped with. It’s more of we do what’s comfortable for us and not run along the lines of where we fit in. We’re kind of going through a identity crisis but it’s definitely not leaning towards what we did in the past. We know what is popular now, we aren’t deaf. We know what songs get put on the top charts of iTunes, and if we wanted we could try to recreate everything that we have heard, and I think that is what is completely wrong with music now a days. Everyone is chasing what is popular. That ends up creating one giant silly song. We know we can change and go back to matching outfits and matching haircuts and probably be referred to as the 2 Direction but it’s not what we want to do. What ever we do in the future is going to be because we want to do it, not because we think it’s going to make us popular.
Q: When it comes to writing new music together, whats the hardest part?
A: The hardest part for me has been distinguishing the line of putting to much of myself in a song and not enough as far as lyrics are concerned. When we come together and are actually playing it, it becomes pretty clear within a couple of days of whether or not we vibe with what we are doing. Some stuff we try to force and it just doesn’t feel right so we go back to it a week later and if it’s not working then it’s just a stagnant song. Some songs write themselves. There are demos that are our favorites, but somewhere in the studio it loses its charm. But then there is always a song that kicks its ass and gets it out of there. We are still trying to figure that out too. Ask us again in a year and maybe we will know.
You have plenty of new songs you recorded for Pioneer but didn’t make it on the record, any ideas or plans for releasing these soon?
It might be around the same time as the DVD. We would like to release a deluxe edition and keep it cheaper since everything we have done in the past is indicative of the business end of what ever label that we are on. There was very little of what we actually got to deicide on. In the future, if we’re by ourselves and we are doing things on our agenda, then the deluxe edition will just be more more songs and not necessarily a higher price. We would like to get them all out, give some away for free. It’s funny about all the things you can’t do because someone is telling you no, but then it’s also funny about the things you can do once you’re doing it on your own and once you realize there are no rules.
Releasing the record off the label gave you creative freedom and many other advantages, but so far what is the one hardest things it has brought up?
The hardest part hasn’t been for us but for our management in just releasing the record. They have never done anything like that, we’ve never done anything like that, so we kind of had to make it up on the way. Our manager had to turn from just a manager to putting out a entire record, figuring it all out by himself, then still managing us and then getting records to the stores. It’s a big task. Putting a record out on a label you have many more opportunities just because they have a relationship with certain entities and distribution places. Our manager had to go out and beg and plead to get the record in stores. But what’s been cool by doing it on our own is it shed a little light to who we are as people and as a band at this point. We eliminated all the co-writes and that really helped, and I think it really let people attach themselves even more to our band.
You all participate in sharing a lot outside of your music through videos and blogs on your website. Do you think these activities are important in helping a band now a days? Are they becoming necessary?
I don’t think it’s necessary by any means. We don’t know any different. We have been doing that kind of stuff since day one. That’s the only way we have learned how to do it. People can survive without it but it just works for us. It’s kind of just what we do.
The band has been together for 5 years now and has grown tremendously. Do you ever regret or question the things you did in the past with the band?
Not regret, it’s funny to look back on it and laugh. You’re not allowed to do anything over. You either learn from it or you don’t or you grow from it or you don’t. I think it’s your fault if you don’t learn from the mistakes you think you made. If you regret something that’s fine, but if you don’t change anything for the future then you can’t feel sorry for yourself. If I knew then what I know now, how I feel now, of course things would be different. Those first two records, and the first EP, wouldn’t have even happened. But there is a reason that they did and there is a reason that we are still able to do what we do. It’s all a part of learning and growing up.
You have a large fan base in areas overseas like Brazil and the Philippines, how did that happen to originate?
I think it’s online. To be honest we have no idea. There is definitely a few factors, the online thing has a lot to do with it. Also we went to Brazil for the first time in December, so we had been touring the States four and half years before we even went to Brazil. There might have been a buzz and people were getting excited and loved listening to our music but there was no way to express how they really felt because they never really got to see us live. So when we finally tour, thats the reason why there would be more people showing up. I think there’s a lot of factors. People love music all over the world and that is one of the huge similarities that we’ve found. We enjoy it. We don’t question it very often.
A lot of your fans travel to go to more shows on your tour, how do you feel about the fact that people travel to see you?
It’s overwhelming. On this tour there were people who celebrated their 50th show, a few people that went to more then 10 shows. I was like, “aren’t you supposed to be in school right now?” But it’s so awesome, those are the faces that are really familiar. I can’t comprehend it because I don’t think my parents would have allowed me to do that when I was their age. I barely got to go to concerts. It was kind of like I had to beg and plead to go to a show. One show a month. I can’t comprehend it, but I appreciate it. People spend money driving, on gas and food and lodging. We are very fortunate to have people like that in our lives. We love it, it’s awesome.
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