For The Maine and Forever Halloween, Computers Are for Porn
When we last spoke to John O'Callaghan of The Maine, a year and a half ago, things were a little nebulous. Pioneer had just been rejected by the major label that had signed them to a seven-album contract one album ago, and it wasn't clear what The Maine's followup would look like or who would be behind it.
Things were pretty clear when O'Callaghan stepped away from some last-minute rehearsals to talk to Up on the Sun Monday night. The major is out of the picture, the band is opening a summer-long tour in Tempe this afternoon, and the followup, out today, is a snapshot of a band that knows exactly where it is, and why.
Up on the Sun: The last time we talked to you, you'd just released Pioneer independently after signing a long deal with Warner Bros. How has working outside the label changed your process as a band?
John O'Callaghan: A lot as changed. I think the majority of the changes have come within the dynamic of our mental approach and the way that we're kind of perceiving and viewing music at this point... the creative freedom that we've enjoyed since departing from a major label has been immense, and I think what people will hear, especially with our newest album, is the sincerity.
That's not to say that the previous material is insincere. I think when you have too many cooks in the kitchen, or too many painters on one single canvas--I think you can come up with things that aren't necessarily 100 percent you.
And that's because you have to jump through a lot of hoops and overcome a lot of approval and yes-and-no's. Ultimately you have to answer to somebody, and that's under any umbrella of a label.
[On Forever Halloween] we got to work with Brendan Benson, who produced the album. He opened our eyes to what it means to record the analog way, to tapes, so I think having had some of the experience we have had over the past year--I think we're a more cohesive band because of it, and I think we're closer now, as far as our music is concerned, than we've ever been.
And I think the vision that we do have--whether that's a little vision or a lot--I think it's able to be seen through at this point. We don't have to answer to anybody, so I think our mental approach has completely changed, and I think for the better.
Have your goals as a band changed? Is there something you want to do with Forever Halloween that you maybe didn't have in mind for Black and White and Pioneer?
I think the goal just became more specific, and it became a bit more geared toward the incredible fans that we've had and have. Being not only on a label, but being young, you can... buy into the idea that the whole world's gonna hear this. [But] what we want is the ability to continue to make records, and play those records for the people who care.
In some ways it becomes a bit esoteric; only a handful of people truly are passionate about it, and we're gonna do whatever we can to continue to do it for those people. But I think the goal is to not only maintain those fans and maintain those relationships, but build new ones and branch out. The world's a big place, and we've toured quite a bit in the United States, and I think we would like to explore more of the globe.
I think that would be one of the big goals on this album--to kind of set foot on foreign soil and experience shows in different parts of the world. I think we're just really fortunate with where we're at right now, and we don't wanna take the people who are listening for granted. We obviously owe everything to them. I think we're just trying to cherish what we have and build upon it.
After the jump: "Sonically, it's going to sound like a band. It's going to sound less digital."