The Maine: Trekking Into New Territory
The Maine are pioneers. Over the last year or so, they have trekked into a lot of new territory, and they’ve accomplished a lot. They released their third studio album. They headlined a world tour. They re-released their third album with bonus songs. They recorded and produced a DVD. And, as they finish up a co-headlining tour with Mayday Parade, the Arizona natives are already planning another studio release.
Concerning the Mayday Parade tour, guitarist Jared Monaco said, “The shows have been great. I think the fans are sticking around to see both bands, which is awesome on a co-headliner. We really couldn’t ask for any more than that.”
Earlier this year, the band toured the world, playing in several continents in a span of four months. This was a big stepping stone for The Maine, an experience that Monaco describes as “an adventure.”
“We tried to keep the set lists the same everywhere we went to, and tried to play the same songs off the new album for everyone. I mean, every show was awesome, especially overseas. [Last year], we got to go to Spain and Italy for the first time. Stuff like that is really important, to kind of set foot in new territory like that,” Monaco said.
Drummer Pat Kirch described the world tour as “insane,” saying, “It felt good, because it was our third or fourth time in each of those different markets we went to on the tour. So it felt like it was a continuation of all the other tours we had kind of done in the past. I think it began to feel a lot more like we have a lot of fans in those countries.”
The tour was in support of the group’s newest album, Pioneer. The record sold over 12,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #90 on the Billboard charts. With the success of Pioneer, The Maine decided to release six new bonus tracks that didn’t originally make the cut.
Monaco explained, “We wanted to show people where our heads were at when we were in the studio, because there were so many songs we had written and recorded. It gave us the opportunity to showcase a little bit more how the writing for Pioneer went.”
The Maine wrote and recorded 27 songs for the album. According to Kirch, choosing the 13-song track list for Pioneer came down to a “vibe thing,” with the band choosing a mix of songs that were “upbeat” and “mellow” to add balance to the record.
“That’s always a really tough process, but for us, I remember there was a point where we were all sitting down and deciding the track listing we wanted for the album. And everyone came up with a pretty similar set of songs,” said Monaco.
If that’s not enough, the group is preparing a DVD release sometime in the near future. According to Monaco, it will be titled Anthem For A Dying Breed and it will showcase the band’s career both in the studio and on the stage. “One half of it is a documentary that shows literally everything we went through to write, record, and release Pioneer, which was a huge story. We tried to sum it up in about 45 minutes or so,” he elaborated. “The second half is our live set from Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is our largest headliner to date. The shows down there are a lot different for us. They’re bigger and the energy is more intense. We wanted to showcase that along with the album. It kind of completes the whole.”
None of the success that the band has had this year would’ve been possible if it wasn’t for Pioneer. The album’s title corresponds to the band venturing into new grounds, setting foot wherever they want to. The artwork pictures a bearded man (a good friend of the band’s photographer, Dirk Mai) wearing lipstick, which Monaco describes as a “do what you want to do” kind of thing, paralleling the philosophy of the album title.
“We just kind of wanted to go in and do anything we wanted. We’re very, very happy with all the results of that, but we kind of think we’re not going to get better unless we learn from the outside ear,” Kirch said.
The Maine have now had three different producers on three different albums, with Pioneer being the band’s only self-produced effort. Kirch said, “We’ve grown so much between each album cycle, so the type of guy we need to help record the record is also going to change as the five of us evolve as musicians.”
While the band is considering bringing in an outside producer again for their next studio release, which they hope to write, record, and release sometime in 2013, Monaco also adds his own concerns. “It’s a tough decision, because that person becomes a part of the project,” he said.
The band’s influences follow the same “pioneer” mentality as well – they’re always evolving. For the last effort, Monaco recalls listening to a lot of Wilco, Ryan Adams, and Tom Petty. He mused, “It’s not just on the album, it’s you as an individual, and those things influence your style of play. That just kind of bleeds onto the album completely, kind of subconsciously.”
Pioneer is arguably The Maine’s most successful work to date. If their third studio release allowed the band to headline a world tour, who knows what the future may hold. So far, with a DVD and an eventual fourth album looming, 2013 is looking quite bright for these Arizona natives.
“We know the order of how things have to happen for our band: to write, record, and tour. We want to hit all the markets we can go to now and try to reach a few new ones each time we have a new record cycle. I think we’re pretty happy, and we’re excited to get into the next chapter for our band,” said Monaco.
Kirch wants to make sure the quintet continues to live day-to-day, and keeps living as pioneers, evolving and trekking into new territory as they go along. He said, “I just think the idea and kind of the goal from the start is to continue to release music in any which way and direction we want, and to continue to be on the road. The goal is to just [to] be able to sustain as long as possible, and to never get complacent and make the same albums over and over again or give the same performance every night. The idea is to kind of be an evolving thing.”