MEB Editor Maria Gironas got a chance to interview Garrett Nickelsen, bass player of Arizona native band, The Maine at this year’s Pomona, CA Warped Tour. There is no greater feeling than interviewing a band you have been a fan of since you were young, and even better that Garrett was such a nice guy, even in the 100 degree California weather. We got a chance to talk with him about the re-release of Forever Halloween and had some wise words about staying true to yourself.
MEB: How has Warped Tour been so far? Has their been a show in particular that has stuck out to you?
Garrett: It’s been fuckin’ awesome! We haven’t been here for 5 years so it’s cool getting back into it! It’s weird, like, knowing what it’s all about because I remember the last time, our first time, I was always nervous because there was these cool bands and stuff. Now I’m like ‘this is cool!’ and I’m not intimidated by anyone. Best show was definitely Vegas! Vegas is always weird. *laughs*
I know one thing that your band has faced in the past year alone is the transition from being on a major label to being independent. How has that experience been?
We’ve done 2 records without a label now and it’s been awesome! It’s a different vibe but we get to do what we like, put our music out there when we want to, no one can tell us ‘no,’ and we can sell CDs for cheap. It’s working really well right now and I don’t know when the next record will be but we will definitely be keeping the independent thing going for at least a little while.
As far as re-releasing Forever Halloween. What did you think that record had to say, compared to your past works, in order for you to re-release it?
I think it was one of the first records where we really felt like a band and felt like we could be called a rock and roll band. We recorded the whole record live and did it to tape, which a lot of people aren’t doing these days. I think it really pushed us to be better with our instruments and that was the biggest thing. I think Pioneer and Forever Halloween are like cousins, at least for the tunes they’re pretty close. The way that it was recorded was really what made it different.
Is analog something that you would want to revisit?
Yeah, it was fucking awesome! It was a lot different and the fact that we were all playing together at the same time, we’ve never done that, so it was really cool. It brought an energy to the song that you can’t get when you’re just sitting there and being like ‘now it’s your turn.’ It was like we were messing around or things that you do when you’re jamming together, like things that you would add to the song instead of feeling like the pressure is on you. I think that messing around with it really made the songs more vibe-y.
John had actually said this really interesting quote that I wanted to ask about. It said “A message to myself from myself, reminding me that you can’t change the way people treat you” is about what Forever Halloween is. If you can’t change the way people treat you, how do you react exactly?
Just be yourself! Don’t try to worry about what other people are thinking about you or how they’re treating you. If they’re an asshole, you can fuckin’ walk away and you don’t have to interact with them. If they’re cool, make friends with them! I guess at the end of the day be a good person. A lot of people fuckin’ suck and if you’re a good person maybe more people will like you. *laughs*
Makes sense. Also, kind of going back to what you were saying about the independent process. Do you recommend other bands going independent? What would you say to a band that’s on a major label wanting to do the same thing you guys did?
We’ve always been a band that has done a lot of stuff on their own. Even when we were on labels we were always coming up with ideas for like putting books out and just crazy tour ideas. That’s aways been in us even when we were on a label. I think you have to have that drive to want to work and some bands just don’t wan to work or they just want to hang out and have people do their job. For us, we’re not like that at all. If we’re not on tour we’re at our manager’s office trying to figure stuff out for the next tour or the next record and stuff like that. I think if you really have a good work ethic then you can do the independent thing, but if you kind of wanna chill then it’s not for you. That’s what labels are there for.
Last question, and you kind of touched base on it. But what are you guys working on now besides Warped Tour? What are you in your manager’s office talking about?
There’s always stuff like tours.
Any tidbits you can give us?
I’m sure we’ll be working on a new record soon. I don’t know exactly when. but definitely sometime after this. Hopefully by the end of the year.