This year, The Maine are celebrating the 10-year milestone of being a band. During their tour earlier this year, bassist Garrett Nickelsen and guitarist Kennedy Brock chatted to GoldenPlec about their 2017 album ‘Lovely Little Lonely’, the secret to surviving in the industry and how they and their fans have changed over the years.
First and foremost, it’s obvious that this tour has been going well, with Brock saying off the bat, “[it’s] incredible, stellar, one of the best.” Nickelsen adds that things have changed slightly, but for the better, “[w]e have a certain confidence now that we didn’t have. We see people coming out that are just as excited for the new stuff. I imagine it would be a drag if you’ve been a band for 10 years and everyone just wants to hear the first album. It just puts more energy into us and makes us want to put out more and better albums to keep it going.”
Their constant love for what they’re doing is clear, with Brock including, “it really hasn’t felt [jaded] I think we love music too much, we want to do it better."
The Maine are not one to leave a particularly long time between albums with ‘Lovely Little Lonely’ following their 2015 release ‘American Candy’. “We always kick stuff out pretty quick,” Nickelsen explains, adding that this time around things were slightly different. “We were way more prepared this time, we spent a lot of time doing that preparation. In the past we’ve left a lot up to spontaneity in the room, not that there wasn’t that but there was a lot more discussed [this time].”
Brock adds that they’re constantly thinking about writing and making music, “We need to do things when we feel like it, which is most of the time.”
To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, the band put on 8123 Fest – a festival which brought together fans, friends and fellow bands in their hometown in Arizona. It went off without a hitch. Brock explains, “We brought everybody that had ever worked with us or toured with us in the past, or a lot of them, and it was just this cool thing – 8123 is talking about a certain place with specific friends in Arizona and it’s kind of this thing we’ve built up with our fan base. This is kind of our hub so it was cool to bring everyone there, to have everyone in our home.”
Nickelsen adds, “It was so stressful getting there, because it was outside so it was like – is it going to rain?! And it was supposed to. It rained on either side of it. It was like… how did we pull this off? Nothing at all bad happened!”
Throughout the 10 years, the Maine have found the formula that works for having a sustainable relationship both artistically and friends, as Nickelsen explains, “I think we just respect each other enough, we respect what we do and realize how lucky we are… We keep each other enough in check – if someone is being an asshole, you get told that you’re being an asshole. It’s just respecting what you’re doing and happy when you’re doing.”
Furthermore, difficulties can arise with bands who are around for a longer amount of time, especially when it comes to pop-punk and other genres that appeal primarily to teens and young adults – as a result of people changing (both fans and bands alike). However, The Maine have managed to have fans grow up with them, whilst still finding a new crowd. Their sound has evolved and changed throughout the year, but for the most part they haven’t alienated older fans. Nickelsen mentions how this is something that they have also noticed. “It’s the only thing you could wish for and we’re lucky enough that that’s happening. I think it’s because we’re always pushing the records we’re trying to make. If something’s done well we’re not just going to do it again.”
To which Brock adds, “we’re not going to try to emulate anything we’ve done. It helps people too, when they’re going through something in their life that we’re honest too.”
The Maine talk about the fear of change, but that hasn’t stopped them from pushing their own boundaries, a lot of this comes down to a mutual trust they have with fans. Nickelsen explains, “Even if you scare someone, I think we’ve built such a trust with the people who like our band that maybe it isn’t exactly what they wanted at the time, like say the record ‘Forever Halloween’ – that was kind of a crazy album for us to put out, it was a lot darker. But, the songs we get most requested to play are from that album, and that was not the case at all at the time!” It worries them less and less the more experienced they get. He adds, “I think we’ve become more confident that these people do want us to do what we’re trying to do and it’s this whole circle. It feeds into our fans doing what we do because it’s honest and we appreciate the whole thing.” The nature of being authentic is what it comes down to. Brock concludes, “as soon as it feels phony, people catch on. If it’s genuine people can sniff it out and really feel it.”
Throughout the course of the interview, it is clear how appreciative the band are for their successes thus far and their fans, and it seems totally genuine. The Maine have already paved an impressive journey up until now, and there are no signs of anything slowing down.