If you’re wondering which band had the most fun making their latest album, it very well may be the Maine. Rather than writing and recording in a studio, the Arizona-based quintet rented out an AirBnB on a beach a couple of hour north of San Francisco to create Lovely, Little, Lonely. But their sixth studio effort isn’t full of beach vibes and chill melodies — it’s still very much the poppy singalong rock that’s launched them to international success over the last decade.
“I don’t think the new one is necessarily a continuation of our most recent record, American Candy, but I think we used it as a foundation for where we wanted to take the new one,” says singer John O’Callaghan. “We enjoyed the relative bounce and groove to American Candy, so we wanted to extend off of that without recreating the same album. We also made it a point to thread this whole record together and make it as seamless as possible from the very first track. The flow and continuity of the album were very important.”
But for a band that just celebrated its 10-year mark by hosting their own festival, the Maine are more focused on the next decade than what they’ve done to get here. On one hand, being able to celebrate their landmark anniversary with their fans at 8123 Fest was a night (and weekend) they’ll never forget, but it was also a good way to mark the moment and then move on rather than dedicating an entire tour or re-releasing their early albums like some artists might.
“We wanted to celebrate the symbiotic relationship we’ve created with the people who support what we do,” O’Callaghan says. “It started out as a vague dream, but it pretty rapidly turned into reality. It was really special to see the process all the way through from the blueprints to a really amazing weekend. We didn’t want to make it a long drawn-out thing about us being a band for 10 years, but we wanted to acknowledge it and then move past it. We’re excited for what’s to come.”
The thing that’s kept the Maine going this long is exactly what fans are hoping to see from the band in the years to come. While many bands are reuniting these days or reinventing their sound every few years, the Maine have stayed relatively consistent over their lifespan. As it turns out, the vocalist believes the key to maintaining that steady base is being willing and able to always step outside of the box a little bit to avoid that stale feeling that leads some artists to change their ways.
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“It’s always been a point of emphasis on our end to continue to challenge ourselves and make ourselves uncomfortable, because that’s the only way you really grow and it keeps things feeling fresh,” O’Callaghan says. “We’re always trying to implement new changes in the setlist or new approaches in the studio or what have you, just to take us out of that comfort zone and make us apply new techniques. At the core of everything, I’d like to think we’ve held pretty true to who we are as a band and the values that we share.”
When the Maine stops by the House of Blues in Anaheim on Sunday night, they’re not going to be focused on what they’ve done the last 10 years or what they might do in the next 10. Every night is a new and exciting performance for the band, and O’Callaghan believes it’s their duty to share that excitement and passion with everyone in attendance as well. With the right mentality, there’s no reason the band’s 20-year celebration can’t be twice as grand as the last one.
“Music and art and entertainment in general, there’s not one thing for everybody,” O’Callaghan says. “This record is for anybody who needs it and for anybody who will give it a listen. As far as our live show goes, I just want people to step out of their shells and enjoy loud music for a couple of hours. It’s always my hope that we can do our damnedest to make people forget about the real world for a few hours. That’s what music always was for me. It’s an escape and a time to share with people that you love.”
The Maine are at the House of Blues in Anaheim on Sunday, April 9. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets start at $22 and are available through the House of Blues website.