Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview | The Maine and The Technicolors

Since 2007, The Maine has been touring and recording almost non-stop. With the release of their fifth full-length record, American Candy, they embarked on a 6 week tour around the US with their label mates, The Technicolors, as well as Knuckle Puck and Real Friends. We had a chance to catch up with The Technicolors and The Maine during their Nashville stop.

via The Technicolors & 8123

The Technicolors, another Arizona based rock group, are new to the 8123 label, but they are already making an impact on stage. Their new EP, Ultraviolet Disguise, has some strong British rock vibes, as that's what frontman Brennan Smiley is influenced by. We sat down with him and bassist Mike Nicolette to discuss the tour and their most recent record.

Tell me a little bit about the writings and producing of your new EP. Didn't you produce your first record pretty much by yourself? I feel that with your signing to 8123, that the release of your EP was like a new beginning for The Technicolors. 

Brennan: It's definitely felt like a new beginning, for all of us. I produced this record with Sean Silverman, who is playing guitar with us on the road right now. Basically, it came after the fact of recording another EP that we haven't released. That's the first thing that we did when we jumped on with 8123. We worked with Pat Kirch, who's the drummer for The Maine. He basically just opened up his studio for us to use and produced it with us. We jumped in there and recorded a bunch of throwback songs or more of a garage-y sound. More meat and potatoes kind of vibe. More song based. We knew that we were going to go on this tour, and we had an opportunity to record more songs and we just kind of jumped on it. And the opportunity to work with Sean opened up; and we just did one song and loved it so much and had such a good time doing it, that we decided to roll with it and see what happened. At that point, we didn't know if it was going to add on to the other songs, or make it a full record, or two EPs. It just ended up being a completely separate batch of tunes that sounded a lot different. We were just excited to try new things that we never had. That one was done very quickly, just before the tour started, we finished it.

Are you expecting the next EP to be four or five songs as well? 

Brennan: We don't know yet. We're really excited to write and create something, but we just don't know what it's going to be, how long it will be. We know that we want it to be in the same vein as the EP that we just put out. We're all having fun playing this style of music. We're just getting warmed up.

How are you feeling about the overall reception to this record? 

Brennan: Really awesome. We don't know, I don't know how to put it into words. Just because, we've never had this many ears to hear our music. And whether they like or not, we just haven't had that available. And now with 8123, it's a great community of people that are stoked on it, and it's pretty crazy.

Those kids were just hollering and screaming at you all with excitement. I think they like what they hear. 

Nico: It's really cool and amazing to hear that. It's exciting, it's fun. It gives us the motivation to keep doing that again.

What has been your favorite part about touring with The Maine right now? 

Brennan: Just for me, personally, it's the guys. They're the sweetest group of guys down to the crew. It's been a privilege to tour with people that care so much about other humans. It's been quite the experience and it will be hard to top it. We've been very spoiled on this tour.

Nico: Everyone that has been on this tour has been so nice to us and welcoming, and going out of their way to help us. You don't see that a lot these days.

I know it's a lot different for you or more fun for you to tour with a full band, because I know that you had a solo tour in the past. 

Brennan: It was an acoustic tour and it was just me, representing the band the best that I could. It was fun, but it felt like a tease playing some really cool shows. I wanted the band there but it was just a small snippet of what we do.

I know that you all are really into British rock and I could hear that in your sound. Who do you think influences you the most with how you crafted your sound?

Brennan: Anyone from The Killers to The Hives. Anything with a garage revival that was coming from that side of the pond. I'm a big fan of the earlier 90's Brit pop like Oasis. It really draws from that era and what that era meant for music, especially for that country, it's very fascinating for me. And then I think Radiohead is way up there as well. Also, the band that got me listening to music was Led Zeppelin. My dad started playing me Zeppelin and The Beatles records. But as a guitar player, Zeppelin was it. It was all I needed. Being a fan of classic Zeppelin and Tom Petty and Pink Floyd, I feel like I've really brought that sound into the band.

What do you feel is your most meaningful or favorite track off the EP? 

Brennan: This is a great question, because normally it's just one or the other, not both. I have two- I have a favorite and a most meaningful. My favorite track is "Feels Like Trouble". It's a realm of music and vibe of it, it's a place where we really haven't tapped into and I think we all want to in the future and see where that can go. The most meaningful track to me is the last song, called "This Time Around". I wrote it basically about broke and trying to figure out what to do with my life, but also being surrounded by really great people and where that intersects.

Nico: For me, my favorite song to play is "Heavy Leather". I'm really bummed that we haven't played it on this tour, but I'm really excited to tour again so that we can play it. It's just a fun song, I have a lot of influences that helped me write the bass lines to that tune. Everyone wanted me to tone it down like "No, that's too Muse-y", so I'm like "okay", and then they were like "it's not enough Muse-y", and I was like "okay", so it's the in between. It's a really fun tune for me.

Brennan: I don't know if we ever said "Muse" though.

Nico: Oh it was definitely those words exactly.

Brennan: That really is a fun one though, because we were going for a Gorillaz, like as sneaky as we could get. The danger was approaching where do you start with Gorillaz and then there's a middle ground and then there's Muse. I'm a huge earlier Muse fan. We saw them at Webster Hall a couple of days ago. We got into a small show there in NYC. It was just them, no production, very stripped. It was maybe just a little bit bigger room that this.

Nico: We were nerding out at the Muse concert for sure.

Brennan: I saw them at this venue called The Marquis in Tempe and it was just a life changing experience for me.

Are you guys hoping or planning to tour in the fall as well? 

Brennan: Yes. That's the plan right now, we'll definitely be on the road in the fall. We'll be announcing something in the next month or so. We'll also be touring in Brazil this summer with The Maine, so that will be really cool. We'll also be trying to write in between all of it?

How hard is it for you to write while you're on the road or does it come to you pretty naturally? I know some people just need complete silence and their alone time to write well. 

Brennan: I know that I've got a bunch of ideas. The nature of this tour has been pretty crazy busy. Even if I did have something, we wouldn't have enough time for me to bring it to the guys and practice it. But maybe if we headline, we'll have a lot of time to soundcheck and write and build some tunes. But I've got some ideas that I'm excited to dive into when I get home.

I know that you guys were recently at Audiotree. I've always been pretty obsessed with their sessions because they just seem like a really laid back crew. I was wondering, what's the kind of experience you have when you're recording with them? 

Brennan: They are the most chill. The chillest people and the sweetest people we've ever worked with, especially in a setting like that. I think that and the environment leads into the recording and the final product. They have something really special there. Very pleasant and it will be very difficult to top that in terms of live recordings.

Nico: The quality is amazing and the crew is amazing. They're very good at what they do.

via The Maine & 8123.
Over the years, The Maine has crafted their sounds in different genres, but American Candy has the most pop rock sounds out of all their records. The high energy and hooks have guaranteed each audience to dance as The Maine grooves on stage. We had the opportunity to sit down with bassist Garrett Nickelsen and drummer Pat Kirch to discuss American Candy and the development of The Maine since 2007. 

What inspired you to make more of the pop or groove like sounds for this record compared to the last 4 full-lengths? 

Garrett: I think some of it has to do with the fact that we're always trying to do something new. The groove thing wasn't really talked about before this album. In all of music, everything that we love, like The Rolling Stones, Ben Folds, a bunch of stuff that is hinged around the groove, is kind of what we've been trying to do because we hadn't done it before.

Pat: Every record, no matter what you think, has to be a reaction to what you've done before. The last record, by the nature of how it was recorded, it wasn't as thought through in that way, as to what Garrett and I were doing at the same time, it was recorded on the spot. Just the first thing you played, is what made it on the record. We didn't really have a chance to put too much thought into that. I think we just wanted to go down a different path.

With this record, I know that you had given yourselves 30 days to record it. With the time crunch that you had, did it make you think or work harder and smarter? How did you go about that with such a limited amount of time? 

Pat: It didn't feel like a limited time. I think that we could've taken as long as we wanted because we recorded it on all of our own equipment, and I think that's the reason why we decided to say that we would do it all in a month. I think it cost us to not over think certain things. There were certain points where we knew that we just had to get it done. Having some kind of restrictions helped the record.

Garrett: I think some of it has to do with it, that there wasn't a lot of time, there were two other songs that we were working on that could've sat there, and we could've tried longer to make them work but it just wasn't meant to happen then. Those songs just needed more time to turn into what they are going to be.

I know that you've been touring pretty heavily since your formation, other than having some "down time" to record, but what has kept you motivated to keep staying on the road for so long? 

Garrett: I think it's just rad to see people react to the music. This tour has been insane. People really seem to be into the record. Us playing it has just made it more exciting. The first time, we felt all on the high of the first day of the tour. Most of the time, by this point, we're all really tired and I kind of want to go home. But right now, I feel that I could do this for another month and still be fine.

On this tour already, what have been some memorable moments so far?

Garrett: I think the most memorable was the first day. There was a huge feeling because the record had just come out and we hadn't toured for a while, so it had some pressure feeling on us, and it was at home. Starting the tour at home is always stressful. I remember as soon as The Technicolors and I saw the reaction of the crowd, I knew that it was going to be the sickest tour ever. We played after Knuckle Puck and Real Friends and they are doing so well right now. There's always that feeling in the back of your head, "I hope they don't leave and that they are still there", and then you see them and you're thinking, "WOW!" That first day was so good.

What is your favorite track off this record? 

Pat: I keep going back to "English Girls". I think that for our band, it represents a whole new era of what we can do and think. We obviously enjoy it a lot because we decided to make it the first thing that you hear on the album.

Garrett: I feel like while we were recording, that during that song I just remembered looking at Pat thinking, "what's happening right now?" It was feeling like you're playing your favorite show and it just had this magic thing that happened and you're thinking, "what is this turning into? This is next level of what we're doing."

Pat: It's nerve wracking every time you go and record a new album. You don't want to get into a rut. It's really easy to think that you're trying your best but you could be not putting out your best work. There's a lot of pressure that comes along with that. Obviously, we want every record to be our best record. Once we got that song done we knew that we were good. We have things to say and we still have a sound.

From everything in your discography, what song still hits home for you?

Garrett: There's a song called "Good Love". It was the B-side of Pioneer. It should have been on the album, and I don't know why it never did. That whole record in general was just an important part of what our band is. It was the first feeling where we thought that we're really doing something. I don't know how to explain it more than we were becoming a band. We were living in a house and writing music just to write music. We had no idea what we were doing. It was that no pressure feeling. There were these songs that you didn't know that you could write were coming out everyday. We had 4 days where we wrote 12 songs. It was the constant flow of songs. I don't know why, but that song is the one.

Pat: Not that it means the most to me, but we have this song called "Don't Stop Now". It's the first song off of our second record. I guess to me that song is the most timeless that we have. Back then, it was that and I think it continues to be that now.

If there's one thing that you want your listeners to take away from this record, what would it be? 

Pat: I just want them to enjoy it. I think with this record, I want people to enjoy what we're doing. I don't think there's a big deep meaning around it. I think we want to prove to people that we're here to be a band for a very long time. Even though we've been a band for 8 years, this record is just the beginning of where we're going to go. I just hope that people will have some fun with that.

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