This interview with Pat of The Maine was conducted on-site at The 2016 Warped Tour in Scranton.
AltWire [Derek Oswald]: First off, how has Warped Tour been for you so far?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: It’s been awesome, man! We’re ten shows in, first time playing on the main stage… can’t complain, man. We’re having fun!
AW: I want to say ‘congratulations’ on your two nominations for the Alternative Press Music Awards this year.
Pat Kirch / The Maine: Thank you!
AW: How does it feel to be nominated twice, including for ‘Album Of The Year’?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: It’s cool! I mean it’s one of those things. Like, we’re happy with the record that we made — and that’s enough. But it’s cool to get recognized for it. And I think the one I’m most excited for is ‘Most Dedicated Fans’, ’cause I think that that is true. So, hey!
AW: It’s been eight years since you released your debut album ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’. Looking back at your younger selves, what lessons have you learned over the last eight years?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: Man… I think we’ve learned a lot about how to say ‘no’ to people and how to do whatever the hell we want. Y’know, I think that’s been the biggest lesson. Really, at the end of the day, we just wanna be happy doing what we do. And I think trying to please other people and things like that is not the best investment in the long-term of your career.
I think the reason that we’ve had the same five guys in the band the whole time — and we’ve been able to do it for so long — is because of that; is because we decided that we were gonna do whatever we wanted. We were gonna make the kinds of records we wanted to make, we were gonna tour with who we wanna tour with… we’re not gonna do anything for the sake of success. We’re going to do it all because it’s what we want to do — and if success comes along with it, then that’s great. And that makes it so we’re happy doing what we do and that’s why we can keep doing it.
AW: Now, musically how would you say you guys as a band have evolved in that time as well?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: Man, I mean, I was 16 when we did the first record —
Pat Kirch / The Maine: — and now I’m 26, so… think we’ve evolved like anybody would during that time period. And I think bands that make the same record like their first record — at least in my opinion — that feels a bit like you’re just trying to cater to a certain type of audience. Because from 16 to 26 you change a lot!
AW: Yeah! [Laughs]
Pat Kirch / The Maine: The types of records that we’re into and the experiences that we have… it changes a lot. So we’re not trying to cater to anybody but ourselves. Every record we make sounds completely different, because we just do what we want to do at that time. So I think we’ve learned a lot about making records and learned a lot about what – for us – makes a good record. I think every album we make is kind of a reaction to the one that we did before. So it’s kind of an ever-evolving thing!
“I think we try to look at things from the perspective of what we want from our favourite bands and always having something to be excited about is a really important thing…”
AW: Now, you released a cover EP in two parts — ‘Covers (Side A)’ and the recently released ‘Covers (Side B)’ — where did the idea come about to do these covers and, more importantly, how did you guys decide which songs to choose?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: Doing cover songs has been in the ‘DNA’ of our band, from the get go. We did a cover very early on and then we’ve kinda done a handful over the years. And this is the first time that we decided ‘Let’s just put it all together and do an album.’ So yeah, we just thought it’d be fun! We get bored really easily so we always wanna be recording something new. And I think we try to look at things from the perspective of what we want from our favourite bands and always having something to be excited about is a really important thing.
We always try to not just put out a record and then go on tour for a long time — we try to put out a record, and then a couple of months later record some new music and then put it out, and then do a book, or do a ‘bla bla bla’… and just try to always keep things exciting.
As far as picking the songs — we just listened through a lot of songs and would kind of play around with the chords and see which ones we feel like we can make into something interesting. And a lot of times, when we do the cover songs, we kind of take that as an opportunity to do something that we wouldn’t ever do. Like we did a Drake cover on this one and we kind of covered it as if we were The Killers. You’re doing a cover so it’s not like people are taking it for what your next record’s gonna be like.
AW: It’s just having fun.
Pat Kirch / The Maine: We kind of have fun with that and put on a ‘costume’ and be a different band for each song.
AW: For ‘American Candy’ you guys returned back to Colby Wedgeworth, who previously produced your 2011 effort, ‘Pioneer’. This is after you guys went with Brendan Benson for your 2013 album, ‘Forever Halloween’. In returning to him, was your goal to achieve, maybe, an album similar in production style to ‘Pioneer’? Or did you just feel comfortable choosing him having previously worked with him in the past?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: Yeah, not necessarily production style — but, it was actually kind of a different experience, ’cause on ‘Pioneer’ we had kind of originally told him that he couldn’t be the producer and that he was just to engineer the record. And then he ended up having really good ideas, so we enjoyed that a lot.
‘American Candy’ was the first time that we let him help take control of things a bit and help us pick which songs make it on the record and things like that. But we’ve worked with him so much just on all the things that we do in between records, and he mixed ‘Forever Halloween’. So it feels not really like we’re working with a ‘producer’, but more just like he’s an extra guy in the room. Just ’cause we’re best friends with him — so that’s kind of why. We just wanted to work with someone that we knew.
AW: ‘American Candy’ was recorded in Joshua Tree, California. I found that to be kind of an interesting choice, considering Colby’s based out of Nashville and you guys are based out of Arizona. What inspired the decision to record there? Had you recorded there previously?
PK: No, we hadn’t recorded there before. After we did ‘Forever Halloween’, I bought a bunch of recording gear — like, just tons of gear. So we had enough things to make a record. So the idea was, ‘Well why rent out a recording studio, let’s just find a house! And then we’ll bring all the gear there and we’ll build a recording studio and then we’ll make a record.’ And we just started looking on Airbnb and just wanted to find a really cool house. And we happened upon this house and it was this giant ‘dome’ out in the middle of the desert.
AW: Oh, wow! [Laughs]
Pat Kirch / The Maine: And there was an indoor pool and a hot-tub and… two hot-tubs! It was.. huge! It had this 360° deck around the whole house. And we were just in the middle of the desert. So it was just super cool! So we were like, ‘Yeah… we’ll get that one!’ [Laughs]
AW: [Laughs] Warped Tour will continue, of course, for the rest of this month and into August. What are your plans once this tour is over and what can fans expect in the year ahead?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: We’re gonna make a new record after this! So that’s the plan. We’re gonna take our time a bit, but yeah, we’re gonna make a record. We’re looking to go maybe some other places to write, just to be inspired. We might go to New York for a couple weeks and rent an apartment and just go there and write. And then, after that, we rented a house again — it’s like an hour north of San Francisco. And that’s where we’re going to record the next record. So we’re just figuring out, like, the timeframe exactly. And, whenever we’re ready.
AW: And are you hoping to make a similar style to the last album, or right now you’re trying to do something maybe a little bit different from the last album?
Pat Kirch / The Maine: I think it’s gonna be different! It’s too early to tell. Every time we make a record we write tons of songs so, just depending on what we pick it could have been a completely different record. Like I said — every record is a reaction to the last. So I think it’ll be different just in it’s nature. But it’s too early to say exactly what that is. But the thing I can say is we’re gonna work with Colby again. So in that aspect of it, I guess kind of the same, but we’re gonna not let it be the same record again.
AW: Excellent. Well hey, man — thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
Pat Kirch / The Maine: Awesome, yeah! Appreciate it — thanks, man!