The Maine – 4th October 2010
Ahead of The Maine’s set at The Garage, Glasgow, we caught up with bassist Garrett Nickelsen to chat about life on the road, Halloween costumes and why some new songs could be surfacing sooner than you might think…
Hello! How are you today?
I’m good! It’s raining and a little cold, but it’s all good. I didn’t sleep much last night though.
A touch of jetlag?
Yeah, like I’m getting used to the time difference, but as soon as the bus starts moving I can’t sleep and then I’m up the entire night. From, like five in the morning until like, eight in the morning I’ll be up sitting in my bunk in complete darkness and then we’ll stop and I’ll go back to sleep.
It’s been quite a while since you were last here…
Yeah, it’s been about two years.
We’re about halfway through this tour now – how have the shows been going?
They’ve been amazing; I couldn’t ask for anything better. Last night was the best so far, but they’ve all been awesome.
Did you have any nerves about playing shows over here again, after such a long absence?
Um, I think we were more excited than nervous. The first time we came over was so long ago but we’ve been keeping in contact with kids on social networks and we’ve had such a good response to the news that we were coming back. Plus the shows have been so good, so it’s awesome to be back.
Have you been noticing any differences between the UK crowds and the crowds you play to back home?
Yeah, I feel like kids here are definitely way more zoned into the music. I bet everyone says that?
Yeah, I think crowds here are so appreciative to finally see bands from overseas play live…
Yeah! The kids in America need to take a lesson from kids over here. I feel like kids in America are just watching the show through their camera. Don’t worry about putting a video up on YouTube – just enjoy the show!
What’s been your favourite bit of the tour so far?
Hanging out with the Mayday Parade dudes has been awesome. Right after we were in the UK last time we toured with Mayday in the States, on the All Time Low tour. That was like, two years ago and we haven’t really been able to hang out with them since, and so it’s been awesome sharing a bus with them and really getting to hang out. They’re all really great dudes; it’s been a great time.
You released your second full-length record, Black & White in July. How did the writing and recording process differ from your first album?
We had a year and half of touring and that definitely helped a lot. I feel like we grew up a lot in that time, both as musicians and as people. I think finding out who we were definitely helped make the record what it is.
Which song on the record are you the proudest of?
There’s a song called Colour, that was cool to do because we did this cool outro for it. We were just messing around with some stuff that we’d never really tried before and ended up coming up with the outro for the end of the song – and the end of the record. It’s funny how it came together. We came up with it a couple of months before we recorded the album and then we didn’t really talk about it. Then we were recording and Pat was about to do drums. We didn’t tell Howard, our producer, about it, we were just like “Pat, play the end” and it ended up just being a complete free style. You can kind of hear it on the track – it’s not like he messes up, but it does sound a little different. Then every other part just kind of came out the same way. Jared heard the drums once and threw the guitar over it and then I heard the guitar part once and put the bass over it. I’m really glad it made it onto the record.
I think that’s something that really stands out on the record – a lot of the songs sound really organic and natural. It really comes through that you were having a lot of fun recording them.
Yeah, it was definitely fun recording them. It was a cool experience. We’ve been writing a lot since then as well. We have like, a whole record’s worth of new stuff pretty much done. We’re actually playing a new song tonight, we start out with it. We didn’t really tell anyone we were going to do it, we just thought it was a pretty fun song and wanted to play it live. We’re using it as a kind of intro for our set.
How did you fans react to the album?
Their reaction has been awesome. We did a headline tour after the album came out in the States and it was the most amazing tour we’ve ever done. I don’t know how any tour can ever top that. We brought out two of our friends from back home to open the shows.
I was reading about that. It was quite a different set up from most tours that have four or five bands on the bill.
We just got so sick of that, y’know? They just all seemed to be the same thing over and over and so we just wanted to try something different. We ended up playing a set that was something like 19 songs long and just tried a whole bunch of things that were the complete opposite of what we’d seen on tours beforehand. We were just trying to give kids something different, something that they hadn’t seen before and I think they really appreciated it.
I also read on Twitter that October is a month inside Black & White?
Yeah we’re doing an entire month of things that’ll help kids to really get involved with the record and help them really understand what we were going through when we made the record. We’re releasing demos, explaining all the songs on the record and explaining all the videos as well. Also, we’ve come up with some cool ideas for releasing new music sooner rather than later that’ll be coming round early next year.
Do you have any plans to properly record the new material you’ve been writing in the near future?
They’re just demos right now and we haven’t really talked about properly recording yet. I’m not sure. Maybe we’ll release the demos early or something. Only time will tell.
You’ve also released a couple of books. What was the inspiration behind those?
We’re just always trying to think of ways to make people think and see how music can be involved in all these other things, like books or videos.
Is that something you think more bands should do?
Yeah, maybe. They just kind of fell together, to be honest. Pat was just like, “Hey man, write in this book every day on Warped tour and we’re going to take some pictures…” and then it just kind of fell together into the book, This Is Real Life. It’s awesome, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Final question: Now that it’s October and the countdown to Halloween can officially start, do you have any costumes planned yet?
We’ve talked about it. It’s one of those things that’ll randomly get brought up and we’re all “Oh, it would be so funny if we did this…” We come up with a good idea and then its two days before Halloween and we haven’t done anything about it so Pat will dress up like a girl and John will wear like…nothing. It just ends up falling apart and then falling back together again. I think this year we should definitely do something all together, like The Ghostbusters or something. That’d be awesome. Or maybe the Lost characters…I know me and Jared would be into that. John Locke or something…that’d be cool. I don’t know though. I’ll have to get back to you on that one…