flowershop.fm had a chance to speak with Pat Kirch, drummer and creative in the self-proclaimed Arizona “Emo Group,” The Maine. The band has had massive success as an independent unit with their latest album, “Lovely Little Lonely.” The Maine is gearing up for spring headlining shows, aptly dubbed the “Fry Your Brain With The Maine” tour, in addition to a trek across the final Vans Warped Tour.
I spoke to Pat about The Maine’s longevity, touring, being an independent creative, an upcoming acoustic album, planning the second 8123 Fest and a potential celebration for the 10-year anniversary of their debut, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.” Read on, below.
The Maine has maintained a steady fanbase for over 11 years now — basically since your inception. You’ve been doing this independently for more than half of those years, how does it feel to have this success on your own merit?
It feels great, man. I wish I had a better perspective on it, because it’s been so long that we’ve been doing it on our own — we’ve been able to do whatever we want for so long that I forget how hard it was, when we were on a record label. I don’t think too much about it anymore, it’s kinda how our band operates now. We get to do whatever we want, so if we succeed or fail — it’s on our back. It keeps things exciting for us and invested in the progress, pushing what is capable for a band to do.
Spotify has been really prominent lately for independent bands, specifically helping “Lovely Little Lonely” reach a larger audience. Streaming has vastly changed the landscape in which people listen to and discover music, What’s your take on this?
I think streaming is great. It’s very easy to complain about every aspect of being in a band. When we first started, bands were complaining because of iTunes, and how in their previous bands, they would go to a record store to buy a record — now people can play it instantly. iTunes is pretty much gone, and now streaming is the new thing. We like to move forward with the attitude of, “this is what’s happening now,” we can’t be the one band to stop it — we have to embrace it. With that said, we’ve been able to do just that. Streaming has given a chance to listeners that wouldn’t go buy our record in a store or iTunes to just listen to it. If they hear some songs and like it, they become a fan.
Your frontman John O’Callaghan said that “American Candy” felt like your ‘first album,’ even though you had been a band for many years (and albums) before that. It’s a very exciting time to be in The Maine — has this resurgence in listeners and creativity been a positive factor?
It’s really awesome. I don’t really know what it was, when “American Candy” came out, it just felt like things were taking off — in a way that hadn’t happened before. No matter what you do, your first “peak” is almost never matched, when “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” was released, things were so new. We’ve grown so much since then, it’s been hard to feel that again. You’re never gonna be the new “hot band” again, it only happens once. “American Candy” was the closest we got to having that again — new listeners were coming out to shows. It lit a fire under us, it feels like we’re just getting started.
You’ve found a really great creative rhythm with Colby Wedgeworth, who you’ve worked with closely on “Pioneer,” “American Candy” and “Lovely Little Lonely.” You’ve often referred to him as the sixth member of The Maine. How has this creative relationship with Wedgeworth benefitted the band?
It’s made things so comfortable for us. We have such a good relationship with him — the trust is there. When we have an idea to rent an AirBnB, build a studio inside it, and record drums in an empty pool — he says “cool, let’s do it.” Other producers probably wouldn’t be into that, they’d want to work in one spot. He brings a lot to our songs as well. We’ve put ourselves in a great position, because we’re able to do what we want to do — it’s all so much fun.
You recently finished building the 8123 Studio — what have you been working on?
We actually just finished an acoustic record. We recorded acoustic versions of songs from our past records. We were going to do a b-sides record, but I kinda put my foot in my mouth by talking about it so much. I think people are expecting that, but we started to work on ideas for what will be the next album. We got so excited about that, and being in that groove – it’s a bad thing to remove yourself from. We decided to put the b-sides record off to focus on the next album. It was a similar experience with “Pioneer” — we got in this groove, and were offered a big tour with Thirty Seconds To Mars. We had to turn it down, so we could focus on the album — which is what made that record so special. We feel like we’re in a similar spot, so we want to focus on that.
You’ve got two tours you’re about to embark on – the “Fry Your Brain With The Maine” tour and the final cross-country Vans’ Warped Tour. The former is set to feature a variety of different setlists, and the latter is the final installment of a tour that has been a landmark in The Maine’s career. What do you have planned for both of these tours?
For the “Fry Your Brain” tour, it’s a chance to play a lot of places we don’t generally get the opportunity to. It’s so easy to get in cycles of playing cities that we always play in, we want to give our fans a chance to see us in places we don’t perform as often. We want to get into a good mixture of the whole catalog with this tour.
As for Warped Tour, it’s so crazy. I grew up going to Warped Tour, it’s a big part of what shaped me wanting to be in a band. It’s sad to see it go, but at the same time, it’s an honor to be part of it. It’s hard to actually admit that it’s almost over. It’s gonna be awesome, we enjoy that environment. We’re not afraid to hustle and get in front of people every day, walking the lines, telling people what time we play and promoting our record. Warped Tour is a great way for us to stay grounded, remembering the roots that we came up in — spreading the word about what our band does. I’m excited to have one more opportunity to do that again.
The first 8123 Fest was a massive success, and you plan to do the second one in January of 2019. What might you have anything planned for the next fest?
Yeah! We’re really early on in the stages of getting it all worked out. It’s going to happen, we’re already in talk with the venues. We sold way more tickets than we expected to for the last one, it sold out in a month. So we paid extra to rent out the street in downtown Phoenix, expanding it an extra thousand tickets, where we sold that out too. We’re gonna be at a much bigger location, bringing in a bunch more bands. We’re planning on a pre-show, an afterparty, pop-up shops, and so-on. We’re still very early in the planning stages, but it’s definitely happening.
The burning question so many of your fans are wondering right now — do you have anything planned for “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and it’s ten-year anniversary? Whether it be a show, a vinyl pressing — anything like that?
All I can say is — yes, we will do something.
flowershop.fm is incredibly grateful to Pat Kirch, The Maine and everyone at 8123 for taking the time to work with us. Look for The Maine on tour — dates are available at http://www.wearethemaine.net.
Live photos by Kris Herrmann