PropertyOfZack spoke to The Maine a few months ago, but we had a chance just last week to catch up with Kennedy from the band to dive a little bit deeper into their new album. Kennedy and I discussed recent touring, how the band isn’t quite off of a major label, how they went about putting Pioneer out, future touring, and much more. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in The Maine?
I’m Kennedy, and I play guitar.
Your tour with Taking Back Sunday and Bad Rabbits finished up during the beginning of the month. Can you discuss the dates?
It was awesome. Basically, the tour just ended for us. It was the first time we met any of the Taking Back Sunday guys, but we be came friends pretty quickly. They were really great dudes. The tour went well as far as mingling between bands, but the shows were really awesome for us. It was definitely a new crowd and an older crowd for us for sure. I think we were really happy about that. Our live set has been more geared towards an older crowd anyway, and our new music is a little more in that direction as well. I think it was a good chance for us to see some new faces.
Your fans were obviously excited, but there were worries that all three bands wouldn’t mix together too well. Were the audiences generally receptive?
I think we had nerves initially. We knew that we would be in a different environment, but like I said, we were more excited about that. Once we started playing songs I noticed that the expressions on people’s faces changed very quickly and that felt really good. I went into the shows knowing that we hadn’t impressed a lot of these people yet because they didn’t know us, so they didn’t give two shits about us. As long as they were nodding their heads by the end of the set, I felt like we won them over.
Are you guys open to changing the type of bands you tour with a little bit more now?
We’re not pushing away anybody who listens to us now, but we’re trying to broaden our audience a little bit. Playing with bands like Taking Back Sunday is a great way to do that for us. Plus, I love and grew up on that band. There was excitement from all of us on that band as well.
It was confirmed it September that The Maine were hoping to release an album by the end of the year, but fans were still expecting it to be released on Warner and you guys didn’t necessarily deny that either. When did you part ways with the label?
We actually haven’t parted ways fully. This record alone is coming out on our own. We’re still on Warner Brothers and we will still be working with them on the next record, as far as it sits right now. We had some disagreements on these songs and we felt like we really needed to push for them to come out. We came to the agreement that we would release it on our own. It was the best case for everybody.
POZ: Is that a weird situation to be in though? If this album did incredibly well, couldn’t that potentially be awkward?
Kennedy: Yeah, I think we’re trying to prove a point. We wrote a lot of songs and we feel really confidently about them. We got positive feedback from close friends, and all we got was negative feedback from the label. We wanted to make sure that other people heard it. We’re really happy about the songs that have come out and we’re really excited to show people. We couldn’t put these songs away. It’s something that we have to have out.
In the future, if you wrote a similar album, do you think there could be more issues?
Quite possibly. We were in a standstill for a little bit there because we wanted to do this and they didn’t. We’ll cross that bridge with the next record we do and we’ll try to deal with it then. We pushed that to the side and we’re going forward with our band. We’re not letting things hold us up. We’ll do whatever we need to do.
The sound has changed throughout each of the three albums. Do you think that that has thrown everyone off, including the label?
There’s been a lot of growth as far as our music goes, but there has been steps in between where everyone has been a part of it. Our diehard fans are very excited about the new songs. They like the change that is happening whether it is slight or drastic. I hold their opinion higher than somebody wearing a suit. They’re the person who is out listening to us doing the dirty work. We’ve been playing new songs live in order to convince our fans that change is a good thing.
How has it been putting this out on your own?
We’re so happy and very excited. It’s fun to be doing all the work. We like to be hands on and it’s going to be a lot more rewarding when things happen with this record. It’s good to put the work in and we’re going to prove that it’s best when we do it ourselves.
Do you think fans are even more excited considering this is really a DIY sort of route?
Yeah, it’s awesome. I’m into the do it yourself thing.
Was there a rush to get Pioneer out by the end of 2011? Was the band dead set against releasing the record in 2012?
Rush is a funny word because we’ve had half of these songs since January. It’s been quite some time. The process has been a long one.
A few songs from the album have already been released. How have fans been reacting to them?
It’s been good. I’ve seen mostly anticipation for more songs. People want to hear the whole record, and that’s fine with me. I’d rather people hear it as a whole and then really dive back into individual songs if they choose too. We’ve been playing a couple songs live. We’ve had them since January so we’ve been playing them for a while. It’s gone over well and really more so in the past few months. The first time we played them people didn’t really know it, and that was as expected. Now we’ve played songs a few times and it’s interesting to see people learning lyrics just from live videos and things like that.
The album artwork for Pioneer was something that stirred up some conversation. Can you discuss the process behind that?
When we were talking about Pioneer first, we were kind of describing what we thought as an image. We had a few different ideas. John presented this idea about having a bearded guy with bright red lipstick. That image stuck out to all of us. Slightly because it was odd and slightly because in a way it really did describe somebody being a pioneer. I feel like it allows people to interpret it in their own way, which is cool because when I first thought of it it wasn’t on a CD cover, it wasn’t a real person. It’s interesting to see people reacting to it as a real person and as a real photo of somebody. I don’t even know this person very well. I only met him, but it’s great. I’ve read a lot of things from people, and some are confused, some think it’s funny, and some are very happy about it. I like that it stirs up a lot of talk and thought.
You’re preparing for the Pioneer tour now. Are stoked are you for that?
I’m so excited. We’ve been practicing everyday. The songs are feeling really good. We’re playing the whole set and then a storyteller’s set of a bunch of old songs. We’re going to do some new versions of old songs and some stripped down versions of songs. We’re going to give some stories on the songs and some stories about the record. It’s going to be a great show. We’re playing for about two hours. It’s going to be fun.
And following that tour you’ll be going to the UK with All Time Low and then you’ll be hitting South America.
I’m really looking forward to that. We’ve been over to the UK twice before. Some of the parts in Europe we’ve visited once. We’re really excited. That’s one of my favorite places to be. I really just like being over in the UK. The kids in South America have been ecstatic as well. We’re really excited to be able to play in front of them. The set in South America is going to have some really old songs in it as well as new songs since we haven’t played there before.
What about future touring in the States?
Right now we’re working on figuring out what everyone else is doing. We’re looking for more of an interesting tour that our fans will be happy about and we’d like to play in front of a new crowd as well like the Taking Back Sunday crowd.
It’s no secret that you like to write a lot of songs. Are you hoping to release more late next year? Is there a plan?
There are things we’re working on. We have a lot of songs and quite a few that didn’t make it on the record. We want people to hear them. We’re still working on the right way to get them out. We want to have some focus on the album right this second. We’re still in the process of writing more as well. Hopefully we can record some more songs as well.
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