There are very few artists today that have what you might call a “Do It Yourself” (or DIY) attitude. They may even have it early on but eventually get caught up in the notion that their list of responsibilities on tour decreases because they have people to do that kind of stuff now. Some think their only job is to get on stage, play music, and get off and then when they go to record an album, it is a similar process. This is the point in which bands can get stale and lose focus on why they are really there and they lose the excitement of changing things up every once in a while to surprise their fans. Speaking of fans, this attitude can also affect the way that their fans view them. Going in the same direction and getting more popular can hurt their personal interaction with their fans. Many bands fall into this hole but among them there are specific bands that seem to fight this stereotype and have the creativity and imagination that is needed to avoid succumbing to this notion. One of these bands is called The Maine.
I was introduced to this band pretty far into their career. When my girlfriend and I first met about 3 years ago, she introduced me to The Maine. I will be honest, when I first heard them and started researching them, I was not a big fan. It was a little too pop-punk for me and that is how their first couple albums sounded and they were in that scene at the time but I did like a couple of their early songs. After a while however, they kept growing on me more and more especially when I listened to their albums that came out after their first two including Black & White, Pioneer and Forever Halloween. The big turning point was when I went to see them live my first time with Melanie for the support of the Forever Halloween album in Boston. I loved it. It was just good, catchy rock n roll with poppy songwriting. I started seeing who these 5 guys were and their history. Also, found out that they run their own record label called 8123.
As I started to listen and research more and more about The Maine, I started to understand where their heads were when it comes to their music and where their hearts lie in what type of music that they make. This is where that D.I.Y. mentality kicks in. The Maine have never gotten very big recognition in the mainstream but they have a cult following of fans, including Melanie, who have been with them since the start. Even though they have gained a little more recognition, especially since the release of their second to last record, American Candy, they still hold true to their ideals and their fans. They actually call some of their fans, over the phone, who have pre-ordered their album. Also, after every show, they come out to the main floor and take time out of their day to give a few hugs and take a few pictures with their loving fans. Their fans are the most important people in their lives.
On the other end of the D.I.Y. idea for them is how they tour and how they record. Throughout the recording process they use the same van they have been using since they started out touring way back, which has a bunch of scratches and graffiti on it. They help to build and create their tour sets and help assemble the gear. Especially for their current tour in support of their brand new record, Lovely, Little, Lonely, they constructed most of their sets by themselves using wood and spray painting amp cases for the show while at the same time, rehearsing for the tour. For the recording process, in the past few years, they have chosen specific places to record the album. For example, for Lovely, Little, Lonely, they chose a great house, feet from the coast of California, in a secluded area to record. It was not a fully stocked studio. They brought their own gear and recording materials and made their own studio in the house. They explained that the environment is important because the environment in which they record comes out on the record. They really put themselves to work for their music.
Apart from being a D.I.Y. band, they have always stuck true to themselves. Starting out, as I mentioned above, they were part of this pop-punk scene and that is the way in which the label that they were on was looking for them to go. However, they did not want to continue making records that way. I would assume it would be boring for them. Instead, they decided to put out a record behind the label’s back and make something that they really loved. Considering their background, they are a band that really likes to take risks with sounds and they like to try new things to make themselves better and more interesting but still staying in a pop-rock genre that most of their fans love. No two albums of theirs are the same. They started off pop-punk then went into more of a concrete rock direction, with a little country thrown in, with Pioneer. Later, with Forever Halloween, they became more experimental with “outside-the-box” music and songs with some a little heavier than their usual tunes.
Forever Halloween is my personal favorite in addition to their brand new album, Lovely, Little, Lonely. A little while after Forever Halloween, they came out with American Candy which brought them out of the grungy, dark and experimental feel of Forever Halloween into this much more upbeat and exciting vibe. They explained that the album was a big step in what type of music they wanted to make. It was rock n roll but with poppy song writing that was meaningful and deeper than your average pop-rock. It was catchy and energetic. I believe that the ideas in American Candy and Forever Halloween came together to form the brand new record, Lovely, Little, Lonely. It has the pop-rock, catchy tunes but the song writing is a little darker and the album includes experimental sounds and breaks within the record. One of the members explained that Lovely, Little, Lonely is their most important record to date.
I love The Maine because they seem to always be looking for something better and more interesting. They become more and more mature with every record they make. Their backbone stays the same but the attitude and themes of the records seem to change and that makes them an exciting band to follow. They care deeply about their fans because they understand that without them, they would not be able to do this everyday. They put their time and effort into every aspect of their music, whether it be touring, recording, or releasing. They are also just a really fun band to listen to so I suggest checking out The Maine as soon as you can. If you are a fan of pop-punk, I would start checking out their early stuff and go from there. If you are not so much of a pop-punk fan, I would start with either Pioneer or Forever Halloween and then expand to their more recent and early stuff.
Title Image from: https://twitter.com/themaine