In Phoenix, the phrase “Warped Tour” brings to mind sweltering crowds, sweaty, dehydrated teenagers, and innumerable pop-punk bands. But for the Arizona-raised band The Maine, the Vans Warped Tour 2016 is a milestone.
Guitarist Jared Monaco has seen the band through a number of Warped Tours. This one, he explained, just struck a different chord.
Tell me what it’s like to be on such an intensive touring schedule, you guys play every day, yeah?
Oh yeah, it’s pretty nuts. Right now we’re in the middle of a 21-day run. So it’s 21 days in a row, which, for us, it’s the first time we’ve ever done that. The reason it’s been that intense is because we just did a performance for the AP [Music Awards]. We took an off-day about two weeks ago and filled it in with a rehearsal day. We were supposed to have a few days off, but we ended up booking rehearsal time instead. It’s pretty intense, but on a tour like this you get into the mindset that it’s going to be a grind. You focus on the goal which is being busy as possible and reaching as many people as you can. The best way to do that is to just stay active all day, not let yourself sleep until you’re dead tired at the end of the day.
So is it taxing? Is it inspiring? What is it like?
You know, it’s both. For this tour especially. We did it in 2014, we did it in '09, we did it in '08, but this year specifically, from what I’ve seen, has been the most beneficial for our band. It’s just been double what we were able to do in 2014. The crowds are bigger, there’s more people coming to the signings. We were able to reach more people this year, fans are really liking the new record. It’s showing out here on the road.
How, then, have you see not just the tour evolve, but you as a music group evolve?
You know, we were talking about this the other day. Say we record a new record, we really want it to be something that we know our fans are going to love, but also for us, is not going to be easily played out. We want to be able to play the record as much as possible on tour and not get burnt out with it. I think it all starts there, bringing that mentality to Warped Tour. We want everything to seem fresh. It’s so easy to stand out on this tour. I feel like so many bands today are doing the same things, they’re all jumping through the same hoops.
Which show has been most distinguishing for you? With 21 days, do they all start to blend together or are they all different?
They do, I mean every day is different in it’s own way because your set time changes. So if you’re playing late at night, you have the whole day to think about it, get all your stuff done and it just feels like a normal show day.
What has been a main theme of this tour? What have you personally gotten out of it and what has the band gotten out of it?
For me personally, it’s kind of redemption, to go out toward the end of our album cycle and to go into a tour where you never know what’s going to happen. … For the band too, it’s revitalizing because we’re at the end of this album cycle, this is one of the last things we’re going to do this album. We have to go away for a while and start writing for our new record. To hit something this positive at the end of this cycle puts everyone in a really positive place to start writing. We’re going to be really excited when we get home and creativity just blows about that.
Have you gotten the chance to write any new material for your next album?
Yeah, definitely. ... We have a bank of, I would say, close to 100 pieces of songs. Those have been happening, god, go back five years and we have unused song stems.
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Have you found any consistent themes arise in your recent music so far?
It’s hard to see any themes this early. We always say that the hardest part about making music is narrowing it down. Taking this gigantic melting pot of ideas and songs to ten pieces that are going to make the album. That’s when you really start to see the patterns, the themes, the mood. That’s just the preliminary round, after you get into the studio the song can take a completely different feel.
Then what should Phoenix expect in the upcoming concert?
I would just say expect a hot, sweaty, awesome mess. By the time we get there, we’re going to have this set to the point where we’re really comfortable with it. It’s by that point that we’re excited, and we throw as much energy into it as we possibly can. Especially performing for our home crowd, it’s like home court advantage. It’s such an awesome feeling to have people behind you from the place where you started.