The Maine at Zia Records: "We're Really Just Talking With Whoever Shows Up"

We talked to John O'Callaghan of The Maine Monday afternoon about their upcoming tour, the way moving to analog recording changed their sound on Forever Halloween, and what their goals are after a brief stint with Warner Bros. But before they kick their tour off with a free performance at Tempe Marketplace Tuesday afternoon, they're hanging out tonight at Zia Records in Tempe, where you'll be able to buy their new album and hear an acoustic set at 11 PM.

Here's what you can expect if you pay them a visit:

John O'Callaghan: Tonight will be a more intimate kind of--it's just hangout style. We're playing a few songs on the acoustics and really just talking with people, whoever decides to show up. That's always the nervewracking thing: Is anybody going to be there?

But I think it'll be fun regardless. If two people show up it'll be good.

Tomorrow [at Tempe Marketplace] starts the actual tour. We have our friends from A Rocket to the Moon and then This Century, who's actually from Arizona, as well. And a band called Brighten.

We know and have toured with the bands we're bringing out, and we're such good friends. So I think what people will really be able to feed off of is the camaraderie we actually have. It's not going to be that forced kind of--that first day if you haven't toured with a band before, or met them, there's like a week-and-a-half grace period where nobody knows each others' names, and you just have to use civility to get yourself by... until you either have a connection with someone or despise them.

Fortunately for us, we've met everybody and appreciate everybody who's going to be out on the tour. For us, we're going to be playing some tunes, and we're diving back, too, into the catalogue, and playing some old songs that we haven't played in a long time. So we're trying to balance out the new and the old material and put a fresh spin on everything.

Up on the Sun: Has the new [analogue] recording process changed the way you look at any of the old songs, or how you play them?

In the past we've taken songs and we've really manipulated them to be different, and try to take a second stab at the same song. But I think with the old tunes we're playing on the tour, we wanted to maintain some of the integrity of the song and not change things up too much.

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There's something to be said for the material we wrote in the past; it's only because of what we've done in the past that we're here now. So there's a fine line. And I know--just as a concert-goer and a music fan, it can sometimes be a bit much if a band changes every song to fit within the style or the mindset of the new tunes. So we're walking a fine line, but I think we've done a good job of maintaining the character of a lot of those songs, and it should be fun. Hopefully I remember the lyrics.

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Dan Moore