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The Maine's John O'Callaghan on New Album Pioneer

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It's been a little over a year since Tempe-based pop-rockers The Maine released Black and White, the band's major label debut. And while the paint still seems wet from that album's promotional blitz (view "the Maine Wall" on Roosevelt downtown on Tumblr), the group is already gearing up for a new record.

Titled Pioneer, the album won't be released by Warner Brothers, but by the band's own Action Theory on Tuesday, December 6. The record was cut without the attention of the band's major label, resulting in a weird, alternate take on the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot scenario, in which the band is releasing the album and will return to Warner Brothers for its next effort.

Singer John O'Callaghan and I sat down to discuss the new record. Fresh off the road after touring with Taking Back Sunday, O'Callaghan marveled at TBS' 12-year run as a band, and expressed sadness at missing M83 while he was out on tour.

Look for the full story in an upcoming issue of New Times, but for now, enjoy this teaser and the video for lead single "Don't Give Up on Us."

Up on the Sun: How was touring with Taking Back Sunday? It was great. Very surreal being out on tour with them. They've been going at it for 12 years in total, as a band. It's pretty wild.

So what is Pioneer going to sound like?

I think it's a little more all over the place. The last one [Black and White] was kind of more Americana, kind of straightforward rock 'n' roll. This one is a little more sporadic; you know, there's a ton of different [sounds]. What we tried to accomplish was attaining a certain mood, and we really tried to go for that. That's song by song. It's kind of all over the place, but it's definitely more rock 'n' roll driven. We stopped letting our influences pour through and tried to write it. We really, in essence, had no pressure, because the label didn't know we were doing it.

You guys recorded it without the label knowing?

We wrote and recorded 19 songs, and we've released 13. We produced it with Colby Wedgewort . . . I think we tried to take it places we haven't before. Whatever we're feeling at the time came out. It's definitely going to surprise some people. People are trying to hear our first EP or our first record -- that's not going to happen. I think it's an imperative record for us to make. It was imperative for our band to take it somewhere else and create something on our own, without any outside sources manipulating it.

[Black and White] was a huge learning experience, feeling it all out. In retrospect, I wouldn't changing anything, because obviously you can't. There's no reason to dwell on it, but that's what empowered us to go out on our own.

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