It’s the calm before the storm for Pat Kirch. The drummer for Arizona alt-rockers The Maine is enjoying a few days off before the band head back out on the road on tour in support of their latest offering, You Are OK. The road they travel will, of course, include Australia.
The Maine hit up east coast clubs next month on their biggest headline run to date, a venture Kirch says he can’t wait for as this is one of The Maine’s favourite places to go – but then, they all say that, don’t they? “Are you kidding me?!” he cries, “It’s like Southern California but better!’
“It feels familiar but at the same time, so different. I think the location and the opportunity to go and experience the country is always great – the concerts we’ve had have been great and really have been getting better and better over the past couple of times they’ve been.”
Needless to say, there’s certainly a lot of love for The Maine here, and them touring off the back of You Are OK is particularly exciting. Sonically inspiring, in their 12-year tenure it’s The Maine’s highest performing album in terms of chart position and peer reception. It’s a fact that Kirch still finds bewildering, that such a very complex and albeit thematically heavy at times release should be so well received by people the world over.
“Hopefully it proves that we’re not giving people enough credit,” he says. “People think they only want three and a half minute pop songs and don’t wanna listen to albums, but I think for our fans that’s not the case at all.
“The album with a ten minute song [‘Flowers On The Grave’] is one of the most popular on the album and the one that connected with people the most – that’s pretty crazy, that in 2019 a ten minute song with key changes and tempo changes can be a popular song with our audience.”
That fact, Kirch says, makes him excited for The Maine’s possibilities in the future. The band have said in previous interviews that they applied themselves ferociously on You Are OK to make it as aurally interesting as possible. The fact that listener’s attention spans tend to be shorter these days wasn’t a factor during the recording process.
“The last record [Lovely Little Lonely], that one had a lot of these kind of interludes that brought the album together. That made me feel we made something to be listened to a whole and it worked,” he explains.
“It gave us confidence, not even confidence, but I feel we have a pretty deep understanding of our audience. We’re out every night after shows for hours talking with the audience, so I think we have a pretty good gauge [that] what our fans want is to do what we want.”
The Maine don’t cater to the general populous, certainly, and that’s what makes them work. They are, by Kirch’s own admission, not for everyone. “We’re for a specific group of people that are into what our band does, which allows us to make whatever kind of album we want.” In the studio, the mindset is very much about asking questions. “’Does this feel new? Does this feel exciting?’ That was the attitude in the studio – when we hear it back, do we like it?”
It’s interesting that Kirch says the music is only palatable to certain people, and it’s true. Chuckling, Kirch says, “More so what I meant, we’re not on the radio, we’re not playing arenas, and really that’s not necessary our aim. We don’t have to make albums for a purpose beyond the fact that we like it. We don’t have to make an album with a song that sounds like it can be on the radio.
“I think it means we’re always going to try to do something new. We’re always going to try to make albums that to us, are exciting – what that means every year will change. What it meant in 2010 and what it means now is completely different, and I hope that continues to be the trend.”
Catch The Maine when they tour Australia in support of You Are OK this month. Tickets on sale now via Destroy All Lines.