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The Maine talks ‘Lovely Little Lonely’ Album and Tour


One of the best and well-crafted albums of 2017 so far dropped this April by one of our Cliché favorites, The Maine. Lovely Little Lonely, The Maine’s sixth full-length album, is infused with beautiful melodies and heart-stretching lyrics to follow. As if the album wasn’t good enough, the lovely five-piece band embarked on their headlining world tour this spring. We sat down with guitarist Jared Monaco to discuss the new record, the recording process, the Lovely Little Lonely Tour, and everything that makes it what it is.

Cliché: Can you elaborate on the writing process of Lovely Little Lonely? What was the inspiration behind your favorite lyrics on this record?
Jared Monaco: Over the years, our band has certainly gone through many changes, but one thing that remains the same is our process for writing songs. The only difference this time was the quality of our demos. We spent more time mapping everything out, and by the time we got to the studio, we had full skeletons for every single song. Usually we aren’t quite that prepared. I don’t write lyrics, so for me it’s hard to pick a specific line on the album. I really like the way “The Sound of Reverie” turned out.
What are some challenges you faced while making Lovely Little Lonely and what did you learn from them?
For this record, we rented a house in northern California, so we had to pack our entire studio into a box truck to move all the gear. The house was about three hours from the nearest music store, so we were really hoping everything arrived in one piece and turned on. Luckily, it was mostly fine, but the hard part was definitely turning a vacation house into a professional studio space. In the end, it was well worth it, but it took some creativity to get everything sounding the way we wanted it to.
How did this record stretch you guys individually and collectively?
For me, the goal was to have every single guitar track be absolutely necessary. I didn’t want to overdub things just because I could. The hardest part was to not overthink things. I’m a perfectionist so it’s hard for me to just step back and say, “Okay, it’s good. Move on.” For John, he wrote most of the vocal melodies without lyrics so it was certainly a battle trying to fit the right words to the melodies. In the end, it all came together, but there were certainly some days spent banging our heads on the wall.

How is this record different from any of your other records and how is it similar?
LLL has a very specific mood to it. I think that is one of the benefits of setting up a studio in a new place. We were taking in all of our surroundings and using them to augment the music we were making. The record flows from front to back, with tracks connecting to tracks and certain undertones carrying over. It’s the first time we took a step back and thought about how everything fits together as a whole. It’s similar to previous albums in the sense that we wrote it ourselves the way we write anything else. I think long-time fans will be able to hear our entire discography in some way through these songs.
What was it like for you guys when you heard the final songs for the first time?
That was a pretty big moment because when we finished recording in California, the vocals still weren’t finished. John had to fly out to Nashville to finish them so we were all at home waiting to hear the first rough mixes with vocals on them. The first time we heard them, we were all together at our manager Tim’s house. I was blown away. I have always trusted John and I think that’s why we work so well together, but after seeing him frustrated before Nashville, I was uncertain about which direction he was going to take the songs. I felt relieved, proud, and immediately optimistic when I heard the final mixes.
If there was one thing you could do differently, what would it be and why?
To be honest, for doing everything ourselves and seeing the results we did, I don’t have any regrets on this album. There was one song that didn’t make the album, but we didn’t cut it until pretty late in the process. I guess I wish we would have thrown it out sooner. Still, things happened how they did, and I’m happy with where we are now.

Visually, we have created quite a stage scene and I feel that it represents the mood of the new album quite well.

After creating music for so long, how do you keep a fresh mindset and attitude going into recording a new record?
Like I said, we have been using the idea of scenery to influence our mindset, so having something like AirBnB to find an amazing house to record in certainly helps. We were on the side of a cliff looking out at the Pacific Ocean every day. If you can’t feel fresh waking up to that every day, you’re probably doing something wrong.
How are you feeling about the LLL Tour?
So far, things have been amazing. Visually, we have created quite a stage scene and I feel that it represents the mood of the new album quite well.
What’s next?
We will be touring as much as possible this year. We’re just getting started, and like every other album we have released, the mantra is that we can sleep when we’re dead. Even though we plan on working as hard as possible, it’s important to take time to look back and see how far we have come. That kind of reflection usually happens after a really great show.
What has come out of that time of reflection?
We’ve been a band for over 10 years now. In that time, we have met so many amazing friends and fans and seen so many incredible places. To be here in 2017 releasing our sixth full length record is sometimes unbelievable. We wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for those who care so deeply about the music we are releasing. For that, we are eternally grateful.
What do you hope this album conveys for listeners?
I want listeners to attach their own meaning to these songs, but for me, it’s a nod to how sometimes being alone can be terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a beautiful thing, too.

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The Maine talks ‘Lovely Little Lonely’ Album and Tour, Written and Photographed by Imani Givertz

John O’Callaghan Gets Personal About His Side Project John The Ghost


You’ve seen his face before in our magazine alongside his four bandmates, but today this feature is all about The Maine’s John O’Callaghan and his latest musical endeavor and side project, John The Ghost. John The Ghost made his apparition by releasing an EP and book titled Sincerely, John The Ghost in early April. The 90-page book contains original poetry written by the Ghost himself. O’Callaghan explains that this project is to help him let go of lingering ideas and an opportunity to potentially inspire others to express themselves in whatever ways make them feel alive. Here, we chat with O’Callaghan about his thoughts on vulnerability, recording in his bedroom, and the story behind John The Ghost. This is Ghost Stories with John The Ghost.

Cliché: What birthed the idea behind this side project, John The Ghost?
John O’Callaghan: Though it is important to occasionally take it slow in this life, an overabundance of idle time for me allows far too much opportunity for my brain to eat itself. Catharsis is to blame for the birth of The Ghost.
In your own words, who is John The Ghost?
He is the idea of letting go.
And in John The Ghost’s words, who is John O’Callaghan?
He is just a tiny grain of sand on an enormously beautiful beach.
You say that the purpose of this project is to not only help you let go of lingering thoughts, but to potentially inspire others to express themselves in a way that makes them feel alive. So, what makes you feel alive?
I suppose everything that arouses a reaction inside my being reminds me I’m alive. It’s easier for me to lose the notion of just how important my “reality” is when I allow negativity to cloud my mind, so lately I’ve tried my damnedest to focus on the aspects of life that bring me joy.
Let’s chat about the EP and then the book, both titled Sincerely, John The Ghost. When did you start writing these songs?
To be honest, the writing process as far as songs are concerned never ceases and I hope it never will. These songs are pieces I felt like I just needed to send on their way.
This EP is said to have been recorded in your bedroom. Was there a specific reason as to why you chose such an intimate space rather than a studio?
Money tends to dictate much of what we do unfortunately, but I was more than pleased with the sonic quality we achieved in the process. Plus, it sounds super indie when you tell someone you recorded in your bedroom.
I listened to the song “Sour Grapes” when it was first released and then on repeat for a good while. Each time I listened I could hear more and more that it had such vulnerability in it. Was it difficult for you to be so open in the writing and recording process?
Brennan Smiley, who helped co-produce the EP, really helped maintain much of the raw feelings from my demos and urged me to be as candid as I was in those demos in the recordings. The vulnerability complemented the whole thought process behind the project and I think that made it much easier to find comfort in the release.
What would you say the most challenging component about writing and recording the EP was?
Trying to find time in our conflicting schedules was the biggest hurdle. I had the drums done for a few months and then had to leave for the road. My biggest fear was starting the project, going away, then returning with new ears and hating what I’d done, so I just decided to put it off until we had ample time to complete it.
What do you hope listeners get out of it?
I hope they get whatever it is they’re looking for.
Along with being a lyrical genius, you’re a talented poet that has already released a book of your poetry titled Exaltation back in 2011. Did that book inspire Sincerely, John The Ghost or was Sincerely already in the works back in 2011?
Wow, I’m flattered by your high praise! I believe Exaltation inspired me in more of an empowering way, just as all of my outside projects have. My modest little soapbox has attracted some beautiful folks who give a shit about what I have to say and I would be letting myself down if I said nothing at all.  
What does this book mean to you?
This book reaffirms that my future is my own to create and that all of those “you can do anything’s” I dismissed as platitudes in my youth have merit and are preached for a reason.
Is there a future for poet John The Ghost as a spoken word artist or will he stay as a writer? As in, would you perform any of your poetry at shows?
Can’t see myself busting out the turtleneck anytime soon, but I always say… STRANGER THINGS.  
Were you ever at all emotionally stretched when writing Sincerely, John The Ghost?
There is always a point when I feel as though I’ve exhausted all ideas. I get to a place in which I know I’m reaching and for intents talking just to talk. When I hit that point, I knew I was done and that’s when I decided to release Sincerely.
What does the future look like for John The Ghost?
I would love to play a few shows at some point once people have sat with the music for a bit. It would be really great to share the stage with the cats that played on the record. For now, I’m just looking forward to the release and anxious to see and hear how people feel about it.
Will we be able to pick up a copy of the book and EP on Warped Tour?
Due to an overwhelmingly positive reaction thus far, it’s looking like we’ll be sold out of the books well before Warped starts. I’ll think about bringing something out, but The Maine is (and always will be) my focus and we have some neat stuff to look forward to this summer!
Read more Music Interviews on ClicheMag.com
John O’Callaghan Gets Personal About His Side Project John The Ghost: Photographed by Cole Kiburz 

The Maine’s Free For All Tour


It’s no secret that Arizona natives The Maine have a large following not only on the west coast, but all over the world. Since 2007, not only have they created a strong bond with each other, but they have also created a strong bond with their fans. John O’Callaghan, Jared Monaco, Garrett Nickelsen, Kennedy Brock, and Pat Kirch have been evolving as artists, musicians, people, and friends.
Even after eight years of growing success, The Maine continues to stay humble and genuine when it comes to their fans by coming out after almost every show to meet as many people as they can. How many bands can you think of that still do that?
If you look at some bands that have been together for 5+ years, you have to pay for meet-and-greets, enter into contests, or stand behind a fence in hopes to get a glimpse of the bus driver who will laugh at your attempts to pass a message along to the band. However, The Maine are an authentic group of guys who are intentional about letting their fans know how much they appreciate their support. They are so committed to honoring their fans and their dedication, in fact, that they went on a free tour.
That’s right, a 100% FREE tour. They toured all across the U.S. and didn’t make a dime in ticket sales. They never knew how many people would show up each night, but almost every night of the Free For All Tour, they would hit the max capacity of people in one venue.
Drummer Pat Kirch said in his pre-tour guest post on clichemag.com, “We have been a band for over eight years and have played more shows than I can count. Every night, people come out and support what we do. This tour is just a small part in showing how much that means to us… It is a celebration of music and the people that support music. This is a chance for anyone that wants to come see us play.”
We got a glimpse of the celebration of music and people at The Maine’s show at House Of Blues in Orlando, FL, and you can believe us when we say it was an incredible night.
To keep up with The Maine, follow them on Instagram: @TheMaineBand
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The Maine’s Free For All Tour: Photographed by Imani Givertz