Alternative rock group The Maine can’t stop, and won’t stop in 2016. Coming off the release of their well received fifth album American Candy, the band is approaching the summer with another new release and a spot on the Vans Warped Tour.
Their latest work, Covers (Side B) is a follow-up to last year’s Covers (Side A) EP, which featured a Backstreet Boys cover as well as guest vocals from friends in Mayday Parade and The Technicolors. Not only has The Maine mastered the art of making hit songs their own, they have taken the music-making process into their own hands outside of the record label machine.
We had the chance to pick the brain of Pat Kirch, the band’s drummer, to learn about what goes into making a cover album as an established band.
Welcome to Viral Pirate, thank you for taking a moment to chat with us! Last year, The Maine released Covers (Side A), an EP with 3 cover songs. Covers (Side B) is a continuation of the project. What led you guys to put out some cover albums?
We have released a pretty steady stream of cover songs over the years and it’s always something we enjoy doing. We thought it would be cool to do our own collection this time instead of releasing them via a compilation like “Punk Goes…” like we had done in the past. We find that recording cover songs is low pressure for us and we can really try new sounds we have wanted to experiment with, and just have fun.
It’s great that you’re sharing the fun with fans and friends in other bands! Covers (Side A) featured guest vocals from past tourmates Brennan Smiley of The Technicolors and Mayday Parade’s Derek Sanders. Can we expect more guests on the new album?
We usually just listen to tons of music and see what strikes us at the time. It really is just hearing a song and being able to pick out one part that you could hear being played in an interesting way that will inspire the entire cover.
We don’t usually get any outside influence on what songs we choose because we really need to hear something in the song that we think we could do an interesting take on. Anytime that we have tried to force a cover we always give up after a day of banging our heads against the wall.
Side B is all pretty modern and is all pop music. We have not done our take on a modern song since nine years ago when we covered Akon (“I Wanna Love You”), so we thought it would be fun to try. It was fun to take a song for what it was before all the production and over the top pop production was put on top of it.
It breathes new life into a song when you take it back before the production. This year, you dropped the first single off of Covers (Side B), a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” We love what you guys did with the song! Are The Maine “Beliebers”? And is this your favorite Justin Bieber tune?
“Love Yourself” is a great song and you just can’t deny how well written the song is. I can not say that we know too many Bieber deep cuts, but we did feel like we could do an interesting take on this song. The song was so bare bones that we knew we could take it in any direction we wanted. We tried a few different versions of it and ended up connecting most with this version, which forces us to play in different ways than we normally would.
That is a hard one because we knew we were picking pop songs for this EP, so we didn’t even try very many more out. We had wanted to record “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals for years and just couldn’t find a version that we loved, so we just decided to record it very true to the original song which is something we have never done before.
It is kind of all we know now, we have been releasing our own albums since 2011. The freedom is the reason we love it so much. We are able to record our albums on our own terms in every single way that you could imagine and also the things we are able to do for our fans is much greater because it is our money so we can take any risks we want!
I think we would have a very hard time being in a traditional record contract again. We are pretty hard-headed with our ideas, and when we know what we want we don’t want to have to ask permission.
I think it’s really rad that you do it yourself because it allows us fans to hear new The Maine stuff every year. It’s finally almost summer and we can’t wait to see you at Warped Tour! Will you be playing any of the songs off Covers (Side B)?
I don’t think we will be playing any cover songs on Warped Tour, the sets are so short that we want to play as many of our songs as we can. Coming up with a set list for a short set like Warped Tour just gets harder and harder with the more music we have out.
I am very excited for Warped Tour! I always have so much fun, walking the line in the morning selling CDs, saying hello to people. It feels bigger than just a show — it’s an entire day of being able to interact with people and have a good time. I love a good challenge and we just try and work as hard as possible on that tour to reach new people that might dig what we do and to make our fan’s experience at the tour as great as possible!