Breaking out of its scene
Arizona band The Maine is on its first headlining tour.
As soon as guitarist Jared Monaco of the Arizona-based alternative group The Maine got his hands on a very influential album in the third grade, he knew that music was his true calling.
“The first music that I ever bought was a Nirvana cassette tape that I got at a garage sale,” he said. “I just remember listening to it on repeat, and as I got into the sixth or seventh grade, I got my first guitar.”
Like Monaco, his bandmates kicked off their music careers before they reached high school.
“All of us started really early on playing in bands on the local scene back home in Arizona, and that’s how we all ended up meeting,” Monaco said.
The Maine’s early start seems to have given it the advantage. After joining forces in 2007, the band’s MySpace page gave it an unexpected big break.
“We just knew we needed to be spending all of the time that we possibly could sitting on the MySpace talking to the people we couldn’t actually see on tour because we were waiting to finish school,” Monaco said. “It was definitely a key tool we used to get us to where we’re at now.”
Since then, The Maine has toured with the likes of All Time Low, Mayday Parade and 3OH!3, which put some experience under the members' belts and taught them a great deal.
“You learn a lot of things from other bands, and some of them are things you want to replicate and some are things that you watch them do that don’t work,” Monaco said. “We’re about four shows into our first headlining tour right now and everything’s been running so smoothly, and I feel like that’s mainly due to the fact that we have paid so much attention to what was going on during all of those tours.”
All that observation has certainly done great things for The Maine. Its highly anticipated sophomore album Black & White hit stores July 12. The new tracks debut a more mature, alternative sound as opposed to its signature emo-pop flavor.
“It’s got a little bit of a heavier edge to it,” Monaco said. “We started toying around with different guitar tones, and the way that our producer recorded John’s vocals really made them pop.”
After all the time and effort that was put into the new tracks, Black & White yielded the sound The Maine has been searching for since the beginning.
“We definitely had this vision in our heads of a more serious take of our band for the second album,” Monaco said. “We were trying to figure out what we wanted to sound like on the first album, and going into the second album we really had to nail down exactly what we wanted to sound like, and we were able to bring that out in the studio.”
Despite all its success with the current tour and the new album, the band still manages to stay down to earth.
“It’s just been a really great experience so far,” Monaco said. “We’re grateful for all of those fans that have been there with us since the beginning and also for all the new ones that are just starting to come out to our shows.”
The Maine will be playing July 16 in Columbia at The Blue Note.