John O’Callaghan of The Maine (USA) talks on upcoming AUS tour, his love for Tim Tams and American Candy LP!

  • Jana Angeles
  • November 26, 2015
  • Comments Off on John O’Callaghan of The Maine (USA) talks on upcoming AUS tour, his love for Tim Tams and American Candy LP!

The Maine have been a band for almost nine years and in that time, they’ve achieved a lot. From their early days with pop punk/alternative rock to now embracing a more pop rock side to their music, the five-piece bring energy like no other on stage. We had a chat with lead vocalist, John O’Callaghan about the upcoming Australian tour, his love for peanut butter Tim Tams and playing songs from their fifth studio record, American Candy.

So you’ll be doing your first headline tour next week in Australia which is pretty exciting considering it’s your first ever headline tour. How do you feel knowing that you’ll have the opportunity to play a longer set to the Aussie fans?

Oh we’re very excited. I just came back from rehearsals straight from my folks’ house so we’re kinda brushing up the set and getting to the point where people are getting excited about it. We’re excited about it – it’s awesome that we get the chance to play a full proper headlining set for the first time. I know that there’s gonna be more than ten people in the shows; it’s a really fulfilling thing. Hopefully it’s gonna be a really gratifying experience.

You released American Candy at the start of the year. How has playing those songs from the album been for you guys?

The way that we feel about our music at this point is really special. I think that we’re solely focused on the task at hand; we put on the most energetic and cohesive set as as a band; but I think that you always enjoy playing your newer stuff. We’ve kind of designed a pretty balanced setlist – we’re not just going to play all the new songs. I think it’s our chore to try to make that energy fill, even in the old tunes as well. It’s a nice challenge I guess.

I’ve been following you guys since 2008 and the way that your music has evolved has been really great. Before it was sort of alternative rock and now you’re heading towards a pop rock sort of sound dynamic but it still has the same essence from your back catalogue. How do you feel knowing that you have a mixture of older and newer fans in your live shows?

I think we have to be conscientious again on what we’re bringing to the show and what we integrate within the set as far as elaborating on songs. In the past, we tried to shy away from our earlier material and I think that once we stepped into the idea that it needed to be part of the setlist, we embraced  the notion that it’s what got us there until this point; we kind of found our own sound along the way. We never wanted to be discouraged from our past material which people have dug – we dug it at the time so there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.

It’s just pretty bizarre that we continue to do it and that people still care; knowing that there’s gonna be fans of our old stuff and fans of our new stuff alike. I think that’s what pushes us to make a balanced set while trying to put on a performance that will hopefully captivate somebody enough to hopefully wanna see us again.

I noticed in American Candy as well you worked with producer Colby Wedgeworth and he’s a relatively new producer. After working with him, what did he bring to the table that no other producer has ever brought before?

I think what Colby brought to the record is kind of a hunger for creation; a hunger for making the best album possible – not for just one song. You find it in the shift and the tension spans you know, with the public and the way people kind of digest music. I think what you find in producers now is that they are focused on one song.

Maybe I’m being too generic and putting on a blanket statement but I think Colby just brought that energy and passion from wanting to create something in a complete album; a complete finish thought. We had the pleasure of working with him a couple of years back and his role just intensified and we really wanted to make sure that he knew that he was a part of the project from the get go. He was on board from day one and I would love to be able to work with him in the future so we’ll see.

That’s fantastic to hear. I found the album was very cohesive and I could tell that he had a strong sense of what you guys wanted in a record and that’s how I felt when I was listening to it.

Right on. Just touching on what you said and kind of going from an alternative period to more of a pop thing, I think that he understands too where my sensibility kind of lies for a pop standpoint. I think we decided to embrace more of that on this record and you know, he kind of brought that out more in us as a band.

It’s rewarding as well because you’ve been a band for almost nine years now and that’s like a really long time. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career so far?

I think just making it this far. None of us ever imagined getting to this point. Some young dude on a flight asked me if we make a lot of money and my response to it was just simply I hold another job when I get home [making/writing music]. We’re not wealthy but I think that’s how we envisioned success when we first started touring. I think that’s what motivates us to tour as far as we do and to keep pushing ourselves to the fact that we’ve gotten this far. We’ve been so fortunate to make it to this point but it keeps us hungry and that’s what keeps us striving and pushing ourselves in every aspect of being a band.

Yeah and I guess the fact is, the music industry is very dynamic and constantly evolving and you sort of have to have the resilience and also stability as a person to actually stay in it.

Yeah absolutely. I think something that we learned, maybe three albums ago was something that we didn’t know was an option back when we first started: 1) the ability to say ‘no’ and 2) the idea to not stray from what you see as your potential. I think we realised that we can’t compromise for anybody because we won’t be able to look ourselves in the mirror at the end of the day. I tell you that with confidence; we’re not going to be putting anything out that we won’t be able to stand in front of and stand behind [to a crowd]. We were fortunate to kind of get past the point where we didn’t know those things. We got very lucky in a sense that people are kind enough to show support so I attribute to why we’re still here; to not only those people but from what they’ve told us.

Yeah, and that’s very true in a sense because obviously you go through obstacle after obstacle when you’re in a band. I admire musicians that actually pull through all the tough ruts in life.

Life is long. Lots of bumps. Just gotta take ‘em.

I know in 2010, you actually collaborated with photographer, Dirk Mai, and made a book called Exaltation as well. Did this book help inspire you as a songwriter? Because I know you made poems for this book too.

Yeah. I mean, I don’t necessarily like using the word ‘poet’ or ‘poem’. All I’m doing is writing down whatever comes out of my head; whatever’s coming out of my mind. I was really lucky to have known Dirk – he’s an incredible photographer but he’s also an incredible friend. I’m actually in the process where I’m working on – not necessarily a follow-up – but I’m going to be releasing something down the line of a longer-form of what I did [Exaltation] with Dirk; I’m gonna be pairing it with some songs. I think what’s really awesome about being in a band is maintaining one sort of relevancy; the fact that working on these projects gives us a platform to push ourselves creatively and to push the boundary.

Also, one last thing – you guys put on quite an entertaining video of trying our Australian candy. Out of all the ones that you tried, which one was the best?

I don’t know if it’s a cliché but Tim Tams are so, so good. On the last tour we did in the States, somebody brought a whole mass of them. I didn’t know they came in different flavours but they had the peanut butter ones. I’m like a fiend for peanut butter so those were definitely my favourite Australian candies I’ve tried so far. Oh actually, it’s a tie – the Eucalyptus cough drops – those were so good. I love anything menthol or eucalyptus. It’s a tie between Tim Tams and those.


Watch the band’s hilarious video trying Australian candy below!

The Maine will be kicking off their Australian tour at the start of next week! See tour dates below:

Monday, 30th November – The Brightside, Brisbane 18+
with Set The Record
Tickets from

Tuesday, 1st December – Factory Theatre, Sydney Lic AA
with Far Away Stables
Tickets from

Wednesday, 2nd December – Corner Hotel, Melbourne 18+
Tickets from


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