Cruisin’ with John O’Callaghan of The Maine
In an in-depth interview, The Maine’s frontman John O’Callaghan reflected at length on his music career and confessed how much he misses the simple things in life. He recalled his favorite memories growing up and revealed how “that little kid is still in there somewhere, he’s just been hiding.” He opened up how he’s sick of the “too cool” mentality he sees everywhere online. He also shared his insights about the legacy of his band: “I would like people to realize that we tried the best we could with what we had and hopefully represented the idea that life is really as easy as falling in love with something and running away with it.”
Here are excerpts from that conversation.
Hello John! I feel it would be awesome to begin this interview by asking you, to reflect on the three very special people that you feel have shaped who you are today.
Thanks! Two easy ones are my folks. They have been supportive of any and all the passions I decide to pursue, and they never cease to tell me how proud they are of my brothers and I. We are so fortunate to have been born to those two considering how many fucking cuckoo birds fly around this planet. I suppose I’ll leave the third slot empty in hopes of meeting someone that will inspire me in ways I can’t at this point fathom. [Smiles.]
Right now, what thrilling and extraordinary non-everyday experiences do you value most in life?
To be honest, I’m attempting to find that pure bliss I used to get from the simple things. Seeing things in the clouds, listening to the birds talk, smelling the night blooming jasmine. It doesn’t have to be a tough business, growing up that is. That little kid is still in there somewhere, he’s just been hiding.
Amazing! But what were your favorite memories growing up?
Running around till the sun went down. Being a kid and playing in the street until it was time for dinner, those are the fondest memories I have. [Smiles.]
You have achieved as a result of your teamwork – The Maine distinct sound. But how did your musical and artistic vision change since you started your rewarding career?
At this point, we feel like we’re just now catching our stride with our sound. It’s taken us five records to figure it out, but American Candy really feels like square one. We’re not distracted by the bright lights anymore, this band is about regular cats making music and spreading the notion that anyone can do this shit. I’m sick of the “too cool” mentality I see everywhere online, and if that’s “in” then we want “out” and we’re ready to solidify our place with the people that dig what we do.
Tell us more about the songs “Am I Pretty” and “Another Night On Mars”.
It’s about not buying into the cheap idea of beauty THEY are trying to sell us on. It’s about looking through the mirror and being invigorated by that spirit inside you. I think “Another Night On Mars” would be a great segue and parting single to transition into whatever the next one will be.
Watch the official music video of “Another Night On Mars” below.
So far, what’s your favorite The Maine music video that you’ve ever made?
Hard to pick, but I think I was most pleased with the feeling the video for “Misery” evoked in even myself. I remember watching the first treatment and being a bit frightened and thinking that Daniel Gomes and us had done something rather neat.
Do you still listen to your own music when you travel?
What recommendations would you make for those of us who are trying to maintain a balance between family, performing, touring and personal time?
You shouldn’t have to make time for anything or anyone that you truly love.
How do you prepare yourself for touring? Is it easy (or always difficult) to live and work on the road?
It certainly isn’t glamorous, and can be taxing, but we’ve developed ways of running the ship that make for a good time for everyone involved. It’s difficult at times, but then you look around and realize that you’re playing music and seeing the world with your friends and it feels like you’ve rigged the game a bit. We really are so fortunate to be doing what we are.
When traveling, what’s your ultimate travel must-have and other items you can’t live without?
Toothbrush, headphones, a good read, and plenty of vitamins.
In which countries have you performed so far where you met the maddest, rockiest, and most happy, chill crowd?
Crowds are different all over. The most hyped would be the Brazilians, their energy is one of a kind, but we have great times everywhere we go.
Could you talk about some of your favorite memories of shows in Manila?
The shows have been nothing short of brilliant every time, but what I notice most when over there is the sense of community. People helping people and being there for people, and that makes my heart so wildly full. It kind of restores my faith in humans every time I visit. [Smiles.]
In all, how does touring and constant traveling change you as an artist – and as a person?
I believe it allows room for some perspective. It’s certainly helped change the way I view the world and the way I view myself in it. Traveling for me has created some stories that I think are worth sharing and some memories I’ll take to the grave, but it’s no doubt inspired me in ways I’m still sorting through.
Do you like being out in nature? If yes, mountains or beaches?
It’s my most favorite thing there is. Nature, that is. Give me a mountain top to look out to the ocean on and call it a day.
If you could have your dream car, would it be a classic, sport, muscle, cruise, SUV – or all of the above?
I used to drive a 66 Ford long bed but sold it. I would love to one day have another old car. That said, I wouldn’t turn down a Mercedes G Wagon. [Smiles.]
What do you hope people take away from your music and from your shows and performances?
I really hope when people find some sort of mental oasis in the room at our show. That sort of place where problems don’t exist and everything is easy. If they take away a few new friends that would’t be so bad either.
Finally, when it’s all said and done, what kind of legacy would you and the band like to leave?
I’d like people to realize that we tried the best we could with what we had and hopefully represented the idea that life is really as easy as falling in love with something and running away with it. [Smiles.]
What did you enjoy the most about our interview with John O’Callaghan? Please let us know in the comments.