Music

‘Here We Go’ again – Lower Than Atlantis return!

‘Here We Go’ again – Lower Than Atlantis return!

It’s been two years since the release of Changing Tune, the third studio album from Watford-based four-piece Lower Than Atlantis. The group, who are newly signed to Sony, are set to release their new self-titled album on September 29th, following an intimate tour and limited festival dates. I caught up with main man Mike Duce to talk about the band’s latest album, Japanese dates and record labels.

When we spoke, Mike was fresh from headlining the second day of Radio One Rocks, playing alongside friends Mallory Knox and Marmozets.

His tweets earlier that day bemoaned a rather sore head. “It was a rough night. We’d just got back from Japan, and the day we got back we played a corporate gig, then the next day was the breakfast show and Radio One Rocks thing.”

The band finally got a chance to relax after what has obviously been a heavy few days, as Mike explained. “Woke up this morning and there were bodies strewn everywhere! It was good, a good celebration and to say thanks to all our crew for doing such a good job…I’m feeling haggard now like.”

Considering the band haven’t played the UK in a while, it seems somewhat odd that Lower Than Atlantis are visiting Japan to debut new tracks. “We were there for a week, had three massive gigs then chilled out in Tokyo at the end of it, ate some food, visited some temples, had a little holiday with our crew.” Ahead of their July dates, Lower Than Atlantis took the opportunity given to them by their friend Adam Graham, now a guitarist for the Japanese rock band Fact. “My friend Adam is in a band – he worked for a label, and he learned Japanese in like an intensive course for a year. We got there, and no one could understand him! It was like he didn’t know anything and the accent was wrong and everything. He used to tour manage, but now he’s in the band and [in Japan they’re all fans of [Fact]. They were like ‘We’re going to tour in Japan, would you like to come with us because we’re massive in Japan’, and we were like ‘Yep!’ So, we just went out and did that. It was good to try out new songs as well when we were out there,” Mike shared. It was the first trip to Japan for Lower Than Atlantis, yet Mike revealed that it won’t be the last: “I think we’re going back again soon, ‘cause it went that well!”

The trip to Japan is certainly something that the band never envisioned for themselves. “Everyone has a bucket list in life,” Mike explained, “As a band it starts off tame – I wanna play this venue, I wanna do this, I wanna get signed. Things like that. Then, going to the USA was massive – it was a huge thing for us to tour America, then for us Western dudes to go somewhere that far away and play there…We never thought we’d do something like that, and we’re just honoured and humbled that we got to do it.”

The band have also seen an incredibly positive reception to their new material at home. Breaking the top ten rock chart on the day of release, and showing no signs of leaving it a few weeks later, single ‘Here We Go’ has been making waves. “It’s been way more than we expected, it’s strange,” Mike tried to verbalise. “We’ve had more response from this one track than we’ve had from our whole last album.”

The song has become a mainstream radio favourite already. “Yesterday, for example, I was on Radio One Breakfast show with Grimmy, then we headlined Radio One Rocks playing on Radio One. We had like 11 plays on Radio One yesterday! We got played on every single show. It’s crazy, weird. I’m blown away.” Fans are also incredibly receptive to the band’s new track, with a handful of tickets remaining nationwide for the July tour dates. Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Norwich and London have completely sold out. “We normally play bigger venues,” Mike humbly explained, “but because the first thing back we’re doing is a club tour, to take it back to when it was really fun – just a few dudes, a sweatbox, people going nuts, that’s the idea. With smaller crowds you get to see everyone’s reactions to the new songs we’re gonna play, that’s the idea.” It certainly seems like Mike’s as excited as the fans. “It’s definitely been too long! We’ve been away for ages! It just felt like I didn’t have a purpose in life, my mates were going to work every day, contributing to society – I was just sitting in a studio. But yeah, we’re back with a fucking vengeance! We’ve got something to prove again.”

Lower Than Atlantis boasts 12 tracks of various moods – anthemic track ‘English Kids in America’ lets the title do the talking, documenting the band’s recent venture into the States, whilst ‘Words Don’t Come So Easily’ follows a more emotional path. Lead single ‘Here We Go’ accurately captures the band’s desire to get back on track with their music, and provides what looks to be the atmospheric foundation for the intimate tour. “It still sounds like Lower Than Atlantis, but it sounds like a more mature Lower Than Atlantis,” Mike mused. “I know it sounds cliché, but, yeah, we have matured since our last album ‘cause we’ve got older, so I don’t know…It sounds more grown up compared to what we were doing before.” With this maturity has also come musical experimentation, as evidenced by the slight electronic element to some of the new album. “There’s only so much you can do when it’s just a couple of blokes playing instruments, so we had to spice it up a bit. We used the studio as an instrument,” Mike said, adopting a nasally tone before laughing. “As wankers say.”

Moving the conversation to more serious tones, we discussed the lyrics of the new record. Lower Than Atlantis are a band that pride themselves on the stories they are able to tell through their songs – ‘Another Sad Song’, ‘Wars With Words’ and ‘Scared of the Dark’ from 2012’s Changing Tune being prime examples of this. With Lower Than Atlantis the band have appeared to mix it up. “Lyrically on this album we decided to go for something different than before. [Changing Tune] was very reflective and it was very personal to me, but with this album it’s more about the music as opposed to the lyrical content. First listen, you hear what I’m saying, you kinda know what it’s about but you take what you will from it, and that’s the idea with this album. It was a nice change for me.”

Consequently, it appears that there’s less emotional ties to specific songs. “It was such a selection of tracks – there was a hell of a lot more tracks and we really whittled it down. There were fifth and sixth drafts of songs – we spent a lot of time getting them to the way they are now. I like so many different songs for different reasons – I couldn’t pick one! I love the album as a body of work, it’s my favourite Lower Than Atlantis album by far!” Mike proudly stated.

It has certainly been a turbulent year or two for Lower Than Atlantis, leaving their Island Records deal and self-recording their new album in their own studio. “Basically, we were signed to Island Records before – it got to a point where they were they’d already picked up the option for the next album, and already signed the next album and got the advance. Then, they called us in and were like ‘Look – we’re legally obliged to release your next album, but we don’t really want to. So, you can do it with us and we’ll do a half-arsed job (essentially), or you can take the money and run’. So we were like ‘Fuck you, see you later’, built a recording studio, wrote and recorded this album, spent ages on it, then signed to Sony a few weeks ago.” Things certainly seem to be looking up on the label front – “Our manager, who’s been a friend of mine and Ben’s [Samson, guitarist] for about ten years now, he now works for the label as well, which is like nuts! Our project manager, he’s been a fan for years and he’s about out our age [mid-20s], loves all the same music as us! We just go up his and talk about music and stuff, it’s great, I couldn’t ask for a better label!” Mike quickly brings himself back to reality with a somewhat interesting metaphor, “I say that now, but we always get shafted, so we’re gonna stay lubed up just in case.”

Following their intimate tour dates, Lower Than Atlantis are set to play just a couple of festivals – Leeds and Reading, as well as one which Mike revealed accidently. “Hang on, that hasn’t been announced yet! I didn’t say that!” he quickly retracted. Back to Reading/Leeds, however, and Mike’s as excited as ever to play. “The first time we played was the Festival Republic Stage – we just couldn’t believe we were playing Reading/Leeds! That was on the bucket list as well. It was great, everything was great. Last year we played Main Stage”, Mike continued, yet not as enthusiastically. “I don’t know…it’s just so exposed. The only time it rained was during our bloody set, typical. The wind was blowing about everywhere, but this year we’re inside a tent again and it’s just great to be inside that sweaty gig atmosphere in the dark, you know. People are more relaxed and it’s easier to get away with being yourself in the dark.” Festivals, in general, appear not to be Mike’s favourite thing. “You have 15 minutes to get on and have everything perfect. A lot of people are just walking past and might not be that into it – it’s quite scary, quite intimidating. I’m not too fond of festivals.”

Some condolence this year appears to be found in two Reading/Leeds bands in particular. “BOMBAY! BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB!” Mike raved, “They’re one of the favourite bands! I saw them a couple of years ago and they were great, I really wanna see how the new record translates live!” Although the line-up means that Lower Than Atlantis are unable to see Blink-182, Mike states that Blink “is the reason I play guitar, and the reason I’m in a band.” Having toured with the Americans two years ago after sneaking backstage at a gig and giving Mark Hoppus a copy of their album, Lower Than Atlantis found themselves playing to thousands of people after being asked to tour with Blink.

This year, however, plans are not so set in stone. July’s tour, August’s festivals and September’s album release look to be littered with single releases, but none confirmed. “The plan is constantly changing”, Mike admitted, “I have no idea what exactly is happening.”

Fans can catch LTA on tour from July 15th- 31st before Lower Than Atlantis drops September 29th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Woah Woah Woah’ Watsky!

‘Woah Woah Woah’ Watsky!

It’s been a busy day for George Watsky. The American poet-rapper not only announced the release date of his third album All You Can Do (12th August), but also dropped the first single, and accompanying music video, from that album. The presale for the album was released to iTunes on Tuesday – within ten minutes, it was ranked at 11 on the American iTunes Hip-Hop chart. At the time of writing, it was ninth. The music video to ‘Woah Woah Woah’ was released exclusively to Billboard’s website on Tuesday afternoon, and All You Can Do’s lead track is certainly something special. Drawing on the unique blend of rap verse and anthemic choruses that Watsky is particularly skilled at producing, ‘Woah Woah Woah’ not only lets Watsky’s rap abilities shine – surprisingly comprehensible very fast rapping especially–, but allows the song to slow, and adopt a more serious and haunting tone. I’m a huge fan of anthemic chorus – when used right, it enables a song to become instantaneously unifying (“What do you take us for?”) and memorable. Watsky certainly manages to do both of these, with the video itself providing a nice platform for the unification of the young-adult rebel in all of us. Lyrically, the origins in slam poetry are obvious – contemporary cult references are somewhat risqué without being offensive (especially regarding a certain Ms Miley Cyrus!), as well as grappling with the idea of fame through some interesting religious lexis. The emotion in Watsky’s voice as he speaks is obvious, even when the lyrics don’t quite manage to embed themselves into your mind after just one listen, propelled by the foregrounded focus on voice and simple rhythm.

The single’s video also provides some entertaining watching – not only is it well shot, it is also mesmerising, bringing out the pyromaniac in all of us. The final image of flames as the anthemic questioning of what we’re waiting for fades out definitely keeps ‘Woah Woah Woah’ echoing, even after the video ends. Luckily, fans can hear this in person later on in the year – Watsky also announced that UK tour dates are to be released next week. Expectations will now be high for the 12th of August, and the subsequent tour – and rightly so.

My music style icon

My music style icon

Music and fashion have a long history of influencing each other. When one thinks back on the defining fashions of a decade, they are more often than not tied to the music which was being listened to. From punk to mods, grunge to New Romantics, what you listen to and what you wear are intrinsically linked expressions of your personality. But it’s not just the style of music which influences how we dress, it’s the people who produce that music. These icons go beyond musical fame, and become symbols of a lifestyle that we strive to emulate. Here, members of the OxStu fashion and music teams as well as other Oxford students tell us about the performaers who have had both a musical and sartorial effect on their lives.

“For me, Stephen Malkmus, the frontman of Pavement, has this effortlessly cool look. He may not be what people call ‘chic’, and in fact he at first appears fairly standard; uninteresting even. Good shirts, jeans, and converses what you’ll normally see him in. But part of this is the ironic air which the band gives off in their music. It’s very understated. I also like Thom Yorke of Radiohead’s style, especially with the new ponytail! If anyone can rock longer hair, it’s him.” – James Aldred

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“My musical style icon would have to be Madonna – specifically, 80s Madonna. For me, 80s Madonna’s style was so iconic because it presented a whole new idea of young women’s fashion – her style incorporated an unapologetic sense of sexuality and freedom whilst embracing youthful femininity. Her experimentation with colour, texture and shape, and attention to detail, sums up the 80s for me – bright, bold, unique and unconcerned with the conventions of popular taste. I always try to incorporate a little bit of this ethos into my everyday fashion!” – Hazel Harrow

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

“Without question, David Bowie has had the most influence on my style. I’ve always considered myself not to fit in with typically ‘masculine’ ways of dressing, and he showed me that one doesn’t have to dress in a strictly male or female way with his androgynous looks. In a similar vein, Adam Ant got me really into playing around with makeup, and I still sport the odd bit of guy-liner on a night out. I also went through a phase of wanting to dress like a dandy highwayman all the time… fortunately it didn’t last!” – Peter Lock

david bowie

“Well, this is somewhat embarrassing to admit but I can only really say Rachel Stevens. As a die-hard S Club 7 fan, I was very into the whole baggy trousers with a vest-top and trainers look (give me a break – these were the dark days of the early 00s). Rachel was always my favourite though. I was even given a Rachel Stevens doll for my 6th birthday, complete with S Club 7 logo-emblazoned flare trousers. Although this was all way back in the day, I do have a particular embellished purple top which I always think has an air of Ms Stevens about it, and has me humming ‘Bring It All Back’ as I’m getting ready to go out.” – Alys Key

rachel stevens

“My music style icon is Florence Welch. I lover her 70′s inspired style and her trademark long lace dresses. From graphic prints to loud colours, the variety in her outfits never fail to amaze me. She also couples her look with a strong and mysterious attitude, making every girl envy her confidence.” – Laetitia Nappert-Rosales

florence welch

“Mika is my icon in everything. He wears the best suits, has the best hair, sings the best songs and is just all-round the greatest person on the planet. I’m just hopelessly in love with him”. – Freya Judd

mika

Bring the house down

Bring the house down

House music has increased in popularity in recent years and is particularly big among university students across the country. It differs to other music in the sense that a whole night, in a certain club, will be deemed a ‘house night’, specifically catering for the tastes of the group of people in attendance. In this way it sets itself apart from other genres of music. In most clubs other types of music are all jumbled together; a mix of pop and RnB, for instance, would feature on one playlist. House, on the other hand, demands a night all to itself.

In accordance with this distinction, the clothes people wear to ‘House Nights’ also set them apart. It would be quite acceptable to go to most club nights wearing a pretty dress, shorts and a sparkly top or a cute playsuit; except of course for a house night. House music has a uniform. There is no doubt that if you want to be considered one of the ‘house’ crowd you have got to stick to this uniform exactly. A floral dress is literally house suicide.

This means that the majority of people step into a whole new sphere of fashion when they attend a house night. For some, this will be their style but there are many who simply wear this ‘uniform’ for the night and would never consider putting it on for any other occasion.

So what is the house uniform?

For boys: oversized faux 90s voluminous sport’s-wear, tie-dye t-shirts and patterned shirts.

The boy’s uniform is not so strict.

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For girls: disco pants, metallic leggings, crop tops, beanies and hi tops.

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You won’t spend ages doing your hair and makeup, giving off the vibe that you have thrown the look together in a few minutes.

Dressing in this style means every single girl will look practically identical but if you chose not to stick to the uniform, you might well find yourself permanently locked out of the house.

IMAGES:

http://store.americanapparel.co.uk/the-disco-pant_rsaah300

http://www.topman.com/en/tmuk/product/clothing-140502/mens-shirts-140515/burgundy-and-white-floral-short-sleeve-shirt-2957199?bi=21&ps=20

Casting an eye over the best of Eurovision

Casting an eye over the best of Eurovision

Josh Brown: Conchita Wurst

‘Rise Like a Phoenix’

The ‘hotbed of sodomy’, as declared by Russian state TV, is this year’s unquestionable standout. Conchita Wurst is the drag alter-ego of ex-boyband member Thomas Neuwirth, although, as Eurovision approaches, Wurst has acquired the nickname ‘The Bearded Lady’.

Austria’s Conchita has inspired comical reactions from Europe’s more conservative elements, with Belarus planning to edit her out of the broadcast completely.he ‘hotbed of sodomy’, as declared by Russian state TV, is this year’s unquestionable standout. Conchita Wurst is the drag alter-ego of ex-boyband member Thomas Neuwirth, although, as Eurovision approaches, Wurst has acquired the nickname ‘The Bearded Lady’.

But while Eurovision politics is as entertaining as usual, it’s at risk of overshadowing what is a genuinely great song. ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ is a bond theme that never was, with the orchestral swagger characteristic of all the best Bassey songs.

The lyrics also toy with Neuwirth’s controversial gender playing: ‘Peering from the mirror / No, that isn’t me / Stranger getting nearer/ Who can this person be?’ The pun being that ‘Conchita’ is a stereotypically female name, but ‘Wurst’, of course. means sausage.

At the time of writing we don’t know if Conchita will win,  so we can only urge Europe to do the right thing, and vote for the Wurst act.

 

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Sachin Croker: Lordi

‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’

Eurovision for most people wouldn’t involve monster masks and heavy metal, but for Finnish rockers Lordi that’s exactly what they brought in 2006.

For those of us tired of tuning in each year to hear abysmal Abba impressions followed by brutal Boyzone imitations followed by novelty polka acts, Lordi were the ultimate breath of fresh air. Their classic, ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’, was an unashamed love song to pure hard rock magic. Playing in their full costumes showed that not only did Lordi have their music taste in order (unlike basically every other Eurovision entry), they also had a great sense of fun. This can often be the difference between naff rubbish and genuinely enjoyable music (see: Tenacious D).urovision for most people wouldn’t involve monster masks and heavy metal, but for Finnish rockers Lordi that’s exactly what they brought in 2006.

Unsurprisingly Lordi stormed to victory, winning the (at that point) most amount of points ever. Futhermore, once it was then released to the Finnish public it stormed to number one, with Britian proudly charting it at 25.

If there’s one thing that Eurovision needs more of, it’s overblown pyrotechnics and a facetious attitude to anything that isn’t hard rock.

 

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Jake Downs: Buranovskiye Babushki

‘Party for Everybody’

The OUSU building shakes as the Music and Features teams yell out those earth-shattering lines: “Party for everybody! Come on and dance!”.

We all remember our favourite Russian grannies of 2012. Their incredible track, ‘Party for Everybody’, lost out on the Eurovision crown by just 113 points (*cough*). However, for us at OxStu, they were the true winners. Their half-spoken, half-shrieked Slavic-disco anthem is catchy, cultured and catastrophic.he OUSU building shakes as the Music and Features teams yell out those earth-shattering lines: “Party for everybody! Come on and dance!”.

The Udmurtian octet, dressed in what appeared to be “traditional clothing”, were joined onstage by a rotating oven. The lyrics reflect this aesthetic decision: the “grandmothers” sing (in Udmurt) of lighting ovens, baking bread and spreading cloths. Wow.

Hats off to Olga Tuktaryova, the group’s artistic director. You rocked it. No – you killed it, baby.

 

 

 

Problem – Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea Single Review

Problem – Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea Single Review

Are we seeing a comeback for the subtle brass family in pop music? Fresh off the success of Jason Derulo’s ‘Talk Dirty’, unexpected hit maker Ariana Grande is making a firm follow up to the success of her 2013 debut Yours Truly in the form of a new duet with rapper Iggy Azalea. Here, a funky saxophone hook punctuates the whispered chorus of ‘I got one less problem without ya’. R&B can often be viewed by the less knowledgeable as thug music – music about the life of those adorned with thick gold chains and stereotypically named children. Ariana Grande has steadily attempted to demonstrate that R&B can go back to the gospel influenced high vocals and sass of old divas such as Mariah Carey or Mary J. Blige. Her new single reminds us of the great voice that caught our attention with the song ‘The Way (feat. Mac Miller)’ in early 2013. One year later, I’d like to think that this song will be thumping around club rooms everywhere.

Starting as they mean to go on

Starting as they mean to go on

The White Stripes’ legacy has had a massive effect on the development of rock music in the last decade or so. The most obvious one is the big resurgence in blues-rock, spawning bands such as The Black Keys, Deap Vally and Alabama Shakes.

London-based Rouge are one of the latest bands to ride this wave, and they do it exceptionally. Their giant guitar sound is largely influenced by the fact that the band was initially three guitarists and a drummer coming together, one of whom decided to learn the bass and the other two moved on to sharing guitar and vocals as well as taking on songwriting. This unconventional line-up, combined with the old school attitude of producer Adam Crowe makes for a very special record.

Edge of the Bed is Rouge’s first official EP, but is superbly crafted and sounds like the work of a much more experienced band. It sounds like all sorts of artists at different times: The Dead Weather one minute, Queens of the Stone Age the next.

It opens with the title track, a drum-driven, old school foot stomper with an almost nostalgically Riot Grrl snarl. This leads into the slower ‘Strike’, which, after a Hendrix-esque riff in the intro, really shows off the strength of the vocals, and their soul influence and paradoxically smooth yet coarse contralto stylings really manages to set it aside from a lot of other similar bands. Vocals are credited to three of four band members, and the layering of vocals with the effortless musical backing really makes the track.

After this comes their debut single, ‘Wilderness’, one of my favourite songs of 2013 and the highlight of the EP, with a massive quasi-grunge feel that continues in the accompanying video. It’s big and bluesy with meandering guitars that climax to a giant wave of drums and distortion.

Finally, the record closes unexpectedly with a soulful cover of James Blake’s ‘Limit to Your Love’, with an air of early Amy Winehouse to it, achieving anything you could hope for in a cover; it’s instantly recognisable and faithful to the original but manages to take the song places it previously went nowhere near.

All in all, this EP manages to showcase everything great about this band: skilfully interwoven guitars and vocals with a wonderfully raw rhythm section offering something new to a well-established but exciting genre. They’re definitely a group to look out for in the future.

Listen up: here comes the Maine attraction

Listen up: here comes the Maine attraction

Having just finished the Brazilian leg of the 8123 tour following their recent stint in the UK as Deaf Havana’s support act, rock group The Maine show no signs of slowing down. In the wake of their fourth album’s studio release last summer, and their newest EP in December, I caught up with the group to talk musical maturity, experimentation and their newfound freedom.

The Maine were most recently in the UK last November, as part of the Vans Warped tour entourage that rocked the capital. “It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here so many times,” lead vocalist John O’Callaghan noted. Rhythm guitarist Kenny Brock, after debating if they’ve toured here 7 or 8 times, explained what this familiarity with the UK meant: “Every time it gets more and more familiar. We feel like we know it better and we just get more comfortable”.

As they play more within the UK, the Arizona group are noticing more differences between the music scenes across the pond, particularly concerning Warped Tour. “It was interesting, not in a negative way! It was just different from what we’re used to with the States’ Warped Tour.” Garrett Nickelsen, the band’s bassist, also found this. “Yeah, a lot of the bands were pretty heavy – more of the screaming type. Normally, we don’t play shows with screaming bands.” “It was a challenge, yeah,” Kennedy contributed, “definitely a challenge to get people’s attention.” Despite the unfamiliarity of the tour, The Maine are quick to see the positives. “It was fun. That’s the point of this, to get better and challenge yourself. I’m really glad we took the opportunity.”

John also acknowledged the band’s recent absence from the American Vans Warped Tour scene, noting that “it’ll be really beneficial to go back and show face again. We’re doing everything on our own now, so its nice being able to go back and make people aware that we have a new record.”

The independence John mentioned is due to the band’s break with their previous US label, Warner Brothers. It was this lack of a major contract which not only allowed the band to record their EP Imaginary Numbers themselves, but also to produce solely acoustic songs. Garrett was blunt about how he finds having no label – “freeing.” Kennedy took a more pragmatic approach, understanding that “this experience taught us a lot. We were forced to experience a lot of things: how we’ve done things and how we want to do things.” John, again, saw the band’s past decision as a springboard for their future. “I feel that we have grown stronger as a band. I think that there’s a whole lot of fight left in us, and I think that [for] seeing the whole process through we’re hungrier than ever. We want to create as much art as possible, put out ideas and questions and feelings into the world, cause we’re as confused as the next person. It´s just rewarding.”

In light of the success of their latest album, Forever Halloween, which debuted at 39 on the Billboard 200, being approached for another deal is always a possibility. “I doubt that it’d be a major label [as they had before]”, John pondered. Although Garrett suggested the band may consider an offer if the circumstances were right, John believes that after the break, a return to a label would not be fruitful. “The liberation we’ve experienced and enjoyed has been so overwhelming that in order to be on a record label again, there’d be so many – and here we probably sound like the biggest divas – there’d be too many requirements.” “Yeah, it probably wouldn’t work out,” added Garrett.

As a band who have previously experimented with everything from pop-punk to rock and acoustic, Forever Halloween was created in unusual circumstances. The band, along with producer Brendan Benson, recorded the album analogue-style, straight to tape. Rather than recording individually in a studio then digitally producing the songs, the group recorded the album simultaneously. It was Benson’s name and reputation that encouraged the band to revert to the past for Forever Halloween. “We were into [Benson] for many reasons. That was one of the things we knew we might get to do.”

The experimentation has also had a positive effect on The Maine and their outlook on music. “We were at a crossroads as far as recording is concerned – it wasn’t necessarily getting stale, but I think we were thirsty for knowledge, and we got that and a lot more with Brendon. As far as ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ history goes, he schooled up on some stuff like that, and how a record can be made utilising old technology in an age where its almost unheard of.” The band’s frontman was therefore unable to decide what style of recording he preferred. “We always enjoy recording in lots of different ways, but I think it was a wonderful experience.”

Forever Halloween marks a distinct progression for the band’s music, quite distinguishable from their more pop-punk flavoured 2008 debut. “We’re not 17 anymore,” John stated, with Garrett also piping up with a jovial “or 16!” “We’re almost 24, 25 years old”, the frontman continued. “I think it’s just a testament to growing up – not even in the sense of facial hair and stuff, but being passionate about music and really trying to turn this into what we actually do, rather than what we do… if that makes sense.” Kennedy saw this change as reflective of the band’s increasing awareness – “We have been exposed to a lot more music now.” Garrett also agreed. “It’s kind of crazy to think of the bands that don’t change more. I’m sure they’re exposed to just as much music, so for it not to effect them and for them to just make the same records over and over again – I don’t know how that happens.”

The Maine are also making conscious decisions to broaden their musical forays. Imaginary Numbers marks their first acoustic-only release, which stemmed from what they felt fans wanted. “From talk online, from people we heard and people we chatted with on the road, people wanted to hear acoustic songs. So, rather than just rerelease tracks we’ve already written, we had a bunch of songs left over. For us, it’s more about creating new material and putting new feelings out there, so the response has been great.” John then joked: “Hopefully they’ll like the new metal record we’re about to make too, a hip-hop, metal, dubstep record.”

Humour aside, The Maine are unsure which genre their next release will take them to. “Now more than ever we’re all listening to our own things. Everyone has their own bands that they’re attaching to, so there are so many different influences there. We’ll see where that goes.” John also considered what they want their music to do. “Definitely when we’re together in a room, hashing out an idea, we’ll reference vibes, we’ll reference moods of other records people have. Lyrically, I want to make people feel good on the next one, so that’ll be the main focus – ‘living is cool’.”

A busy year is still ahead for The Maine. Following their tours overseas and Warped Tour on home soil, the group plan to get back on the road, release a deluxe edition of Forever Halloween and start thinking about new music. For now, however, they’re still loving the ride. “We’re seven years down the road, and it doesn’t get old”, John concluded, “It’s surreal”. However, things look set to continue in this manner. “We don’t take breaks,” Garrett laughed, although Kennedy was quick to remind him of the facts: “There’s no time.”

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