We sat down with The Maine bassist, and founding member Garrett Nickelsen at the band’s Mansfield stop on the Vans Warped Tour. Nickelsen, along with drummer Pat Kirch is responsible for starting The Maine back in 2006 and has been with the band ever since.
MPR: You’ve already had a pretty busy year with the releases of the Imaginary Numbers EP and the Forever Halloween deluxe edition, what’s next for The Maine?
Garrett: Well we just released the Forever Halloween deluxe edition which came out a few weeks ago and that’s about it for new music for a little while. But shortly after Warped Tour we’ll be hitting the UK for a tour, and then probably do some shows to end the Forever Halloween touring cycle and eventually start recording again after that.
MPR: With all this new music coming out for you guys lately, how do you decide what songs to add into your setlists?
Garrett: It’s really. fucking. hard. We’ve been changing stuff out by show here and there just to keep the sets fresh. But for something like Warped Tour it’s kind of weird because we haven’t done Warped for a while and there’s definitely a lot of people who probably haven’t seen us for a little while, so there may be a little bit of leaning towards the older stuff. But we start our set with a newer tune and end with a newer tune. So it was kind of like let’s play stuff that people will be really really excited to hear. But then when we go and do our headline tour we’re gonna be playing stuff from every record.
MPR: Now earlier this year you guys went out and did an acoustic tour, how different was that from what you guys are used to doing?
Garrett: It was completely different, a show like this is really high energy and pretty noisy and we like to keep the energy up. But that was the complete opposite, we were sitting down the whole time. So yeah, it was a lot of fun, but I’m glad we don’t do it all the time. But it was definitely fun to mess around with for a few weeks. We’d definitely do something like that again in the future, but it’s good to be back in full rock mode now.
MPR: Sticking with the acoustic tour, what were the song choices like for that?
Garrett: That was a little different because a lot of the shows sold out really quick, so we definitely knew that it would be fans and people who really wanted to see us and knew a lot of our songs going to the shows. So we kind of got to mess with stuff that we never played before and every song was a different version of the original, so none of us really knew the tunes in a way, because a lot of them were switched up so it was definitely more like “hey! Come see this thing that you won’t ever see us do again” if you’re a big fan of ours you haven’t been to a show like this before. So that was like the big thing, just messing around with stuff and it kind of became a new show for them and us.
MPR: So what was the preparation like for that tour, did it take a little more than usual to get ready for it?
Garrett: Well, we pretty much just rewrote every song. They were all like in different capos, and different chords, so it was kind of like here this tune, and here’s the words, we’re gonna just rewrite the song. And there were a couple that we didn’t have to do over, like “My Heroine” is a song we’ve done like that before, we kind of did a Neil Young-esque version of that before that had this kind of like trucking drum beat. But we did that for a thing called daytrotter a couple years back. So some of them were sort of worked out already, but most of them we just kind of had to rework the song, which actually didn’t take that long because we were pretty excited about it. But it was weird for sure.
MPR: Changing gears a little, I wanted to ask you about 8123, when you first started The Maine, did you ever envision basically having your own record label?
Garrett: Yeah, you know it kind of is! We put out the last two records on our own, we helped Nick Santino put out his record, which we helped him record too. So it is kind of a record label in a weird way, I mean it is a management group, but it’s basically just a hub of like everything. So we’re kind of already doing it, but we’ll definitely see what the future holds. But yeah it’s bizarre, I mean I never thought that would be possible.
MPR:So can your fans expect to see any new live releases in the near future? Like a live EP or an album or a DVD?
Garrett: Well on the acoustic record we ended up putting online, we ended up filming our hometown show in Phoenix. So it’s like our set, and a couple little extra things as well. So that’s out, and then we had a DVD out a few years based around Pioneer about us kind of like getting off the label and recording the record and stuff like that. So there’s those, but we’re always trying to think of new cool things to do to keep people into what’s going on and you know if there’s a story there, there will be something but you definitely don’t want to force it or it just sounds like bullshit.
MPR: Now for selecting which tracks to include on the Forever Halloween reissue, what was the process for that? Did you write new songs?
Garrett: No, it was kind of weird actually. Two of them are songs we did during Pioneer, because when we recorded for Pioneer we ended up doing about 30 songs and put out a deluxe edition for that, but we still had some extra tunes that we had never gotten mixed so we had those to work with, and we’d just built a studio at the 8123 offices so we wanted to add a little bit to those to make them sound better. Then there were two tunes we did with Brendan Benson for Forever Halloween that were just leftover B-sides, and then one was this song “Ice Cave” which is a song that we’ve been playing live for a long time, but never really thought we’d record. But we were just like “well fuck it, we’re gonna do it, we might as well record that one too” and we got to mess around with that one and make it like super Zeppelin like. It was fun!
MPR: So one of the things a lot of bands are doing these days are album anniversary tours, I know the anniversary of your debut is a few years out, but do you ever see The Maine doing one of those type of tours?
Garrett: I don’t know, I mean it’s still a few years for Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. Maybe we’ll do something for the 10 year anniversary of the band starting and just play a whole bunch of shit. I don’t know, we’re always trying to think of stuff to do so I wouldn’t say no, but that’s kind of getting old now too. I think we could definitely think of something cooler than “oh here’s 10 Years of Can’t Stop.”