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Sweet and Sated: 7 Questions with The Maine’s Garrett Nickelsen

The Maine have always been about being the truest version of yourself. From exiting from their major label contract with Fearless Records to organising a free tour across the US, The Maine have personified their manifesto while satisfying fans both old and new.

Their latest project is “Covers (Side B), an album of music covers that serves as a counterpart to last year’s “Covers (Side A) EP. The band have released a video for their cover of “Love Yourself” from the upcoming album (yes, it’s the song by Justin Bieber).

There are no signs that The Maine are looking to slow things down anytime soon and we can only look forward to what they have in store for us. While we wait out for their next musical offering, we had a chat with bassist Garrett Nickelsen about Iron Man films and their new music video for “Am I Pretty?


DNM: Hey Garrett! We love your band’s latest album, “American Candy”. We understand that it’s meant to be a commentary on popular culture and how it shapes the minds and opinions of people today. What’s the most insane thing that you can’t believe people are keeping up with?

Garrett: “Iron Man” movies? Haha. I enjoyed the first one but I don’t think i need to see another one of these films for about 30 years. Give me something new. The thought of [an] “Iron Man Five” bores the shit out of me. How about a movie about a dog and an alien becoming friends? That sounds fun.

amiprettyBrilliant idea for a movie, really. The Maine’s new video for “Am I Pretty?” isn’t too shabby either. It was very moving to see the people featured in the video tell their stories. What was it like producing that video and how did you decide on the concept?

Our singer, John [O’Callaghan], had the idea floating around for a few months before we completely decided to move forward with that concept. It’s probably the most “on the nose” video we have for one of our songs. The message of the song and the visuals really come together to tell the same story.

It was incredible to have such great people willing to express those feelings out into the world for lots of people to see. It shows great courage and I think in a way that’s what the song is about. Being ok with yourself even in the face of judgement. We couldn’t have been happier with the finished product.

We admire how the band has evolved so much but still retains the core sound and concept of what The Maine represents. Do you see a point where you would change up everything and reinvent yourselves?

Well thanks! I mean, I think we sort of change on every album. For us, it’s really hard to keep on doing the same things over and over. This whole thing could get boring fast and I don’t think there is anything more boring than just repeating yourself year after year.

It would be really easy to go make a pop punk record as that’s the ‘in’ thing right now but our fans trust us and know we wouldn’t turn our back on them and go do that to maybe get “bigger”.

Evolving and learning is part of art. If you are not learning and trying new things, I think you are just wasting your life.

We definitely agree that it’s important to keep learning from yourself. The band has another constant too: the fans. The Maine has an extraordinary community of tight-knit fans that you don’t really see with many other bands. Why do you think this is so and how do you leverage that relationship?

I agree 100%. We have this super strong bond with a group of people. They love the things we create and we love them for wanting to be part of it. It’s all based on trust. Our fans trust us enough to go off and push our “sound” and try new creative things and we get to feel ok doing those things because they trust us.

Our band is here to see what can we possibly do next that is new and fresh.

It would be really easy to go make a pop punk record as that’s the ‘in’ thing right now but our fans trust us and know we wouldn’t turn our back on them and go do that to maybe get “bigger”. That’s not what our band is here for. Our band is here to see what can we possibly do next that is new and fresh. It’s for the love of music and feeling a part of something bigger. 

Article-9016318-TheMaine2015Alright, now name 3 artists you’d love to collaborate with on music that doesn’t sound like The Maine.

Wilco. Johnny Marr. Paul Westerburg.

Whoa, you could be on to something there. A collab with Johnny Marr would be phenomenal! Speaking of phenomenal, that’s exactly what the weather here is like now. You’ve stopped by Singapore twice already. Is there an experience that you feel you missed out on and would love to come back for? Third time’s the charm, eh? 😉

I don’t know if there is anything I feel like I missed but I love Singapore. It’s one of my favourite places on earth! I tell my girlfriend all the time that we need to take a vacation there. I need to save more Delta Miles first.

Hit us up if you make the trip down, chilli crab is on us! Last question now: rank the following from great to not-so-great – Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Starbursts, Poptarts, and Butterfingers.

Starbursts, Butterfinger, Poptarts, Reese’s, Hershey’s!


The Maine’s album, “Covers (Side B)”, drops 24th June 2016. 

Many thanks to Secret Signals.

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Izzan Haziq

I have a particular affinity for bread-based products, metal music and the minimalist aesthetic. Also, naps are great.

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