THE MAINE (04/04/19)
Both guitarist and drummer spent some time with us before their gig at Flow (Paris). From their conception of music to French baguettes, topics were diverse!
Thank you for your time and for coming back to Paris. What can we expect for tonight’s show?
Pat Kirch (drums): Brand new songs for the first time here. There is always an excitement in the first couple of time you play new songs. For us they feel like exciting and we’re scared of messing them up.
Kennedy Brock (guitar): Exactly, the danger adds to the excitement.
Both: Yeah, the thrill of playing new songs! (laughs)
It’s been a while since you played a show in Paris. How do you feel about coming back in the city?
Kennedy: We are very happy to be back. We are in such a beautiful part of the city. We’re super excited, there’s a lot of people from Paris that have come to other shows on this tour so now we’re happy to see them in their home.
Let’s talk about your new record “You Are OK“. How was the recording process?
Pat: It’s been like we’ve been doing before: working on our own before we get in the studio, recording the songs up until the point we feel they are pretty complete. Then get to the studio, adding bells and anything to make it sound better.
Kennedy: Just a lot more preparation.
Pat: The hardest thing was trying not to repeat ourselves and trying to figure out what it was going to sound like. It was about how we could do some tempos or stylistic things with instruments we never used before. For example, loads of songs on the record are a lot faster. It was just about trying to take an extra step in each direction.
You’ve been doing music for more than 10 years. Do you feel it is a normal process for an artist to try something different, not trying to repeat yourself over and over again?
Kennedy: Yes, just challenging yourself and trying to do something different is always the goal. The band allows us to go to more places in term of music within the actual sound.
What were your influences for this record? You mentioned Tears For Fears for example.
Pat: There are so many influences that you wouldn’t hear in the songs. I would say on this record the influences are not about the bands specifically but trying to capture the energy of bands we were into in high school. The way music made us feel then. There is an excitement, an energy in hearing Taking Back Sunday or another band for the first time as a teenager. We want our version of how that made us feel; not necessarily being influenced by the way it sounds but by the feeling and the excitement that you get when you hear these records for the first time. That’s something we never really channeled ever in our career. I think now you can hear it in our new record.
Is it something new for you to challenge yourself and to try to recreate that energy from the bands you like?
Pat: For the past two albums we wanted to have a kind of dancing energy and with this one we wanted more of an aggressive feeling.
Kennedy: That’s where we touch down on the tempo. There are a lot of things we were listening at that time bringing that energy in all of us.
Where do you put this record in your discography?
Pat: It is the record where we are saying we are not looking back to the past, as the albums we are making right now are going to be the most important albums of our career. It is like another foot in the ground saying what we are doing now is important for us and we are not really looking back. We are looking ahead.
Speaking of looking back, which look do you have on your first album? You could be a bit ashamed of it.
Kennedy: No, I mean we already went ahead of that feeling.
Pat: We already had that phase. We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. Those things got us there and they created the ideas in which we move forward with.
You currently run a label and a festival. You are also producing. Do you think that’s a natural step in a musician’s life to gain control on your creations?
Kennedy: I think for some musicians it is not the case. We have very strong opinions and try to really make everything feel important to each individual person, and being able to control all that we are able to create this full vision.
Pat: When you are on a label deal sometimes you have to think of your band in different sections like “this is what we are doing for the album”, and “this is what we’re doing on tour”. All is very separated. I think for us it is just being able to look at it as a whole. Being able to look at our career as a whole thing, not as a career made of fragments.
Any ideas on what’s next?
Pat: We have plans to expand the festival and put out more music. We just look at what feels good at the moment, you never know what will happen. We just opened our retail store in Arizona, it is like one of those things that happen over time. We were doing it temporary but as it gets more success, we took another step and made it permanent.
Kennedy: New ideas will come.
You guys stay really close to your hometown and to Arizona. Is it important for you to get all your projects located there?
Kennedy: It’s just convenient. (laughs)
Pat: It’s just where we live but obviously, we love being in Arizona. Any of us could have move but we all really love it.
Can you tell us more about the Sad Summer festival that has been announced a couple of weeks ago?
Kennedy: It’s another one of those things we try to expand on.
Pat: We’ve been doing this niche festival “8123 Festival”. We wanted to take it everywhere and to get all of our friends’ bands together to create a unique experience for people. With the Warped Tour going away we felt it was a good timing and that people need that kind of experience in the summer. We wanted to pay some kind of homage to that.
The feeling we got is that it’s riding on the emo nostalgia wave.
Kennedy: We knew we could do something special for a specific group of fans, and that specific group of fans is going to have the best time of their lives at these concerts with our friends.
How about expanding it?
Pat: It’s the first year so we’ll see but who knows!
Let’s get back to the new record. How were the fans reactions?
Kennedy: We’ve had immediately very positive feedback. That’s the coolest thing, people reacted well to the past two records but it is incredible to have such a good response.
For this record were you influenced by artists doing music at the moment?
Kennedy: Not specifically.
Pat: We do not sit down and say we want to make an album like this. We kind of think about it when we start playing. There is less thought put into it. You realize after what influences are in.
Are there any bands you’re following?
Pat: There are a bunch of them. It’s an interesting time where there are so many bands. When we started it was way easier to have a hand on everything and now everybody can do it. It will be interesting to see where that goes. To me, the biggest thing the music scene lacks is people actually having culture and a connection with their audience. I think there are a lot of people that are passively into music, they listen to a couple of songs on Spotify and over time this will have to just go away.
We’re not paying too much attention at what people are doing. We are looking at how we can create the most impact on our audience and build a long-lasting culture. Later on, people can look back at our 25 albums and remember what happened during those twenty years, what kind of tour and specials events we held and that is what we want.
It’s about making a whole experience around the band then.
Kennedy: Yes, exactly.
Does that new way of consuming music have an influence on you as an artist?
Kennedy: I think again we try to look at our fan base and how specifically they are taking that music, how they cater things, to fit that.
Pat: If you just look at the numbers, people would say that there is no point in making an album, you should just put out singles. We’re just seeing what works for us; we are not really concern about the best way to put out an album.
That’s why you wanted to have your own label. It’s the biggest freedom for an artist.
Pat: When we are going to make an album, there is no one giving their approval. We’re just able to do it whatever we want.
Was that chain of decisions and approvals frustrating you in making your previous records?
Pat: There’s only one album that we made where we had that issue but we were so young at that time.
Kennedy: Just with more experience we started to decide what we wanted to do.
Back to the shows. How did the European tour start?
Pat: It started well. This is only the 3rd show but from now we will be on tour for a long time.
What do you think about the French audience and the European audience?
Kennedy: It’s awesome!
Pat: It’s great! For us it feels like our fan base is the same everywhere. I don’t notice very much of a difference. I feel like the show last night could have been in Chicago. We would have had the same kind of energy. It is a testament of what we built and the culture that we have.
How do you feel about the audience getting older, but also younger people coming to your shows?
Kennedy: It’s incredible. We continue to gain new people and one of the things we are proud of is that we have fans following us for a long time. They have been through different stages of our band. With our catalogue, new fans have a lot to go through. This is so collective. They really want to create that community and make it stronger.
Last question, as our media is called “RockUrLife”, what rock your life?
Pat: Good baguettes! (laughs)
Did you have the chance to get some?
Pat: I’ve had good one this morning.
Kennedy: I was carrying a baguette down the street this morning!