The Maine released their 5th studio album, American Candy, on March 31. Admittedly, the 10-track record oozes positive vibes and the songs make you want to jump around. It’s a departure from the band’s last two albums, and that’s how lead singer (and songwriter) John O'Callaghan intended it.
“I think the approach overall, just our mentality going in, we knew we wanted to bring something more uplifting to the table this time around,” the 26-year-old told ETonline when he and lead guitarist Jared Monaco swung by our Los Angeles studio.
“We're happier I think,” Monaco chimed in.
The lead singles, “English Girls” and “Miles Away” are two of the most memorable tunes on the album, featuring charming lyrics and catchy beats.
“English Girls,” which boasts the lyrics, “She said, ‘English girls they just like sex’ I couldn't believe when he said, ‘I've got news for you, American boys do too,’” is based on true-events that transpired several years ago when the band was touring the UK.
“It was actually like the 2nd time that we had visited over there… I think I was 19… and this was just a conversation between a couple girls and a friend of mine that I was just kind of a fly on the wall for and it made for what I think is pretty funny material,” John explained.
“That's just kind of the bar scene, girls around 1 or 2am...” Jared started before John jumped in and added, “Yeah, girls in like short dresses like throwing up, and crying…”
But not every song is that light-hearted. The song “24 Floors” revisits the darker material the band shared on their past two albums. In fact, this track might be the most honest and heartbreaking track John has ever written. About contemplating taking his own life when he was 23-years-old, the singer reveals he was nervous for his mom to listen.
“She cried... She had kind of a break down and was like ‘I realize that you’re 26 now and I have to let go,’” John said of his mother’s reaction to the record, “but in a lot of ways it was really special to have that conversation with her and cross that bridge.”
A heavy topic for such a pop-filled record, John knew it was important to write.
“I suppose when you’re 23 you just want to hear that everybody goes through waves of feeling insecure or lost… In retrospect, hindsight always being 20/20, I’m glad I’m still here, and I’m still able to make music,” John shared. “Hopefully that song is some sort of solace for people that are feeling down or alone.”
“I am very emo,” he joked before explaining, “A lot of them can be just song lyrics from other artist… I don’t know.”
And despite his massive following, John doesn't follow anyone back -- not even his own bandmates! But Jared claims John doesn't follow anyone simply because he is technology challenged.
“We call John ‘technology dad’ in the band. He is always the last to get this app or that app,” he said before John added to his own case: “I used to text Twitter's number to tweet and these guys gave me so much flack that I had to download the app.”
“I feel like if I start following people then I’ll either put my foot in my mouth and say the wrong thing to the wrong person or I’ll just be enveloped by the whole thing and never enjoy the weather again!”
Watch our interview with John and Jared above. And, watch the video below to see what happens when we play a little game with the fellas -- where they open up about their best pick-up lines and most bitter break-ups.
American Candy is on sale now. Click here for more details.