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The Maine’s John O’Callaghan: “It’s Imperative To Follow Your Intuition And Do What Feels Right”

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 15 December 2017 at 14.20

John O'Callaghan opens up about the 8123.

The Maine were winners of the Power Of Music award at the first ever Rock Sound Awards powered by EMP. 

In the magazine we chat to vocalist John O'Callaghan all about 8123 and the community that the band has developed. Here's a taste:

IT MUST BE A VERY PROUD FEELING THAT 8123 IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE ESSENTIALLY BUILT WITH YOUR FANS...
“When we started out we were 18 some of our fans were 13 or 14. Some of those people have stuck around ten years and it’s been insane to grow up with them. I’m not saying that it means more now, but I think for me personally, I certainly believe us more now.

I know that sounds weird but it’s such an odd age to be at – 18 – and be writing songs as if you know anything. That’s bullshit! No 18-year-old knows. What can you really be saying? You can’t even drive legally! That speaks to their genius, obviously, [things like] Lorde writing at 17 and doing what she did. But there’s also another level of that; how am I supposed to believe this as a listener?

Fortunately we got through all of that and people allowed us to get through it and hopefully got through their own shit along the way. That’s not to say by any means that we know anything now, because I’m if anything probably more proponent to the idea that I know less now than I did back then, because I think I was probably just so arrogant at 18 that I thought I knew and maybe that arrogance and naivety is a better place to live in than the depressing head I have on my shoulders now.

I don’t know, it’s psycho that we’ve got to do it this long and now the itch is itchier than ever to make this thing last for as long as it can and really try to be something different in a fucking sea of all the same.”


DO YOU HOPE BANDS MIGHT LOOK AT A SITUATION LIKE YOU GUYS HAVE HAD AND CAN GET THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES AND FALL MORE IN LOVE WITH YOUR OWN BAND THAN EVER BEFORE? DO YOU HOPE BANDS TAKE INSPIRATION FROM THAT?
“I don’t know. I don’t feel like we’re trying to be ambassadors of anything. I think we’re just trying to do what we’re doing and if that accidentally inspires along the way then that’s awesome, but I really want to stress that it’s not the same for everyone. 

It’s all relative, so just because we trash record labels doesn’t mean record labels aren’t a good idea for any band. It absolutely can be a catalyst and I think that you have to figure a lot of it out on your own but I think just knowing that you don’t always have to say yes to everything is really important to hear early, and I think people appreciate authenticity and even subconsciously your self does; you can look in the mirror and know that you’re not being real. And I think that’s very important to be [like that] from the early jump. 

We’re certainly not the ambassadors of the DIY method. It’s all relative.”


IT COMES DOWN TO CONTEXT. SOME THINGS CAN WORK FOR CERTAIN BANDS AT CERTAIN POINTS AND SOME THINGS DON’T. YOU JUST HAVE TO TRUST WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU PERSONALLY...
“Absolutely. I think it’s imperative to follow your intuition and do what feels right, whatever that may be.”

WITH ALL THAT’S HAPPENED AND HAVING THAT POSITIVE OUTLOOK AND CREATIVE FREEDOM, DID IT REALLY BRING BACK THAT FIRE AND MAKE YOU WANT TO PUSH FORWARD AND DO SO MUCH?
“I think there are a few things. I think realising how fragile life is is definitely empowering, and I think realising how fragile being able to do what we do within that life is even more delicate, so I think that’s just the fire we feel necessary to keep the ball rolling. It’s easier to obviously say, ‘We’re excited!’ when things are going well, and it’s not like things have always gone well. 

There have been times where we’ve felt, ‘Should we even do this any more?’ We were at one point a few decisions away from not being a band any more. It’s just a testament to being on the same page and believing in something collectively – the six of us with our manager. Because it certainly is easy to say things are good when everything’s comfortable and you’re excited, and it’s harder to say it after we made ‘Forever Halloween’ and not as many people gave a shit and we felt like we made something special. We were questioning ourselves like, ‘Did we make the right decision recording together and to tape’. 

We’re just fortunate that we’re on this side of it now. It was constructive at the time and I think those are the moments that probably mattered more than saying, ‘Right now we’re hungry’ and those are the ones that we can pull from and say, ‘Look, we took a chance and we took a risk and it might not have immediately paid off but we got to see it through.’”


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