The Maine
Rock Sound|January 2020
CANDID, EMOTIONAL AND DEEPLY HOPEFUL, THE MAINE’S SEVENTH ALBUM SHOWED US ALL A MUCH-NEEDED BRIGHTER SIDE TO LIFE IN 2019. THEY REVEAL HOW IT WAS BORN, AND PAY TRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY THAT’S FORMED AROUND THEM.
Andy B Ddulph

‘You Are OK’ has won Album Of The Year at the Rock Sound Awards! How does it feel?

John O’Callaghan [vocals]: “I think for us one of the best things is to have been going through the arc of our career, starting almost 13 years ago, and seeing how platforms change and how the journalistic side of things is covered. It’s just really humbling, and it’s a huge honour to be acknowledged by you guys.”

And you’ve done it all on your own terms.

John: “Our focus always went inward towards what we were doing and who was actually supporting and sort of perpetuating it all. And that would be the people that listen to the music. I think those moments of affirmation when you go to a show and you weren’t expecting to sell tickets and there ends up being a room full of people, those are the moments you can actually kind of savour and relish while it’s happening. I think these moments are few and far between for us, so knowing the hard work that we put in and the reciprocal side of people… it just means that what we’re doing still means something to somebody.”

Where did the idea of those three words - ‘You Are OK’ - as a title come from?

John: “Initially the record was supposed to be called ‘The Glitter And The Gloom’. After talking about it with Pat and Tim, our manager, the criticism that they kind of gave back was that it might be too abstract. ‘You Are OK’ was a title that had been floating around - I think in the past it was going to be a song title - but for me, it’s always been… I just don’t know how many times in my life I’ve actually heard that and been calmed by it. It’s sort of that psychology of when a baby falls down and you’re like, ‘You’re okay. You’re okay’. And then they’re more likely to cry and then let out grief because they have more time to process that they fell down. I think for me, it was more of a question of, ‘Are you okay?’. That was not only inward, towards myself, but I wanted to pose that to people and I wanted to make it feel like we were only making a record for one specific person. However many people listened to it, I hope they got the personalisation that we were trying to incorporate with the album. We’re lucky that more than one person did listen to it! It morphed into more of a mantra and hopefully a talking point amongst themselves and amongst this weird community we’re all a part of now as a way of talking about how you feel, because I think there’s still, for so many people, a stigma about it, that if you’re vulnerable that makes you not tough or whatever it is. Fortunately, people have picked it up and run with it on their own.”

It must be cool to be playing your shows and seeing people take that on board.

Pat [Kirch, drums]: “I’d like to think that if we can do any good with our music, that’s great. But if it can make someone more comfortable with who they are or make them feel okay with the things that aren’t good in their lives and give them some kind of hope and know they’re not the only ones that have that, that’s incredible. That’s happened quite a bit in the past, where people come to the shows and experience the community of being at the shows and meeting people and maybe finding friends they can relate to for the first time. But now with having this record where the title is so in your face with asking if you’re okay, or telling you that you are going to be okay, that’s been completely amplified. Every day we’re getting messages from people or people are talking about that at shows. At the end of the day when we look back in 50 years at all the albums we made, if this album did anything, if it made people good for the one time they listened to it, a month, a week… whatever… that’s all we needed it to be.”

That perspective must ground you. How did this process feel right at the beginning of its creation?

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